If you tool around one of the city’s better food intersections, Preston and Royal, you might have spotted hidden amongst the brush and in the same parking lot as Sushi Star. I could have sworn some months ago the sign read Taco Taco, and upon a bit of inquiry I was correct. Owner Eddie Hilazi had to alter the name just a bit after some flack with a restaurant using the same name in San Antonio.
Taco Cina is a play on Cocina, which means kitchen in Spanish. Say the name really fast and you will get this.
The tiny restaurant already has a nice following and their menu claims Taco Cino own no freezer, uses no lard, prepares the food fresh daily and uses fresh tilapia. Well, they had me on most counts, but not a tilapia fan since it’s a dirty little bugger of the pond.
The restaurant is small and quaint and even has its own tree growing half inside the dining room. You will meet Hilazi the owner if you dine in, he is constantly buzzing about the room taking orders at break neck speed. You might recognize Hizali from another taco venture at DFW airport called Los Amigos.
The menu is a bit limited but they do stick to what they do best, and that is tacos. Now if you are wanting the tiny double tortilla street tacos for a buck you came to the wrong place. Fortunately for me I can enjoy tacos of most any variety including a late night stop at Taco Cabana for the potato and egg, which I might add is freaking delicious.
These tacos come in several different wrappers. A very nice corn tortilla, flour and dorado. The latter are golden fried tortillas that are more crisp and savory than any shell you might imagine.
The fillings list is brief if not scant. Choose ground beef, grilled chicken breast, fajita, shredded beef and that damned tilapia. The ground beef is passable, but a bit heavy handed with the cumin. The chicken was near perfection, and the fish actually was enjoyable all fried up and served with the requisite cabbage and creamy sauce Baja-style.
Some shining moments occurred while waiting for the tacos, and that woud undoubtably be the chips and salsa. These chips are good enough for Jehovah and the sauce is very, very fresh. It could use a bit more spice, but I can imagine if I had asked for spicier I would have it in moments. It has that fresh cilantro flavor and packing a nice wallop of garlic.
The guacamole is also worth a solo trip and I noticed giant tubs being purchased to take home.
While waiting for the plate of tacos, Hizali brought over a complimentary bowl of his queso which is also super obviously homemade from a cream sauce. Kudos for real queso and real cheese.
In an area bereft of tacos, Taco Cina is an oasis. Go for the chips but stay for the shredded beef tacos. BYOB!Taco Cina 5954 Royal Lane, Dallas 214.750.4420