Loco for tacos?
Since Okinawa is the birthplace of taco rice, a local take on the taco with international fame, some of the best to be had can be found almost anywhere on island. A good taco, on the other hand, well, that’s not so easy to come by.
No worries now, thanks to Tacos Café Taco Loco, which just opened in March at American Village in Mihama.
Taco Loco prides itself as an authentic Mexican café offering reasonably priced tasty tacos in an open-terrace and cozy taqueria atmosphere.
The restaurant’s signature dish is “tacos al pastor” for only 200 yen ($1.60) each.
This South American specialty, which literally means shepherd style, came to Central Mexico by way of Lebanese immigrants. A distant cousin to Turkish doner kebab or the Greek gyros, it’s made with meat carved from a huge block of pork that’s been marinated in various Mexican spices such as ancho chili and achiote for a day or two then rotisserie slow-roasted gyros style.
At Taco Loco, the freshly carved, bite-size slices of pork are added to a corn tortilla with onion, cilantro and a chunk of fresh pineapple to create an al pastor taco that is rarely seen in this part of the world – and reputedly only available at this eatery on Okinawa.
The second runner up on the menu here is a good-sized burrito for 800 yen ($6.45) that comes with your choice of chicken or pork. Taco Loco also offers quesadillas for 700 yen and 1,200 yen which come with lots of cheese and your choice of chicken or pork. It’s a favorite with many foreign customers, according to Manager Tetsuya Tsuji.
Looking to cool down on a hot Okinawan summer day? Don’t forget to try their churros ice cream for 650 yen. It’s a long churros served upright in a mound of vanilla ice cream. Kids will love it.
Barely three months have passed since Taco Loco opened its doors and it already boasts an army of regulars, locals and military community members alike, who enjoy the casual south-of-the-boarder atmosphere.
“I want customers to feel this is a laidback place to stop by,” said Tsuji. “We are very close to the beach. So, you can come in with your swimwear or you can come in just to grab a cold drink after the movie.”
At night, the bar livens up with crowds who come to hang out over a few drinks. They have 10 different kinds of tequila at the bar along with other cocktails. Occasionally, they even have a tequila special night, Tsuji said, so keep an eye out for announcements.
The restaurant seats about 20 inside and another 20 or so on the outside terrace. English menus also available.
Taco Loco is located in right in front of Mihama 7 Plex Movie Theater in American Village. It’s an ideal stop for the whole family or a casual date at the seaside shopping complex.
So why not kick back with a cold Corona and some tacos on the terrace at Taco Loco today?
Address: 9-39 Mihama, Chatan Town American Village
Open: Daily, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
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