El Rey is The King. Plain and simple. This little Mexican/Cuban Taqueria might have the best tacos I’ve ever had. And it only took me two years to figure it out. I've driven by this place dozens of times since moving to the Heights and every time I keep telling myself, "I need to try that place." Finally, I did. And I could kick myself for waiting so long.
The truth is El Rey does what it sets out to do in almost perfect fashion. That is providing outstanding Mexican and Cuban cuisine in a fast, friendly environment, while keeping the prices in line with what one would expect from a fast-serve taqueria.Simply put, the food is delicious. Every single thing that I have had from the menu has been excellent. From the tacos to the sandwiches. And the house-made green and red salsas that they generously load into the takeout bag are truly awesome.
The location I frequent most often is the location at Shepherd and Washington, but there are four Houston locations, including one in the North Heights at Ella and 34th.
Finding fault with El Rey is almost nit-picking, but if there is one thing that stands out it is the drive-thru. Customers order and pick up at the same window so service can get pretty backed up at this popular eatery. Plus, there is only space for about three cars in the line before it curls out into traffic on Shepherd Drive. And there is always a line. But, the food is worth the risk! And the wait.
In it’s favor, the drive-thru is open until 3AM from Thursday through Saturday which makes for a fantastic late night meal. Should you find yourself out at 3AM. (Hours vary by location)
The restaurant inside is generally packed with customers who find it easier to come in than wait in the drive-thru lane. This does cause a bit of congestion at the door. But the counter-service is fast, friendly, efficient and accurate! So getting in and out is a breeze.
The dining room is very clean, but quite small, so all of the traffic makes dining-in a bit of a challenge. But not impossible. And the windows looking out on Washington Avenue give diners plenty to watch, especially at night.
I definitely suggest you drop by El Rey if you haven’t been already. The fajita tacos and the steak sandwich are my favorites, but the entire menu is simply delicious.