Moot point now, but kind of soured on this place a bit, after revisiting it a second time and getting more Americanized and less fresh ingredients.
I could have sworn these were called tostadas, but Google seems to tell me otherwise. Basically tortillas rolled around some meat and deep fried. Freshly fried, but meat just dried out and the cheese shreddings and guacamole give it a depressingly ordinary tex-mex flavor.
Fish, battered and deep-fried, ala what frequently goes as "Baja fish tacos" (which mystifies me, given my taco-eating experiences in Baja California.)
They put some sort of ranch-like sauce on this that also gave this a ho-hum tex-mex flavor.
I really should just stop ordering tortas. I think the overall flavor of a tortas not really comes out better the sum of the parts.
As you come off of 285 (heading east) to the buford highway exit, Alvarado's is visible on the left.
They have a sign that claims "99c tacos + free wifi" on the window. The building looks newer, cleaner and nicer than the usual hole-in-the-wall taquerias that I've enjoyed. It's name includes the descriptor "Mexican food." It's right off the highway and is not hard to find.
All of these factors triggered my skepticism. It just seemed ripe for a place that targeted gringos who didn't know what's what and who would over-excite themselves to see tacos using a corn tortilla, as opposed to the crunchy "taco" shells at Taco Bell.
I will freely admit it when I'm wrong and for this, I was DEAD. BLOODY. WRONG.
Just after eating two tacos, I've added this to one of my favorite taquerias of Atlanta, the others being L1000000 and Mercado Acapulco Y Taqueria.
Alvarado's has quite the selection. (The style of the menu reminds me of Miami's El Rey de las Fritis, which itself I associate with 1950's deli counter menu's.) (Also note, we actually didn't see the advertised 99c tacos. Maybe others can clarify this or I'll ask next time I visit.)
However, we literally had just finished eating at Te Wei. It was only because my fiancee's colleague had so strongly recommended this place, that we stopped by to order two tacos to try the place out.
I think the first thing to notice is that these tacos are larger than the small almost bite-sized ones you get at L1000000. They're filled with toppings and to prevent tortilla breakage, they double up.
This is really what you want in a taco. Meat that is cooked well and that is flavorful. A tortilla that is fresh, not only in the mixing of the ingredients, but particularly in the final heating of it in that these tortillas were served absolutely-freakin-piping hot - thank you, thank you, thank you (to all other taquerias, just by out how to do this, you will improve your tacos 5-fold). The guacamole, onions and carrots just meld together wonderfully. Oh yeah, and the two tortillas were nicely balanced with the ingredients. (If there is not enough mosit ingredients, the two tortillas can overwhelm and make the taco come off as too dry.)
Lengua - Also good stuff as well. The lengua, absolutely tender, very much as if they had been slow-cooked in a stew. Same comments with the tortilla balancing apply here as well.
This was really one of our best Atlanta dining days yet.
Alvarado's Mexican Food
5499 Buford Highway Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30340-1143