Austin, Texas – Guero’s Taco Bar

Restaurant: Guero’s Taco Bar
Cuisine: Tex-Mex/Mexican/Tacos
Last visited: July 26, 2010
Location: Austin, Texas (South Congress – SoCo)
Address: 1412 S Congress Ave
Price Range: $10-20 USD

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: n/a (didn’t try enough)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Very popular to locals/celebrities
  • Handmade corn tortillas
  • Tex-Mex style Mexican food
  • Open kitchen/self-serve salsa bar
  • In house cooked/seasoned meats
  • Popular for margaritas
  • Affordable
  • Lively hang out
  • Busy at any hour
  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Daily dinner specials
  • All day breakfast
  • Family friendly
  • Open late
  • Live music
  • Outdoor dining

**Recommendations: Didn’t try enough, but I enjoyed Carne Guisada (tender beef tip taco) and the fish taco

Guero’s Taco Bar is apparently another Austin, Texas tradition along with Amy’s Ice Creams, Shady Grove, Round Rock Donuts, Magnolia Cafe, Kerby Lane, Home Slice Pizza and of course Salt Lick Bar-B-Que. It’s located on the popular South Congress (SoCo) street so it attracts families during the day and a younger crowd by night. It’s a casual place that’s popular for casual Tex-Mex and Mexican food at a very reasonable price.

The restaurant is massive and it’s split up in sections with a bar area up front, a family style restaurant in the back and also a patio area for outdoor dining. There’s also a self-serve salsa bar with homemade salsas and condiments. It’s made in house, no fuss Tex-Mex food served in an old style Mexican cantina atmosphere. They have some Mexican dishes, but I don’t know how traditional they are since the tacos were definitely Tex-Mex and not authentic Mexican. It’s open late so it’s good for late night munchies and the hand shaken margaritas and Mexican beers draw in locals and tourists all day.

I came here for dinner #2 after the disappointing dinner at The Boiling Pot so I didn’t get to try that much on the menu. I only tried the tacos which were mediocre to good. If I was a local, there are chances I would come back, but as a tourist it wasn’t a “must try” for me. However it is “Bill Clinton’s favourite Tex-Mex restaurant” (Austin American-Statesman) so what do I know? I’m from Vancouver, BC so it was probably better than what we have, (actually La Taqueria is better), but I was also eating with people familiar with authentic Mexican food and they thought it was mediocre as well. If you don’t have dessert here, make sure you go down the street for Amy’s Ice Creams.

On the table:

Complimentary Salsa & Chips

  • This is a standard in any Mexican restaurant.
  • The chips were fresh and warm and the salsas were pretty standard. You can help yourself to as much salsa at the self-serve salsa bar.

Taco Plate

  • All plates contain 2 hearty tacos, served with rice and beans. Choose any filling for $9.89. Add Guacamole for $1.09 & Cheese for 79¢ per taco.
  • I ordered an additional taco, but I’m not sure how much extra it was.
  • This was Al Pastor taco, Chicken Al Carbon taco, and Fish taco.
  • The tacos are definitely Tex-Mex style tacos, and I was hoping for the authentic mini Mexican style ones made with 2 corn tortilla shells. They offer these on the appetizer section of the menu, but the regular tacos are just these Tex-Mex versions.

Al Pastor Taco2.5/6

  • Interior Mexican delight! Marinated pork, topped with chopped onions, cilantro and pineapple. (add 35cents per taco)

  • The pork was very well marinated and cooked in house, but the meat was a bit dry and chewy. It was better than the Al Pastor from La Taqueria, but they could have given more pineapple salsa too. I had about 5 minced pieces of pineapple.
  • A great Al Pastor taco/burrito in Austin, Texas is from Polovos Mexican Restaurant, which I had the pleasure of eating last time I was in Austin.

Fish Taco - 3/6

  • Marinated and grilled fish, garnished with shredded cabbage and corn, topped with a chipotle tequila mayonnaise and served with black beans. (add 39cents per taco)

  • I was pleasantly surprised with the fish taco. There was lots of tasty fish and tons of sweet corn. It was crunchy and saucy, but I just like fish tacos in general.
  • The chipotle tequila mayonnaise was a creative twist, and it was slightly spicy, but I would have never guessed there was Tequila in it. Speaking of twists, a great West Coast twist are the ahi tuna tacos from Joey’s in Vancouver.

Chicken Al Carbon1.5/6

  • Marinated in achiote & orange juice. (add 39cents per taco)
  • This sounded so interesting to me and I’ve never tried it before, but it was very dry and overcooked. I couldn’t taste any hint of orange and it just had a smoky flavour and that’s about it. It was almost like the marinade they used for the al pastor pork.

Taco Plate

  • All plates contain 2 hearty tacos, served with rice and beans. Choose any filling for $9.89. Add Guacamole for $1.09 & Cheese for 79¢ per taco.
  • This was carn guisada taco (left) and steak taco (right).

**Carne Guisada Taco – 4/6

  • Tender beef tips in a rich cumino gravy.
  • This was delicious and easily my favourite taco of the night. It was juicy beef smothered in a creamy, saucy, rich, and smoky gravy. It had so much flavour and the guacamole gave it a nice sweetness to balance out the savory smokiness.

Steak – 2/6

  • Simmering sirloin, tender slices of juicy steak (add 39cents per taco)
  • The steak wasn’t very tender and it was a tad dry and chewy. They do give you a lot, but I think maybe they sliced it wrong too so it was very hard to chew.
  • If you like beef, try the excellent beef tacos called the Barbacoa Stackers at Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Oak Hill.

Guacamole – 3.5/6

  • Fresh & homemade, the perfect complement to our free chips & salsa. chica $3.39 | grande $5.29
  • I actually really liked the guacamole here. It’s a velvety smooth puree of pure ripe avocado. It’s fresh, super creamy, thick and rich. There was very little tomato and I could have used more lime juice tang or onions and cilantro to brighten the flavour a bit more, but it’s still good.

Kid’s Quesadilla Plate

  • Served with refried beans and rice.
  • I didn’t try this, so I can’t comment.

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