Taqueria Veracruzana delivers affordable, authentic Mexican fare
908 Washington Ave.
Don’t Miss: Authentic Mexican cuisine
Skip: Coming full — be ready to eat
The search for authentic Mexican food in Philadelphia can be exhausting for any taco aficionado, but we had high hopes for La Taqueria Veracruzana. After a 15–minute walk from the SEPTA station on Broad and South Street, we arrived at our destination: an unassuming storefront on Washington Blvd. next to a corner store in the Italian Market district.
The small, well–lit interior features minimal decor -— the floors are adobe tile and the tan–colored walls are sparsely–decorated with ceramic pieces and a flatscreen TV playing Spanish–language telenovelas to match. With melodrama as the backdrop, we examined our menus. La Taqueria offers an expansive selection of traditional Mexican fare, from huevos rancheros ($6) to carnitas tortas ($7). We decided to try out enchiladas verdes ($7), enchiladas de mole poblano ($7), tacos de camaron ($9) and tacos al pastor ($6). As we waited for our meal, we combined chips and salsa with cold beer (the place is BYO) for a delightful first act to a good Mexican dinner.
The food arrived just in time, right as we polished off most of our chips. First to arrive were the heaping plates of enchiladas. The enchiladas verdes — a traditional Mexican staple — were three long, thin tortilla wraps with chicken on the inside, doused in queso fresco and salsa verde and served with refried beans. The enchiladas de mole were served similarly, with shredded chicken on the inside, but they were slathered in mole (a traditional Mexican sauce made with poblano peppers and chocolate to produce a savory and semi–sweet flavor) and served with rice on the side. The verdes were a solid entree — the salsa and cheese offered a delicious, spicy complement to the shredded chicken. The real star, and what neither of us could get enough of, though, was the mole dish. Its unique flavor — the sweetness and slight bitterness provided by the notes of cocoa — added a new dimension to the enchiladas that made it really special.
Next up were the tacos. The carne al pastor — thin cuts of pork seasoned with guajillo chiles — had a rich orange color and delicious aroma. The tacos de camaron featured lots and lots of small but chunky shrimp. Both orders had very much the same presentation: six small corn tortillas (each taco had two to make for a heartier meal) propped against one another, filled with sizable portions of meat and garnished with finely–chopped onions and cilantro. The first bite proved that the carne al pastor was perfectly cooked; the meat was tender and bursting with flavor. The shrimp had a much lighter taste, but the tacos were still substantial in flavor and and size: the best part of the tacos was how much meat there was.
La Taqueria’s strength is simple, straightforward Mexican fare, in heaping portions. While there may be better Mexican food elsewhere in the city, if you want a fun, affordable eating experience (that you can bring booze to), La Taqueria Veracruzana is as good as it gets.