Tienda Santa Cruz

Checking out a north Portland taco joint, often hailed as one of the best in the city.

I love a good hidden restaurant.  Tucked into the back of some other business, quietly making amazing food, without all the fuss of a storefront.  Spring Restaurant in Beaverton is a great example of this, and so is Tienda Santa Cruz in St. John’s.  Of course,  this restaurant is hardly a “secret”.  It’s consistently listed in “Best of Portland” articles.  As expected it’s a busy place, with a steady stream of people walking in.  

Santa Cruz line

Santa Cruz tacos

A very passionate woman ahead of us in line told us to: “Order the tacos.  Make sure to try the salsa”  So we did!  And they were fantastic.  I ordered Chorizo and Pastor while Emmi, my dining companion, ordered lengua and cabeza tacos.  While the cabeza (translation: meat from a beef head) was clearly on the menu, the woman at the counter nearly refused to sell it to us.  But Emmi is persuasive, so she got her taco.  The verdict: so-so. I did not try it because I’m a big wimp about weird meats. 

Santa Cruz cat seat

Santa Cruz horchata

The salsa was excellent as promised and they have horchata on draft.  Score!  Overall it was a great experience and the grand total for lunch was a little less than $15.  They serve regular combo meals too, with things like enchiladas, tamales and tortas, but you should just order the tacos.  Enjoy!



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