Friday, January 23

Amaya's Taco Village

Amayas Taco Village has been serving up hearty, traditional TexMex in Austin for over 20 years, and I've been eating there for more than 10. You can comfortably file this review in the 'old favourites' category. This neighborhood fixture is wildly popular and constantly packed. Be prepared to wait for a table at almost any time of day.

I've talked somewhat extensively about the joy and danger of trad. TexMex in previous reviews, so I'll restate the important points here very briefly. This is not light food, nor is it fancy or 'gourmet' by any stretch. For lovers of the form, however, traditional TexMex is a singular sensation and Amayas Taco Village may be the best place in town to get it.

There is a kind of holy trinity of TexMex consisting of the cheese enchilada w/ chili con carne sauce, the crispy beef taco, and the red salsa. These three items are the pillars on which any worthwhile TexMex place supports their business, and Amayas kicks absolute ass in all three areas.

The salsa may be my favorite in town. It's a smooth tomato based salsa that is hot without being overwhelming, and has a nice twang to it. It's delicious on chips, but really shines when liberally applied to the food.

The enchiladas are just fantastically fantastic. The chili con carne gravy is thick and delicious, and the wrapped up tortillas are tender and fun to chew. With a heaping helping of the salsa, you are headed to enchilada nirvana.

The crispy beef taco (called the Village Taco at Amaya's) is also totally excellent. Amaya's has won Austin Chronicle awards for it's corn tortillas (as well as it's enchiladas for that matter) and it only takes one bite to see why. The homemade torts are fried up just in time to get filled with seasoned ground beef and sent to your table. The texture of the tortilla is really nice; not so much crunchy as chewy and substantial. Again, don't fail to load it up with the salsa.

In conlusion, go to Amaya's sometime soon and get a Deluxe Dinner. You'll be stoked.

Amaya's Taco Village - 4.5 stars - Cornbiter Deluxe
5405 N. I-35, Capital Plaza
Hours: Mon-Sat, 7am-10pm; Sun, 7am-3pm


Sinclair Fleetwood said...

i hope to someday die there covered in grated american cheese.

also, i have never heard anyone suggest that salsa shines. well said.

Mando Rayo said...

I hear they have a 2x1 breakfast the last week of the month. I need to go!

Anonymous said...

4.5 stars really come on it is somewhat good most of the time just the fact they have only florescent lighting and use american cheese disappoints me greatly i know someone wrote a law somewhere that states tex mex is allowed to use cheap processed milk product that is technically not cheese but i think it is gross

Joshua Avelar said...

I've had a hard time finding good Carne Guisada in Austin. Amaya's definitely has the best in the area. The meat is soft, the gravy is well-seasoned and the vegetables are not too overpowering. I can't wait to go back again.

James S. said...

Mr. Amaya, What happened? I've been dining with you and your families since you were on Berkman Drive. I patronized your Bastrop location while it was open, as well as your Oak Hill location while it was open. After dining with you 3 or 4 times a month, many times more than that, my love affair with Amaya's has come to an end. I visited your new location on Reinli and I35 this morning. Turns out it was only a visit as we left without ever being seated. We were offered seats at the bar, but a big guy like me doesn't perch like a tweety bird. We agreed to wait for a table and were given a pager. After 3 (THREE) parties who entered and were seated, 2 without even signing in, just greeted and walked to a table we left. Your hostess is not very hospitable. Instead we went and spent our $$$ with a competitor. I called from the car to speak to a manager. After holding for 12+ minutes I finally spoke to a girl who said she was in charge today. From her attitude and condescending tone of voice I can understand why the help is acting the way they do to your customers. They have a lousy example to follow. So this afternoon I'm spending my time posting this review on as many sites as I can find. If you don't want your customers, I will do all in my power to save them a bad experience and send them to your competitors. Too bad, you've always had the best food and good help. I guess you just let it get away from you. Hope you find the resources to address and correct the problems that are destroying your good name.