We were craving Mexican food this past Saturday so we decided to check out El Taconazo on Hillsborough Ave in Seminole Heights for lunch. El Taconazo, affectionally known as the "Taco Bus" to Seminole Heights residents, has won a variety of "best of" awards for its authentic Mexican food.
The tacqueria gained is nickname the "Taco Bus" thanks to the old school bus that sits out back the restaurant and has been converted into its kitchen. The corporate feel of a Chipotle this is not. Customers can walk up and order at the white bus or sit inside the small restaurant where there is table service. We decided to grab a table inside since the outdoor seating around the bus was filled.
Traci and I both ordered the "special" - two tacos and refried beans and rice. I decided to try a steak and a chicken taco, while Traci went with all chicken. Service was quick. The tacos weren't big, but were flavorful. The homemade green chile sauce at the table went great on the tacos. As for the refried beans and rice, I'm sure some people swear by them, but I wasn't impressed.
I'm glad we tried El Taconazo out, as the food is good and the prices are a real bargain, but for the best authentic Mexican in Tampa Bay my dollar is still on El Toro Negro in little Kenneth City. If you think local "Tex-Mex" restaurants like Estela's and Miguel's are good Mexican, you owe it to yourself to try out El Taconazo or El Toro Negro to get a taste of the real thing. Both ooze authenticity.
Finally, while it's not Mexican per se, I haven't found a better upscale Mexican/Southwest-style restaurant in Tampa Bay then Red Mesa on Fourth St. N. in St. Pete. Have a favorite local Mexican or Southwestern restaurant that I've missed? Post your favorite. I'm always looking for new ideas!
Bottom-line: The legend of the Taco Bus may be bigger than the reality of the place, but it's still a good choice for authentic Mexican fare. Be careful getting in and out of the tricky parking lot!
Inspection Scorecard: Last Inspection: May 2006 violations - Critical (3), Non-Critical (2).