Abel’s Mexican Restaurant: the Taqueria / Okla-Mex combo
Abel’s is one of those places I have driven past for awhile, but I have never bothered to stop. So, one weekend with family in town, we decided on a whim to try it because it was one of a few places open on a holiday. When I called to ask how late they were open, they said – oh, maybe 7, maybe 8, it just depends. I knew already I would like the place.
Upon entering the orange building, we were seated next to a wall painted with beautiful panoramas, and were immediately provided chips, salsa and queso. I’ve had better queso (it is, as Andrew used to say, your typical “cheese jelly”), but the chips were warm and the salsa was fresh. They even have a couple of other salsa options if you ask for them. The green salsa is smoky and delicious.
My Mom and cousin ordered their chicken taco salad and veggie taco salad ($7.29 each), and they looked like your pretty standard Okla-Mex taco salad dishes. Other members of the family chose from the lunch menu ($1 extra in the evenings), going with the Enchiladas ($7.29), Fajitas ($8.99 – see a picture) and Quesadilla ($7.99). All reported in with good things to say. I think I hit the jackpot, however, with the Tacos Calvillo ($9.99 – see a picture). This is a dish of five steak tacos topped with cilantro, onion, lettuce and special salsa. It was delicious and kept the taste buds tingling. And it was more than enough for me to let everyone have a taste.
So, you’ve got basic Okla-Mex fare mixed in with amazing dishes like the Tacos Cavillo. This is why Abel’s is such an interesting place. They offer a lot of the things we’ve all come to expect from our standard Okla-mex restaurants — free chips, salsa, and queso along with the standard dishes — but then they also offer the options you’ll typically find only at Mexican taquerias or more authentic Mexican restaurants, which are most often found in south OKC and are harder to find in Warr Acres.
The Tacos Calvillo are essentially street tacos, and very good ones at that. Abel says the tortillas used are made especially for him with his own recipe and they are, indeed, thicker and softer than what you typically get. This, plus the meat is just about the best taqueria steak ever. That said, at $10 for five (or $2 each) they are a bit more than most taquerias (for example, Chalos Tacos sells similar-sized tacos for $1.35 each just down the street), but at Abels you are getting the whole Okla-Mex set up to go along with them.
Abel’s also offers taqueria-style street tacos of many types, sold individually. They’re not on the menu, but are instead written on a big sign on the wall, and I had to ask about the pricing. They cost $1.25 each if you get them to go and $1.75 each if you dine in (since you get all the chips and everything when dining in). They have all the meats you would expect from a taqueria including marinated pork, steak, barbacoa, tripe, tongue … etc. So, as you can see, Abel’s truly is a full-on taqueria.
Abel’s also has an extensive seafood menu with a lot of dishes you won’t find at most Okla-Mex restaurants like the Caldo De Pescado (fish soup – $11.99) and 7 Mares (just about every kind of seafood mixed into a soup – $13.59). I haven’t tried these, but have heard from several people that they are very good. I look forward to exploring more of these options in the future.
And to top it all off, they offer aguas frescas including pineapple, canteloupe, horchata (rice milk), tamarind, strawberry and more at $2.50 for a 32oz glass. Now, this is something that is rare to find this far north in our city and if you haven’t given aguas frescas a try, I highly recommend stopping by for one. At Abel’s, they are all made onsite using real fruit juices.
The service at Abel’s was outstanding, and except for a few determined flies, we had a great time. Plus, you’re likely to get to meet Abel, who comes out from the kitchen every so often to talk with the guests. Tim even got a picture with him when he went (see the picture). It’s worth the trip just to get to talk to Abel. He’s super friendly, very passionate about his restaurant, and more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
So, next time you’re in the area, stop in and give Abel’s a try. If you’ve been, let us know what you tried and what you thought by leaving a comment below.