Taqueria Vallarta Jalisco

South shore eateries, markets help make a neighborhood

Taqueria Vallarta Jalisco

1644 E. Riverside, 444-9484

Sunday-Wednesday, 7am-2am; Thursday, 7am-3am; Saturday-Sunday, 7am-4am

This newest addition to the Taqueria Vallarta family of restaurants took over an abandoned fast food joint early this year and announced itself with a Day-Glo orange paint job. While the paint job may be the first thing to get your attention, the very reasonable prices and consistent quality of the simple, homestyle food will keep you coming back. Plenty of parking, extended hours, and a handy drive-up window are also points in their favor. It's the only place we've found where authentic Mexican tortas, sandwiches on elliptical French rolls, and aquas frescas such as horchata and tamarindo can be purchased in a convenient drive-through lane.

Because these folks cater to hungry early morning and late-night crowds, their breakfast tacos are hot, hefty, and affordable, three for $2.95 or 99 cents each. Other quick and filling items include tortas ($2.25), burritos ($2.25), and chalupas ($1.80) with a wide variety of fillings and toppings including beef, chicken, avocado, pork, and tongue.

The lunch and dinner menus offer plates such as carne asada ($5.75), grilled skirt steak topped with smoky green onions, nopales, flautas ($4.95), three crisp-fried tubes of flavorful chicken, and a real bargain on shrimp fajitas ($7.95), plump, tender grilled shrimp served with a tasty tangle of grilled onions and peppers All dinner plates come with rice, beans, a rich, buttery guacamole, and a serrano-laced pico de gallo, plus your choice of corn or flour tortillas. In our estimation, the attention paid to the freshness and quality of sides such as guacamole, pico, and the fresh, cilantro-spiked table salsa speaks well for the entire operation.

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