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El Chilito

Austin TX (NE Austin)

2219 manor dr, austin TX 78722
mon-fri 7am-10pm, sat 8am-10pm, sun 8am-9pm

El Chilito

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Rating: 86
Price: $$$

El Chilito was the second stop in my Texan breakfast taco odyssey on the recommendation of my business associate Richard. They're located on a nice corner in an otherwise fairly residential neighborhood. When I showed up, there was a guy in an full-body hot dog costume drinking beer at one of the picnic table (keep in mind, this was at 11AM - though it was Super Bowl Sunday). Nearby, a drunk man and non-drunk child were playing on a teeter-totter. Such clear and promising omens I have never before witnessed on a taco mission.

El Chilito, like Torchy's, has gourmet tacos - lots of options for fillings, toppings, and concepts. Thanks to business advisor Adrienne's recommendations, I came to Austin with a single-minded focus on breakfast tacos, so that quickly eliminated ¾ of my options. Of the remaining tacos, I could get a pretty basic taco for $1.69, but I decided to go with a couple local specialties, so I got one Migas taco (migas is, from my understanding, tortilla chips cooked into eggs) and one Charlie's Special (features chorizo!) on flour tortillas. Thankfully, Richard informed me you have to specially request salsa at El Chilito, so be on guard for that - definitely a strange custom, but one that every visitor should be prepared for.

I have yet to consume a breakfast taco I dislike. El Chilito's tacos were hearty, eggy, and delicious. I can see why business advisor Adrienne is such a strong proponent of the flour tortilla - they are chewy and flavorful enough to complement that soft eggy flavor perfectly. The chorizo was not spectacular, but also not bad - I think they could upgrade the spiciness level a bit. Similarly, the dark salsa was almost flavorless when matched up against the strong egg. The contrast between my two tacos here drove home the point that cheese is one of the most essential elements of a breakfast taco. It not only provides a degree of cohesiveness, but also (when you choose the right cheese) has a tangy enough flavor to shine above the dominant egg. Overall, I'd rate El Chilito a bit below Torchy's due to inferior salsa and fewer options.

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