Tinga de Pollo at El Taco Riendo

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

At El Taco Riendo (the laughing taco), Northeast Minneapolis’s new fast food Mexican restaurant, it’s all about the food — tender, stewed meats and fresh vegetables that beautifully dress up the casual setting, styrofoam plate, and plastic utensil service items.

Upon entering the small restaurant, owner Miguel Cruz-Gomez is eager to talk newcomers through the extensive menu, which features the usual Mexican offerings such as tacos ($2 each), burritos ($6.50), tortas ($6.50 — $8), combination plates with beans and rice ($8), nachos, and fajitas, as well as more traditional dishes, such as menudo and tripe. Orders come with your choice of a seemingly endless list of meats — asado (grilled steak), barbacoa (shredded beef), carnitas (crispy stewed pork), and chicharrón (stewed pork rind), just to name a few.

And of course, there is the tinga de pollo — a beautifully prepared shredded chicken spiced with smoky chipotle pepper and tomato sauce. The pepper brings just enough heat to make you grab for an extra napkin, but without making you beg for water. Stuffed inside corn tortillas and topped with chopped onion, cilantro, salsa verde, and a squeeze of lime, the tinga de pollo taco is near perfection.

El Taco Riendo

Mexican restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis
2416 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
OWNER: Miguel Cruz-Gomez

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  1. brian 07/15/2009

    Thank you for the brief review of this place as I’ve been curious about it since it opened and haven’t had a chance to go yet.

  2. Moroco Topo 07/15/2009

    A different translation to the name of the restaurant (please sound it out) would be “He is running” and it is a relatively typical name for a taco place (from a cart) in mexico. Used to signify the fast food nature of the place.

  3. ForbiddenDonut 07/15/2009

    This place is amazing. They have great service, the interior is very clean (if appropriately shabby), and the food is fresh and well executed. Their chilaquiles will cure the most vengeful hangover and their ceviche is bright and flavorful. However, it’s tough to order anything but tacos, since all of the meats are extremely flavorful and the toppings fresh.

    This is a really great tacqueria. Go for lunch, get 3 tacos (each with a different meat) and a drink, spend less than $10, and get hooked like the rest of us.

  4. Firerev 07/15/2009

    I’ve only been once, but was not that impressed. I had the tacos (carnitas), which I thought not as flavorful as those across the street at Adelita’s.

    I do plan to return to try their tortas, since I’m still waiting to find some I like in this town (Manny’s doesn’t quite do it for me).