Atlanta >Food & Dining > The Original El Taco
1186 N Highland Ave, Atlanta, GA | Directions 3030633.787048 -84.355349
Mon.-Thurs.-5-10pm; Fri.-5-11pm; Sat.-11:30am-11pm; Sun.-11:30am-10pm
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Virginia Highland, Northeast
Great atmosphere, great food and lots of fun!!!! – For over the past 2 years this place has become a Friday ritual for me, my best friend and her two kids (age 3 and 5).
Starting early in the evening around 5:30 you are greeted by friendly staff and asked if you want to sit inside or on the patio. You are given little round wooden chips with numbers written on them, these are used on the top of the hour where they spin a wheel and if your number is called you win anything from a free bottle of beer to a t-shirt.....this is always exciting and fun because it gets all the patrons involved!!!
They give crayons and to the kids to color and offer a great kids menu. The adults, of course, start with a Reales Margarita (my friends favorite) or a delicious Sangria (my choice). We order some delicious guacamole and chips for the table and start our fabulous evening at the restaurant that we have lovingly start to call "The Taco Place"
The staff is very friendly and the food is great. some of my favorites are the "Steak Taco, Chicken Taco and the Fish Taco" there are so many other choices to pick from, but I always seem to rotate from these three!!!
By the time we have finished our food and drinks the atmosphere has subtly changed from a family environment, to a "the place to be" for the young and hip crowd!!!!
We always leave satisfied and happy knowing that we will be back in a week for another wonderful visit!!!
I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for great food, affordable prices, and a great place to eat!!!
Freakin good! – I have been here more than once and I always love it! The food is great and the prices are affordable. I would highly recommend people to come back!
GET CONNECTED WITH GOOD TIMES AT THE ORIGINAL EL TACO – Neighborhood is defined as the area or region around or near some place or thing; The Original El Taco identifies with “Neighborhood” in every way. This Virginia-Highlands eatery is both “the place” to simply hang out with friends, and “the thing” offering lively foods and drinks at reasonable prices. The Fifth Group revamped their trendy establishment, Sala, into a more down-home place that’s centered on having fun. To add to the excitement an intriguing graffiti-like mural was painted by SCAD students on the back wall, but the real thrill comes every hour when the “wheel of taco” spins and if you’re lucky you can win foods, drinks, and other cool things. Seems like the name change, the look, and menu has worked as on most nights there’s a wait; the crowd ranges from families to college students splurging on a real meal.
Mid-west native, Chef de Cuisine Craig Sauls runs the kitchen and turns out some of the tastiest Tex-Mex in the city. To match these tasty dishes, a selection of delicious margaritas awaits. The Reales Margarita is made with the ultra-smooth Partida Blanco, Combier Liqueur d'Orange, Agave Nectar, limejuice, and fresh house-made citrus sour mix. For a real treat, asked for the off menu, Paloma-it’s the most popular tequila drink in Mexico- made with Herradura Blanco, Jarritos grapefruit soda, fresh squeezed lime, and a pinch of salt. It’s a wonderful balance of sweet, sour, salty, with a touch of bitterness- so refreshing.
Perfect complements to these cocktails are crispy corn chips, and the ones at El Taco rock - made in house daily with a wonderful lime and chile salt flavor. Beckoning for mouth-watering salsas for dipping, El Taco’s salsa bar has many to choose from. I loved the rustic charred tomatillo salsa with its slight smoky flavors. Besides these exquisite salsas to play with, there is a perfectly prepared creamy queso with pickled jalapeños, and the “Just Crushed” Guacamole, which is made by pressing the avocado through a screen to maintain its velvety texture then fresh lime juice, Serrano chiles, diced onion, and cilantro are blended in- absolutely delicious.
After munching on the chips and salsas, and sipping on a few drinks, the Tex-Mex choices become profound. Of the street vendor-like tacos there’s a heavenly fried cod with a nice kick from the Serrano chile- jicama slaw, and sunflower sprouts and seeds. For those seeking vegetables that scream freshness look no further- the grilled cactus, roasted tomatoes, fresh cilantro, that’s topped with a Fresno pepper relish and cotija cheese is oh-so flavorful. But the one I will go back for again and again is the fried chicken taco- perfectly fried strips of hand breaded marinated chicken breast with an elote-like sweet corn, cotija cheese, cilantro, and lime mayonnaise- yummy!
This eco-friendly neighborhood restaurant offers so much more than foods and drinks. It is a place of comfort, peace of mind, and down right good times.
Excellent Mexican Food – i just visited The Original El Taco, and what can I say ... I loved it. My husband's family is Mexican and it is very hard to compete with their dishes, but this place was spot on. I've never been a fan of fish tacos but I tried them here and they were delicious. I'm dying to go back for more!
Just plain fun! – What else is there to say. The tacos are excellent, and completely different from what you might find around town. I've always found the food to be really consistent in terms of flavor. I've frequented this place and would make serious sacrifices for the fish taco. Outside of that, there's a lot of variety for such a small menu. I like that everything is a la carte so I can spend as much or as little as I like.
The drinks? Well, housemade sour with fresh lime juice is always a plus for me. In addition, our server really seemed to know his tequila, and recommended I try one of them in a margarita with agave nectar and fresh lime juice, for just about the same price as the House Margarita. Nice!
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I've never really felt like this place wasn't of value, because I've always found the food to be fresh, the drinks tasty (and strong) and the service to be friendly and efficient. I guess i can see where some might think it's pricey, but for me, the atmosphere and consistency are worth it.
not the best place – The food here is so and so. Like the other reviews mentioned, they don't offer free salsa and tortillas when you walk in. The servers walk around and gossip even if there are customers, which takes the food longer to come out. Not the best Mexican joint, but it's passable when you need basic Mexican food
Don't Come Here for the Food – We ate here for the first time last night, taking advantage of the "Eat Like You Work Here" 25% off promotion on Tuesdays. The cocktails were good, and good prices. But, when we sat down it turned south. First, don't expect free chips and salsa like every other Mexican joint. I was going to order tacos, but not for $4 each (ridiculous). I ordered the vegetarian Mexican pizza and it was absolutely gross. It came out ice cold. And, even if it were hot, it would not have been appetizing. Messy, piled high with crap, and simply tasted bad. I sent it back, and haven't sent food back in over 15 years. We had a great server who didn't roll her eyes or give me any grief about sending it back. Good move on her part. My husband ordered the fajitas which I subsequently ordered as well. They came out sizzling, but were just okay. We were not impressed. For what you get, the food is crazy expensive. If there wasn't a 25% off promotion, I would have been really upset about our bill. This should be a casual taco joint, they shouldn't try to be so "hip" and "gourmet". You can do it simple, just do it right.
Bland,Bland,Bland – I don't really understand the good reviews. This may be a place that is just good for drinks and hanging out, NOT a good place for food. Everything had no flavor, just simply bland and not one thing tasted fresh or homemade. The tacos were also small and if I was a server I would have been embarassed to bring the food out. We did have a nice server though. First and last visit to this place.
Lively Saturday Night Spot – We visited El Taco this past Saturday for a fun girls dinner and we weren't disappointed. The inside was happening-and our bartender helped us pick the right libation to start the night-for me that was a fro mo, and for my friend a classic margarita served straight up. We started with chips and salsa and heavily raided the salsa bar-my only critique is that none of the salsas was 5 alarm! I had the El Short Stack for my meal-it was huge-yummy, melty, goodness. One of my fave entrees I have had at a Mexican restaurant in town. My companion had tacos-and they were fab! The corn-off the cob and tossed with the spicy mayo was the perfect side for both of us! Loved El Taco and am planning my next visit!
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