Taqueria La Original: a taqueria option for the north side
It should come as no surprise that we love Taquerias here at EatAroundOKC. Over the years, we’ve brought many of Oklahoma City’s lesser-known but amazingly tasty taquerias and taco trucks into the spotlight including Taqueria Los Comales (one of the highest-rated restaurants on our site), Taqueria Los Desvelados, Taqueria Sanchez, Chalo’s Tacos and many more.
The majority of these tasty gems tend to be located in South Oklahoma City, but recently, we’ve seen more of them opening on the north side. Taqueria La Original is one of these new, north-side taqueria options. They’re currently open at NW 10th and Rockwell and they will soon be opening a second location near Sante Fe and Memorial Road. That’s great taqueria news for those who live farther north.
Taqueria La Original is a straight-out, authentic taqueria. If you’re unfamiliar with what makes a good taqueria, be sure to check out some of our other taqueria reviews. The service at La Original is very friendly and, at least the times I’ve been there, there’s been no language barrier for non-Spanish-speakers like me as the guy at the counter spoke fluent English.
La Original does all of the basics well, but what really sets them apart is their focus on their meats. In my opinion, the meats they serve have an edge over many of the other places. And since the meats really are the focus of a taqueria-style taco, this is a great thing.
If you ask them what’s good, they’ll tell you the pork (carnitas) is their specialty, and I’d have to agree. The first time I ate there, it was quite possibly the best carnitas I’ve had (see a pic). The meat was moist but not overly fatty or greasy. It looked and tasted great. The second time I went, it had just a little more of the typical carnitas fat, but it was still very good.
I also thought the barbacoa was exceptional (see a pic). Most barbacoa I’ve had has been extremely fatty and greasy, but at La Original, it was anything but. Still moist and with a deep, intriguing flavor, this meat may have surpassed the carnitas for me.
When you order your tacos, they’ll ask you if you want the sauces. They have a red and a green sauce and they can mix either one or both of them in with the meats when they prepare your taco. I’ve always just had them put the sauces on the side. I didn’t really like the red sauce that much, but the green sauce was great. In a future visit, I’m going to have to try having them mix the green sauce in for me and see how that affects things. For your first visit, I recommend getting the sauces on the side so you can taste the meats on their own.
On my second visit, I brought my eight year old son with me. Now, my son is a fairly picky eater, but he loves meat so I figured this was a great place for him. I also intrigued him by telling him he could eat some cow tongue. To my surprise, he was all up for it. So, we tried the lengua.
I’ve only had lengua once before and I remember it being thin, a little tough, and with a rough texture from what I can only imagine are the taste buds. But the lengua at La Original was thick, smooth-textured, extremely tender, and with a rich flavor much like roast beef. My son said he liked it, though he prefered the carne asada and the barbacoa. The softer texture of the lengua took some getting used to, but the flavor of it here was really good.
Like most taquerias, chips don’t come for free here. But that’s because, at least here at La Original, they are frying them up fresh when you order them. I got some chips for my son and myself. They aren’t cheap at $2.50 for a basket, but they were some of the best chips we’d had (see a pic). The chips are also served with the same red and green sauces used on the tacos.
Speaking of pricing, Taqueria La Original is on the high side for taqueria tacos. It’s $1.65 per taco. Now, that’s still a good deal, but compare it to $1.50 at Los Comales, $1.25 at places like Chalo’s and $1 or less at many of the taco trucks around. I think the little bit of premium is worth it given the care they are putting into their meats and the fact that their tacos include more meat than places like Chalo’s, but it’s just something to keep in mind.
La Original also sells their meats by the pound, which is a great option if you want to take it home and make your own tacos or use it however you wish.
They also serve Aguas Frescas. Their pina (pineapple) and horchata (rice milk) are homemade. If you’ve never tried aguas frescas, you should give it a go just to see what you think. I’ve had the pina here twice and really enjoyed it. Horchata is also great and is like nothing else you’ve ever tasted.
There’s only one thing I wish Taqueria La Original could add to their menu — breakfast tacos. There are far too few breakfast taco options in town. Maybe one day …
Taqueria La Original is a great addition to Oklahoma City’s already delightful selection of taquerias. The fact that they are expanding into some locations that don’t offer many taqueria options is a great thing, in my opinion. Hopefully, they’ll find some success and encourage other taqueria operators to do the same.
See more photos from Taqueria La Original in our Facebook photo album.