Best of Kapolei: Taco Tuesday @ El Mariachi

Why are street tacos wildly popular? They’re inexpensive, you can mix it up by trying different meats, and they come out fast.

At El Mariachi’s Taco Tuesday you can enjoy the street taco phenomenon plus get table service and beer. The tacos are still at street taco prices: Two bucks each.

What: Taco Tuesday at El Mariachi
Where: Kapolei Shopping Center
Why: Street-style tacos and good Mexican beer

Street tacos start with a small corn tortilla, your choice of meat, and an aromatic mix of onions and cilantro.

At El Mariachi, they have several different meat options — these are the ones we tried:

  • Carne Asada (marinated, grilled beef)
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pork
  • Shredded Beef
  • Shredded Chicken

We tried two of each. Things that can go wrong with street tacos are: The meat is really tough and low-quality. Or, the meat is really wet, and it disintegrates the tortillas.

Neither was a problem at El Mariachi. The meat had terrific flavor — especially the carne asada, the pork, and the grilled chicken, and the tortillas held up to the more moist shredded beef.

If you want something to wash down your tacos, El Mariachi has an excellent selection of Mexican beer, including Sol, a bright lager that can be hard to find.

The wait staff is very attentive, always walking around — they don’t seem to mind if you signal them to order more. We did two separate rounds of tacos and two orders of beer.

The patrons were a complete mix — from families with kids to couples on date night. The decor will look familiar if you’re a Mexican restaurant connoisseur. And they had Mexican music playing. It reminded my me and my wife of two other Mexican places we really enjoyed on road trips on the mainland, one in Winnemucca, Nevada and another in Yakima, Washington.

We ended up having 10 tacos, though we agreed that 8 would’ve been enough. On another trip, we only had 6 — but were hungry later that night.

So eight is the magic number — that’s 16 bucks on dinner for two.

El Mariachi is open until 8pm on Tuesdays.