Taqueria El Patron

One of the best

Few foodie adjectives are as overused and abused as authentic, but that’s the word that comes to mind when I eat at Taqueria El Patron. To be clear, it is not a mirror-perfect reflection of foodways of one particular part of Mexico. Far from it. This restaurant’s menu is Sonoran, Oaxacan, and Pueblan; it’s even a bit New Mexican (sopaipillas) and Tex-Mex (fajitas — glorious fajitas!). The bill of fare presents an inclusive way of eating that might be called Mexican-American (or, more precisely, Mexican-USA) — culinary highlights from south of the border and the borderlands, including tacos (which are superb), chicken mole (which is even more superb!). and steak a la Mexicana.

So when I call Taqueria El Patron authentic, I am referring to the fact that eating in this strip-mall restaurant on Augusta’s busy Washington Road is an honest experience of from-scratch cooking and genuine hospitality with few of the compromises found at gringo-oriented Mexican restaurants. For instance, salsas served with chips at the beginning of the meal are blistering-hot — ecstasy for chile lovers — and yet the kindly waitress who sets them on the table offers no warning or apologies. That’s just the way it is. Most conversations in the dining room are in Spanish, and almost none of the regular waitstaff are fluent in English. There are Jarritos beverages and horchatas and aguas frescas to drink and paletas for dessert.

While wheat tortillas are available for tacos, corn tortillas are made here. They are soft and fragile, barely able to hold cilantro-festooned heaps of reassuringly homey pulled pork or intriguing pastor or less common items such as tongue, tripe, and beef cheeks. The broad menu includes burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, flautas, steaks, and seafood; and all combo plates can be made vegetarian. I’ve yet to hit a clinker, but the dish that has wowed me most is chicken mole, which is so dark that it’s nearly black, packing intense flavor that is very smoky, vividly spicy (but not ferociously hot), and just barely sweet enough to remind you that chocolate is its essence. Mole is available on wings, legs, or diced chicken pieces.

Desserts include flan, fried churros, and a freezer case full of paletas (ice cream bars), many of which are made with real fruit.

What to Eat
Taqueria El Patron, Chicken Mole
Chicken Mole
Mole is smoky and intense, with just an edge of sweet.
Taqueria El Patron, Tacos
Foreground taco: pastor (pork marinated in chile and pineapple); back: pulled pork.
Taqueria El Patron, Fajitas
Magnificent fajitas, with a surplus of big, snappy shrimp.
Taqueria El Patron, Carne Seca Taco
Carne Seca Taco
Carne seca means dried beef, but it is succulence incarnate.
Taqueria El Patron, Camarones a la Diabla
Camarones a la Diabla
Camarones a la diabla are devilish indeed.
Taqueria El Patron, Burrito Patron
Burrito Patron
Burrito Patron is a knife-and-fork proposition.
Taqueria El Patron, Paleta
Strawberry paleta is creamy sweet.
Taqueria El Patron, Corn Tortillas
Corn Tortillas
House-made corn tortillas
Taqueria El Patron, Chips
Beware, the smoky red salsa with chips is very hot.
Taqueria El Patron, Horchata
Starchy horchata (rice milk) is the right drink with pepper-hot food.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday10am - 8:30pm
Monday10am - 9:30pm
Tuesday10am - 9:30pm
Wednesday10am - 9:30pm
Thursday10am - 9:30pm
Friday10am - 9:30pm
Saturday10am - 9:30pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Chef’s House

    Augusta, Georgia

    A cozy pink home on a commercial strip of road in Augusta, the Chef’s House offers a soul-food buffet that shows the hand of a skilled cuisinier.

  • Miller’s Bread Basket

    Blackville, South Carolina

    Loaves, rolls, buns, pies, and cakes are featured attractions at this Main Street Mennonite bakery, where whole meals are southern meat-and-three.

  • La Cantina

    Clarks Hill, South Carolina

    Fabulous steaks cooked outdoors in an 1800-degree oven are stars of a creative, fine-food menu in this unique restaurant deep in the Carolina countryside.

  • Variety Restaurant

    Aiken, South Carolina

    Portions are huge, service is old-style hospitable at the Variety, a favorite of South Carolina square-meals eaters who know good steaks and fresh seafood.

  • Grill Reign

    Gloverville, South Carolina

    The Grill Reign offers succulent burgers, crazy French fries, and soul food in a unique setting that is equal parts diner, billiards parlor & function hall.

  • Boll Weevil Cafe & Sweetery

    Augusta, Georgia

    Huge layer cakes rule at Boll Weevil, a jolly cafe by Augusta’s waterfront where fine southern fare shares menu space with modern salad, soup & sandwiches.