Second Helpings: Taquerias

Tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Mick Vann.

Taco Xpress
Taco Xpress (Photo By John Anderson)

Tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Mick Vann. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Amaya's Taco Village

5405 N. I-35, 458-2531

Mon-Sat, 7am-10pm; Sun, 7am-3pm

More than just a taco joint, the big draw at Amaya's is the mouth-watering homemade corn tortillas that are the base for most menu items. Most popular are the inexpensive Village Tacos, the enchiladas, and the Combo Platter ($18.95 for three-four diners), with fajitas, pork and beef ribs, and chicken, with all the fixin's. Breakfast tacos are a huge hit at this lively spot.

Taquerias Arandas

#1: 3615 E. Seventh., 389-3834

#2: 4619 S. Congress, 448-4771

#3: 6534 Burnet, 452-9886

#4: 834 E. Rundberg Ln., 835-4369

#5: 2448 S. First, 707-0887

Daily, 7am-midnight, No credit cards at numbers 1 and 4

Arandas features food straight out of Estado Jalisco en Mexico. The prices are outlandishly reasonable (breakfast tacos 80 cents each/3 for $1.99) and the food is righteously superb. Carne asado and tacos al pastor are the specialties, but don't leave without trying the brains, tongue, nopalitos, pozole and menudo, tortas (& Cuban torta), or the mega-burritos. White cheese only!

Taco Xpress

2529-A S. Lamar, 444-0261

Mon-Fri, 7am-3pm; Sat, 8am-3pm; Sun, 9am-3pm

Maria de Argentina's labor of love on South Lamar. Homemade corn tortillas enwrap the best, citrusy tacos al pastor in Bubbaland. Plump, savory gorditas are the stuff of dreams (especially the chicharron and the pollo guisado). Vegans will delight to Maria's Special tacos of green beans, squash, eggplant, onion, and mushrooms. Be sure and try the chimichurri sauce -- on everything. Platters of all are also available.

Arturo's Taqueria

7210 Cameron, 451-5318

3306 Oak Springs, 926-8474

Wed, 7am-3pm; Mon-Tue, Thu, 7am-10pm; Fri-Sun, 7am-11pm

Arturo's is wildly popular with the Northeast crowd. Solid, dependable Tex-Mex fare with all the favorite standards in a brightly painted setting. Regulars go bonkers for the beef fajitas, either on a sizzling platter or in taco form. A steady stream of breakfast taco lovers descends at every dawn for the toothsome tubular offerings.

Taco Shack

4412 Medical Parkway, 467-8553 Taco Shack II

3801-C Spicewood Springs, 418-8900

Mon-Fri, 6:30am-2:30pm; Sat, 7am-1pm

Plug into the overstuffed and tasty breakfast tacos at the Shacks to jump-start your day. "The Shack" taco is the one of choice -- a meal in itself of egg, chorizo, spud, and cheese. Lunch regulars rave about the carne guisada, the enchiladas, and the soft tacos stuffed with fajita meat. Check out the mega jumbo burritos, but bring a huge appetite (or a friend).

Pato's Good Tacos

1400 E. 381é2, 476-4247

Sun-Thu, 7am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 7am-11pm

Pato's has built up a loyal following as a neighborhood hangout of the first order. Mouth-watering Tex-Mex grub enjoyed in a laid-back beer garden. Folks love the tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, and the salsas are addictive. Pato's has a nice antojito selection to accompany the happy hour libations. Live music on the weekends is always a draw.

Mi Madre's

2201 Manor, 480-8441

Mon-Sat, 5:30am-2pm

Mi Madre's is a friendly, family-run kind of a place -- the kind that makes the diner feel embraced. Breakfast tacos are first-rate and heavily stuffed. The lunch crowd clamors for the enchiladas, fajitas, and soft tacos. The kitchen shows a deft touch with the sauces and salsas. It's the kind of place where you're fed like a long-lost relative, and it feels good.

Maudie's Cafe

2608 W. Seventh, 473-3740

Maudie's Too

1212 S. Lamar, 440-8088

Sun-Thu, 9am-9:30pm; Fri-Sat, 9am-10:30pm Pica Cafe

8106 S. Brodie Ln., 280-6516

Daily, 8am-9pm

It's astounding how many tasty dishes Maudie's can concoct using the Tex-Mex Trinity of beef, beans, and cheese. The fajita enchiladas approach Tex-Mex Rapture status and the vegetarian fajita soft tacos are sublime. Great breakfast tacos (though Maudie's is in the South Austin time zone by opening at 9am). Good drinks made with real juices to go with the yummy chips and dips.

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