Taqueros tend to open and close early in Tijuana, with the exception of carne adobada specialists who are supply the city with late-night tacos. Adobada, like it’s Eastern cousin the Döner Kebab, is classically an evening snack. Tijuana day trippers do note: it is worth waiting around until the afternoon when Taqueria El Franc opens up. It’s good to get there early too. It fills up immediately after opening and the lines continue growing all night.
The taqueria is attached to a tire shop across the way from the excellent restaurants of the Hidalgo Market. There is also stiff competition across the boulevard, in the form of many of the city’s best street vendors, plus the venerable Mexican-American mini-chain for adobada, Tacos El Gordo.
Taqueria El Franc would be a top choice if only for its adobada. It’s the Tijuana ideal, juicy pork charred on one side, and fully imbued with a spicy marinade that has a heavy dose of achoite (anatto). The marinade ends up tasting delicate with a subtle pepperiness. The fresh corn tortillas and perky guacamole play important supporting roles. The light grilling of the house-made corn tortillas is an important touch as well. Even if you like spicy food, these are so perfect you might want to avoid any dressings. Only a delicate squeeze of lime is recommended, though not necessary. Order one or two extra of these, they go down all too easy.
Other classic taqueria meats like asada, lengua (tongue), suadero (brisket) and tripe are available, as well as the usual cast of taco alternatives, like vampiros, quesadillas and tostadas. Notably, Taqueria El Franc offers “vegetarian” tostadas, a rarity in this steak-centric town. Ordering a veggie tostada substitutes the excellent meats here for suitably tasty pinto beans, a blob of melted cheese and a very spicy salsa. No matter what you get, it will be as good as any competitor in Tijuana, but we would suggest ordering heavy on those adobada tacos, which are world class.
We’re usually compelled to sneak a beer from a nearby convenience store to have with tacos this good, but the aguas frescas are stunning, so we keep it innocent. The horchata has gentle spices and a refreshing weight. The orange flavor is like perfect orange-ade, light and refreshing, and even less sweet than fresh orange juice. It’s a gulp-able match for salty meats.
|Monday||4pm - 1am|
|Tuesday||4pm - 1am|
|Wednesday||4pm - 1am|
|Thursday||4pm - 1am|
|Friday||3pm - 3am|
|Saturday||3pm - 3am|