First Bite: Taqueria del Sol



As you’ll probably recall, Taqueria del Sol opened at the end of January in the space formerly occupied by Mirror and Fish & Co. There were some rumblings of oppositions to a “chain” restaurant, but it seems to have settled into the 12South neighborhood quite nicely. I’ve already been twice and enjoyed my meals quite a lot both times.

Many of you will already be familiar with their type of fast-casual format; a line forms along the right side of the space, you order, pay and get drinks/cups, and then find a seat in the main dining room or the patio (closed in and heated during cold weather). What you may not be expecting is how fast you get your food. Both times I visited, the restaurant was quite busy, but I moved through the line quickly and had my food within moments of deciding where to sit. You also may be expecting to be given a number of some sort matched to your order, but instead they just take your name and make a few notes on how to find you (sorry to spoil the magic of “how’d they know to find me?”).

The menu includes the standard Mexican restaurant items (enchiladas, refried beans, rice) as well as a few specialties (barbecue and brisket tacos, fish tacos, shrimp corn chowder) all made from the tried-and-true recipes that have made the restaurant incredibly successful in the Atlanta area. Items are ordered a la carte, which, if you’re familiar with a *cough* local *cough* taco restaurant that is similar in format, you know it can get a little pricey if you’re not paying attention.

But I got a cheese burrito with green chile sauce and the vegetarian refried beans plus guacamole (served with chips), and didn’t break the bank. Though it’s not indicated on the online menu, the printed menus in the restaurant clearly indicate which items are vegetarian, which is a real time- and hassle-saver (I really appreciate not having to ask). Also available in the restaurant but not found online is a reasonably priced children’s menu.

The food itself is delicious. Everything’s got a bit more kick than I’m accustomed to, but it was not inedibly spicy even for my delicate palate. The guacamole is remarkably good; it’s the best I’ve had in any restaurant here since Los Rosales closed. My friend had one of the weekly specials, shrimp and grits and thought it was good, but wasn’t prepared for the honey on the grits that made them sweet (take note if you’re not a fan of sweet grits). The fish taco and the brisket taco also got thumbs-up from fellow diners. The cheese dip (white cheese with jalapenos) was really good, too.

Also remarkable about Taqueria del Sol (and what should make it incredibly popular once the weather improves) is the very well-stocked bar. A large selection of tequilas is available, and you can order one of their special margaritas or build your own. They also have a good selection of beer (including Corona Light, the favored beer of lightweights such as myself who don’t really like beer!) as well as a small selection of wines.

Also worth noting are the operating hours. In my pre-motherhood youth, I enjoyed whiling the afternoon hours away on a good patio with a basket of chips, dip and margaritas. But Taqueria del Sol's lunch hours during the week (Tuesday through Friday) are from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from noon until 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and from the end of lunch hours until 5:30 p.m. when it opens back up for dinner.

Already, I know a few people who’ve attempted to go to lunch around 11 a.m. on a weekend just to be met with a locked door. I can only assume that this is making some of the other nearby restaurants pretty happy, though. Perhaps this is a side effect of the founders being from the Eastern time zone? Much of the ownership and all of the management is local, so perhaps they’ll gauge interest and consider revising their hours to accommodate Nashville’s early lunch-goers and our later three-margarita lunches as well.

Taqueria del Sol
2317 12th Ave. S.

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