Cheap and Good: Taqueria Del Sol and El Amigo

I recently experienced two polar opposite Mexican places that both need to be on your radar screen: El Amigo and Taqueria Del Sol. El Amigo is family owned, offers authentic Mexican food and is a dive — I mean that in the lovliest of ways. Taqueria Del Sol is a franchise serving up fun and tasty Americanized Mexican. While El Amigo doesn’t service alcohol,¬†Taqueria Del Sol serves up a yummy margarita; in fact, they have a full bar. Here are some highlights from both meals. WARNING: you will be hungry and craving tacos by the time you reach the end!

El Amigo: 3901 Nolensville Pike, 37211

El Amigo was recently mentioned in Food & Wine’s “Nashville in 10 Plates.” They recommend the rotisserie chicken tacos, with good reason. By the way, it is located in an old gas station. To get there, coming from downtown on Nolensville, it is just past the Nashville Zoo, on your right. The food is speedy, cheap and delicious.

Yes, this really is in an old gas station. What is it about the appeal of businesses in Nashville that locate in old gas stations?!

 

Fresh guacamole. There is no salsa or queso dip on the menu here, and you won’t miss it!

 

Our sweet server let me sample some ceviche. I’ll be back for more, as this is the best ceviche in town.

 

This 1/2 chicken almost fell off the bone. It was perfectly cooked and this whole plate was just $7!

 

This is what I ordered: 4 tacos, on soft corn tortillas. I had our server choose which ones from a long list, but I made sure she didn’t include tongue or tripe… I wasn’t feeling THAT adventurous. Price for each taco? $1.50.

 

This is the small chorizo quesidilla with rice and beans, perfectly sized for my son. I think it was $2.50 or $3.

 

The menu is across the wall, but handheld ones are also available.

The food here is not very spicy. But, these sauces will heat them up with added heat and flavor. Delicioso! But, just add a little… They are spicy!

 

How does one make a birthday boy happy? My son’s last meal before turning 9 was at El Amigo. He was thrilled! You can see what the ambiance is like…. And there was a Mexican reality show on TV. I really want to see a scene from ABC’s Nashville’s filmed here. Maybe Rayna and Deacon on a date trying to stay undercover?

 

This is a pretty good ticket price, for three people, 3 drinks, and an appetizer and dessert!

Next time, we are going to order some of the traditional Mexican beverages served, including Horchata.

I have to tell you that as we were leaving a guy came in and ordered 18 beef tacos to go. Apparently there were some hungry people back at his house.

styleblueprint.com/nashville/guide/el-amigo/

 

Taqueria Del Sol: 2317 12th Avenue South, 37204

Only having been open 3 weeks, we have received quite a bit of reader email about this place, begging us to highlight it. Since I had already been to the original one in Atlanta, I knew the concept and recipes (Southern/Mexican fusion), so we had a StyleBlueprint staff meeting here just this past Tuesday. It’s located on 12th Avenue South, sharing the building space with Trim Classic Barber. I think the restaurant jinx may finally be broken with this location’s newest resident! (Previous tenants include Mirror, Blind Pig and Fish & Co.)

 

 

There is plenty of seating, but make sure your party is all there as they don’t want you saving tables for your late-arriving meal companions. You must order — it’s counter service — and THEN get your table. They will bring your food to your table and clean up after you, though. It’s very similar to the Local Taco concept, fast-casual, which is a proven concept in Nashville.

The trio of salsas were good and we liked adding the salsa to our tacos as well.

 

My chip sank before I could get a good picture! This cheese dip has a kick and I know it will become a favorite of many in my immediate family.

This is a place to load up on lots of treats for the table. Order the trio of salsas, the cheese dip and the guac. Enjoy the warm weather on the patio or eat inside. And, their turnip greens are so good that Garden & Gun listed them in their “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely Must Try Before You Die” and snagged the recipe. If you like a sweet corn chowder, be sure to get a side of that as well. Beware: it has a kick, but we like the extra spice!

These turnip greens may just sway some opinions, as not everyone at our table liked greens, in general. But everyone said these were good!

The tacos and enchiladas are the main choices for meals and two tacos with the appetizers were pretty filling. We were all happy and full declaring we would be back to try the margaritas another time! By the way, they have over 50 tequilas to make your perfect drink.

Brisket taco and a vegetarian taco.

 

BBQ Taco with slaw.

This is not authentic Mexican food. This is fun, Americanized Mexican in a trendy part of town that sorely was in need of some tacos and margaritas. That void has now been filled. Prediction: this place, come spring, is going to be SLAMMED. Better get in there now!

Total tab? For 6 of us, it was just over $70 for 6 meals, 3 appetizers and 6 iced teas.

www.taqueriadelsol.com