This hole in the wall is the sort of place that friends don’t even tell friends about because they don’t want the secret to get out (sorry, regulars). The menu might be short, but there’s not a bad item on it. Even the soup of the day is a safe bet, every day.
“La Ha” is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in town, thanks in part to its on-site tortilla making. The menus is massive and affordable with plenty of combos and platters, but with breakfast served all day, can you really resist huevos con chorizo for dinner?
If you walk in through the wrong door, you might think Las Americas is just a grocery store. But keep going to the next room, and you’ll discover some of the most delicious, inexpensive Central American food in town. It’s tough to spend more than 10 bucks before you’re full on tortas and pupusas.
A favorite among the East Nashville crowd, El Jaliciense is known for serving old-school street tacos, wrapped with two corn tortillas and stuffed with traditional fillings like spicy pork and beef, or more unconventional options like tripe or tongue.
The menu for Jonathan Waxman’s Bajo Sexto, and its Downtown outpost and food truck, was developed by a talented young chef whose mother literally wrote the book on Oaxacan cuisine. Kaelin Ulrich Trilling, the son of cookbook author Susana Trilling, takes risks with plates like
roasted grasshopper and dried worms, but with a solid selection of tacos, enchiladas, and tamales, there’s really something for everyone here.
This fantastic Mexican eatery is actually a food truck and adjacent trailer, the latter of which acts as the kitchen for a few different mobile cantinas. Since it’s the closest to the source, Taqueria El Dolar has the freshest food of all of them, and the prices are incredibly cheap, especially considering the quality and quantity of food. You’ll have to eat standing up or take it to-go, though.
A twist on the usual food truck operation, Taqueria Azteca is a small brick-and-mortar location where the food is cooked in a vehicle parked out back. Carnitas and spicy chicken tinga are the power move here, and you can always augment them with an order of sopes, thick tortillas topped with vegetables or meat.
You’ll have to drive to the back of a Lowe’s parking lot to find this spot, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with an extensive menu of Mexican specialties from cactus to huitlacoche quesadillas. That second dish is made with a delicious fungus that grows on corn and is sometimes referred to as “Mexican truffles.” If you’re there on the right night, you’ll be treated to live music.
Mariscos is Spanish for seafood, so that’s really the order of the day here. The restaurant’s version of a shrimp cocktail is probably the best deal, and the kitchen is pretty talented at frying fish. For landlubbers, the usually mundane dish of grilled chicken is a standout.
Unless you speak Spanish, you’ll have to point and order from the menu at this fantastic Salvadoran joint. Fortunately, anything you randomly pick is most probably delicious. Look for the word “loroco,” an edible flower with a nutty green flavor that’s an exotic addition to some of the pupusas and platters.
The menu at this strip mall cantina is heavy on stewed meats, beans, and cheese. The daily specials are always a good bet, and brave souls should ask for the secret house hot sauce to torque up the spice levels.