Restaurant of the Week: Tacos Jalisco

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Tacos Jalisco, 595 W. Mission Blvd. (at Parcels), Pomona

Appearances can be deceiving. For years I’ve driven past Tacos Jalisco, housed in a dull-looking restaurant that might well have begun as a Spires, and assumed it was a sit-down restaurant of dubious quality. Although the reference to a particular state in Mexico (Guadalajara is its capital) should have tipped me off that this wasn’t going to be a downscale El Torito.

A taco-loving source at City Hall, which is nearby, surprised me by telling me Tacos Jalisco might have the best tacos in Pomona, up there with De Anda. As I’d say De Anda and Tijuana’s Tacos are my favorites, this was credible information. (We would hope for no less from City Hall.) We walked there for lunch so I could judge for myself.

The entry from Mission was as disappointing as it looked from the street — although one is conflicted about knocking gentility.

“From the street,” my source agreed, “this place looks a little too nice to have the real thing.”

Inside, though, it turns out you order at the counter and sit in molded-plastic booths. This was more like it. For whatever reason, I had expected waitresses in costumes. It’s relatively nice inside, and clean. The menu has tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sopes and, on weekends, menudo and birria, and beverages include champurrado and aguas frescas.

My source got a chorizo taco and al pastor burrito (below); I got four tacos ($1.24 each): al pastor, asada, carnitas and chicharron, plus a horchata ($1.40), meaning my entire lunch was $6.92. These were excellent tacos, and four made a good meal. A standout was the carnitas, which was redolent of porkiness. If they’d slaughtered the pig out back a half-hour before, it wouldn’t have surprised me (except code enforcement works close enough to have put a stop to that).

I returned a month later for an al pastor burrito (around $6; final food photo) and a Mexican Coke. An excellent cheap meal.

Best tacos in Pomona? Fistfights have started and friendships ended on lesser questions. Tacos Jalisco at this point is in my triumvirate alongside De Anda and Tijuana’s. But wait, what about Lily’s? Oh. What comes after a triumvirate?

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  • Aaron from Rancho

    David, a junta comes after a triumvirate

    • davidallen909

      Ha!

  • Jon From Upland

    My family has been eating at this establishment since the 80’s when it was a taco stand across the street then moved to its current location. It’s safe to say that the quality has stayed the same (although prices have risen) and it’s the reason why we keep going back. I remember playing the Street Fighter II arcade and seeing my parents buy cassettes from this guy that was always there selling tunes all the meanwhile waiting for our tacos. That was always part of the experience. I also remember buying ballons from the bathroom until my parents told me what they really were haha. Great authentic Mexican food with no gimmick

    • davidallen909

      I love comments like these. Jon, thanks for the personal history of the place. Btw, there’s still a “balloon” dispenser in the men’s room!

  • PmnaTown

    My favorite tacos in Southern California. I have friends who when in town from San Diego, always order extra tacos to take back before going home and some other friends from Seattle who always order some to take back home on their way to LAX.

    • davidallen909

      That’s high praise!

  • Bob Terry

    I’ve said in before, and I’ll say it again…as you, a resident of The People’s Republic of Claremont, your loyalty and dedication to Pomona is so genuine and “we” Thank You. One question, though, about the chicharron tacos. Were they still crispy and crunchy…or a little soft after being in a taco? I go to El Tarrasco in Rancho and pick out my own and there is nothing worse than a “mushy” chicarron.

    • davidallen909

      They were soft. The only other chicharron I’ve had is from Pomona’s late Carnitas Don Juan, which was crunchy. So, if you try Tacos Jalisco, its chicharron will disappoint you. Thank you for the warm and fuzzies regarding my Pomona coverage!