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Taqueria Guadalajara

In a word: The deal real.

The specs: #0651  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at CA346 Section 302, Mad City Girl, Restaurant DB, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Eat Drink Madison, Associated Content, USA Today, Quomodocumque, food608, Isthmus; pictures at Foodspotting, Evening Chef; chatter at TDPF; chef interview at Isthmus, official web site, Taqueria Guadalajara on Urbanspoon

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Alex ate the huarache Mexicano con carne asada and an horchata.
Becky ate the huarache Mexicano with a sangria.
Bessie ate the gordita el pastor, a taco con carne asada, and a XX.
Brett ate the lengua taco, the tripas taco, and a Negra Modelo.
JM ate the chicken gordita.
Laura ate the gelatin and a flan.
Nichole ate the sope de lengua with an horchata.
Will ate the taco con carne asada and a sope al pastor with a Tecate.
We split some chips, salsa, guacamole, and nopales.
The bill was $7ish/person, plus tip.
Brett and JM gave Taqueria Guadalajara an A; Alex and Nichole gave Taqueria Guadalajara an A-; Laura gave Taqueria Guadalajara a B; William gave Taqueria Guadalajara a C (see our grading rubric).

Taqueria Guadalajara chips and salsaThe second stop on Taco Tuesday was Taqueria Guadalajara. We invaded and took up the whole eight-seat bar around the grill in the front room, which heated our faces but left our other ends cold. There were only 3 two-tops in front and the dining room in back left for other patrons. We'd recommend carryout or smaller parties for future visits.

The guacamole was watery and had too many onions, but every few bites there was a bit of pickled pepper. The table salsa came in green and red and both kinds were flavorful.

The horchata was sweet and smooth, with a lot of cinnamon. The sangria was light and fresh, and the beers were well-chosen. Coke and Pepsi are both available.

It's been said before, and we'll repeat it to just to prove how authentic it sounds, by counterexample: there are absolutely no good tacos in Madison. These must have been a mirage.

Tacos

What else could explain the soft corn tortillas, the super-fresh cilantro (cut right from a sprig in water over the register), and the fine fillings? Brett's second lengua taco of the night topped Taqueria el Pastor's with its tender richness, and the tripas taco had the best kind of organ-meat flavor. Bessie proclaimed the steak taco the best she's had in Madison, though William found he needed the lime to brighten it up.

Sope con lenguaGordita

The sopes here are the thick, deep-fried variety, and come topped with shredded cheese and a coleslaw-esque dressing that's an acquired taste. William found the chicken topping to be off in texture. Nichole, tired of holding her own, finally ordered the tongue, and was rewarded with deliciousness.

Bessie tried a gordita al pastor. It was filled with delicious melted cheese and warm, sweet pork with pineapple.

Guacamole and chipsSope al pastor and steak tacoGordita and taco

The huaraches are filling dinners, made of meat and veg piled high on an oblong soft tortilla.

Huarache con carne asadaHuarache Mexicano

Gelatin

Throughout the meal our food came out ridiculuously fast. We were also treated to two plates of nopales, one grilled and one sliced and pickled with onions, carrots, jalapeños and herbs.

Nopales

All JM had to say was "yeah."

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If you're looking for authentic Mexican food in Madison, it's pretty hard to beat Taqueria Guadalajara. Hopefully, they will get their outdoor patio going again and there is talk about expanding upstairs in that tiny building, but I'm not sure where that's at right now. Also of note, they serve Mexican Cokes with real sugar. I recommend sitting at the counter at least once. It makes for great theatre. Also, try one of their two signature dishes, Huaraches Mexicano and Burrito Mexicano, which feature each item covered with red chili sauce, sour cream, and guacamole in the shape of the Mexican flag. How festive is that?

We just visited this past week. They have expanded the back patio and now there is a lot more seating - but it was still busy and full to the brim. The customer services is so great and the food is absolutely amazing. Must go!

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