Anyone looking for quality authentic Mexican fare outside of Buford Highway or Jonesboro can rejoice that Tacos La Villa (TLV) has filled the void. Located in a non descript Cobb Pkwy shopping center, best known for a shady jewelry dealer with crappy radio commercials (sorry D. Geller), Tacos la Villa took over an old Quiznos spot next to Yakitori Jinbei (http://www.atlfoodsnob.com/?p=1362) and started serving up real deal Mexican fare.
This place is all about the food, and pretty much changed nothing about the old space; they even still have up Italian posters, the “mmm toasty” sign and even a 6×6 homage to the King. The menu is pretty simple and all visible on the wall behind the cash register; tacos, burritos, tamales, tortas, sopes, quesadillas, and a few specials all served with an impressive selection of proteins. They have everything from carnitas to barbacoa to chicken; they even have tongue and tripe for the more adventurous!
What’s the first thing you notice about the menu…holy crap, $1 tacos….yes $1 tacos; their tamales are also only $1.50 and huge!!!! The tacos however are bare boned; just two corn tortillas and the protein, so if you’re looking for something fancy this isn’t your spot. To make up for the naked tacos, they have the most impressive salsa/topping bar I have ever seen; at least 5 different types of handmade salsas (jalapeño, habanero, tomatillo, and chili de arbol to name a few), pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, cabbage and cut limes! This place makes Chipotle (aka overpriced crap) look really, really bad…but gringos are comfortable there and can get rice in their burritos…
The menu actually has lots of other option besides tacos, but a $1 a piece they are kind of hard to pass up; my meal one day consisted of three tacos, chips and salsa and my bill was frickin $3.81…marinate on that for a minute. Their tamales are $1.50, and are plenty big, filled with chicken, (if that’s what you order) and are super moist; best tamale I have had in a long time.
Other great items I have tried, include the torta and the nachos; calling them nachos is probably a disgrace when you think of what that word usually congeries up in your mind. These were made with fresh chips, freshly grilled chicken and a crap load of peppers. Which brings me to another point that sets TLV apart; they cook almost all (tripe, tongue, etc) of their meat/poultry/fish, to order…when was the last time you experienced that in an open kitchen at a Mexican restaurant?
If you can’t tell, I really like this restaurant; so much so that I have been back three times since I first visited two weeks ago. Tacos La Villa is definitely under the radar, but in my humble opinion belongs in the conversation for best Mexican restaurant in Atlanta. The quality of the food, price and friendliness of the staff will cease this taco lover from going anywhere else in the city!