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Tacos Al Vapor Nueva Italia: Classic Tacos in San Mateo

There is no shortage of taco joints near downtown San Mateo, but some are definitely better than others. Tacos Al Vapor Nueva Italia is a little shop on 4th Avenue heading out towards the highway 101 onramp that is most known for their tacos, but they actually have a very extensive menu of all kinds of combination plates from enchiladas and super nachos to mole de pollo con arroz.

I decided to go with the #2 – Tacos Al Vapor – which seemed like the right thing to do given their name, and had the option of beef cheek or tongue. Of course, I went with both, and decided to also throw in an al pastor taco to round everything out.

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Al pastor (above) is grilled pork, and Tacos Al Vapor Nueva Italia’s version had great flavor and just a little heat to it, which, along with the sliced jalapeños and cilantro, created a savory and refreshing experience with each bite. They had two types of unlabeled hot sauce at the table and I added some of the green one, which looked like salsa verde, and that definitely kicked things up a notch, and I’d highly recommend it when you go!

The beef cheek and tongue both had similar flavors, but different textures. The tongue was a little tougher, but that didn’t detract from the taco. The classic combination of meat, cilantro, and onions was delicious, and if you squeeze a little lime on top and a few drops of their red hot sauce, you’ll leave with a happy tummy.

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They have a few tables inside, but you can also get everything to-go, and they’re pretty quick in the kitchen so you won’t be waiting long even if you walk in to order takeout. Give them a try sometime!


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