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Restaurants & Bars 2

Atlanta-Smyrna, Cafeteria La Oaxaquena , Tamales con mole

steve drucker | Apr 5, 200310:38 PM

This morning at Yahoo yellow pages, I set Atlanta as the location, searched "Oaxaqua", "Oaxaqa", "Oaxaqueno", and finally "Oaxaquena".

I got one hit. Cafeteria La Oaxaquena at 1669 Spring Road, Smyrna. Then I did a Google search looking for mentions or review. Nothing. I called to check that they were open. Yes, of course--in Espanol, Spanglish and English.

We found Cafeteria La Oaxaquena on Spring Road in Smyrna, about a mile east of Atlanta Road, in a grungy two store strip dominated by a seedy package store. So seedy, my wife didn't want to get out of the car.

We hadn't driven twenty minutes for nothing, so I stepped over a couple of empty half pint bottles and walked around the side of the building past the package store. Sure enough, the menu I could see through Cafeteria La Oaxaquena's window looked promising, as did the grease board that announced the Saturday and Sunday specials: tamales con mole, shrimp soup, pozole and menudo.

Encouraged, I walked back to the car and motioned for my wife to pull around. Inside everything was sparkling clean and bright. Two cooks worked the line, a young woman worked the cash register and took the orders, and most of the the menu board was translated on the printed menu.

We had a tlayuda (or 'clayuda' as RST notes on the Chicago board): a large flat tortilla with a smear of frijoles topped with red pork (not spicy), string cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and easily enough to share; a chorizo torta and a couple of tamales con mole de puerco.

The tamales were superb. By happenstance, one of the tamales was chicken. The pork was the tastier of the two, and stood up to the mole far better. The tamal was not quite as light as at Costa Del Sol, but just as good in its own way.

The chorizo torta was actually chorizo cooked with chiles, packed along with carrot, avocado and string cheese into the torta.

Also tried the flan: nicely made from a mix, much much better flan in Norcross both at Gaucho's and Sylivia's Pastry (a place I'm still working myself up to post on as I haven't quite figured it out but I really really like).

Summary: The chorizo torta and tamales were the absolute winners. The tlayuda was less than wonderful only because of the industrial nature of the iceberg lettuce and less than wonderful tomatoes. I could see later in the spring how when the tomatoes get better that this would be extraordinary.

Other customers on this late Saturday morning were mostly day-off construction workers eating morning bowls of very rich smelling pozole which was served with chunks of beef atop the hominy in a brick colored broth with tortillas and an avocado salad.

Orange juice is squeezed to order and served in 16 oz glasses. Didn't try the horchata, and they were out of tamarindo.

Need to get back and try the weekend specials of shrimp soup, the pozole and the fresh juices. This may be hard, as every weekend visit will demand at least one tamale con mole.

I liked this place so much its almost enough to get me to thinking about moving back to Smyrna.


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