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The best restaurants in Manchester: El Rincon 

  • traditional tacos

    traditional tacos

  • traditional tacos

I walked into El Rincón Zacatecano Taqueria on a recent Tuesday night. It is a small, casual place, and it wouldn’t be hard to miss it on Lake Avenue, across from Verizon Wireless Arena, in Manchester.

There are about 10 tables, and only one couple was there when I walked in at 7 p.m. However, by the time I left, there were only a few tables open. The server was fantastic. I never felt ignored or overly interrupted.

The menu wasn’t extensive, and there are no alcoholic drinks offered (if you’d like an adult beverage, you’re free to bring your own). El Rincón has broken the menu down into breakfast, entrees, antojitos (snack foods), stews and sides. The menu might be on the small side, but the food is 100 percent authentic Mexican, and it is very affordable. The stews and entrees cost $10 and the larger antojitos range from $6 to $8.50 (a tamal is $2.25).

I was started off with homemade chips (small and very crunchy – my kind of chip) and salsa verde. I also ordered a side of guacamole and hot salsa. The guacamole might have been my favorite dish. The consistency was fantastic, and the balance of cilantro, onion and tomatoes was perfect. The hot salsa was smokey, not a mouth burner. I don’t think it would be up everyone’s alley, but I enjoyed it.

For a condensed menu, the variety was impressive. Each dish had several ordering options. You can get the usuals, like chicken or carne asada (steak), or change it up a bit and make it al pastor (pork), poblano pepper and queso, or even cactus or tongue. The bravest thing to try might be the menudo. For those unfamiliar, menudo is basically a thick soup made with broth and beef stomach.

The server recommended the enchiladas and sopas. Enchiladas aren’t my thing, but I do love a great sopa. I’m a big taco guy, so along with the sopas I ordered the traditional tacos with carne asada and fried tacos with chicken. I also really wanted to try the sopas and the house tamal, so I ordered those as appetizers. I also sipped a couple Jarritos (Mexican sodas) because I haven’t seen one in years.

The food was fantastic. The traditional tacos were the best I’ve had since a vacation to San Antonio six years ago. The fried tacos came with beans and rice to make a complete meal. The chicken was tender inside the fried shell, but I added salsa to give it a little more juice. The sopas we fantastic. They’re definitely something I’d recommend to share with a group.

The traditional tacos were the clear winner for me, but I’d recommend El Rincon to anyone looking for a casual and affordable meal in Manchester. I’m not sure there’s a better bang for your buck.

El Rincón Zacatecano Taqueria (10 Lake St., 232-4530, is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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