#271 – Virginia-Highland Fave The Original El Taco is Now Open for Lunch with an All-New Lunch Menu!
One of my favorite casual dining restaurants in Virginia-Highland is now open for lunch – I couldn’t be more thrilled! As of October 16, 2010, The Original El Taco (a Fifth Group Restaurant) has weekend lunch hours and a brand new lunch menu to go along with it!
The first time I tried to eat at El Taco, I tried to go for lunch – and of course, they were only open for dinner! I thought, “What the “El?” But now, finally, they’re open for lunch on the weekends, so you get your “El” all day long.
To start, El Taco has the most delicious, crispy Lime-Salted Chips – made even more scrumptious by the Queso Blanco (for you cheese-dip lovers) or the Just-Crushed Guacamole (my husband’s personal fave). The best part of the menu – for me – is the individual tacos. My personal favorite is the Pork Carnitas tacos (pictured – served with fresh cilantro, diced onion, corn tortilla) – I can’t leave El Taco without having one of these! But there are a couple of others that are also must-haves: the Fried Chicken taco (with Mexico City grilled corn in lime mayo, crumbled Mexican cheese, flour tortilla) and the Grilled Shrimp (with chipotle marinated shrimp, onions, cabbage and radish, corn tortilla). Thankfully, these signature tacos are available on both the dinner and new lunch menus, so you can get them anytime. And they’re priced individually, almost like a la carte items, and range from just $2.95 to $3.95 each – a steal! Other dinner menu items include four versions of a Mexican pizza – including a vegetarian option, sizzling fajitas, and Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas or Chili Cheese Enchiladas.
The new lunch menu has the same great starters and individual tacos, but introduces new items under Mexican Sandwiches and Tex-Mex. The Sloppy José (pictured) is one of my favorite new items – the chef’s take (obviously) on a “Sloppy Joe” is spiced ground beef, onions, garlic, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese, and jalapeño topped with an over-easy egg served on a fresh, crusty roll. It’s a sandwich of enormous proportions – the egg is a nice touch and the jalapeño adds a good bit of kick (I could only eat half and brought the rest home for later) with a side of your choice of refried black beans, cowboy pot beans or Mexico City grilled corn (I got the corn – you should, too, it’s to-die-for!). There’s also the Grilled Veggie sandwich (pictured) – marinated zucchini, sweet roasted peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and pickled jalapeño. Very yummy, also huge!
A few other things you should know: El Taco has the BEST sangria in town. It is, without a doubt, my favorite sangria around. They also have an amazing Salsa Bar – it’s serve-yourself, and it’s good on everything. And finally, they have the Wheel of Taco, which they spin every hour on the hour and you can win fun prizes, like tequila shots, cheese dip, swag and more!
The Original El Taco is open Monday through Friday from 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM, and now, open for lunch Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 AM until 5:00 PM and for regular dinner hours from 5:00 PM until 10:00 PM. It’s also a kid-friendly restaurant, with a special kids’ menu.