There's more to this Mexican restaurant than just the tacos al pastor.

Melissa Kossler Dutton and her sons, Nick, 15, and Alex, 14, tried Los Guachos Taqueria, an authentic eatery started by siblings Carlos and Edith Nonato after they emigrated from Mexico. The business, which got its start as a taco truck, now has three Central Ohio locations.

Mom Says…

 Since the start of Covid-19, our family has ordered takeout almost every Thursday night. We all look forward to the treat and spend many family meals discussing where we should “go” and what we should order. Much of the discussion centers on how close the restaurant is to our house and how well we think the food will travel. As a rule, we generally shy away from hamburgers or sandwiches because we don’t want the bread to get soggy, and tend to aim for restaurants about 10 minutes away from the house so the meals stay hot.

Los Guachos Taqueria in Gahanna was a little farther than our normal choice (and we unexpectedly ran into some rush hour traffic), but we were in the mood for Mexican.

Given that Los Guachos is known for their tacos, we decided to order three ($2 each) to share. We sampled chicken, chorizo and the restaurant’s signature al pastor, which is marinated pork topped with pineapple, onions and cilantro. The tacos traveled pretty well (they were still warm and not soggy), but it almost didn’t matter because the meat was so delicious. The al pastor and the brisket in a torta we ordered were tender and juicy. It was readily apparent this wasn’t the kind of Mexican place that relies on the usual spicy sauces and mounds of beans to give its meals flavor and substance.

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My husband and I decided to share the Guacho Burrito ($8) and broke one of our own takeout rules by ordering the Brisket Torta ($8), which the menu described as a Mexican-style sub. Having never seen anything like it on a menu, we decided to try it. It was a real standout. The bread was prepared panini-style and was very crisp. The mozzarella cheese, mayo and sliced avocado mixed to create a rich sauce that complemented the meat. Our burrito also was excellent. The addition of pineapple gave it a bit of a Hawaiian flair. It was bursting with al pastor and veggies.

We ordered by phone, and the food was ready when we arrived.

Nick Says…

When I heard we were ordering Los Guachos for takeout, I was very excited because I love Mexican food. When my parents came home with the food, it smelled fantastic.

We dug into the chips and guacamole appetizer ($4). We were expecting a larger container of guacamole, but it turned out to be enough because the meals were very big. Unlike many places, Los Guachos’ guacamole is spicy. So if you don’t like spice, keep that in mind. Another strange thing was the chips were unsalted; they were still really good, however. My favorite taco was the chorizo. I really like this style of sausage and Los Guachos’ was yummy.

For my meal, I got the Monarca Burrito ($9). I ordered it “Enchilado style” because the menu made it sound like I would get a side of nachos. What I didn’t know was this $2 upgrade included toppings like lettuce and tomatoes in addition to chips, which is nice (this is just a heads-up). The burrito was delicious, big and filling. It was super flavorful and the al pastor pork in it was delicious. The mild but rich sauce gave it an extra boost of flavor. The pico de gallo and guacamole with the meat was very tasty. The burrito was pretty spicy, which I like but feel I should mention. I think most of the heat came from the guacamole, but I’m not sure. The burrito was very good and my only complaint about it was it was a bit cold. This is one of the risks of takeout, however, especially when you live 15 minutes away from the restaurant.

Our order did not include any salsa. After looking at the menu again, I realize chips and salsa is a menu item. If I wanted a side of salsa, I should have ordered it. This is another risk with takeout. There are no changes or additions to the food once you bring it home.

I’m eager to try Los Guachos when my family feels safe eating at restaurants, and I would recommend you do the same because you really need to try the al pastor.

Alex Says…

When I first heard we were carrying in Los Guachos, I was excited because while we get takeout every Thursday, we hadn’t had Mexican yet. From the moment I looked at the menu, I knew I wanted the grilled fish taco ($2.50). I really love fish tacos. I ordered two since they were going to be my meal. I also suggested we order the cactus ($1) as a side because I had cactus on a dish in Mexico a few years ago and really enjoyed it. 

When my parents brought the food home, I was happy to see they gave us plenty of sauces. There was a green one and a red smoky chipotle-flavored variety. The chipotle was a little too spicy for my taste. The green was interesting—sort of green salsa meets vinaigrette. I added it to my taco. The grilled fish taco was a solid dish. It had a little too much lettuce, but the fish was really good. It wasn’t the slightest bit fishy, and you could taste the grilled flavor.

Unfortunately, the pico de gallo on it was kind of “meh,” which is a shame because pico de gallo is probably my favorite kind of salsa. The cactus was interesting—it had the texture of a roasted red pepper, with a grilled taste and a hint of marinade. I’m not sure I’d order it again, but it’s definitely worth a try, as it’s not every day you get to eat cactus. 

What I would order again would be a torta, Los Guachos’ take on a sub. My parents shared one with brisket and it was phenomenal. The bread was thin, crisp and amazing, and piled high with meat and sandwich toppings. I’m glad they ordered it because I was reluctant to order a sandwich at a Mexican restaurant.

We got churros ($1.99) for dessert. They had a pudding center and, though I’m personally not a fan of churros, they were good. Overall, I feel like Los Guachos is an interesting Mexican restaurant with a unique menu. It has many things going for it and would be worth an in-person visit.

This story is from the Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Parent.