We asked for your tips on Springfield’s hidden gems. Thank you, Samalid Hogan, for this one!
For a restaurant, nothing makes a good first impression on new customers quite like a crowd on a Saturday morning. After sampling Estelita’s Taqueria Mexicana’s offerings, the reason for the crowd is clear. The food is the main attraction. Unlike other Mexican restaurants, Estelita’s remains true to its roots and serves up a delicious array of traditional dishes at reasonable prices. A former fast food establishment, the dining area is plain and simple and the kitchen is bright white and clean.
The carne asada taco features perfectly flavored steak, piled on a light tortilla and dressed with cilantro and raw onion. Its pollo tostada has shredded chicken with warm refritos, covered in fresh greens and crumbled queso fresco. Estelita’s offers both spicier tostadas, including chorizo (spicy sausage) and carne enchilada (spicy pork), and tacos, including spicy beef, aged beef and lengua (tongue).
Estelita’s pechuga de pollo is also sure to please with a flattened, pan-fried chicken breast atop onions and peppers and served with traditional rice and beans. The flavor of the chicken is fantastic, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and forms a wonderful marriage with its accompaniments inside a fresh tortilla.
One of Estelita’s weekend specials, pozole, is a traditional stew that traces its origin back to the Aztecs. Its core ingredients are chicken and white hominy, plentifully available at the bottom of a large bowl of spicy red broth. Served on the side is a dish of lettuce, onion, cilantro, lime wedges and radish with which you can customize your meal.
Its salsa verde is a complex mix of hot jalapeños, tasty cilantro and juicy tomatillos. The perfect accent to any dish, it’s a challenge not put it on everything.
Already open for over three and a half years, Estelita’s has a bright future in Springfield. Their ingredients are fresh, the tortillas are homemade and the variety of choices on the menu is sure to please the most finicky of Mexican food lovers.
Estelita’s Taqueria Mexicana is located at 262 Oakland Street in Springfield and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed Monday). Cash only, credit cards are not accepted.
Chris Marion | chrismarion.com