While Mexico City is a torta city, its range of regional taco styles are world-famous and sought-after items for travelers to Mexico’s street food capital. There are several trompos that cut all the pastor in each neighborhood, sweaty tacos de canasta (basket steamed tacos), suadero (beef) and offal that simmers in silver slices with fat from tacos de fritanga (fried tacos) vendors. And there is an endless menu of guisados, where tacos are topped with Mexican rice to absorb the liquid from colorful stews, braises and deep-fried foods. But perhaps the most popular tacos for locals in CDMX are tacos a la plancha, where thin steaks, thinly sliced boned pork chops, spicy longaniza or chorizo, cecina (salted beef) and other meats are cooked on a flat top, then wrapped in a corn tortilla dressed with salsas and often generous sides like whole beans, nopales, grilled onions and fried potatoes.
And now Tacos Don Manolito, a successful tacos a la plancha chain from Mexico City that has expanded to 25 locations in Mexico, Spain and Honduras, opens its first US branch in Hollywood on October 16 and offers an impressive menu of tacos, there is definitely a hit in Los Angeles.
Located in a mini-mall with fast food chains such as Pollo Campero, Panda Express and Yogurtland, Tacos Don Manolito also strives to stretch across the United States and focus on their tacos campechanos, an iconic CDMX blend of chopped longaniza, chicharrón and cecina – all carvings made in the house. Angelenos are no stranger to Mexican-American taco trucks serving a variety of meats cooked on a flat top, but these are quite different. CDMX-style tacos a la plancha are made with high-quality steaks, house meats, artisanal sausages, chicharrones and concentrated salsas. Ultimately, they reflect the culture of chilango taqueros to always dream of ingenious combinations.
“The recipe for campechano comes from my grandfather [Manuel Palacio] who used to make this typical Mexico City taco and our house salsa for us at home. That’s what I wanted for my birthday parties, ”says Eduardo Palacio, who began working with his father, Eduardo Palacio Sr., at the chain’s first taquería while in high school in the southern Mexico City neighborhood of Olivar de los Padres in 2005. Palacio started helping his father as a dishwasher, cashier and then waiter, he now lives in Los Angeles to lead American operations.
Start with Don Manolito’s signature tacos, campechano, dressed in smoked salsa made with a blend of dried and charred chili morita and onions. There is also a vegan version made with vegan chicharrón (made with rice), soyrizo and salt hardened portobello and then topped with the same chili and spices that make this taco so delicious. Costeño-Campechano is a spicier version of campechano, where the trio of carvings are marinated in the house salsa, just like Manolito used to do at home. And torito is a comforting taco of cecina, melted cheese and nopales. Don Manolito’s corn tortillas are made exclusively by a local producer, who also makes flour tortillas for Maja, a delicious chicharrón de queso rolled in a crispy envelope of fried cheese. Fat on the inside, the flour tortilla gets filled with your choice of meat. Go with ribeye and spread the salsa on.
You can order simple tacos cecina or longaniza, and there are plenty of options for vegans, including rajas con crema, made with tofu cream, a cochinita pibil that uses marinated coconut strips, and the vegan campechano. There is a great guacamole, and while it comes with chips, you can add guacamole to your tacos, Mexican style. The sleek, seated taquería offers aguas frescoes as well as De La Calles fermented and probiotic flavored canned carpets. A dessert with bananas and running cajeta, Mexican caramel, is also a family recipe.
Tacos Don Manolito is the first major taquería chain from Mexico City to open a branch in the United States, and the only tacoos a la plancha taqueria in Mexico City style to be found in America right now. Given the success of chef Enrique Olvera’s modern Mexican destination, Damian, and the attractive rooftop bar at Cha Cha Chá, it’s clear that LA is finally ready for all things CDMX.
Tacos Don Manolito is opening Oct. 16 at 5553 West Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The hours run between kl. 12 and 21 seven days a week.