Taqueria del Sol
2317 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
Regular Weekday Lunch Hours
Tuesday – Friday: 11:00am – 2:00pm
Regular Weekday Dinner Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Friday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Regular Weekend Hours
Saturday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Michelle and I don’t often get to eat lunch together, especially during the school year. Teachers don’t have the most flexible schedules on the planet, you know. So, today when I had a meeting near her school – and she had a scheduled half-day – we decided to have lunch and visit one of our new favorite restaurants.
Taqueria del Sol is a fast-casual restaurant in the 12 South District serving Southwestern, Mexican, and Southern cuisine. Often, these cuisines collide with wonderful consequences, as you will soon read below.
Taqueria del Sol is based in Atlanta, Ga, and they boast four Georgia locations. At the present time, their only Tennessee location is right here in Nashville. Lucky us! They opened in 2000, and they have been named a Top American Restaurant by Bon Appetit.
Taqueria del Sol does a brisk lunch business, so if you arrive during the traditional noontime lunch hour – as we did – be prepared to stand in line – as we did. The line moves quickly, though, so no worries there. After you order, find a seat, and they will bring your food to you. There is ample seating inside, and there is also a nice covered patio which seats nearly as many as the interior. If you’re in the mood, there is also a bar with seating for about 10. I was in the mood, but since I had to go back to the office, we skipped the bar.
The interior of the restaurant can get a little loud, especially when they are busy, so if it’s nice outside – like it was today – you might choose to sit on the patio.
The best part about Taqueria del Sol is they do NOT own a microwave or freezer. Everything is prepared to order and made from scratch. This certainly shows in the quality and taste of the food. One other thing to note: they do not serve draft beer or fountain sodas – bottles and cans only at Taqueria del Sol! They do, however, serve LOTS of different tequilas, as well as a limited selection of other spirits.
Okay, that’s enough background. Let’s talk about the food! As I’ve mentioned before, Michelle is gluten-intolerant, so she always asks about GF selections. While Taqueria del Sol does not have a dedicated GF menu, many of their dishes can be served in GF format.
The lunch menu features mostly tacos and enchiladas, but they do serve two different salads, one of which is a Taco BLT Salad, complete with bacon and roasted tomatillo mayo. Michelle had the other salad on the menu, so I’ll get to that later. Taqueria del Sol also serves several side dishes, including all the usual suspects, such as rice and beans. One item which you would not normally expect to see on the menu at a Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurant is turnip greens. Given that I loathe turnip greens, I’ll have to leave that review to someone else! I applaud Taqueria del Sol, however, for the Tex-Mex/Southern fusion thing they have going on.
We started out with the Salsa Trio, which features three different salsas (funny how that works, huh?). My personal favorite of the three was the Roasted Tomato/Jalapeno. You would expect this salsa to be hotter than it actually is, and that’s fine with me. It was definitely high-flavored without being too much. The Tomatillo/Salsa Verde is perhaps the best I’ve had anywhere. Heavy on the lime and with plenty of heat, it delivers in a big way. The “regular” salsa is also excellent, possessing sneaky heat that hits you after you’ve finished the chip. Michelle and I couldn’t decide which salsa was the hotter between the regular and verde, and this is after we finished both! We may have to go back and order another Salsa Trio to settle this debate.
For lunch, Michelle ordered the Chili-Honey Lime Grilled Chicken Salad. This is a wonderful salad (I know because I also ate a portion of it!) of greens, julienne carrots and red peppers, crispy tortilla strips, and seasoned grilled chicken. It’s tossed in a chili lime cilantro dressing and drizzled with spicy peanut sauce. To make the salad GF, we left out the tortilla strips and had them serve the peanut sauce on the side. The salad was very fresh and full of flavor. The chili lime cilantro dressing was just right, and the salad was not dripping in dressing. I sampled the spicy peanut sauce as well, and it added a nice touch. It was a strange combination with the very Southwestern-styled salad, and it certainly wasn’t that spicy, but it added a nice flavor layer to the salad.
I ordered tacos, because any Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant that cannot prepare a decent taco won’t last very long. Taqueria del Sol doesn’t have anything to worry about. I had the Carnita Taco, which is twice-cooked pork with salsa frita, cilantro, and onions. The pork was very flavorful and the salsa added a nice kick. I also had the Brisket Taco, which boasts shredded beef (think beef roast) with pico de gallo. This is a very simple combination, but it seems to be one of their more popular tacos, and I can certainly see why.
To go with my tacos, I also ordered the Mexican Rice. It wasn’t packed with flavor, but mixing in a little salsa gave it the flavor punch it needed.
Throw in a couple of (mostly) unsweet teas, tax, and tip, and Michelle and I were out the door for $30. Not bad for an impromptu lunch date.
We will definitely be going back to Taqueria del Sol. As Michelle said today, “It’s funky, fast, and fresh!”