Jason Allen 22/06/23
Sonora Taquería | First rate tacos in Stoke Newington
London has some pretty decent Mexican restaurants these days.
But when you consider that it was only in the ’80s that it got its first one ever, it stands to reason that there’s still a little catching up to do.
Well with the arrival of Sonora Taquería, things are have hit a highly satisfying pace. It’s landed in Stoke Newington and it’s the work of Michelle Salazar de la Rocha & Sam Napier. She’s from Sonora, Mexico, and came to the UK to study where she met future husband Sam. Together, they decided to make tacos in the traditional Sonora style, with traditional Sonoran fillings. And they have succeeded.
It’s been a hard fought slog to get the place open – Sonora started life as a taco stand in the Neil Market, before the couple tried to raise funds to open a real, bricks-and-mortar-and-menus restaurant (spoiler alert: this is that restaurant). But not being backed by any major financier or restaurant group, they soon found out what being the little guy meant. They were sued for using the word ‘taqueria’ in the name of their taqueria. They had to contend with “a few panic attack’s worth of costs”. And they could only afford a sleeve of a space that used to be an Indian takeaway (and which amazingly didn’t come with its own grill or taco press).
But they prevailed. And after a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, they’ve converted it into a cosy, bright Mexican restaurant and tortilleria. The space is very laid back, armed with a few scattered chairs and stools for those who want to eat in-house, but it’s very much a fast casual affair, as street tacos should be. Here it’s all paper plates, fast service, and big smiles.
You can expect a lineup of first-class Sonoran taco fillings stuffed into house-made flour tortillas. There are breakfast burritos with scrambled egg, cheese, and optional machaca (it’s like a dried beef); or tacos with fried egg & chorizo. Then there are the lunch tacos, which come in two varieties: the fast-cooked grilled tacos, and the slow-cooked guisados tacos. Of the former, you can score a carne asada (marinated steak), a caramelo (that’s ribeye with melted cheese), an adobada (spiced pork), nopales (cactus), and campechano (beef, chorizo, and pork). Then of the latter, there’s a meltingly god barbecoa (slow-cooked beef), a cabeza (beef cheek), and even a vegan chorizo number.
Whatever you spring for though, it’s going to be delicious, and the best part will likely be the tortilla itself – a soft, pliable, beautifully bouncy and moreish package with which to wrap the parcel of perfectly spiced taco filling. And it can all be washed down with some fruity Mexican aqua fresca.
It’s currently open Thursday to Sunday for breakfast & lunch, but you can expect them to extend their opening hours deeper into the evening and earlier in the week as soon as they can get solidly on their feet…
NOTE: Sonora Taquería is open now, Thursday to Sunday, 12pm-4pm. There are no bookings. You can keep an eye on their comings-and-goings at their website right here.
Sonora Taquería | 208 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BP
After more zingy tacos? You’ll want to have a look at the best Mexican restaurants in London…
208 Stoke Newington Rd, Stoke Newington, N16 8BP
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