Four bloggers, several more friends and platefuls of Mexican food gathered on a recent evening at Pancho's Tacos in Danbury, CT to share tacos and swig margaritas at the area's best-known Mexican joint. From their homespun dishes, including solid tacos and a particularly memorable and devilishly spicy dish called the a la Diabla which has claimed many victimes, you may need to add this to your Danbury, CT agenda.
Alicia, the Natural Princess.
With TVs tuned to either soccer or telenovelas, a jukebox blasting mariachi music and a sign above the bar declaring “Tequila Town” you might not expect that some of the best Mexican food in the area comes out of this kitchen. What a treat you’d be missing!
Panchos Tacos is an unassuming treasure located across from the Danbury Court House. Make no mistake, there’s nothing fancy about it. There’s no nouveau flavor combinations. There’s no fancy garnish on every plate. It feels like home cooking. It’s just classic Mexican dishes simply prepared and presented. And quite frankly, we’d have it no other way.
My husband & I have been coming to Panchos for years and we have never had a bad meal. From the whole fried fish to the tacos to the enchiladas it’s just all good. Hands down, my dish of choice is Enchilada Suisas with fried pork. For about $12 you get three enchiladas made with corn tortillas covered in a green tomatillo sauce topped with fresh sliced onion and crumbled aged cheese. And, of course, it comes with a side of rice and beans. The pork is tender and ever so slightly crisp. The sauce is mildly spicy with that unmistakable tomatillo tanginess. This dish from this place is the entire reason I started growing tomatillos in my vegetable garden. Whenever I go to another Mexican restaurant and see Enchilada Suisas on the menu I must try it. So far I have yet to find a place that stands up to Panchos Tacos.
While I stuck with my favorite dish, my husband switched it up a bit and had the Enchilada Enchipotladas with chicken. Made with chipotle peppers, these enchiladas are slightly smoky and spicy. The shredded chicken filling is incredibly moist and tender. He had no trouble polishing off the entire meal and the side of rice and beans.
Now, I’m not into tequila, but if you are, you won’t be disappointed. An entire side of the menu is dedicated to all the various tequila offerings. I get a headache just thinking about it, so I stick to my nice cold Negra Modelo beer.
Truly, Panchos Tacos is our go-to Mexican restaurant. Over the years we’ve seen it grow in popularity with local folks and even move to a bigger space, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the food. For casual, simple, flavorful Mexican food we give Panchos Tacos a big thumbs up.
Daniel Del Ferraro at OmNomCT
The last time I was at Pancho's was after the Danbury Chalkwalk this past May. That, dear foodies, was a day that will live in infamy for me because I lost the battle of A la Diabla enchiladas. Though a valiant effort, I couldn't bust through the second of the third enchiladas. Ever the champion, I knew what I had to do and I ordered the dish, straight "From the Devil."
Inside each enchilada was juicy chicken, while they were topped with delicate cheese and a smoky and spicy tomato sauce. The cheese on top was a welcome addition because it cut down the heat .0001%. Also, there was some nicely seasoned rice with peas and carrots with a side of pinto beans. What was great about this bad boy? It was devilishly hot, but not at the cost of wonderful flavor.
The taste will last as long as it takes you to finish A la Diabla, but the burning and indigestion will last a lifetime. Think you can handle the heat, too? Take the challenge and let us know if you survive.
OmNomCT and CTbites take no personal responsibility for any internal damage or emotional scarring after eating this dish.
Kristien Del Ferraro at OmNomCT
Working down the street from Pancho's at Humongo, I get the luxury of noming here regularly. And while the decor is nothing fancy, it has become our go-to spot for office celebrations and client lunches simply because the food never disappoints. Usually I go straight for the delicious and authentic tacos (Al Pastor being my favorite), but this time I decided to go with the Carne Enchilada Chimichangas.
That's marinated shredded pork with melted cheese, tomatoes, onions, fried beans, guacamole, sour cream and rice all stuffed tightly into a ginormous flour tortilla. Or, pretty much everything I love in one plate of awesome. In fact, these chimichangas were exactly the way I like 'em: the meat was tender with a good amount of flavor, the cheese to sauce ratio was perfect, as was the meat to rice and beans ratio (not too much or too little of any), and there was just a little kick of spice to keep me on my toes and a touch of sour cream to balance it out.
And, of course, I washed it all down with a huge Patron margarita on the rocks with salt. While it was made with margarita mix, it was a solid margarita nonetheless with a perfect mix to liquor ratio. Noticing a theme here? Yep, I'd say that's exactly what Pancho's is, a fantastic combo of good food and good prices, making it a go-to Mexican restaurant you can count on every time.
Amy Kundrat for CTbites.com
Thanks to jury duty several years ago (four words you will never again hear in the same sentence), I discovered Pancho’s Tacos. Located just across from the Danbury Courthouse on White Street, Pancho's has many more redeeming qualities than just a Courthouse proximity.
For starters, there are margaritas roughly size of your head, tacos in more variations than you can sample in one sitting (trust me, I've tried) and an extensive menu of other Mexican dishes that will tempt your taco loyalty. All this adds up to northern Fairfield County’s answer for that Mexican food craving.
Any of their tacos are worth a try (carnitas and al pastor are my go-to tacos) but recently I've begun branching out to burritos and enchiladads, specifically the suizas (thanks to Alicia’s recommendation). The burritos are good with an intimidating girth, but it's the enchiladas suiza’s (with your choice of protein) that steals the show. This dish could easily feed two, maybe three with its three soft tortillas bulging with chicken (or pork) and nestled within a moderately spicy green tomatillo sauce. They’re topped with chunks of cheese and slices of just lightly sauteed onion and served with a side of smashed pintos and rice.
And although I have not ordered the “a la Diabla,” I can attest to Dan’s apt description of this devilishly hot dish. I had only one bite of his latest attempt to tame this beast, and I felt a powerful flush build from the top of my forehead to my chin as I broke out into a subtle sweat. This is the definition of "hurt so good."
Whether you're fulfilling jury duty, stopping by on a taco crawl, or a fan of no-nonsense Mexican fare, Panchos Tacos should be a requisite stop on your tortilla-filled journey.
Pancho's Tacos is located at 145 White Street in Danbury, CT. information at Panchostaco.com or 203.790.0900