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Taqueria Del Mar – Norcross

Taqueria Del Mar Bar & Grill opened in the Ingles shopping center in Norcross, in March. It could at first glance be mistaken for an ordinary taco stand, but once you meet the owner, Andrew Hoppen, and try the food, you will discover that Taqueria Del Mar is anything but ordinary.

The ubiquity of chain restaurants in the ‘burbs can make it hard to find independent places to eat, but this chef-driven menu has many tasty options and is heavy on locally sourced ingredients.

Since Andrew can tell you the ingredients in every dish, you can figure out if your gluten- or lactose-free friends can eat there, and most dishes can be made to accommodate any dietary restrictions you might have. The food is simple and made with few ingredients, but the flavor and texture combinations are bold and offer a refreshing twist on traditional taqueria cuisine.

The menu offers a wide selection of starters, sides, soups, tacos, and house specials all at family-friendly prices. The creative tacos offer everything from braised pork shoulder with Chinese mustard to ahi tuna tartare with Asian salsa and ponzu sauce. The shrimp po’ boy is topped with pickle, remoulade, and crunchy slaw.

Orders can be placed at the counter, or you can get table-service by sitting at the bar or the community table. The interior is anything but ordinary. Electronic picture frames double as televisions, framed art that lists the many roads in Georgia with the name ‘Peachtree’ adorns the walls, and there is even a kid’s area complete with a huge chalk board, table, and chairs.

Locals have their favorites, including Queso Fundido Dip (queso blanco, roasted poblanos, and chorizo), Ahi Tuna Poke (coastal recipe sushi grade tuna, wild shrimp, avocado, mango, and cilantro), Fish Taco, and the Philly Cheese Steak Taco (not on the menu but frequently featured as a daily special).

But the house favorite (by far) is the BBQ’d Shrimp & Grits made with wild shrimp, housemade barbeque sauce, dry cured bacon, and Logan Mill Parmesan Grits. The barbeque sauce is tangy, slightly sweet, and lip smackin’ good, and the creamy grits are cooked to just-soft-enough.

Next time you are looking for a place to eat in the Norcross/Peachtree Corners area, you could do worse than to stop by Taqueria Del Mar and renew your faith in taqueria cuisine.

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