This little restaurant has a lot of spice and it’s in more than just the food. El Cocinera Tacos and Tequila is a restaurant that you will want to check out – especially if you are a foodie and love to try different things.
The exterior design of the restaurant is very under-whelming and simplistic, and this minimalistic approach continues on the interior. However, the decorations add just enough style to give the place a nice cozy feel.
Long ceiling lamps hang over the tables and booths along the walls. They are sparingly accompanied by hovering bright shining starts in the corners of the room. Each table is adorned with small cactus plants surrounded by wooden chairs with black seat covers.
The restaurant, at the corner of Gadsden and East Tennessee streets, seems to be themed after a dry hot desert to emphasize its spicy meal options. The restaurant’s name is even placed on top of a skull crossed with kitchen knives.
This spicy theme continues into the menu options, which feature simpler Hispanic meals that provide a deliciously spicy insight into the Hispanic culture. The menu's main focus is tacos and tortas, burritos and beans and rice bowls.
I was more than enthused by the menu and the prices. I ordered three tacos; the crispy avocado with maduros, pico de gallo, lime cream, and cilantros. The chicken tinga made with chipotle chicken, poblano crema, and jalapeños. My last taco was the blackened fish with plantain chips, pickled mango and habanero salsa and cilantro.
I also ordered a steak torta, which was by far my favorite item on the ticket. The breading had just enough thickness to it and was not too overwhelming, the American cheese was layered perfectly and it had a nice kick to it with smoked jalapeños, peppers and onions.
The dessert was a little disappointing because the churros and stole arrived with my meal and the churros were undercooked and the thickened chocolate was less chocolatey than I anticipated.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. The staff was pleasant and prompt – though it lacked diversity for a Hispanic restaurant. it was a very comfortable environment.
There is no need to worry about parking El Cocinera, as the restaurant has its own parking lot that is fitting for the size of the restaurant.
El Cocinera is also a sister eatery to Liberty Bar and Restaurant and The Hawthorn, under the Seven Hills Hospitality Group.