Atlanta Dining: Crawling The Buford Taco Highway

Atlanta’s Buford Highway is the ultimate foodie ethnic eats drag — here you’ll find scores of Mexican and Asian eateries, all of which have something special to offer. To help us narrow down the sheer multitude of places and keep us centered on good food, I enlisted the help of Jennifer Zyman, the Blissful Glutton, Atlanta INtown food columnist and one of Atlanta’s top food bloggers.

Buford Highway on the outskirts of Atlanta is the best place for cheap ethnic eats and shopping. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Having decided to pass on some particularly bad catered Bar Mitzvah food on Saturday evening, on Jennifer’s recommendation I hit El Rey Del Taco, a 24-hour Mexican diner specializing in tacos made with freshly made tortillas.

El Rey Del Taco
5288 Buford Highway, Atlanta GA
(770) 986-0032

Click Here for Hi-Res Slide Show and More Photos (Part 1)

El Rey Del Taco on Buford Highway, on a rainy, hot August evening.

I just liked this weird shot for some reason.

Hey, Gordo! You Gonna Order Something?

Assorted Mini-Tacquitos.

El Menu

Taco Extreme Closeup

Quesadilla de Chorizo con Papas (Spicy Sausage with Potatoes)

This is the lady that makes the tortillas on the tacos to order.

Torta Milanesa de Pollo (Chicken Cutlet Sandwich). One of the best I’ve ever had, no doubt.

This is a Coctel de Mariscos (Seafood Cocktail) destined for another table.

Chef Liu
5221 Buford Highway (Pine Tree Plaza), Atlanta GA
(770) 936-0532

Click Here For Slideshow and More Photos (Part 2)

The following morning we met up with Jennifer to do a bit of crawling down Buford and to engage in more Taco consumption. But I wanted to break it up a bit, so we decided to have some Dim Sum first. Just down the street from El Rey Del Taco is Chef Liu, a diminutive Shanghainese restaurant specializing in XiaoLongBao, aka Soup Dumplings.

Chef Liu Restaurant in Pine Tree Plaza on Buford Highway.

The dining room is tight and tiny — but it’s well worth the claustrophobic accommodations for dumplings this good.

Chef Liu Menu.

I love it when they have pictures of the food in the restaurant.

Leek Pie, which we thought was excellent and even better than our favorite one back home.

XiaoLongBao dumplings, which were smallish and not exploding with juice like their New York Chinatown counterparts, but we pronounced them good. They came out piping hot steamy and hit the spot.

Lamb Jiaozi dumplings, which I thought were slightly gamey tasting but they were still very good.

Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Dumpling. Greasy, but good.

Cold Sesame Noodle, Jennifer’s favorite. These are doughier than the ones we have in New York but they were very tasty.

Chicago Supermercado
5263 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta GA
(770) 452-1361

Next we headed over to Chicago Supermarket, a massive Mexican grocery store with a full-blown tacqueria attached to the butcher shop. Like El Rey Del Taco just down the road, they also make their own fresh tortillas for the tacos. The difference here is they actually grind the masa from the raw kernels, rather than make tortillas from pre-ground masa.

Corn kernels in the hopper, ready for grinding.

All kinds of pre-prepared Mexican foods such as roasted meats and deep fried items are ready for take-out.

Unlike all the other Coke sold in Atlanta, this stuff really is the Real Thing.

Now that’s what I call a pile of Chicharrones (fried pork skins)

Carne De Res tacos. Fresh and delicious.

Carne De Res Taco with Chile De Arbol hot sauce. Holy Frijoles was that freaking spicy!

Gordita, a deep fried hockey puck of Masa Harina filled with cheese.

Gordita closeup.

El Pastor
5094 Buford Highway, Doraville GA
(770) 451-4139

Completing our Buford Highway taco crawl was another Blissful Glutton fave, El Pastor. This restaurant specializes in Tacos Al Pastor, sort of a Mexican version of Shwarma or Gyro. It’s my understanding that this method of cooking meat was actually an import from the Middle East into Mexico, and the Mexicans adapted it and made it their own.

El Pastor on Buford Highway in Doraville.

El Pastor interior

The meat spit at El Pastor.

El Pastor serves the most massive glasses of Coke I’ve ever seen.

Tacos Al Pastor, with spit-roasted sliced pork and grilled pineapple.

Tacos Al Pastor closeup.

11 Responses to Atlanta Dining: Crawling The Buford Taco Highway

  1. Du says:

    I’ve never had pinapple in a pastor taco. Looks interesting.

  2. Melissa says:

    Jason, the photographs are absolutely magnificent! You document everything so nicely …

  3. A spit stacked with pastor meat is a sight to behold. I’m so bummed we can’t find any places like that here in Portland.

  4. daedalus says:

    I noticed lamb soup on the Chinese menu. Never tried it but I’d like to. Lamb soup from internet –>>

  5. […] Atlanta Dining: Crawling The Buford Taco Highway Atlanta’s Buford Highway is the ultimate foodie ethnic eats drag — here you’ll find scores of Mexican […] […]

  6. paris221966 says:

    Mmmm, I Love Mexican food!! Great photos ~


  7. frostyjoe says:

    Excellent photos. I am always interested in how Atlanta’s asian cuisine compairs to New York and Chicago.

  8. […] for us, we found the perfect place.  After getting some advice from Jason Perlow’s blog (Off the Broiler) that we found off Google, we made our trek to Chamblee.  El Rey Del Taco is a 24 hour Mexican […]

  9. Robert says:

    Have you had a taco at Holy Taco?
    I went to el Ray yesterday for lunch good food and very nice staff and its 24hrs

  10. BERUSHKA says:

    a mexican girl also says BRAVO!!!! for ur great photos….

  11. […] Supermarket in Pine Tree Plaza on Buford Highway. Jason Perlow (a blogger from New Jersey who runs Off The Broiler and is the founder of egullet) was in town with his wife, Rachel and asked yours truly to show them […]

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