Orlando Does Latin: The Best Cheap Eats
Black Rooster Taqueria
1323 Mills Ave., Orlando | blackroostertaqueria.com
Don’t miss: Crispy Fish Tacos and Sweet Plantains
Five years ago, Black Rooster Taqueria chef-owners Juliana and John Calloway were among the first to bring authentic craft tacos to the Orlando dining scene in the Mills 50 District. With a nod to Juliana’s Latin roots, John’s experience with Mexican cuisine and the couple’s shared passion for fresh, sustainable ingredients, Black Rooster dishes up arguably the best guacamole in town along with excellent edibles like the Pork Fat taco with tomatillo-avocado salsa; the Crispy Fish (daily catch) taco; and the Pozole Verde bowl of slow-cooked pork shoulder in a broth with roasted tomatillo, chile serrano, veggies, herbs and queso fresco. For a sweet ending, try the Tres Leches Cake or the Chocolate Chipotle Flan.
By mid-summer, the Calloways expect to open a second, larger Rooster with outdoor seating in Conway’s thriving Hourglass District. The new location featuring the taqueria’s signature Day of the Dead theme “with different design elements up our sleeves,” will also serve brunch, Juliana says. The menu will offer breakfast tacos, chilaquiles and other bites along with agave wine cocktails, beer and wine.
The restaurants are a family affair, with 8-year-old son Ryder serving as “chief tasting officer” and 2-year-old Lily as official guac connoisseur. Prices range from $4-$5 tacos and $11 bowls to starters and salads from $4-$9. -J.H.
Hunger Street Tacos
2103 Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park | hungerstreettacos.com
Try this: Fried Avo Taco
Hunger Street takes up the space on Fairbanks Avenue where B&B Junction and 4Rivers used to call home. Founded by the brothers Creech, this place knows Mexico City street food. Colorful murals set the stage for an uncommon dining experience infused with an authenticity that only comes from the true love of a culture—and its cuisine. You can’t go wrong with, well, anything on the menu. But we love the Fried Avocado Taco ($3.99) or the Al Pastor ($3.59), served on single-origin, hand-made nixtamalized corn tortillas. The chorizo quesadilla ($4.89) is a great option if you want something a little more filling. The menu is rounded out by tamales and sides like cucumber salad ($2.99), elote ($4.49), and guac & chips for two ($6.99) -C.W.
Black Bean Deli
1346 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park | blackbeandeli.com
Try this: Choripan and a Cafe Con Leche
With two locations in Central Florida, one in Winter Park and the other in Mills 50, Black Bean Deli serves up the freshest Cuban food around. Owner Andres Corton draws inspiration from his grandparents, and the 1960s Miami cafes with their ventanitas, Cuban sandwiches and platos fuertes. A plate will easily serve two people, so split it with your favorite person. We recommend the Havana Pork ($10.75) served with rice, black beans, sweet plantains and a green salad. Their sweet plantains ($3.00) are a delicious side, but for the ultimate in simple pleasure, opt for their fresh pressed Cuban bread with butter ($1 – $4). -C.W.
Tin & Taco
40 W. Washington St., Orlando | tinandtaco.com
Don’t miss: At the Downtown Store, go for the B-O-B
It was a Mexican vampiro taco grilled street-side with Chihuahua cheese that inspired Tin & Taco owner Rob Bair to think outside the box when, in 2017, he launched his first Orlando craft taco restaurant. After tasting the vampiro, he vowed to create a cheesy, flavor-packed taco shell that could contain generous servings of meats, veggies and sauces.
“We played around to find what we thought was the perfect blend—it has to be all-natural cheese” with no additives, Bair says. The result: a crispy-soft shell grilled with a Cotija and Parmesan-Romano blend that envelopes generous portions of ingredients. Bowls, burritos and wraps are also offered for $10 and under. The Notorious P.I.G. is a favorite with shredded pork, craft-beer queso, “boom” sauce and Cotija cheese. House-smoked brisket, fish, bean, chicken, chorizo and seasoned ground beef (note the Tacosaurus!) all pair well with the restaurant’s broad collection of craft beers and sodas.
In fact, the “Tin” in the restaurant’s moniker is all about the beer, Bair says. The SODO eatery boasts 120 canned craft beers. In four years, Bair also has launched in Winter Park, College Park, Lake Mary and Waterford Lakes. Coming soon: a New Smyrna Beach location. Bair calls it his “stepping-stone to the East Coast.” -J.H.
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