Dine, drink cocktails while top local muzos jam at this moody new bar
Authentic Tacos at El Burro Taqueria in Cape Town
The mates behind El Burro and Cabrito open another Mexican haunt in the heart of the city
We all have a travel bucket list that is filled with destinations that we dream of one day visiting, and while it would be great to tick off every place on the agenda, there’s an easier and less expensive way to keep the wanderlust pangs at bay in the meantime, and that is through food.
In line with this, if Latin America has ever been on your radar, you’ll be pleased to know that the four friends behind the much-loved El Burro brand work incredibly hard to deliver authentic Mexican cuisine to those on the sandy shores of the Mother City. So hard, in fact, that they’ve just opened another new spot called Taqueria that is set on serving a concentrated mouthful of nosh from the southern region of North America.
Those whose palates are already attuned to Mexican food will be familiar with the trendy Green Point restaurant El Burro, which has been in existence since 2010 and is known far and wide for its tangy eats. Over the years, the company has grown to include a food truck, a tequila bar called Cabrito and now Taqueria (pronounced taco-ria), a colourful, cosy taco shop that sits on the corner of Kloof Nek Road and New Church Street (opposite The Power & The Glory) just waiting to give the inner-city crowd a taste of genuine Latin American fare.
“Hard-shelled tacos and cheesy layered nachos don’t actually even exist in Mexico,” explains co-owner Nic Haarhoff, emphasising that authenticity is the cuff that binds everything that they do across all their establishments. Accordingly, all the El Burro outlets avoid the Western take on these dishes and rather champion the sort of foods that are really typical of Mexico. Where Taqueria is different though is in its focus on a lighter, quicker, more scaled-down offering: there are no formal printed menus (all menu items are listed on the wall above the counter for all to see) and tacos are served as singular plates, allowing visitors to taste a variety of options as they go rather than having to make one firm decision about what they’re having on a particular day.
And as it turns out, that’s more or less how street food culture works in Mexico. In keeping with this snack-y approach, visitors can also indulge in items like esquites (warm Mexican street corn salad), chicarrones (a fried pork belly dish), ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in lime juice), quesadillas (steak, veggie and chorizo options) and more. The compact menu also makes space for brunch items (like poached eggs served with roast tomato, spinach and gorditas), dessert, alcoholic beverages like wine, craft beer and cocktails* (the tequila-based paloma is a must-try), cold drinks and a Mexican-style hot chocolate.
Fittingly, the décor has a Latin American spin: the interior is colourful and bold, and there sure is a reason for it. Nic says that one of the most beautiful things about Mexico is that it bursts with colour and warmth, so Taqueria aims to capture that vibrancy. Comfortable wooden booths and multi-hued stools grace the petite corner shop and wide windows, which are kept open when the weather is warm, treat visitors to dazzling views of the city’s popular peaks.
While patrons soak up this vista and the vibey atmosphere, they can take comfort in the fact that passion, dedication and hard work go into every single item made (it’s all prepared from scratch by hand) to make sure that should folk never make it to the country in question, they would at least have gotten a taste of it.
Tip: The eatery does not take bookings, so patrons must arrive early for lunch or dinner to get a spot.
The Bill: Prices at El Burro Taqueria reflect the high quality food that it sells. Snacks like ceviche and nachos range between R20 and R45, a single taco serving is priced between R30 and R45,brunch items ring in between R45 and R55, desserts cost between R25 and R45, beers range from R18 to R45, cocktails ring in at R40, cold drinks range between R15 and R22 and hot drinks cost between R17 and R22.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 11:30pm; Saturday: 10am – 11:30pm
12 Kloof Nek Road | Corner of Kloof Nek and New Church Street | Tamboerskloof | +27 (0) 21 422 3554
*Note: El Burro Taqueria does not yet have a liquor licence, and so alcoholic beverages are not for sale (yet). For updates, keep an eye on the eatery’s Facebook Page (El Burro).
Looking for a tequila haunt? Here’s the 411 on the El Burro owners’ other spot, Cabrito Bar in Cape Town.
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