Mexico is known for its great diversity of excellent food across the country. Since the beginning, people from all over have migrated to Mexico City to become “Chilangos” (slang demonym for residents of Mexico City) themselves. La Calle’s provides downtown Houston’s local food scene with it’s own blend of ingredients, great flavors and cooking techniques. If you’re looking for tacos in downtown Houston add La Calle to your list. Their tacos represent the thousands of “puestos” or street “taquerías” in Mexico City.
La Calle | Tacos in Downtown Houston
La Calle Tacos y Tortas is possibly the only taco shop I’ve visited in downtown Houston. There are restaurants in downtown Houston that serve tacos, but none of them are actual taco shops. I first learned about La Calle while listening to Eric Sandler’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast. Eric interviewed General Manager Ramon Soriano Tomka, who talked in detail about La Calle’s Mexico City style street tacos and the lack of restaurants that produce the tacos he eats from “puestos” in Mexico. There are taco trucks all over the city serving authentic Mexican tacos, but La Calle offers guests a restaurant y cantina environment to enjoy their chilangos, gringos, tostadas and whole fruit augas frescas!
La Calle is located at 900 Franklin St., which is within walking distance from Market Square Park. The interior was designed to look as if you are walking down the actual streets of Mexico. The counter style service makes ordering your food quick and easy. Simply choose your protein (suadero, asada, carnitas, barbacoa, pastor, chorizo, chicken, nopalitos or shrimp ceviche) and a starch (corn or flour tortillas, tostada, torta, or a “plato” with rice and beans). Options like chips y salsa, frijoles and elote are available as sides/starters. Once you’ve ordered, head around to the payment counter and select your choice of beverage. The hostess will issue you are number and your food will be delivered to your table.
Cost is always a factor, especially when dining out for lunch. The taco prices at La Calle are beyond reasonable, in my opinion. I opted for the chilango plate of 5 small, mix and matched tacos with yellow corn tortillas. I added chips, frijoles and a piña augas fresca for $11 bucks and some change. The Tortas and Gringos are a dollar more, but the portion sizes are larger.
The Tacos & Aguas Frescas
My mix and matched meat combo consisted of one shrimp ceviche, three chicken and one suadero (beef) “*pilon” tacos. If I had to do it over again, I would not order the shrimp. It didn’t taste as fresh/good as the other meats. The ceviche could have used a little more citrus and salt. The beef and chicken tacos were flavorful, juicy and perfect. I also enjoyed the house-made tortilla chips. They were nicely salted and crispy!
*Pilon is a word that we use a lot in Mexico. The translation would be “a little extra”. If you want some guac, some rice, beans, whatever, you just tell them. They add it. There’s no extra charge.”
I am a huge fan of Augas Fresca, and have found that Mi Tienda and Goode Company Taqueria have the best! I was excited to see the myriad of options available at La Calle, but wasn’t too pleased with my pineapple beverage. It didn’t taste fresh. My lunch date ordered the lemonade which was quite delicious. I will make note to order that next time.
Other Notes | Parking & Hours
FREE PARKING validation on the 805 Franklin St. Parking garage (between Travis and Milam St). At the gate TAKE A TICKET, do not pay cash or enter with a Credit Card. Ask your bartender or cashier for a parking coupon. When you exit, you will scan your ticket and then the coupon to exit.
LATE HOURS: The restaurant stays open until 3 am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, which makes it a perfect stop after a night of downtown bar hopping.
LA CANTINA: La Calle’s sports bar La Cantina is located inside of the restaurant, and serves Margaritas, Micheladas and other Hangover remedies. The perfect place to catch your favorite Soccer, Boxing and UFC matches! Happy Hour Monday – Friday 3:00 – 7:00 pm.