Over the next three days, I’m going to post a few “quick bites” of meals where I only enjoyed one dish or where I dined alone in 2016. I wanted to highlight these three restaurants for their unique place in Pittsburgh’s ever-growing culinary scene. Bea’s Taco Town offers authentic Mexican in the heart of Downtown, filling a much needed hole in the fast-casual-heavy Downtown area.
When I worked Downtown five years ago, I would love going to Madonna’s on 4th Avenue for their Spicy Chicken Tinga Burrito. Unfortunately, it’s now a City Oven pizza, Madonna’s has moved next to Zorba’s, and has become a (pretty good) Mediterranean Restaurant. So where is one to go Downtown if they’re hankering for some authentic taqueria tacos and don’t want to spend Bakersfield prices? Luckily, there’s Bea’s Taco Town. Bea’s is located on Smithfield Street across from the SW Randall and two doors down from where Golden Palace Buffet used to be (the one that’s turning into a Burger King).
I went with the Tinga de Pollo, Carnitas, and Chorizo tacos. The tinga had that delicious vinegar bite of the hot sauce with the smoke of the chipotle peppers. It was the perfect balance between saucey and dry, allowing the tortillas to hold up the entire time. The carnitas was moist and flavorful, but very simple and basic, strong flavors of fresh pork, citrus, and cumin. The chorizo was an absolutely knockout, smooth but crumbled texture of the well-browned and spicy sausage. Perfect amounts of ancho and chipotle peppers. The hot sauces on the side were also nice, as well as a sampling of the chips and salsa.
While all of my taco choices were delicious, I would only revisit the Chorizo again. Not because they weren’t all tasty, but because they really have a beautiful assortment of offerings for such a tiny place. The walk-up counter style restaurant couldn’t have held more than 50 people, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t have at least 20 different kinds of tacos that I could have ordered that day. Not just your standard ground beef, chicken, and pork, but also lamb, barbacoa, fish, and tongue. I look forward to my return trip.