Taqueria La Noria
Mandeville: 1931 LA 59. 985-727-7917. Map.
AE DS MC V
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The North Shore is saturated with standard American-style Mexican restaurants, a few of which are even good enough to make a Houstonian happy. But for those who want a taste of what they really eat in Mexico, La Noria is the best on that side of the lake. The place is charmingly rustic and the food good.
The food here is what most New Orleans people would call “authentic,” which is to say that it’s not the standard Tex-Mex menu. Those familiar with the food of Mexico will recognize almost everything on the menu. The rest of us will be thrilled to find such local rarities as menudo, sopes (flat, thick tacos) and carnitas, all well prepared and attractively served at prices mostly under $10.
The name means “the wishing well,” and indeed a little old-style water well stands in front of the restaurant. It opened in 2009, taking over a minimal space that had hosted a succession of far-off-mainstream ethnic eateries. The new owners, native Mexicans formerly of a local Mexican chain, set about renovating the little house and the attached deck. And putting out a menu of their favorite Mexican dishes.
Inside and out, La Noria is a collection of small, spare rooms, all clean and bright. The thoroughly Hispanic staff is welcoming and pleasant. All the many televisions play soap operas in Spanish. The deck outside is popular with diners on cool days.
Chile con queso
»Choriqueso (queso dip with chorizo)
Frijoles con queso (bean dip)
Shrimp, pico de gallo, avocado
Nachos to order
»Mexican pizza with chorizo
Mexican flag (pepper, chorizo, cheese)
»Mayan chicken soup
Black bean soup
»Menudo (beef tripe soup)
La Noria salad (spring mix, walnuts, almonds, mandarins, cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
»Taquiza La Noria (assortment of a dozen different small tacos)
Camarones a la diabla (like shrimp Creole)
»Carnitas (slow-roasted pork chunks)
Enchiladas rancheras (steak, ranchero sauce, cheese)
»Carne asada (grilled marinated beef)
Chile con carne burrito
»Tamales de Mi Tierra (pork, fresh cheese, ranchero sauce)
Favoritas de Golfo (a dozen grilled shrimp or grilled tilapia)
»Entomatados Jalisco (like an enchilada, with tomato sauce; with chicken, beef, or cheese)
Flautas Laguneras (chicken flautas)
Enchiladas (chicken, cheese, beef, steak, or shrimp)
Burrito norteno (grilled chicken or steak)
»Los Pencas (chile relleno and beef enchilada)
Los tres cuates (burrito, enchilada, taco)
Flauta and chille relleno plate)
Fajitas alambres (chicken or steak)
Burrito titan (foot-long, with chicken or beef)
»Sopes (open-face, grilled, thick tortillas topped with meats and beans, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream)
»Tacos autenticos (“street tacos” with thin, soft corn tortillas)
»Gorditas (thick corn tortillas)
Any of the above tortillas can be topped with these meats:
»Cochinita pibil (roast pork)
»Barbacoa (shredded beef)
Picadillo (ground beef)
Frijoles con queso (beans and cheese)
»Tres leches cake
FOR BEST RESULTS
The best first meal here would be an appetizer or two, followed by as wide an assortment of the many kinds of small-Mexican-town-style tacos as the table can consume.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
I’d expect to find mole poblano here, but it’s not. As is usually the case in local Mexican places, the seafood is much less good than we’re accustomed to finding in restaurants.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color +1
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations