Taqueria El Tapatio # is one link in a small chain of Mexican restaurant franchises, scattered around California. Our "Tapatio" in Roseville happens to be restaurant #9 in the chain, and they are noted for serving menudo every day of the week, which makes this a unique restaurant in Roseville.
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's early Saturday afternoon, November 07, 2020, and I've arrived at Taqueria El Tapatio #9, located on busy Douglas Blvd. in Roseville, to enjoy a lunch of menudo. Saturday and Sunday are menudo days at most Mexican restaurants, but Taqueria El Tapatio #9 serves menudo every day of the week!
Looking at the building, the ancestory of this restaurant is quite apparent, if you're a lover of faux-Mexican "fast food," and you're over 35 years old.
Photo: The dining room is quite compact, but very clean, and tastefully decorated. Like with most taquerias, the menu is posted above the counter, and you choose your selection from the menu, pay for your order, and when your order is ready, tell the host your name, and when your order is ready, your name will be called and you pick your order up at the pick-up window, next to the order window.
If you choose to sit on the patio - I chose to sit outside on the sunny 55-degree afternoon - your order will be brought to you by one of the friendly staff members.
Photo: Menudo isn't listed on the menu, but there is a big sign in the front window that lets you know menudo is served every day of the week, which is a good thing in Roseville.
The menu is posted above the order counter, and take-out menus are available. Take a peek at the complete menu of Taqueria el Tapatio #9 by clicking on THIS LINK...
Photo: Friendly Jocelyn, who was working the counter on this early Saturday afternoon, takes a customer's order with a smile.
El Tapatio seems to cater mostly to the "take out" and "Door Dash" crowd, as the phone was busy, and many customers arrived to pick up their orders, in plastic bags, from the pick-up window, located next to the order window. Perhaps, since the majority of orders are "to go," that may be the reason why my order arrived in styrafoam containers, despite the fact that I was a "dine in" customer.
Photo: All you have to do is to look over the counter into the kitchen to watch the friendly staff hard at work, preparing orders. The gal in the center of the photo is toasting my corn tortillas, and my order of menudo, along with the garnishing are on the table.
Note there are no dishes, and only styrafoam take-out containers. I noted the majority of customers were "take-out" diners, so I suppose due to the preference of the majority of diners, and the ongoing COVID-19 issue, the restaurant has eliminated dishes and silverware.
I suppose I'm "old school," but I prefer to dine using silverware and to enjoy my meal on a plate, or in the case of menudo, in a bowl. Also, I sorely missed the chips and salsa bar, which seemed to have vanished.
Photo: The patio is small, and is located in front of the restaurant. As you dine, you'll get to watch the traffic on busy Douglas Blvd. There are four brick tables, all marked so diners can adhere to "social distancing," which seems to be in style on day in early November, 2020. As in a previous photo, the heritage of the building is very apparent. There is a small fence surrounding the patio so you can enjoy a beer outside, as per California state law.
Photo: Meet friendly Jocelyn, who took my order at the counter, and brought my order to me, on the patio, with a smile. She and her fellow staff were very friendly, and treated me well.
Photo: I opened my "bowl" of menudo, along with my box of garnishes and smiled, as Jocelyn took my photo. Thanks!
Photo: It's not on the menu, but menudo is served every day! I went with a large order of menudo, corn tortillas, and all of the garnishes.
The menudo arrived in a large, styrafoam container, complete with plastic lid, which was a disappointment, as when I "dine in," I prefer my soup in a bowl. The broth was a bright, earthy, "reddish brown" in color, just the color that menudo broth should be, and it was delicious! The broth was flavorful, rich with chili and beef, and from the savory taste and aroma, it was apparent the broth was in-house made, and had been simmering on the back burner for many hours, just like your grandmother used to make it. The menudo had a generous amount of tender, cut-to-size beef tripe, when combined with the savory broth, made for a great bowl of menudo. There was no hominy in the soup, which was a major disappointment to me, as I love hominy in my menudo. I realize there are a thousand recipes for menudo, each one is different, and some don't call for hominy, but I prefer my menudo with hominy. As an aside, La Morenita, located just across the street, doesn't include hominy in their menudo either.
Each bowl of menudo comes with your choice of corn or flour tortillas, along with the typical fresh garnishes which always accompany a bowl of menudo. I went with corn tortillas, and I was served four large, toasted corn tortillas, that were toasted perfectly, which arrived warm and moist. Garnishes included diced white onion, chopped cilantro, lime slice, oregano, and crushed red chili pepper flakes. I added everything to my "bowl" of menudo, which enhanced the already delicious flavor.
Photo: Close-up photo of my styrafoam "bowl" of menudo, showing the savory brick-red broth, along with pieces of delicious tripe.
I rate this as a "good" lunch, and I rate the fast, friendly service as outstanding. However, I do have a few gripes...
* The large "bowl" of menudo, and one Pacifico beer cost $18.45, including state sales tax; very expensive
I found these issues to be disappointments, but not necessarily "deal breakers" that would preclude future visits. That being said, I can think of many other restaurants in Roseville that offer menudo that is served more to my preference.
Taqueria El Tapatio #9 is a basic Mexican restaurant, that seems to mostly cater to the "Door Dash," and "to go" crowd of diners. If you're looking for a fine dining experience, you might want to consider choosing another restaurant. But if you're interested in good, very basic Mexican food, Taqueria El Tapatio #9 will be a solid choice.
Back on Saturday, February 04, 2012, I paid a previous visit to this fine restaurant, and enjoyed a bowl of menudo...
I have been meaning to visit Taqueria El Tapatio ever since they've been open, as I pass by the restaurant quite often, but for unknown reasons, I just never got around to paying them a visit. I made it a resolution for 2012 to visit El Tapatio, and on Saturday, February 4, 2012, I fulfilled my New Year's resolution by enjoying a delicious breakfast at Taqueria El Tapatio #9.
Photo: Taqueria El Tapatio #9 is located on busy Douglas Blvd., inside an old mission-style, former Taco Bell store, dating back to the 1980's. Note the beautiful, blue skies on this sunny Saturday morning, February 4, 2012. If this building appears familiar to you, you're right, as Taqueria San Jose used to be located here, until they lost their lease a couple of years ago.
Photo: The format is very simple, in that you make your selection from the menu posted above the counter, and place your order with the gentleman behind the counter. Unlike most restaurants who use this format, you don't pay for your order until you're finished. Note the vast array of selection the menu offers, and the menu even offers north-of-the-border favorites, such as steak and eggs, which I plan to try. The well-equipped salsa and chip bar stands to the right of the counter... more on that later.
Photo: The dining room isn't fancy, and it doesn't offer world-class decor, but it gets the job done, and who cares? ... the food is delicious, reasonably priced, and the staff is very friendly.
Photo: The spacious and clean kitchen is very visible from the order counter, as I simply leaned over the counter and snapped this photo. Taqueria El Tapatio #9 had only two staff members working today, but the service was fast and friendly. It's interesting to note that all the photos in this article were shot using the camera on my iPhone 4, rather than one of my stand-alone digital cameras. There's an old saying in photography that "The best camera is the one that you have with you," and the iPhone camera certainly accomplishes that task.
Photo: Here's a close-up photo of the well-stocked salsa bar. I especially enjoyed the creamy guacamole, in the center of the photo, but also enjoyed salsa verde on the left, and salsa cruda on the right. The salsa is fresh and made in-house. It's a serve yourself, enjoy all-you-can eat, salsa and chip buffet! The chips are on the counter, out of the photo, and are kept warm under a heat lamp, and you grab a basket, and a pair of tongs, and help yourself.
Photo: I pose with one of my favorite Mexican breakfasts: Menudo, corn tortillas, and a Pacifico beer.
Photo: A benchmark of an authentic taqueria is whether they serve menudo, and Taqueria El Tapatio #9 passes muster, as they serve menudo. You get a gigantic bowl of this savory soup, diced onions, oregano, chili peppers, sliced limes, and six corn tortillas, for seven bucks, including tax, which is a great deal. Not to mention all the chips and salsa you can eat!
There is nothing fancy about Taqueria El Tapatio, but most people, including myself, don't come to this restaurant expecting elegant decor and world-class dining. We come expecting good, authentic Mexican food, and that's what we get, at very reasonable prices. What more could you ask for in a taqueria? I can really see myself becoming a regular at Taqueria El Tapatio...
Taqueria El Tapatio #9
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