El Trompo Mexican Taqueria – Johns Creek

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Down in Roswell you’ll find a handful of authentic Mexican restaurants in rundown digs along highway 9. They offer some cheap yet delicious eats that are often overlooked by gringos accustomed to speedy gonzalez. And I’ll admit that the menu at these places can be somewhat intimidating. Lingua? Tripe? Yikes!

El Trompo signSo I was surprised to see one of these joints open shop in affluent Johns Creek. El Trompo quietly opened back in November, flying below many new restaurant radars (including mine). And like their Roswell brothern, don’t expect fancy digs. You’ll find these guys in a small stripmall space with nary a decoration or cheesy nicknack on the wall. About the only thing to look at is a television usually tuned to soccer, in Spanish.

The menu is simple – several different kinds of meat served either as a street tacos, tortas, quesadilla or burritos. Meats include carne asada steak, chicken, carnitas (fried pork), house-made chorizo and of course the spiced pork al pastor.

Start with the street tacos on your first visit. And be forewarned, these are small. You’ll get a corn tortilla about four inches in diameter topped with the meat of your choice, onions and cilantro. Four bites and it’s history so order several. At only $1.49 each you’re not going to break the bank. Mixing and matching is encouraged.

Don’t you dare set foot in El Trompo without trying al pastor in some form. The restaurant is named for the rotating spit traditionally used to cook the spiced pork. Unfortunately theirs is hidden in the kitchen and not on display for patrons to see. The dish and technique are distantly related to sharwarma, the middle eastern delicacy you’ve hopefully tried at Alpharetta’s Jerusalem Bakery.

El Trompo’s al pastor is fabulous. It’s exploding with flavor and spice that’s somewhat tempered with the sweetness of pineapple. Drizzle a bit of salsa verde atop the taco and you’re good to go.

Or try the al pastor tortas. These are manly, two-handed sandwiches that are a bit messy yet delicious. You’ll find the pork along with lettuce, tomato and avocado strips. The bread is slightly pressed but not to the point of resembling a Cuban. I liked my torta with a wee bit of Trompo’s habanero salsa. I’m talking drops of the stuff lest you cover up every bit of flavor.

The house-made chorizo is pretty good but not as spicy as I’m accustomed to. Carne Asada also isn’t bad but plays a distant second fiddle to the pork.

El Trompo Mexican Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Avoid the fajitas. Perhaps they’re on the menu to appease less adventurous gringos. They were uninspiring. The refried beans tasted bland, in desperate need of salt. I doused my fajitas in that habanero salsa which turned things around.

All in all, El Trompo is a winner, a hidden gem in the rough waiting to be discovered. Forget what you think about Mexican cuisine and try some of these street tacos and tortas.

6 Responses to “El Trompo Mexican Taqueria – Johns Creek”

  1. Michael Strong January 31, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    I will have to try this place but also another place under the radar is Taco Mexico in Cumming. This place is great offering several unique budget friendly dishes.

  2. jimgilvin February 1, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I’m in that shopping center all the time and hadn’t noticed this place was there. Must have driven right by their front door on my way to Bubba’s Pet Emporium yesterday and didn’t even notice it. Doesn’t bode well for their visibility but if the food is that good I’ll help get the word out.

  3. Raj February 1, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Mr. Taco at the intersection of North Point Parkway and Old Milton Parkway is fantastic too. You can also go to their location in Roswell on Holcomb Bridge Road, if you are closer to that.

  4. melissa March 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    El Trompo features great mexican authentic food, something Mr taco doesnt. El Trompo has the best al pastor tacos there is in ga! Being from California I had always wanted to find a place that served real authentic food something El Trompo has accomplished.

  5. Monserrat March 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    If you want REAL authentic mexican food El Trompo is your spot. I’m from the midwest and we have the best mexican restaurants with authentic food grandmas recipes. Nothing has come close to it like El Trompo. They are clean, friendly, and food is delicious!!!

  6. Brian September 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    This place is great. Best burrito in Atlanta. No comparison to Mr. Taco. Mrtaco’s meats are pretty tough to eat. Trompo’s meats are amazing.

    You know it’s a good sign when they close on Sunday. Javier made my burrito twice and it’s amazing. I’ll be back.

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