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Cilantro’s Taqueria

Written By Scott Joseph On February 13, 2018

Cilantros counter

It’s Taco Tuesday. And also Fat Tuesday. So I was hoping for some Fat Tacos. Taco Gras, if you will.

So I headed over the the area of town that is still not officially designated the Hourglass District to try out a new place called Cilantro’s Taqueria. It’s in a small group of storefronts that also holds the oddly named businesses Hair Partners and Ambrose the Printer. The latter always makes me think of a medieval scribe.

Cilantro’s is charming. I have no idea what was in this space before, even though I’ve passed by this corner several times a week for more than 25 years. It might have been a wonderful business, but even without knowing, I’d say Cilantro’s is an improvement.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

It’s a simple fast-casual setup. You can check out the blackboard menu at the entrance or grab one of the folded paper menus at the ordering counter. The menu isn’t extensive, but there’s enough variation to keep it interesting.

Your choices are mainly tacos, burritos and quesadillas, with similar — but not identical — meat options among them.

Cilantros tacos

I ordered the Carne Asada and Al-Pastor taco versions and a Carnitas burrito. I also requested the Corn Chowder because I don’t often see it offered in a taqueria. And because I like chowder. And corn.

I paid for my order — Amex not accepted, but thankfully I could use Apple Pay — and waited at one of the empty tables in the dining area, which was larger than I thought it would be.

Cilantros dining room 2

It’s also pleasant and attractive, with mainly round high-tops with block-wood stools and brightly colored tablecloths of blue, pink and yellow. It felt so comfortable that I was immediately sorry that I had ordered my food to go.

And go I soon did because it took very little time to be ready.

I liked that the two tacos I chose, which were served on double corn tortillas, nicely warmed. (Some of the tacos, such as those made with fish and shrimp, are made with flour tortillas.) The al-pastor did not have pineapple but otherwise had plenty of braised pork. The grilled beef in the carne asada was also good, though I would have liked a bit more spicing in both. That deficiency was easily remedied with some of the hot sauce I’d gotten from the salsa counter.

Cilantros burrito

The burrito — in a large flour tortilla, because a corn tortilla just wouldn’t work — had fried pork, rice, beans and some shredded lettuce all rolled tightly into a tasty package. Each entree included a handful of tortilla chips and a ramekin of pico de gallo.

The corn chowder had a velvety texture and a slightly sweet taste. I think I would have liked a bit more corn crunch within.

I assume that the fellow who took my order is the owner. He certainly welcomed each guest as if he owned the place, and he made sure the taco assemblers in the open kitchen area worked with efficiency.

No, we aren’t in need of more tacomongers. But as long as they keep coming, I hope they’re as pleasant and simple as Cilantro’s.

Cilantro’s Taqueria is at 1427 S. Bumby Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 321-247-5665.

Cilantros sign

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