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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Mon–Fri 7:00am–10:00pm
Sat 8:00am–10:00pm
Sun 8:00am–8:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

South Lamar
2803 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 804-2474
These authentic and intoxicating flavors are no joke

If you love Azul Tequila, get down to Papalote, their taquería in the slow-forming Austinville plaza on South Lamar. It’s a pretty typical strip-mall affair, with a couple tables inside and out, and beverages in coolers, but the gray-blue cinderblock room warmly pays homage to some of Mexico’s great comedians in framed movie posters and caricatures. The menu continues this with a section of street-food tacos named after Juan Camaney, their version of John Belushi. It’s at first a confusing splatter of fonts and colors, but there’s a pattern. The left and right columns are all tacos—Los Guisados, on the left, represent more gourmet fillings: puerco en pipián, hongos y epazote (mushroomy and a nicely funky herb), and tilapia (fishy, but with great cabbage crunch and queso fresco creaminess).

The right side, De La Plaza, denotes the territory that few Americans dare wander into, but those that do are rewarded with chewy-hot chicharrones, the musky savoriness of lengua, and chorizo—the kind with a razor-sharp kick beneath all the spice. Delivery systems include homemade corn tortillas, soft griddled masa sopes, and large, fluffy tortas on good bread. If you’re into the pineapple-heavy form of al pastor, you’re in for a treat, but we love the earthy-tangy chile flavor of nuclear-orange cecina. It’s so good and juicy that we never even crack open the excellent red and green salsas; we just bring them to parties and pretend we made it. Joke’s on them.

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