Restaurant Review: Taqueria El Tapatio in Glendale
Sure this is a place you would drive by without a second thought, it’s in the seedier part of Glendale just north of the gates to Forrest Lawn on Glendale Avenue. It is on a corner in what I think was originally a hot dog stand. I must confess that this is one of the real ethnic places a close friend accuses me of dragging him to for lunch and putting his health and safety at grave risk.
Yet this very muy authentico Mexican place comes with fulsome recommendation of some savvy Armenian American 30 somethings with MBA’s. It is their go to place after a night on the town or when they want a quick savory lunch. Harut and Hagop love the place as any Glendale native would. It is a treasure. Got it? It’s very real Mexican and very hip multicultural in the most Armenian town this side of the Atlantic.
The menu is based on great street tacos like you find in Mexico. They are served on a pair of warm corn tortillas about six inches across. The meat and garnishes are more than enough to put half on one and half on the other. They offer a dozen meat items as filling: carne asada, al pastor (spiced pork), carnitas (braised pulled pork), spicy chorizo, braised lingua (beef tongue), chicken, and others. All come with chopped onion and cilantro, crumbles of panela cheese (Mexico’s Feta) and red or green sauces. Savory, vibrant not Taco Bell by a hundred kilometers. They also make burritos and Torta (Mexico’s hero sandwiches on French rolls). They are served with pickled jalapenos and carrots, rounds of fresh radishes and as much salsa as you might like. In the mornings, they make huevos rancheros and chilaquillas and other breakfast items. And all this is served with a choice of Orchata, Jamaica and Tamarendo aquas frescas and hecho in Mexico bottles of Coca-Cola and other sodas.
You can also order a plate of refritros and arroz to share with your party. But for me the greatest thing on the menu are real vibrant tostadas. They are worth the drive to Glendale if you live near by. My big favorite is the chorizo toastada and it is off the chart. But the carne asada and pollo (chicken) ones are dynamite too.
The clientel is very mixed, most are from Mexico but there are always a variety of Glendale residents: Anglos and Armenians and Asians and Filipinos too. Everybody knows this is the place for the real stuff. You sit on sturdy chairs at stainless steel topped tables in the covered dinning area. Glendale PD and LAPD stop in a lot too.
Now the other great virtue of the place is the truly low cost of this satisfying Mexican cooking. Tostadas are $3.50, tacos are $1.50 each and everything else falls in line. They don’t take plastic, cash only but you couldn’t hit $20 bucks for two or even three people.
You’ve got to try it, it is a wonderful and the chorizo tostada is work of art.
Taqueria El Tapatia
1266 S. Glendale Avenue
The sign on the building says “Taqueria No. 2” which was a previous name.