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El Corral

Posted by DID 27 Jan 2014 7 Comments

There’s a really great spot in Loehmann’s Plaza masked as your average Speedy Gonzales Mexican restaurant. Though El Corral does actually serve the ubiquitous Speedy Gonzales, they do so along side some really outstanding authentic grub.

I’m sure most everything on El Corral’s menu is probably tasty and I have sampled the Shrimp Diablo (spicy grilled shrimp) and Mojarra Dorada (whole, grilled fish) and both were great; but honestly – I’ve never ordered anything other than the taco plate.

At El Corral, you get your choice of three tacos for $9 (just slightly more than the taquerias). The taco options include all the taqueria standards from lengua to chorizo and you can mix and match your choice of meats. The tacos come with a side of traditional cilantro/white onion/lime and refried beans and rice. I go with the taco trifecta of diablo (chorizo, jalapenos, beef), carnitas and al pastor.

The rich pork of the carnitas rivals the pulled pork at the best NC BBQ joints and is loaded with the much sought after crispy, caramelized edges. The al pastor has that same caramelization and is balanced with fresh pineapple.

The Diablo is one of my favorite tacos in all of Durham. Yep, I said it. The bite of heat from the grilled jalapenos is balanced with the beef and ramped up by the flavor punch of the chorizo.

The tacos at El Corral rival those served at our favorite taquerias on Roxboro Road, but at El Corral they’re served along side those jumbo margheritas and bowls of queso (for which I’m a total sucker).

El Corral
1821 Hillandale Rd.

Note: Though El Corral does accommodate large parties, it’s a big open room that’s loud and usually pretty crowded. I recommend going with a group of four or less so that you can snag one of the booths along El Corral’s walls.



  • DGM said:

    They have the best carnitas in Durham hands down…the pork is deep fried like its supposed to be, not some crockpot cooked and shredded stuff that is the usual around here.


  • kp said:

    Everything is good, but I literally cannot stop myself from getting the caldo de pollo every time. Its huge, and for like $5 its crazy filling and makes me feel slightly better about eating the entire order of choriqueso!


  • Mark said:

    El Corral is my go-to Mexican restaurant! I usually end up with a plate of 3 tacos but have also tried a few other dishes there and am always pleased. The almost 9 months that El Corral was closed during the rebuilding of Loehmann’s Plaza was excrutiating…I’m so glad they’re back and better than ever!


  • Brad said:

    They have a restaurant in Creedmoor as well that is great!


  • Leigh Ann Hines said:

    I haven’t been in ages and now I want to get tacos there! Yum!


  • Fritz said:

    went there after I read this review, it was very good

    one thing that caught my attention when I walked in was the 100 point
    inspection rating.. a very good sign

    when they handed me the menu it was dry and nt greasy another good sign


  • Ed Crabtree said:

    Got to agree with those who love the carnitas. Theirs are awesome. When I cook them at home, I use Rick Bayless’ recipe that calls for boiling them until the water is gone, the fat is rendered, and nice crunchy pieces result. I also love their pico de gallo with pieces of avocado. And don’t forget their choriqueso. YUM!


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