The second annual Oak Cliff Film Festival kicks off Thursday, June 6, and it promises to outdo the inaugural edition. Not only will there be events hosted at the Texas Theatre, the Kessler Theather, Bishop Arts Theater and the Belmont Hotel, there will be myriad events of all shenanigan levels. Croquet will go down on the Turner House lawn and Oak Cliff’s Small Brew housemates will take one step closer to opening their Small Brew Pub with a pop-up at Jefferson Tower. The Capture the Flag Bike Ride rolls out from the Texas on Saturday evening. And like the film festival, the neighborhood’s taco options have changed and evolved. Here are my picks for those looking to get a taco fix in the Cliff.
Cool & Hot, 930A E. 8th St., 214-944-5330
This converted gas station and car wash makes their corn tortillas in house and serves the best breakfast tacos south of the Trinity. The mouth-puckering barbacoa on a diminutive flour tortilla alone is the ideal first stop on your daily film festival itinerary. The chorizo and egg taco packs a delightful soft slap of heat.
Taquería Tiquicheo, 110 S. Marsalis Ave., Ste. A, 214-941-4300
This small, cash-only joint serves fierce pollo deshebrada, chicken stewed and shredded. Tiquicheo’s version is prepared with tomatoes and chilies and nestled in house-made tortillas. Temper the heat with a Mexican Coke.
El Pueblo Restaurant, 525 E. Jefferson Blvd., 214-946-3070
This corner joint serves the best carnitas in Oak Cliff with a side of unhurried service.
El Tizoncito Taqueria, 3404 W. Illinois Ave., Ste. 100, 214-330-0839
This small Dallas chain’s original location sits at the corner of Westmoreland and Illinois, serving classic Mexico City tacos al pastor from a trompo, mischievously sloppy choriqueso that marries cheese and chorizo on a bed of three flour tortillas as well as a full menu of Mexican fare.
Los Torres Taqueria, 1322 W. Clarendon Dr., 214-946-3770
This mom-and-pop shop is something special. It’s the only Sinaloan restaurant in Dallas—so far—and it has never failed when it comes to incredible northern Mexican dishes like gamey goat birria de chivo, luscious cabeza (a mix of beef cheek and tongue) and barbacoa roja estilo Sinaloa, which has pork and beef in every exquisite bite. True to the state of origin, order your tacos in handmade flour tortillas. But if you insist, at least request the handmade corn tortillas.
Gonzalez Restaurant, 367 W. Jefferson Blvd., 214-946-5333
At the base of Jefferson Tower, diners will find the crispy tacos they only crispy tacos should be done: fried to order. The delicate, light, not-greasy treats are a wonder of Dallas.
Mi Tierrita Taqueria y Pupuseria, 2838 W. Davis St., 214-333-2300
You’ll probably find yourself at Tradewinds Social Club after a long night of screenings. And when you do, soak up the cheap, friendly booze with mammoth tacos campechanas and the bantam piratas, both specialties of Monterrey, Mexico—and both with cheese in flour tortillas. Order a couple knockout tacos de trompo or go for the hamburguesa estilo Monterrey, the trompoburger.
Cafeteria y Loncheria El Padrino, 408 W. Jefferson Blvd., 214-943-3993
The squat brown building has served locals for more than two decades has a tiny L-shaped dining room and solid offerings, a short walk from the Texas.
Mi Fondita Restaurant, 839 W. Jefferson Blvd., 214-941-1141
Around the corner from the Bishop Arts Theater is where I’ve had my favorite chorizo to date. It’s a a throat-coating spicy and nutty antojito far from the desiccated pebbles wrapped in cracked (yet greasy) yellow corn tortillas so often accepted as the standard. The barbacoa here is velvety and punctuated with fat. But they do not come in advertised handmade tortillas. The only way to get those is to order a platter. If you’re lucky, the owners will set up a trompo on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.