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Juanita's Tacos

Update: Juanita's is closed.

In a word: Great once you figure it out.

The specs: #0285
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, Food Racket and by Christopher Robin.

JM ate 2 tacos al pastor and 2 pollo tacos.
John ate the pollo torta and one taco al pastor.
Nichole ate the caldo de pescado rojo.
The bill was about $35, or $11.67/person.
JM and John gave Juanita's Tacos a A-; Nichole gave Juanita's Tacos a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Juanita's Tacos news and reviews

Window paintingWe headed to Juanita's tacos with possibly its biggest fan, our friend John. Juanita's location is a good one - with nowhere else to eat but the Badger Bowl within a stone's throw, we can see where its neighbors would welcome an eatery, especially one with such good homemade eats.

The dining room is aggressively orange, worth noting for next February when your eyes will need a reminder what color is like. Giant, friendly tacos and shrimp decorate the front windows.  As does a sign proclaiming "no public restroom;" you've been warned.

Juanita's TacosJust a little while after we sat down, the server brought us a basket of chips. The chips came out hot and thick, most flaking into 2 tasty layers at each bite. They were unsalted, not necessarily a problem with salt right on the table and 2 delicious salsas alongside them. The red salsa was very hot, with a nice underlying flavor. The green salsa was almost a guacamole, still hot, but with a stealthier approach, like the boss' major work request that she lobs at you at 4 o'clock on a Friday.

Caldo de pescado rojoNichole has the nasty habit of ordering something that's just a little too "authentic" and getting in over her head. It almost happened at Bamboo Hut, where at least the tripe was easy to pick out of the pho; it definitely happened at El Cabrito, where the gordita with chicharrones was just too much. This time the red fish soup was her Waterloo. The soup itself was by no means bad, it just fell into the category of "acquired tastes."

The giant bowl of tomato-based broth was liberally flavored with spinach, a sprig or two of which floated alongside the several large cross-sections of whitefish, which was pretty in its way - white whorls of muscle running parallel to a still-present spine fragment. A plate of cilantro, onions and lime, in addition to the hot sauces available on every table, went a long way to punching up the surprisingly bland broth. The soup comes with tortillas or pan, and we found that a little fish wrapped up in a tortilla was a tasty way to not leave an insulting amount in the bowl.

Al pastor, pollo tacosJM got two pair of the eponymous tacos and found them filling, but not necessarily satisfying. They were not quite as warm and flavorful as, say, Antojitos El Toril, and tended towards the too-spicy end of his spectrum.  In addition, the language barrier made both him and the waitress feel somewhat uncomfortable, such that he only got one glass of agua, which was plainly not enough.

TortaJohn's torta, basically a pulled chicken sandwich with lettuce, onions, avocados, and other goodies, was massive. It was good, but his verdict was that he'd rather have had more tacos. He also wishes the horchata was available a little more consistently - but overall, hooray for Juanita's Tacos, especially their pastor.


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What, no lemonade?

I can't remember if we didn't ask, or if they didn't have limonada... plenty of Jarritos and Coke, though.

Don't order the beans or rice....overpriced and no flavor whatsoever. Stick with the tacos.

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