Taco nirvana at Casita Taqueria

Away from downtown, Casita Taqueria keeps the locals happy with their taco magic.

click to enlarge TACOS FOR EVERYONE: Casita Taqueria’s small but creative menu doesn’t disappoint. - ShannaGillette.com
TACOS FOR EVERYONE: Casita Taqueria’s small but creative menu doesn’t disappoint.

When you love tacos, your entire existence is guided by knowing where the nearest taco place is. If you’ve been longing for that one great taco locale in St. Petersburg, Casita Taqueria is the place. Situated along Fourth Street at 27th Avenue N, it’s a cozy space where tacos and Tecate are never in short supply.

Taco connoisseurs oughta’ know Casita Taqueria’s inventive and inspired repertoire. Everything is made fresh daily with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Let’s start with the tortilla. I’m told they’re made by lovely Latina (using a 250-year-old recipe) who’s turned her homemade corn tortillas into something of an art form.

Casita’s tortillas are, hands down, some of the best I’ve had in the area. Tender and sweet, the way fresh pasta tastes, they're so good you can easily eat them plain. Casita gets off to a very good start thanks to these tortillas.

Latin food shouldn’t be known across the board as deep-fried, covered in cheese and dipped into sour cream. The real beauty of Latin cuisine is an emphasis on fresh ingredients.

Mr. Doom’s family hails from Chile, and since coming to the states, they often lament the lack of access to a variety of fresh and local produce. His family’s salads are simple, but so tasty. Minced cilantro, a little lemon, a little olive oil, and some salt and pepper. That’s really all that is needed. I’m happy to find this same simple and fresh logic employed in Casita’s kitchen; Mr. Doom agrees.

Try the Camarones Tropical taco, tender and flaky adobo fried fish, topped with cabbage, fruit salsa, cream and cilantro. The Marley taco, with jerk-seasoned chicken, pineapple salsa, black beans, crema and cilantro, is savory with the pineapple salsa’s gentle sweetness.

Meats and veggies simmered slowly in thick broths and savory spice blends make any taco a good choice.

To keep the menu fresh, Casita posts daily taco, soup and entrée specials, with an everyday menu of favorites. All the tacos are reasonably priced from $2.99-$4.25 each.

A hearty but healthy non-taco meal can also be found in the Casita rice bowl, made with black beans, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, queso (fresco), crema and cilantro. Get it topped with the blacked tilapia or carnitas for an nacho-dipping frenzy.

Don’t forget the drinks. At $16.50 a pitcher of white or red sangria (served with a hearty smattering of fruit), you’ll be hardpressed to find a better sangria for the price.

Casita carries the PBR of Mexican beers, Tecate, for just $2.50 a can, served with a dip of salt and a wedge of lime. You can also get a PBR for $2.50 if you’re feeling patriotic.

Grab a spot inside if you’re looking to catch a game (they have a TV), but when the weather is nice (ahem…right now), you should head to the back patio and sit at a table or picnic bench. The patio is open air, with large umbrellas providing coverage from any unexpected weather. Twinkling rope lights, in blue, green, red and white, line the cozy enclosed space. Think of a cleaner version of the Blueberry Patch, a kind of backyard nook adorned with Dia de los Muertos tchotchkes and old Florida knick-knacks.

Casita Taqueria is truly the perfect spot to nosh under the stars — and to eat lots and lots of tacos.

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