Tacos Don Rafa is the quasi-essential late night taco run in Salt Lake City. The little taco stand epitomizes the Los Angeles and Mexico City lifestyle.
Tacos Don Rafa is a little family fun taco stand on the corner of State St in Salt Lake City. It’s next to the Sears Appliance Center and one of the few places that are open late in the Salt Lake City. They offer tacos, burritos and quesadilla. It’s a pretty standard taco stand with quality Mexican food.
I was getting hungry when I landed in Salt Lake City. I needed to pick up my rental and check into my hotel; the whole process took about an hour and a half. After dropping off my bag at the hotel, I searched nearby restaurants to find that there wasn’t many options in Salt Lake at 9 PM. I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant too long since I was heading to Park City in the morning on my one day turnaround trip to board Park City.
I found Tacos Don Rafa. I grabbed my jacket because the weather forecast had a blizzard hitting Salt Lake and Park City for that weekend. I hopped into my rental then drove up a few blocks from my hotel. Tacos Don Rafa was sitting there on the corner reminding me of taco stands in Mexico City. I was excited because it gave me some comfort on the quality of the food.
I quickly looked over the menu. It had all the usual suspects like Al Pastor, Carnitas, Lengua, Tripa, and so forth. I went with four different tacos:
- Al Pastor – I have a love for pork especially al pastor. The perfectly seasoned pork had a good kick to them due to the dry chili and spices utilized. The sweet yet tangy flavors from the pineapple perfected it.
- Carnitas – The slow braised pork had a lot flavors. The tenderness was nice. The fatty flavors was apparent due to the choice of cut and being cooked in lard.
- Lengua – Beef tongue is one of the fattest parts of the cow. It consists of buttery texture and rich flavors. It definitely tastes a lot better than it sounds.
- Chicken – The little chopped chicken thighs decently seasoned. The chicken was my least favorite of all the cuts of meats. However, the sauce definitely brought some flavor to it.
There are multiple things that make a great taco. The choice of meat, marination and the sauce. Tacos Don Rafa choices of meat and marination were solid; it could compete with some of the popular taco trucks in Los Angeles. However, the sauce is what differentiates mediocre to good to great. Tacos Don Rafa’s sauce was pretty solid. It had a really nice kick to it and the heat had me break a sweat in the middle of Salt Lake’s winter. I would definitely recommend Tacos Don Rafa when in Salt Lake City like a good chicken noodle soup.
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- Service - 5/105/10
- Presentation - 5/105/10
- Flavors - 7.5/107.5/10
- Decor - 5/105/10
- Ambiance - 6.5/106.5/10
Tacos Don Rafa is the quasi-essential late night taco run in Salt Lake City. Tacos Don Rafa choices of meat and marination were solid; it could compete with some of the popular taco trucks in Los Angeles. Tacos Don Rafa’s sauce was pretty solid.