Tortas flying under the radar

By Sara Newberry

Clockwise from top left: The Cubano at Tortas Insurgentes; the Tortuga at Aca las Tortas; pupusas on the griddle at La Pasadita. Photo by Sara Newberry

During the past couple of years, taquerias have popped up all over town. From the traditional like La Banqueta to the more upscale like Revolver Taco Lounge, there is a taco for everyone. But there are two other Latin dishes that get overlooked sometimes, which are just as satisfying as tacos that are not as ubiquitous: tortas and pupusas. Several taco places offer tortas and some, like Tortaco or EL Come, offer upscale versions. You can find pupusas at local Salvadoran restaurants like Gloria’s and Mario’s. But these are few of my favorite somewhat under-the-radar spots I like to visit when I’m not in the mood for a taco.

Aca las Tortas. The menu here is more varied than other torta places, with tacos, burritos and quesadillas on offer, but I generally stick to the sandwiches. The Tortuga is my favorite; my husband likes the Cubano. There’s complimentary chicken soup with fideo available while you wait.

La Pasadita. Tucked in the back of a tiny convenience store, La Pasadita offers pork and cheese pupusas as well as pork tacos. Five bucks (cash only) gets you two pupusas and a drink, which is enough for lunch.

Tortas la Revolucion, also called Tortas Insurgentes. Hidden away on a side street off of Upper Greenville, this is a popular spot for lunch. The tortas are huge — I got two meals out of mine — and flavorful. I go for the gringa, which contains pork al pastor and melted cheese.

Pupuseria los Gemelos. Located next to Taqueria Pinocho, which is fortunate when I need to have more than one kind of meat-filled masa option.

They’ve been around for years and have a well-deserved loyal following. They have breakfast and large plates as well, but I tend to stick to the pupusas. I usually choose the rajas, or pepper strips, with cheese here.

Pupuseria La Unica Autentica. We were the only people in the place on a weekday afternoon, which is not usually the best sign. In this case it was just bad timing. Pupusas are generous filled, and sides of rice and beans were tasty. I like the loroco, which is a Salvadoran green similar to nopales. Chicharrones and bean and cheese are also solid choices. The menu also includes breakfast plates and other entrees.

La Hechizera. In addition to a large selection of tortas, La Hechizera also serves up huaraches, tacos and huge quesadillas called machetes. You can’t go wrong here, whatever you decide. Carnitas is my filling of choice.

While none of these places are necessarily going to win acclaim for their architecture or ambiance, the service is generally friendly, and the food is worth a trip. Next time you’re in the mood for a taco, give one of these spots a shot. You may discover a new favorite!

Aca las Tortas:

4420 Worth Street

La Pasadita:

205 N. Carroll Avenue

Tortas la Revolucion:

7019 Holly Hill Drive

Pupuseria los Gemelos:

116 S. Carroll Avenue

Pupuseria La Unica Autentica:

7325 Ferguson Road

La Hechizera:

5611 Maple Avenue