Restaurants: South of the Border
This Tremont taqueria puts the power of the pen in the diner's hand. Guests design their own tacos from a list of some 30 components — from shell to filling to salsa to toppings. The best part: They are all just $3 each. This blissfully informal approach is a great fit for the unpretentious food. In addition to the tacos, the menu features a few starters and sides, not to mention a landslide of tequilas and margaritas. The delightful patio makes a perfect perch to enjoy them.
Connected to a house, Tazumal feels homey and relaxed. Service is sit-down, and the one doing the serving is the sweet, matronly proprietor. The main draw is the simple Salvadoran food, punctuated by freshly made pupusas, tamales, and stews. Inexpensive, soul-satisfying, and filling, the fare feels like what it is: home cooking.
Like any good Argentinean eatery, this one offers a hearty platter of expertly grilled meats. The gaucho-sized meal consists of grilled skirt steak, flanken-cut short ribs, chicken breast, and two types of sausage. In the other-than-beef department, there are also pounded, breaded, and fried Milanese-style dishes, sautéed fish, and a number of pizzas. Start with the beef empañadas. Expect a Warehouse District-appropriate atmosphere that is equal parts lounge and restaurant.
For years, chef Roberto Rodriguez has run a popular Mexican foods stand at the West Side Market. Now he has expanded into a restaurant in a slim Ohio City storefront. The 25-seat eatery serves contemporary Mexican cuisine like chicken mole tamales, jalapeno-dough empanadas, fish tacos, and chipotle honey glazed pork chops. A display cooler stocks many of the prepared foods sold at the market. BYOB is OK.
This quick-casual joint specializes in those little Central American treats called pupusas. Filled with various toppings, the thick tortillas are griddle fried till crisp and corny. Also on tap here are great tacos and tamales: fresh, cheap, and utterly delicious.
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