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May 12, 2014 05:01 AM

El Limon - Ambler- Bravo!!

Hooray! Finally, an inexpensive and off the charts good Mexican restaurant that you can nip into and find an authentic cuisine. Tucked into the main street in Ambler, we spent $13.00 for five tacos. They were so delicious, we could not order anything else on the menu. The Al Pastor taco ($2.50) was tender pork grilled on a spit, with bits of pineapple and in either a corn or flour tortilla. The Carnitas ($2.50) was simply the best taco ever tasted - succulent slow roasted pork with a depth of chili flavor in light sauce that was so sumptuous that we ordered another for dessert. Let's try to keep these folks in business! A Mariachi musician on Mother's Day made the dining experience just right. Free margaritas (with a punch), lovely waitstaff, a jewel for Chowhounders who live in the area.

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  1. Jay thanks for the great report. I have been a fan of El Limon since they opened their first shop in Conshy. I have been a bit disappointed with the one in Ambler, as it feels a bit more americanized (ex using flour tortillas for tacos), and thought their food was a bit underflavored. Have you tried El Jefe? Given the choce of the two, I prefer El Jefe, especially for tacos lengua or tacos chorizo.

    Also with the al pastor, did you actually see a large piece of pig on a spit? My complaint about a lot of al pastor is folks take flaked pork throw a bit of hot sauce and pineapple on the griddle and call it al pastor when it really isn't.

    13 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      I did not actually see a spit at the Ambler location but did on Conshy. Given it is a family restaurant, we might forgive them in transporting meat from one spit to another, no? You can order either flour or corn tortillas and perhaps your server did not mention that to you. Chorizo taco just fair but we found the other two full of flavor. Will try your recommendation and circle back. I assume El Jefe is in Ambler? We were the only Anglos in Limon on Mothers Day so we thought that was a good sign!

      1. re: jay seigle

        We'll have to try these 2. We've been to Cantina Feliz and Los Sarapes and they were okay but after living on the west coast for a few years I get a craving for plain old out-of-this-world-good Tex-Mex food and you just can't find it on the east coast! Enchiladas, tacos, burritos, chile rellenos, carnitas, big plates of beans and rice, etc.. I think it's getting better but the quality is not the same, and with the availability of ingredients these days I don't know why that has to be the case. I don't think I ever had a bad Tex-Mex or Mexican meal on the west coast, but here it's an exception to the rule if you find a good place. We haven't tried any of the places in Philly yet, but I hear there are a few places to try. BTW - as far as I know there is no right or wrong tortilla for a taco. It's just a matter of taste. I've certainly had both in Mexico.

        1. re: JunieB

          If youre looking for more of that West Coast kind of Mexican check out Loco Pez, Cantina Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos in the city. Also Los Bugamibilias is great for more straight-ahead Mexican, and they have really good enchiladas.

          There are some really good Mexican owned and operated tacquerias but those places are better for tacos, tortas, etc not burritos or chile rellenos.

          1. re: barryg

            Thanks! It's impossible to know without trying but the menus at Loco Pez and Los Bugamibilias look promising. Another thing I miss about the west coast is all the burrito joints - foil-wrapped so you can eat them with your hands. You would think it would be easy to make a burrito right but I haven't had a really good one since returning to the east coast - a few passable ones but nothing outstanding - and they're never wrapped in foil. I guess I should just use it as an excuse to travel west more often, rather than wish the coasts were the same! Thanks for the recs.

            1. re: JunieB

              yeah we are lacking those kinds of burrito places. Cantina and Dos Segunods wrap in foil but they arent take out places. Dont remember if Loco Pez used foil. Burritos are pretty good at both, though. El Fuego is take out, is not bad and wraps in foil. Honestly Chipotle and QDoba are not that bad either.

              1. re: barryg

                Don't know about QDoba but you lost me at Chipotle! lol
                I ate there once - never again.

                Taste in food is sooo subjective. I have a friend who lives in Brooklyn but grew up in Texas eating fantastic Mexican food. Since he couldn't find good Mexican food on the east coast he started eating at Taco Bell and loves it! Mexican food has gotten a little better in NYC too over the years, but it's still not great.

                1. re: JunieB

                  Mexican food is good in NYC.. you have to be willing to go into the barrios where it is made. Parts of South Bronx, Washington Heights are areas where you can find good mexican and latin food overall.

                  Here in the greater Philadelphia area, the area around the Italian market, and then out in Montgomery County in Norristown and the environs, and then down in Kennett Square are little pockets of good mexican food.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    People mean a lot of things when they say "Mexican food." You aren't going to find great burritos or chile rellenos at the taquerias in South Philly because the people cooking there are from areas where big California-style burritors and chile rellenos are not part of the cuisine.

                    My SO's family lives in a town about 10 miles from the border in Arizona and they "Mexican food" they eat is hard shell tacos with ground beef, monterey jack cheese, fajitas. This kind of "Mexican food" is actually hard to find Philly these days.

                    1. re: barryg

                      I can make my own hard shell tacos and fajitas (I like both) :)

                      In CA we usually went to a burrito joint for a burrito to eat on the run, or for a quick dinner. The taquerias were usually fast food with mostly tacos and burritos, but sometimes they were sit down places with more upscale food. Then there were the Mexican restaurants that specialized in different cooking styles and the Tex-Mex restaurants. I loved them all!! And to me they are all "Mexican" food. I even like a hard shell taco with ground beef! My only requirement is that it be good - no matter what it is or what regional cooking style it is.

                  2. re: JunieB

                    I totally get missing certain things you've had or gotten accustomed to elsewhere (for me it's Chilean sandwiches and amazing Indian food - that and proper iced tea). But if you're measuring Philly up to a platonic ideal represented by another city's food culture you're setting it up to fail. Some things we do well, some things we don't, and there are lots of things for which you just have to find a good but not superlative version.

                    1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                      Yeah, I get it. The west coast didn't do pizzas so well! And I won't order a cheesesteak outside of this area. I had one in KY once that had mystery meat (looked like canned dog food) on a roll with Philadelphia Cream Cheese on top! I like what Philadelphia does. I've always loved it, even when it didn't love itself.

                      I try not to wish for a homogenized world, but I do miss a good burrito!

            2. re: JunieB

              El Limon is most certainly not tex-mex. so don't get your hopes up! It's actually straight up authentic Mexican.

              1. re: amysep

                Thanks for the "warning." I love both!

        2. Just an FYI. There's a Mexican chain restaurant opening in Jenkintown. Not sure where you live but I'm hoping that even though it's a chain it might have something good to offer. It's called Senor Salsa and their headquartered in CT I think. Fingers crossed!

          2 Replies
          1. re: JunieB

            Interesting. Where in Jenkintown? Do you know how long until they open?

            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              Sorry. It's in Abington. I don't know the borders around here very well yet! It will occupy the space where the Timber Wood-Fired Grill was on Old York Rd. I think that was across the street from the Abington Hospital - not positive though. A friend of mine told me about it. There's a short article on (from January) but it just says opening late spring.