My friend Cherie and I have been trying to plan this Taco Tour for some time and it finally came into fruition. Our planning was ambitious as we hoped to visit five places but we only ended up visiting three.

Stop 1: Tacos Mexico Rico

Tacos Mexico Rico
Our first stop was Tacos Mexico Rico. If I remember correctly, a few years ago this place was located on Hastings, across the street from the record store Beatstreet. Back then I remember the tacos being really good but when they moved locations I was pretty sure they also changed ownership and the food suffered. We sat down and ordered a roast beef taco ($2.00) and a beer.

Cherie’s crazy points system:
+2 because it's a kind of a weird name...mexico taco rico? It makes me think of taco! mexico! rico! I dunno, I likee.
+5 for authenticity (though the whole placed reeked of dead leaves. barf.)
-1 for microwaving taco meat in a margarine container
+3 for serving beer!
-3 for serving room temperature beer
-17 no warning that the salsa would be so tear jerking hot, so nose running painful that it ruined the whole experience, and then offered water. Water. Really Taco Mexico Rico? Water won’t help the inferno I've just ingested. Water won't mask the fact that you've disguised an evil bowl of pain and death as an innocent looking garnish.
Cherie’s Overall score: -12 (barely)

Vancouver Slop (Matt)
Seeing things come out of a microwave in no name brand margarine containers was a really sad sight to see. I was a little concerned how many times that yellow, cheap plastic container went in and out of that microwave. The taco was fairly bland so we added the salsa which was straight fire, pretty much the hottest thing that I could imagine. My stomach felt really sick and my mouth was burning the whole time. I walked out unhappy and my stomach walked out upset. Not returning because it was wiggity wiggity wack.

Tacos Mexico Rico
309 W Pender Street
Vancouver BC

Tacos Mexico Rico on Urbanspoon

Stop 2 - El Taco

El Taco

This little spot on Davie was our second stop. I decided to change things up a bit and have a shrimp taco ($4.00), which was quite tasty. I ordered us a cup of horchata ($1.75) each to calm our stomachs down from our last meal at Tacos Mexico Rico.

Cherie’s crazy points system:
+3 for the little geckos stuck to the wall...mmm authentic reptilian health concerns all ova the place.
+6 for pulling off the shrimp taco...quite a feat in the world of 2 buck tacos
+7 for the Horchata (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/horchata.htm)
-1 for being over 2 dollars
Cherie’s Overall score: 15!

Vancouver Slop (Matt)
The tacos were a little bigger which somewhat justified the higher price point. My shrimp taco was tasty and I was very intrigued by their menu. I will be back to enjoy a full meal at El Taco. There are many items on the menu that I want to try, including their tamales, nachos, and tortas. I hope this place lives up to my expectations on my return trip.

El Taco
738 Davie Street
Vancouver BC

El Taco on Urbanspoon

Stop3 - Dona Cata

Dona Cata The next stop on the tour was Dona Cata, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The tacos are only two dollars and there is a ton of other good stuff on the menu.

Cherie’s crazy points system:
+5 for the awesome variety of sauces and the free chips...every 2buck taco joint should have free chips...but an assortment of sauces too? Too bad its way the f out on Victoria and 1millionth Ave.
+7 for adding pineapple to the pork taco
+ 10 for the awesome sangria pitcher under 10 bones
-25 Sorry Dona Cata, your location is sucks for me, since I rarely travel south of Cordova St.
Overall score: come downtown Dona Cata, come down...

Vancouver Slop (Matt)
Visiting these other taco spots just shows how good Dona Cata really is. The free chips, the assortment of free salsa available, the non micowaved food, and the fantastic flavours of the food and the drinks. The only issue I have with Dona Cata is its proximity to downtown (depending on where you live you may not share this issue). When I show people they always wonder if they are still in Vancouver. If you live close by, and you haven't paid Dona Cata a visit, go do so, you will thank me.

Dona Cata
5076 Victoria Drive
Vancouver, BC

Doña Cata Mexican Food on Urbanspoon


holly said... @ April 29, 2009 at 9:49 PM

I was just at Dona Cato today. Definitely one of the city's best taquerias. I originally wanted to try the papusas at El Carocal Cafe just down the street, but they were closed even though the sign said they would be open. Oh well, maybe it wasn't meant to be.

Had a delicious lunch with a horchata as usual. Yum.

Gyromite said... @ April 29, 2009 at 11:03 PM

I will try and get to the rest of the cheap taco spots:
El Carocal Cafe, Taco Time, Bandidas, that taco spot on Burrard and Don Guacamole.

Maybe Salsa Agave, and some others.

Dona Cata is closed on Mondays and El Carocal is closed on Tuesdays.

Anonymous said... @ April 29, 2009 at 11:33 PM

If you go to Bandida's have the walnut taco - sooo good!

J-Free said... @ April 30, 2009 at 8:10 AM

if dona cata was downtown, you wouldn't be getting $2 tacos, maybe they should start delivering...

cwong said... @ April 30, 2009 at 10:30 AM

if don guacamole isn't already on your list of visits, definitely give it a try. it's fairly new, on robson, and comes highly recommended by my mexican co-worker who's named it as the best tasting, fresh, and authentic mexican restaurant in vancouver.

Anonymous said... @ May 2, 2009 at 6:39 PM

I went to Don Guacamole and ordered the beef fajitas which seemed like an amazing deal for $8. When I was served the hot sizzling plate I was even more excited. After a few bites, the waitress came over to ask how everything was AND to let me know that there was a typo on the menu and my dish was actually $18 and asked very casually if I was ok with that? WTF?

KimHo said... @ May 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM

If you go to Bandidas, please, notice that it is a vegetarian place. So, don't expect any fajita/shrimp/similar ingredients! Also, as far as I can remember, they did not have any sauces (like, say, Doña Cata). Caveat Emptor

beth said... @ May 14, 2009 at 6:41 PM

if you cant take the heat...
my fave. the tostadas rule.

Jesse said... @ September 11, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Just went to El Taco this morning and honestly i was disappointed. For taco's at 3.99+ I was expecting more. Being from California I LOVE authentic Mexican food. Yes the taco's were made perfectly but the ingredients were just FOUL, no flavor in the pico de gallo and the meat (beef and chorizo) were just terrible.

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