Tacos4Life Grill – Fayetteville

This review was originally posted on 2015-09-25, and most recently updated on 2017-10-06.

I’m partial to good Mexican food, though I must say I’m more partial to those that are more American than authentic.  We are blessed with a number of pretty authentic single unit Mexican restaurants in the area, and there were a number within a very short drive of where I used to work on the east side of Springdale.  These are the types of restaurants where gringos like myself are uncommon, where you have to find the English speaking server, and you’re going to get asked “so is it your first time here?”, as if you’re entering uncharted territory.

Although I appreciate the chance to sample the more authentic cuisine, it’s a little hard on my digestive system to sample dishes that are a more greasy (lots of lard), more spicy, and being heavy on fatty meats and light on the vegetables.  For that reason, I seem to go to Chipotle, or places like it, that aim to combine healthy ingredients, freshly made, in a nutritious and reliable way.  Therefore, I’m excited to try Tacos4Life, which seems to aim to be that type of a restaurant.  And they are largely successful.

Tacos4Life-Fayetteville-Décor

They offer a very broad menu, given that you can choose a protein (chicken, beef, pork, seafood), have it on one of four styles of taco or wrapped in lettuce, and have a choice of sides that is beyond beans and rice.  I was in a chicken mood, so I wanted to try just the basic grilled chicken on a flour taco and the southwest grilled chicken on a puffy tortilla shell.  My cashier helped put that together and suggested I substitute Mexican cream-style corn for rice, at a supplement of 75 cents.  It was a great recommendation since it was the most enjoyable of all that I tasted.

Tacos4Life-Fayetteville-MainDish

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the plain taco much more than the puffy one.   The flavors of the plain taco were well mixed with the chicken and were overstuffed to the point of seepage on the metal tray you are provided.  It’s how a taco should be, but don’t try to eat one while driving.  Rest easy, I was at one of the long community-style tables.  The other taco was not as pleasing, since the southwest dressing and other ingredients really covered the taste of the chicken, to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was eating chicken or beef.  The puffy tortilla was not the culprit and was worth the extra fat and calories for variety’s sake.  I was pleased to be able to add a Mexican soda, Jarritos-brand Tamarind, which is typically only found in small Mexican restaurants.

The prices at Taco4Life are definitely at a premium, but so is the quality of the food.  There is also a declared social mission, where your purchase of a taco or similar item drives a 22-cent donation towards a meal served through a charity in Honduras.  It’s described in a full-color brochure that accompanies a separate menu leaflet.

Update: I have eaten at this restaurant at least a half-dozen times since this initial review. The service problems mentioned earlier have been largely resolved, and in particular they do a good job of moving the line through a very dense lunch crowd. The rewards program is worth joining since I’ve gotten rewarded not only for patronage but also just for having a birthday.

Rating 4.5/5.0 – Really liked it

Tacos4Life Grill
tacos4life.com
1572 N. College Ave
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Tacos 4 Life Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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El Pueblito

Though chain restaurants, both fast food and fast casual, have a certain stranglehold in this area, you can get lucky if you’re outside their zone of domination. El Pueblito certainly would fit that description, tucked away four miles off of Route 71 in the Highlands neighborhood of Bella Vista. It’s become the place that people in Bella Vista recommend when it comes to Mexican food. To be fair, there is just one other Mexican restaurant to be found in the city.

When I arrived on a Sunday afternoon, I asked if I could order from the lunch menu, though it was pretty clearly marked that it was a Monday through Friday only opportunity. Fortunately, I was allowed, and what a bargain it was! For $6.25, you can have your choice of two from a long list including taco, enchilada, and burrito, as well as refried beans and rice, all served on a large plate. I chose a cheese enchilada and chicken taco, which was served in a hard shell.

It was a perfect lunch portion, and looked very beautiful on the plate. The enchilada was good, as was its accompanying sauce. The taco was stuffed full of lettuce, which made me happy since it’s sometimes tough to get enough vegetables when eating at a Mexican restaurant. The refried beans were delicious and not greasy, and the rice was fluffy and nicely seasoned. I would have enjoyed a Jarritos soda, but stayed with water since unfortunately no Mexican sodas are served here.

Since I made a good attempt at dabbling instead of indulging into the decent chips and accompanying salsa, I decided to end my meal with a plate of two sopapillas, lightly seasoned with honey. It was a good choice! After being to New Orleans for the first time, where I had my first beignet, it was interesting to compare the sopapilla to it. One could say they are siblings, whereas the American doughnut is a cousin to both.

I’d very much recommend a stop at El Pueblito, especially if it happens to be mealtime and you’re enroute to/from Missouri, where the choices along the highway are few and far between. I think you will be glad you did.

Update:  I revisited El Pueblito with a friend, and was very impressed with how quickly the restaurant got us seated, despite being very full with the Sunday church crowd.  What I ordered was very similar to before, and was just as good.  My friend had the taco salad, and was impressed that the chicken has just the right amount of kick.

Rating 4.5/5.0 – Really liked it

El Pueblito
No Web Site
1705 Forest Hills Boulevard
Bella Vista, AR 72715

El Pueblito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato