Posted by: tacoshoprankings | October 20, 2011

Alberto’s Taco Shop review by Deez Nutz!!!!!!!!

This review is dedicated to the archetype of franchised taco shops, Alberto’s Mexican Food.  Alberto’s was founded in 1975 by Arselia Dominguez in Poway, CA.  Today there are over 75 locations in California and Utah, and over 90 locations nation wide.  Not to mentions numerous clones that copy the menu and logo, but operate under names like Aliberto’s, Filiberto’s, Eriberto’s, etc. etc.  You can’t really blame the clone restaurants for trying, Alberto’s has a system that works!  Decent quality food, low prices, large portions, and long hours of operation with most locations being open 24/7.    I’ll be honest, their dine in locations are not places I’d choose to sit and eat at unless I didn’t have any other options.  The handful of locations nearest to me are usually not the cleanest with sticky floors and overflowing garbage cans. Plus their is undoubtedly at least one unsavory character loitering outside or occupying a table inside.  There are always 3 or more gumball/toy vending machines inside and this was my go-to place to collect the plastic “Homies” toys back in the late 1990’s.  The menu boards glow a muted yellow, perhaps it is the color easiest on the eyes for those who stumble in after the bars have closed.  But the food options are limitless.  It could easily take a drunk/stoned person a good 20 minutes of staring at the menu to finally decide what to order.  Food service is almost always lighting quick.  My advice would be to take a step inside you local Alberto’s to place your order “to-go” so you can truly experience its splendor, without having to regret staying too long to eat your meal there.

On my last visit we ordered:

Bean Tostada                      $2.55
Cheese Quesadilla               $3.45
5 Rolled Tacos with Drink     $4.99
California Burrito                 $4.50

I was able to feed a family of 4 for under $20.  A great value that should not be overlooked in the grand scheme of things.  The Bean Tostada was piled high with shredded lettuce, cheese, and guacamole.  It filled an entire styrofoam to-go box all by itself.  Cheese Quesadilla was easily enough for two adults to share.  Lots of gooey cheese inside, but the tortilla was a bit greasy.  I used one of the tissue-thin napkins they included in out bag to soak up some of the excess grease and it made the dish more palatable.  5 Rolled Tacos with a drink is a hearty meal.  The rolled tacos themselves are nothing extraordinary with not very much meat and the shells sometimes being fried too long and becoming overly hard.  But when these cylinders of food are topped high with a mound of guacamole and draped with a layer of shredded cheese the taste is improved immensely.  Definitely get a fork with this order as you will need it to scoop up and balance all of the guacamole and cheese on top of the tacos.  The drink included with this meal is a real bonus for the price as any beverage from soda to horchata will help you gulp down the tacos which may take at least one free refill of the drink.  The 5 Rolled Taco special is my normal order, but my wife was craving them this time so I was free to try another item from the menu.  I choose the California Burrito made up of carne asada, french fries, cheese, and fresh pico de gallo.  Wow, this monster easily weighed in around 1 pound of food.  Filled all the way with bland carne asada, nicely cooked french fries (I suspect that some of the grease from the asada is soaked up by the fries making them actually quite good), enough shredded cheese, but I personally would prefer more, and just the right amount of pico de gallo to wake up your taste buds from the major flavors of the asada and fries.  I was lucky enough to acquire some of the extra guacamole from the 5 Rolled Taco Special and apply it to my California Burrito.  Hands down it made the California Burrito 10x better.  Next time I’ll be adding guacamole to it when I order.  Even with all of this meat, potato, and cheese crammed into the burrito, the tortilla amazingly never broke and held tight through the whole meal.  A word on hot sauce, Alberto’s house blend is good with good spice and a medium amount of heat.  It is available self serve at the counter in little clear plastic lidded cups.  Word of advice, go easy on the hot sauce at Alberto’s.  While initially you’ll be loving all the extra spice and flavor of dousing you food with the little red sauce cups, I’ve been hurt too many times later on after the meal and learned this lesson the hard way.  they are now offering a green sauce in the same small lidded cups, but I did not venture to try it on this occasion.  In the past I’ve tasted many other items off of the menu, and I can’t remember every being overly disappointed.  Whatever you order be prepared for a large portion so bring your apatite.

Alberto’s Mexican Food is an essential fast food taco shop that should not be overlooked because of its franchised status.  I’ll admit that it is not the best tasting, or the highest quality, but it is a great value and as such should continue to thrive in these trying economic times.  I fondly remember my first visit to an Alberto’s back in 1994.  I was on location in San Diego County with Mr. Johnny Utah himself after a morning surf session.  Special Agent Utah knew of the greatness that is Alberto’s and recommended it highly to our group’s delight.  I ordered the Chips with Guacamole and barely ate 1/2 of the order, but I knew that Alberto’s was something good, and hoped to eat there again.  10 years have gone by, but little has changed at Alberto’s.  After all, as the saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  Do yourself a favor, go out to a bar with some friends, have a few drinks, and then go grab some late night Alberto’s grub . . . you will be happy you did.  Of course remember to use a designated driver, and as a “thank-you” buy them the 5 Rolled Taco Special.  They just might volunteer to be the designated driver again next time.

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Responses

  1. Alberto’s was just added to the list. Most copied Taco Shop in SD.


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