- Reporters Desk
By Gretchen Williams, Travel and Cuisine Writer
“It is always a beautiful day at Taxco” was the sentiment overheard at the new Taxco location 28152 S. Western Avenue, just north of the former location. The diner was enjoying the colorful and cozy atmosphere, so fresh and yet so familiar. Tony Moreno, proud proprietor and accomplished restaurateur, has brought all the elements of the original restaurant to this new spot, with the vivid yellow, red, orange, green and blue tones, original art and stirring music just right. The delicious original menu of favorite dishes from Moreno’s home town of La Yerbabuena, in the Mexican state of Michoacán, bring the move full circle.
Moreno started in the restaurant business as a young man, working his way up from the back of the house to chef and chief. His original Taxco Café opened in 1986, branching to El Gordo Restaurant at 240th and Western in 1990, and ultimately, his dream was realized in Taxco Restaurant. This new location, strategically close to designer ice cream at Western and Westmont, offers the lovely ambiance of the original with a nice view of The Hill.
Also reassuring is a look at the menu. Great guacamole and awesome nachos still anchor the appetizers, with carne asada strips, cheese, avocado, jalapeños and tomatoes promising a satisfying start. Soups every day offer albondigas, tortilla and chicken rice, with menudo noted as Breakfast of Champions. Prepare for the real thing, served with tortillas, fragrant with herbs. All varieties come in cup, bowl or large bowl servings.
Taxco combination plates are all appealing, especially handmade chile relleno with traditional rice and cheesy refried pinto beans or crispy all beef or chicken tacos, overflowing with chopped lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese. Taquitos (made with corn tortillas, rolled around filling and fried] or flautas (flour tortillas rolled around filling and fried) are both fun for kids to eat, dipped in guacamole and salsa. Enchiladas are old-fashioned, fat with beef or chicken or cheese and sauced with the signature sauce of Taxco restaurant, rich with red chile flavor, slightly smoky with a hint of sweet — wonderful!
Taxco specialties is a category of delicious dishes unique to Tony and his able crew. Carne asada is the thinly sliced, marinated beef so cherished for barbecue. Here it is grilled to perfection, served with fresh tortillas and salsa, and the answer for that weekend craving for barbecued carne. Barbacoa sounds similar, but is a simmered dish, cooked with special spices until very tender. Steak picado is small bits of beef, simmered in tomato sauce with vegetables. This dish makes you feel like you are eating at your abuelita’s kitchen table. Steak matador is for the serious diner, tender and grilled to order, served with potato, grilled onions and spicy red sauce. Enchiladas verdes are stuffed with chicken breast and sauced with green tomatillo sauce, tart and tangy, and served with guacamole and sour cream. Fajitas with shrimp, beef or chicken sizzle fabulously across the dining room, with marvelous aromas promising great things to come!
Breakfast is served all day, and always a good bet here at Taxco. Huevos rancheros is sauced with excellent ranchera sauce, with those great refried beans and rice, and hot tortillas, huevos à la Mexicana are scrambled with fresh vegetables, cheese and terrific, rolled into a flour tortilla. Chilaquiles verdes is a unique breakfast dish, with fried tortilla chips sautéed with chicken breast, green tomatillo sauce and eggs, full of flavor. Machaca and eggs combine shredded beef or chicken with onion, bell peppers and tomato for a savory breakfast dish far ahead of the carne seca or dried beef used in the original dish.
Children may pass up chicken nuggets for ground beef taco and rice on the kid’s menu. Mini cheese quesadilla or mini bean burrito might do the trick for kids at Taxco. Children are given good choices here, along with juice, fresh fruit milkshakes, fresh lemonade and Mexican hot chocolate.
Moreno is thankful for all the blessings of living and working in San Pedro, for his parents, his wife Vini and their children, his brothers and sisters, his staff and especially his friends and guests. The Mexican town of Taxco is known for its beautiful silver, copper, zinc and lead. Taxco Restaurant is known for its precious and solid hospitality, shining like silver.
Location: 28152 S. Western Ave., San Pedro.