Five Great Goats

Five Great Goats

I'm still convinced only Mexicans, subcontinentals, and Jamaicans (who learned from said subcontinentals) truly appreciate goat, its slightly gamy taste perfect for frying, shredding, making into tacos and curry--really, anything. And they're so much more economical than cows! I wrote about Hot Taco's great birria tacos a couple of weeks back, but la naranja has more than its share of great chivo.

Dosa Place: Just had lunch at the county's best South Indian joint, but didn't go for the goat dosa. My loss. A triangle of ground goat, spices and juice spilling forth across your plate with the slightest of fork stabs, it's the restaurant's best dosa, which is like saying the yellow rose is the prettiest rose. Don't get my allusion? All the dosas are great, damnit! 13812 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-7777;

Noorani Halal Tandoori: The Indian selections are admirable--the sour minced-beef shish kebab in particular would make a desi nostalgic for the Punjab--but first-time Noorani patrons should indulge instead in the specialty of one of the county's few Pakistani restaurants. The haleem in particular, a sticky concoction of lentils, shredded wheat, ginger, dried chiles and beef so mashed it's not immediately discernible enmeshed in the goop, is the tasty oatmeal Americans can only dream about. The palak gosht--fried goat with spinach--is good, también. 14178 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1000.

El Toro Meat Market


Originally from Fresnillo, Zacatecas, the Bonilla clan--four brothers and una hermana--have seen their butcher shop grow in the past 20-odd years from a solitary meat market to a place that hawks produce from all over Latin America. And this is also the place to purchase an entire freakin' goat's head, complete with intact brains, eyeballs, and tongue! 1340 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 836-1393.

El Cabrito:

The average birria serving size here is three vertebrae, with piles of goat surrounding the partial spinal column below and more on the bone waiting to get stripped--at least a pound of meat. A river of juices runs around the plate, and a couple of squirts of lime produce the best meat juice I've ever tasted, redolent of citrus and goat, surprisingly zesty.

1604 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 543-8461.

Eva's Caribbean Kitchen: I include the South Laguna fave as a challenge. They don't serve goat, but good county eaters should beg them to since our sole Jamaican restaurant, Irie in Cypress, closed down months ago, and we're now bereft of the wonders Caribbeans can do with goat. So, Eva: por favor?

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