Finding Cilantros Tacos can be quite challenging, as it is nestled in a shabby strip mall off of Whittier Boulevard and Valley Home Avenue on the border of Whittier and La Habra. But this taqueria has managed to find modern appeal while staying unpretentious and true to old-school taqueria taste.
Soccer games or Spanish-language television shows are always playing on the big-screen hanging around the restaurant, which looks like a homey Chipotle (sans the food poisoning, of course). Everything is under ten bucks and served in plastic, paper or Styrofoam. Dinner and breakfast plates are available, but this simple restaurant specializes in antojitos.
The taco menu ranges widely. Aside from the usual taco meats such as carne asada, lengua, chicken, carnitas, al pastor, cabeza and campechano, you can also choose a Guadalajara-style street taco, a gabacho taco (taco made with a flour tortilla), a chingón taco or a protein taco—think street taco but substitute the corn tortilla for leafs of lettuce. (Health-conscious taco lovers, rejoice!)
You can’t see a taco named chingón and not try it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to its hype. The chingón consists of a medium-sized flour tortilla, choice of meat, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. While still delicious it, wasn’t that chingon. The heavy flour tortilla drowned out the flavor of the juicy chicken and toppings. Unless you’re in Baja, flour tacos aren’t the way to go in California, alas.
Más chingónes? The potato tacos. Mashed potatoes are stuffed inside a crunchy yet tender fried corn tortilla, with heaps of sour cream and lettuce on top. Drizzle some green salsa over it all and commence grubbing.
The regular tacos? Great.
Let’s not forget about the sopes with generous amounts of carne asada on top of refried beans, lettuce, sour cream and cheese. The burritos are generously filled, too, and usually have fried potatoes stuffed inside—a nice touch to the usual cheese/rice/beans/meat burrito cabal. And the aguas frescas are great, as well. The horchata tastes like the stuff mujeres sell just after Sunday mass. The cucumber lemonade, meanwhile, is perfectly sweet and sour, but with cooling chunks of cucumber thrown in.
Cilantros Tacos is the type of place where you come for a quick bite and end up staying eight tacos deep and with no regrets. Provecho.
Cilantros Tacos, 16533 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, (562) 943-8160