Culinary Quest: Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria in Downtown Disney

| February 13, 2011

Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria at Downtown Disney is a counter service opportunity to partake in a Southern California staple, Mexican food. As a resident of Southern California for all but the first two years of my life, I have eaten my fair share of Mexican food. One thing is for sure, the best Mexican food is usually found in the holes-in-the-wall scattered throughout the region. True good Mexican food is not found in a place where there is an appetizer menu or a maitre d’. This is why I eschewed going to the sit down portion of Tortilla Jo’s and instead decided to try the attached Taqueria outside.

The menu is simple and made to order. If you have been to Chipotle, you will be familiar with their offerings. In fact, the set up is exactly the same, from the tortilla warmer at the front to the topping choices at the end of the counter. First, diners select their meal of two tacos ($6.95), a burrito ($8.95), vegetarian burrito ($7.49), or nachos ($6.49). Next, it is time to select the fillings of pork carnitas, grilled adobo chicken, or grilled steak. Once those choices are made, it is up to you to design your dish by telling the staff what you want. We tried one of each of the fillings as well as one of each of the meals.

The grilled steak was not steak like carne asada; it was beef chunks similar in texture to pot roast. Very tender, yes. Very flavorful, no. The grilled adobo chicken was not seasoned heavily and was also not very flavorful. This doesn’t mean that there was not an outstanding choice. The pork carnitas was outstanding. It had the right amount of saltiness without being overpowering. It also had the perfect combination of crispy edges and inside tenderness that makes carnitas a favorite.

Out of all of the choices, the nachos seemed to be the greatest bang for your buck at $6.49 ($2.00 extra to add meat), especially when you add all of your favorite toppings like black or pinto beans and pico de gallo. The nachos are topped with a cheese sauce, so keep that in mind when ordering.

They do not have a kid’s meal on the menu, which is a disappointment. They have a limited dessert menu with a brownie, cookie, and fruit cup ranging between $2.00 and $4.00. Beer and margaritas are available too. There is an AP discount, but Disney gift cards are not accepted.

All of the meals at Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria are built to order based on your own personal preferences, so your mileage may vary. If you make it great, congratulations. I can say that all of their non-meat ingredients were fresh and tasty, so as long as you create a good dish, you can be happy. Since we tried everything, here is my personal recommendation. I would order the nachos with carnitas. I would stay away from the chicken and steak, but I would definitely make a return trip for the carnitas.

One definite advantage of this place is its location. It is located steps from the Downtown Disney monorail stop. So if you want to get a quick bite out of the park, but still want to feel like you are in the park, Tortilla Jo’s Taqueria gives you the best of both worlds.


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Category: Dining, Disneyland

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