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Salamandra – CLOSED

Posted by DID 19 Jul 2011 8 Comments

Salamandra re-opened earlier this summer on Hillsborough Rd., just next door to their former location, and it is a really great addition to the authentic Mexican food scene in Durham.

We tried it out for lunch and were really impressed by the food and the warm, welcoming owners.

Our table of three all went for tacos – $1.60 each. We choose a mix of al pastor, carnitas, lengua and chorizo. All were really good and served on what seemed to be homemade tortillas. The carnitas had large, tasty hunks of browned pork with caramelized edges. The al pastor and chorizo tacos were both packed with chunks of spicy and flavorful meat. The chorizo seemed to be a large sausage that had been cut up and sautéed with crisp edges. The lengua was the table favorite thanks to a rich beefy flavor and incredible tenderness. All of the tacos were piled high with fresh cilantro and onion and none of the meats were too greasy or fatty.

Also worth noting – when you sit down you get a basket full of steaming, homemade tortilla chips with a tasty guac/salsa verde blend for dipping. Bonus: A glass of horchata costs less than $2 and gets refilled regularly.

Salamandra serves breakfast and has an extensive dinner menu with lots of fish and shrimp entrees. With table service, a liquor license and large, diverse menu – despite a pretty bare bones atmosphere – Salamandra offers a little more than the taquerias on Roxboro Rd.

The restaurant was empty and we were sad to be the only ones taking advantage of these awesome tacos on this particular day. Go check out and support Salamandra – it’s authentic, fresh, and inexpensive.

Salamandra
2627 Hillsborough Rd
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 798-9775

More pics from contributor MEZ:

8 Comments »

  • lbd said:

    Good to hear. I’ve been leary as I remember the Pancho Lopez buffet which was not good. That place didn’t last long and turned into The Big Pig (also bad) even thought the credit card slips still read Pancho Lopez. When TBP changed to Salamandra I just assumed it was the same stuff.

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  • TÜF said:

    Here’s a draft I was working on for Salamandra:

    Salamandra opened its doors for business at 2627 Hillsborough Rd just a few short months ago, but it is already proving itself to be a gem of a restaurant for satisfying cravings for authentic Mexican food.

    The menu has some of the standards you’d expect like platters of carnitas, various enchiladas, and quesadillas but it also has some items that aren’t as easily found in Durham’s treasure trove of Mexican restaurants and taquerias. One section of Salamandra’s menu is devoted to ceviche with offerings like shrimp and octopus ceviche (plato de ceviche camaron y pulpo) as well as shrimp and crab ceviche (plato de ceviche camaron y jaiva). The menu also listed something this taco hound had never seen before: torta ahogada. This “drowned sandwich” is essentially the Mexican version of the French dip sandwich and the menu’s photo of it hints at what must be a magnificent sandwich.

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the mood to challenge that beast of bread, meat and sauce, so I went with an order of fish fillets a la diabla. The white fish fillets were delicately cooked in a spicy red sauce and served along with the usual suspects – rice, beans, lettuce and sour cream. Completely unexpected, however, were the tortillas that came with the meal. These delicious corn tortillas are made in-house and are slightly thicker than those you might find at other restaurants.

    When I complimented the owner the tortillas, he seemed very proud and talked about the tortillas are made to order from fresh ground masa, not the instant masa used at most other Mexican restaurants.

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  • CA said:

    So glad to see a review of this spot – we love it!

    Hours are currently 11-9 with breakfast served 11-3, but they’re pondering opening earlier on the weekends. Very accommodating, very friendly and AMAZING food!

    They’ve started doing nightly specials – 3 fish tacos is the Thursday special.

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  • JNB said:

    We went for lunch Saturday and tried a pastor torta, carnitas taco and chorizo gordita. It was okay but I think Super Taqueria has them beat on the pastor and chorizo (not sure about the carnitas). I would definitely give Salamandra a thumbs up for the delicious chips & salsa as well as the gordita ‘shell’ (not really a tortilla, is it?). The staff was very nice & accommodating.

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  • Marti said:

    Stopped by for a late lunch yesterday. The chips are indeed awesome, as was the green sauce that came with them. Fish tacos were excellent. The homemade tortillas were tasty. The owner was very nice. I will be back for more.

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  • christian said:

    the last week i went to la salamandra restaurant and i was amazed by the chicken mole enchiladas that i get and my wife get the giant deep fried tilapia for ONLY 8.99 i can’t believe it how cheap was our check i want to came back with all my friends i really recommend this restaurant

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  • Anne said:

    Try the pupusas… yum!

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    ernesto replies on September 6th, 2011 at 1:32 pm:

    Anne, thanks for tip. We had lunch at Salamandra today. We shared a pupusa and shrimp tacos, both were excellent as was the service. The chips were hot and crisp, with a avocado (guacamole) salsa. The pupusa and the shrimp tacos each came with a different delicious salsa. The pupusa was piping hot, filed with chicharrones and cheese. The shrimp were fresh and moist (not overcooked) and were served on fresh soft corn tortillas.

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