El Azteca Taqueria has been serving the community of west Roseville for many years, and has been an iconic Mexican restaurant in the area for over 25 years. The dining room is spacious, the food is amazing, and the full-service bar is well-stocked, and serves amazing mixed drinks. What's not to love about El Azteca Taqueria?
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's Friday, June 05, 2020, just after the 10:30 weekday opening time of El Azteca Taqueria, and I've arrived and I'm planning on delicious, early lunch.
El Azteca Taqueria is located in a small strip mall, at the corner of Foothills Blvd. and Baseline Rd. in west Roseville, CA.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll enjoy the clean, attractive dining room, and the pleasant, Mexican decor. Note the dining room furniture is sparse, and the bar is closed, thanks to the "social distancing" during the days of the COVID-19 virus thing.
Like most taquerias, El Azteca Taqueria operates on what I call the "taqueria format" in that you make your selection from the menu above the order counter, pay for your selection, and in return, you receive a number and a receipt. You sit yourself at the table of your choice, and when your order is ready, it will be brought to you. Most meals include chips and salsa, but forewarned, as you need to ask.
I paid for my meal by credit card, as I was low on cash, and automatically left a $5.00 tip, which later I would regret...
Photo: As you enter the dining room, a cheery sign greets you advertising Tecate beer specials. I'm not sure what $11.00 gets you, as that would seem to be a steep price for a beer, even for a beer as fine as Tecate is...
Actually, what is a "T & T?" It sounds interesting and there is nothing more that I love than Mariachi or "banda" music.
Photo: This unfriendly sign greeted me, as it was posted at the order counter, where my masked order taker, and later proved to be my very unfriendly server, took my order, behind a shield of plexiglass. I should have read this sign, heeded the warning, walked out the door, and headed across the street to Mi Tierra Taqueria, located across Baseline Road.
Please correct my ignorance, as how to you attempt to eat, and enjoy your meal while wearing a mask?
I ignored the warning, and I entered the restaurant without a mask - as I'm a free and law-abiding citizen, I refuse to be "dehumanized - and I wasn't challenged by the staff. In retrospect, I wish they would have challenged me, as I would have walked out the door, and gone to a friendlier restaurant. As you'll read later in this posting, my dining experience turned out to less than pleasurable.
Photo: Unlike many Mexican restaurants that operate on the "taqueria format," El Azteca Taqueria features a printed menu, and in these days of the virus scare, the restaurant features a restaurant that you can actually hold.
Photo: The second page of the menu offers all of your Mexican favorites. If you're a fan of chips and salsa, like I am, choose carefully, as not all menu selections offer chips and salsa.
Photo: Shortly after the 10:30 in the morning opening time on this Friday morning the large dining room is sparsely seated.
Photo: I picked a high table, "barstool high," against the far wall and got a glimpse into the kitchen, as my server was preparing my chips and salsa.
Photo: I ordered a large Pacifico beer, which always works with good Mexican food. Chips and salsa are included with "Combination Plates," and my masked server brings my chips and salsa to the table.
Photo: A trademark of El Azteca Taqueria is they serve a bowl of salsa, nestled in a basket of fresh, in-house made tortilla chips. The salsa is freshly made and simply delicious, the flavors are carefully blended, and it's as good as salsa gets. The chips are fresh, warm, crispy and great. This makes a perfect appetizer to an enjoyable meal!
Photo: Note the bar is closed, as my masked and gloved hostess - she mumbled her name and I "think" it's Elena - brings my "Combination #12" lunch to my seat at the tall, "bar-style" table against the far wall of the restaurant.
Note how my "unfriendly" hostess strategically places the plate to hide her masked face? She's an attractive "20-something" girl... what is she ashamed of and what is she attempting to hide?
She took my order at he counter, and I presented my business card to her, and I told her my "mission" was to eat, to take photos, and to post a write-up on this web site, Facebook along with Yelp. At the counter, she seemed "OK" with it... if she wasn't comfortable with my photo taking, why didn't she just say so at the time. I would have simply said, "OK," and headed across the street to a friendlier Mexican restaurant.
I regret that I paid for my meal by credit card, and left a tip in advance, as her attitude did not deserve a tip.
To the credit of the restaurant, and the kitchen staff, my order arrived about 15 minutes after I paid for it, which is very fast and efficient.
Photo: My hostess... "Elena?" delivers my lunch to my table, hiding behind a mask and gloves.
Here's where is gets good... as after placing my food on the table, she asked, "Did you take my photo?" I said "Yes, I did" and she DEMANDED to see the photo, and DEMANDED for me to erase it!!! Yes... the word DEMANDED is correct!
I simply laughed at her, and I suggested she call her boss over to my table, get a search warrant for my camera, or call the police. Before she left, I reminded her that I planned to post my dining experience this web site, Facebook and Yelp, and that her "attitude" would cost the restaurant a star or two. She didn't seem to comprehend what I was talking about, or maybe she was too frazzled, but she left in a huff, never to return.
Customer service at El Azteca Taqueria? What is that?
I am truly sorry that I left a $5.00 tip in advance, as if I had paid cash, I probably would have left a tip of a few pennies, just to remind this gal of her "customer" skills...
Photo: Thanks to a friendly fellow diner, I pose for the camera, before enjoying my delicious lunch. El Azteca Taqueria serves delicious authentic Mexican cuisine, but the staff, and the service can be sketchy.
Photo: From the "Combination Plates" section of the menu, I ordered a #12, which, like all "combos" include rice, beans and a side salad. With the tamale you have your choice of chicken or pork for the meat, and I went with pork.
The tamale, rice, refried beans and the salad arrived together on a large plate, while the chili relleno arrived separately, on a small plate, which made for an attractive presentation.
Photo: The main plate, complete with refried beans, Mexican rice, side salad, and a pork tamale. Note all of the delicious sauce from the tamale, which I scooped up with tortilla chips. Delicious!
You can choose between pork or chicken for your tamale, and I chose pork, which was an outstanding choice, as the tamale was absolutely delicious. It had the perfect balance between the masa crush, the meat filling, and the savory, red sauce. The tamale was "plated" bare, not in a corn husk, as customary, and drizzled with Mexican cheese. The masa was tasty, chewy and perfectly cooked, and the pork filling was juicy and tender. Every bite of this tamale was a Mexican taste sensation... El Azteca Taqueria knows how to make tamales!
I love refried beans... no... I LOVE refried beans... and my side of refried beans was simply amazing, and complimented my fine lunch. Shhhh... don't tell the "health police," but I could taste lard in the refried beans, which gave them the "earthy" taste that superior refried beans possess, and is what you'll find when you visit northern Mexico. Like the tamale, the beans were drizzled with Mexican cheese, which added to the taste sensation of this delicious lunch.
Mexican rice came as a side, and it was delicious, but nothing to rave about. The side salad was simply fresh shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and sprinkled with anjo cheese, which made for an excellent side.
Photo: The "star" of my lunch, the "Chili Relleno" arrived on a separate plate from the majority of my lunch, which made for an interesting presentation and a "foodie" lunch sensation.
Let's see... when was the last time I enjoyed a chili relleno...? It's been a long time, so I was overdue, and when this amazing dish was presented to me, I wasn't disappointed.
The large poblano chili pepper arrived deep fried to a perfect, golden brown, and stuffed with Mexican cheese and onion. There were chili pepper slices on top of the relleno, and the amazing creation was covered with tasty chili sauce, along with melted Mexican cheese. The entree was delicious, tasty, but not at all spicy... just plain delicious. This is one of the best chili rellenos that I've enjoyed in many years!
Including my lunch, the beer and state sales tax, the "price of admission" came to a whopping $23.72! Since I paid on credit card, in advance, I added a $5.00 tip for a grand total of a whopping $28.72!. I truly wish that I would have paid cash, as my unfriendly server didn't deserve a tip, due to her bad manners, and her unfriendly attitude. I truly regret that I gave her a tip in advance, as she certainly didn't deserve it.
My lunch was simply delicious, but, thanks to the "attitude" of my server, I left the restaurant with a very bad taste in my mouth, and I most likely won't ever return, as there are many "friendlier" Mexican restaurants in Roseville, and west Placer County that welcome my photos, and my reviews on this web site, Facebook and Yelp..
Hasta la vista, baby...
Let's go Sunday, April 10, 2016, when I enjoyed a delicious lunch of "Tacos de Cabeza" at El Azteca Taqueria...
Photo: Another day, another time, as it's Sunday, April 10, 2016, and I've arrived at El Azteca Taqueria, located in Roseville, CA, to enjoy a delicious lunch. My friendly, but shy server delivers my plate of "Tacos de Cabeza" to me with a somber smile.
Photo: Thanks for taking my photo, as I prepare to enjoy a delicious lunch of two "Tacos de Cabeza," along with chips, salsa, and a large mug of Pacifico beer. All "dine-in" meals include chips and salsa, which is a nice touch, and is certainly appreciated.
Photo: From the "Corn Tacos" section of the menu, I ordered two "Tacos de Cabeza," along with a large mug of Pacifico beer. Chips and salsa come with every "dine-in" meal and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a small bowl of salsa verde on the side.
The word "cabeza" in Spanish literally means "head," but "Tacos de Cabeza" are normally made from cheek meat, as was in the case with today's lunch. The word "buches" also applies... Grammar aside, the meat was marinated and cooked to perfection, juicy and tender. As like you'll find on the streets of any Mexican city, the meat was placed on two toasted corn tortillas, and garnished with chopped cilantro, white onion, along with a radish on the side. Delicious!
Let's travel back to Sunday, August 11, 2013, when I enjoyed a late morning breakfast of menudo at El Azteca Taqueria.
Photo: When it comes to service, El Azteca Taqueria is very "hit or miss," as my shy server delivers my giant bowl to my seat at the bar, and reluctantly allows me to take her photo. It's about 11 in the morning on Sunday, August 11, 2013, and I'm sitting at the bar, and I'm ready to enjoy an amazing breakfast of menudo, chips and salsa. The mug of beer makes it all the better!
Photo: It's a Sunday morning, and what better dish could you imagine than a GIANT bowl of delicious menudo, served at El Azteca Taqueria?
The bowl of menudo is GIGANTIC and arrives steaming hot from the kitchen. This is your quintessential "classic" menudo, as enjoyed in northern Mexico, as it features a savory brick-red chili pepper broth, lots of juicy, tender tripe, and hominy. This is a "classic" bowl of menudo, and is a good as menudo gets! Included garnishes include a lemon slice, along with diced cilantro and white onion. As in the other meals, a chips and salsa are included.
The large mug of Modelo beer is optional, of course, but it's a welcome addition to this fine meal. Such a great Sunday morning breakfast!
And finally, I celebrate my 30th year working at AT&T at El Azteca Taqueria, with family, friends and co-workers...
We've been living in Roseville for over 12 years, and when we're in the mood to take a trip to Mexico, and enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, we only have to travel a little over a mile to spend some time at El Azteca Taqueria. On Saturday, June 25, 2011, I celebrated my 30th service anniversary lunch (dinner) at El Azteca Taqueria, since I love Mexican food, and El Azteca Taqueria serves some of the best, authentic Mexican food that Roseville, CA has to offer...
Photo: El Azteca Taqueria is located in a West Roseville strip mall, located between Bel Air Super Market and Rite Aid Pharmacy, and offers plenty of free, available, and friendly parking.
Photo: At El Azteca, the format is that you walk in, order from the counter, pay for your food, sit down at your table, and your friendly server will place your food on your table. Tips are optional, but highly recommended, to reward the friendly staff.
Photo: Are you in Roseville, CA, or Rosario, BC??? El Azteca Taqueria is very Mexican-authentic, and serves some of the best Mexican food that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy in Northern California. Spanish is the language of choice at El Azteca, but your English will work... open the door of the restaurant, and you're in Mexico... Viva El Azteca! The photo shows the comfortable dining room, and the corner of the full-service bar. Yes, the bar offers large Margaritas, but since this was a quasi-company function, today was a largely dry gathering.
Photo: Our friendly server, Maria, takes Dan's order, as Sharlene, Samantha, Jack, Robert, Glenda and Teri ponder the menu, and what they plan to order.
Photo: Sean looks HAPPY!!! as Maria places orders on the table. I guess that Sean is anticipating his fine meal that he's just ordered from Maria.
Photo: Smiling Maria delivers food to our table. El Azteca Taqueria serves authentic Mexican cuisine, and the restaurant is as close to Mexico as you'll come to in Roseville.
Photo: Maria delivers a steaming hot burrito to Dan, as she holds Sean's steaming hot plate of fajitas away from her, as she concentrates on serving Dan.
Photo: Sharlene's combination plate of enchiladas, rice, refried beans, salad and guacamole.
Photo: Friends... since it was my party, I had to go "all out" in my order, so I ordered a "Carne Asada Platter" of Azteca's delicious refried beans, rice, salad, guacamole, an extra side of guacamole, carne asada, and an order of corn tortillas on the side. Look at the presentation... the food tasted even better than it looks in the photo. All I can say is that El Azteca Taqueria serves delicious Mexican food!
Photo: On this Saturday, 25 June, 2011, I'm celebrating my 30-year service anniversary with AT&T, with family and friends and the folks you see in this photo are some of my nearest and dearest family and friends... thanks to AT&T...I love everybody in this photo... all twelve of us! To be honest, the company only allowed my $200.00 for my event, so I had to winnow the field... there were so many people that I had to leave out... Anyway, from left to right: Tim Pelfrey, my son-in-law, his wife, Casey, my step-daughter, my wife, Sharlene, me... Eric Rench, Samantha Lauer, Bev MacLeod seems to be hiding somewhere and is now shown in the photo... Dan MacLeod, Jack Lauer, Robert Kipperman, Glenda Kipperman, Teri McCloud and Sean McCloud.
Photo: My boss, Jack Lauer, presents me with a plaque that reads, among other things, "Eric T. Rench 30 Years of Service." He gave a little speech and made me feel simple, emotional, reflective, and a lot more... but it brought tears to my eyes, as it was TOTALLY unexpected. Thanks to a great boss, Jack, and a great company, AT&T, that has made me grow and prosper for the last 30 years. Wow! It has been quite a ride over the last 30 years with AT&T....
El Azteca Taqueria serves delicious, authentic, Mexican cuisine, with fresh ingredients, prepared, in-house... they don't use cans!!! The folks are friendly, and they treat you like family. You can leave your English at the door, as Spanish is the primary language spoken at El Azteca, but most of the staff speak English, so you won't wither on the vine if you don't speak Spanish. El Azteca Taqueria offers great food, authentic Mexican cuisine, great prices, and friendly staff; I was honored to enjoy my 30-year anniversary meal at El Azteca Taqueria, after slaving away at work for all these years... to be treated to such a delicious feast, and to enjoy the fine company of family and friends.
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