Thursday, September 15, 2011

Taqueria Guanajuato

This place is pretty cool. I had never even realized that such a cool little piece of Mexico existed in Indy.  The taqueria is set inside a huge Mexican market.  When you walk in, you really feel transported. I loved looking at all the meat in the meat counter—so many things you don’t often see in the regular grocery stores—pigs’ feet, tripe, and tons and tons of everything offered. I have never seen so much meat in one place.  Seriously, this place is worth it just to wander the aisles and look at all the products.  But inside, in one corner, there is a little taqueria set up.  It isn’t the kind of taqueria I am familiar with, where you walk down and tell them how to make your burrito.  In this case, you basically line up, pick your form (taco, torta or burrito) and tell them what meat you want.  They take it from there.  There is a huge flattop where they are constantly grilling some type of meat and then they call your number when your order is ready.
I was with a friend who really likes this place and gave me some recommendations.  He ordered a carne asada burrito and I ordered two tacos—one with beef encebollado (I went out on my own with that one) and one al pastor.  I am not exactly sure what the prices were as my friend paid, but all those items plus 2 sodas was just under $10).  I would say I really enjoyed my bites of his burrito the best.  The carne asada is grilled beef that tasted like it was lightly marinated and then grilled.  The burritos are made with lettuce, avocado and sour cream (but not your typical American sour cream).  But the biggest thing you get ingredient-wise is clearly the meat.  I would say the meat easily  makes up ¾ of the burrito filling. (Apparently there is also a bit of refried beans, but I didn't taste it in my bites.) I liked the burrito because I liked the texture and flavor variation that came from the other ingredients besides the meat.  My next favorite thing was my beef encebollado taco—it was beef tenderloin according to the menu that was grilled with onions.  The meat was very tender and again, you got a really nice amount of meat—almost so much that you couldn’t pick it up.  It had a very nice grilled flavor. Okay, so the al pastor is meat that comes off a big revolving spit sort of like gyro meat. It was probably my least favorite because it was a tad dry and the hunks were a little big for my mouth. It was well seasoned though.  Both tacos came topped with lots of cilantro and chopped onions on top and limes for squeezing across them.  Then you could doctor them up with either the red sauce or green sauce that is served in squeeze bottles on the bars and tables.  The red sauce was good and packed some heat (and was my friend’s favorite) but I really liked the fresh (and less hot) flavor of the green sauce. 
This is a cool place and I would venture to say is pretty authentic considering the setting and the people that were there.  I have been to Mexico several times, and have had some great tacos—but they were usually fish or shrimp because we have always been near the water.  These tacos (and the burrito) are really highlighting the flavor of the meat, with just a bit of other seasoning.  I enjoyed everything, although I didn’t find any of it life-changing.  I am intrigued to go again and take hubby as I think he would really enjoy it—and I think we will split a burrito.  Seriously, if I ate an entire one of these, I don’t think I would eat for the rest of the day.  I love discovering cool new places (new to me) like this in Indy though, where you can literally feel like you are in a different country for a minute.

NOTE: I went back after writing this post with hubby to try a burrito just as I wanted to and they were out of burritos.  Seriously. That was kind of weird for a place that only offers three items.  So we tried a torta (3.50) with the same beef encebollado and it was pretty tasty. Sort of like a burrito in that is also has the avocado, sour cream and lettuce.  They also add some shredded cheese and a tomato slice to it. The bun was nothing really special, but was toasted, which was nice.  The combo of the flavors was good, but you didn't get the meat flavor as much because of everything else going on.  We also had a couple of tacos ($1.75 each) and tried the chicken--it was probably my least favorite because the meat was very dry.  Interestingly, I really liked the red sauce better this time--the green sauce was much spicier than last time. I think they must make it fresh and it must just depend on who is making it.  My experience was similar to the first though--good, but not amazing.  Cheap as chips though.

Taqueria Gianajuato
3110 N. Shadeland Ave
Indy 46226

Carniceria Guanajuato II on Urbanspoon


  1. La Escollera is another hidden gem that is not to far up the street on Washington. They have a fun little dish called sopas that are set up like the tacos you were describing where you pick the meat that goes inside. They are my fave. Only about $3 each and I would be stuffed eating 2. The outside is fried masa dough. Yum! They lso offer a great entree called a Molcajete that is served in a hot lava rock vessel.

  2. I go there on occasion with one of the guys from work. I always get a few steak tacos and a large rice milk (in the whirling machine right by the register). The rice milk is awesome!!

    They usually have charred peppers by the pickup counter that can add some spice to the dish. The guys behind the counter are fun to watch & they are always patient when I can't quite tell if they are calling my number (I don't speak a lick of Spanish).

    Been a while since I've been there, I might just have to go there tomorrow!

    Thanks for the review :)

  3. Got to go on the weekend when they have carnitas. They are sooo good. They also have lamb, which is pretty tasty too. It's always really busy though and can get kind of filthy in there (i don't think anyone is cleaning up the dining area too often). Also, avoid the bathrooms, yuck! But the tacos are so yummy I overlook those things. I also second the horchata (rice milk). It's like a melted cinnamon milkshake. Cuts the heat like nothing else.

  4. Horchata isn't rice milk. Traditional Mexican style is white rice that has soaked in water, then drained, then blended with water, sugar, and cinnamon. No milk. Once in a while people make it super sweet and nasty by adding sweetened condensed milk, but this is not the real way and it is not necessary.