Friday Food Frenzy: El Rey del Taco (A Buford Hwy Gem)


So here’s how it came about……Audra and I were on a road trip coming back from seeing Kenny Chesney at the FloraBama and were talking about jobs and such. Since I am currently unemployed after 24 years with Merck, she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Even to my surprise and without hesitation, my response was “something having to do with food”. I was equally surprised by Audra’s response that she was looking for someone to help her do restaurant reviews for her blog.

The song playing on the iPod was one of our fave B52 songs, “I was heading down the Atlanta Highway” which provided a bit of inspiration for where I want to kick this boondoggle off! Every other week, Ms. AHA and I will head down the Buford Hwy looking for hidden gems and fun places that many might be timid to try.

Tuesday, after much research, we decided to try out El Rey del Taco Taqueria at 5288 Buford Highway. I will sum it up in two very translatable words…Muy autentico!

We started out with the guacamole dip and chips which was chunky and full of flavor. The chips were just like you get in Mexico…a little thicker than Tostitos and salted to perfection. They were served with a hair curling red salsa and a much tamer green salsa that was muy delicioso!

I was particularly excited about seeing two things on the menu that I had enjoyed on a recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico which you don’t normally see in most Mexican restaurants:

Chilalquiles: Are similar to an American version of nachos, but much better! Corn tortilla chips, delicioso queso, poblano pepper and your choice of red or green salsa. We chose the green (verde) which was amazing!

Michelada: Cold beer of choice (we chose Corona) on the rocks prepared with lime and tomato juices with a spicy valentine sauce. Audra summarized it perfectly by likening it to a bloody Mary spritzer. Very unique and refreshing! ($7.50)

For our entrees, we ordered a variety of tacos, which are all hand made tortillas ($2):

Audra enjoyed all BUT the Barbacoa because it is a stronger taste. I really liked it and you should try it if you are a fan of lamb or other gamey meats

We ordered side dishes of radish and grilled onions, which were fresh and delicious! ($1 each)

We ended our feeding frenzy with a Tres Leches cake ($4.50):  Audra was not impressed because she likes a moister version.  I liked it because it was more firm and not as candy sweet as some I have tried.

El Rey Del Taco is definitely worth a trip for an inexpensive, tasty cultural experience! We both have 7th graders at PCMS who are beginning in Spanish classes and agreed it will be on the Anders/Moncrief field trip destinations to visit for the dining and language experience!


p.s.  Please comment on this post if you have a favorite Buford Highway restaurant….we might add it to our list!

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid advertisement.   The owners of El Rey del Taco have no idea that we are even writing this article.  They saw us taking pictures and taking notes but we aren’t even sure they could understand what these two overeating gringa amigas were talking about!


Click to view website »

23 thoughts on “Friday Food Frenzy: El Rey del Taco (A Buford Hwy Gem)

  1. I thought this was one of our little secrets, but now all of Dunwoody knows. Good call for your first outing. There is a place I want to recommend but I need to remember the name first. 🙂

  2. So many great restaurants on Buford Highway! Some of my favorites are Penang, Malasian; and Com, very similar to Com Dunwoody but even better!

  3. I really enjoyed your blog. My office is located on Buford Highway and I pass El Rey Del Taco and now I will stop in. It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to learn about other delicious restaurants on Buford Highway and around Atlanta. Thank you!

  4. Audra

    Love u r hitting buford hwy restaurants! We frequent a lot of them… My friend josh perlstein (debs husband) is an expert!!!
    We love gu’s chinese, hot stone bowl and many more! Cant wait to find new ones to try!

  5. I love your newsletter.

    Wondering if you can include food inspection scores in restaurant info. We used to lev a certain Chinese restaurant in chamblee area until their inspection report showed up as a shocking 41. I figure this is something you won’t do, but maybe you could stick to reviewing restaurants that don’t fail food inspection reports. That way your readers would know that the restaurant was basically clean.

  6. Elaine,

    Thanks for your sweet note and for the suggestion. We can definitely do this! My husband and oldest son refuse to eat anywhere that doesn’t have good health rating so I know how to look for the scores that is for sure! Patty and I were just so excited to try El Rey del Taco that we totally forgot about the health inspection report 

    41 is horrendous!! Please tell me what restaurant that was so we can avoid it like the plague!

  7. Been wanting to try this place and now will give it a shot. Havana Cuban Sandwiches and The Crawfish Shack are great. There’s also a great Chinese place OTP called Gu’s Cafe. Get the Tea Smoked Duck. Han Il Kwan for Korean BBQ.

  8. Happy that you are going to do this! I know there must be some truly yummy, authentic food on Buford Hwy, but I am honestly intimidated on where to go. I am looking forward to your adventures!

  9. We have been wanting to try a “new” Mexican restaurant to mix it up a bit. Thanks for sharing your experience. We will go! We love Harmony Vegetarian on Buford Hwy. for something different.

  10. You rock, Audra and Patty! We love new culinary experiences but mostly stay on the Asian side of Buford Hwy so this
    You girls rock! We love new culinary experiences but typically eat Chinese food on Buford. Try Bo Bo Garden (5181 Buford Hwy) or let me know when y’all want to go!

  11. Audra, I saw your post regarding experimenting with Buford Highway food. I’ve eaten my way up and down it from Mexico through Vietnam and into Korea. Here are a few of my Don’t miss favorites:

    Woo Nam Jeong Stone Bowl House — great for “stone bowl” meals…let the rice cake and burn to the side of the bowl, then eat. 5953 Buford Hwy (A few blocks OTP)
    Paris Baguette — In spite of the name it’s actually a Korean bakery. Great “royal pudding” and “cronuts” (cross betw croissant and donut), breathtakingly beautiful cakes. 5252 Buford Hwy
    Sweet Hut — Korean bakery known for “bubble teas” and “The Black Pig” (a pastry w/squid ink & spam) 5150 Buford Hwy #100
    Canton House Chinese — call to find out when they serve Dim Sum, then go for Dim Sum. 4825 Buford Hwy
    Co’m Vietnamese Grill — a favorite. 4005 Buford Hwy. There used to be/ still is?? a Co’m in Dunwoody behind the Hickory House, but the owners of the “real” Co’m sold the name with the business and now only operate from the Buford Hwy location.
    Havana — Best Cuban sandwiches this side of Cuba. Terrific lunch spot. 3979 Buford Hwy #108

    Happy dining!!


  12. So glad that you are exploring and sharing your culinary adventures on Buford Highway! Atlanta is way behind the times in celebrating it’s various ethnicities. Way to go Girls!

  13. Audra, Love your “Aha Connection” and yours and Patty’s restaurant reviews. Maybe I can go with ya’ll sometimes. Keep up the good and fun works. Love you both!

  14. OK, this could be too much fun for you two! Keep the pics of your outings coming – and don’t delete the incriminating ones. 😉

  15. Lelia, I don’t believe there is any ethiopian on BuHi. I’ve never seen any and I’ve been looking very closely for more than 2 years. But there are several on Clairmont at Briarcliff, and a couple on Cheshire Bridge. Meskerem is my overall favorite, though I think Queen of Sheba on North Druid Hills at Briarcliff is the place most Atlantans start exploring Ethiopian. Ghion Cultural Hall on Cheshire is a very interesting experience and their vegetable sides have been the best in my experience. I love running across other folks who love Ethiopian! 🙂

  16. We like Sushi House Hayakawa on Buford Highway. Very Fresh and presentation is nice.
    But the place is small, and sometimes a wait to get in on a weekend night.

  17. Read your blog about El Ray del Taco. Wanting good Mexican food four of us went to early dinner on Sunday night. We were pleased that it was crowded but I can that the service and food we are good at all. It took a long time to get seated and our food server really could have cared less to be there. Chips were okay, salsa was okay but nothing special. No side dishes were served with any of the meals, the rice was bland and cold. Also, when and if you go there make sure you read your receipt because they automatically charged a gratuity (even if there was only four of us) but did not bother to fill that in on your credit card
    receipt. I am assuming for another tip. Would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

  18. Nancy,
    I’m sorry you had a totally different experience than Patty and me. We thought it was great. We went late afternoon on a Tuesday for lunch. Sounds like folks should definitely avoid busy Saturday nights based on your experience.

  19. I am sorry as well but I’m sure we will have some different experiences and opinions along the way. We will inevitably have some hits and misses as well. Please know we will give you our honest opinion each and every time. I have already learned about some best times for different cuisines. For instance we will only want to try Canton House for dim sum on days when it is busy to ensure freshness.
    We are loving everyone’s suggestions and tips so keep them coming.
    Oh, where do we go tomorrow???? That is what I am pondering as I sit in jury duty today. All that is currently coming to mind is bread and water:). Maybe I’ll do a courthouse vending machine review !

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *