Guess what? As I sat down to write this review, I started to fantasize about the quality and bold flavor that are Guanaco. Now I’m going to take a break and So that’s my first selling point. I’ll hold off until I finish another round to see if it inspires anything new…
Still great! Now that my belly is stuffed full of goodness, let me explain that El Guanaco is the only El Salvadorian restaurant in the Troy/ Royal Oak area (at least that I’ve found!) The first time I walked in, the restaurant was a hole-in-the-wall establishment and the workers were jumping wildly around a television, rooting for their favorite El Salvadorian soccer team. There was a certain charm to that, though I know they’ve gotten some mixed reviews for service, wrong orders, wrong change and language barriers. However, this has definitely improved. They moved around the corner, just north of Maple Road on Livernois (East side of the street). Their new place is clean and more professional with more confidence inspiring décor. There’s even a couple of tables if you want to hang out with your papusas.
What sets this apart from Mexican restaurants is the papusas (which have generated a small following in the area), empanadas (my personal favorite), and other regional choices such as their marinated chicken. The reason I keep coming back is that you get a LOT of food for a little money, and they don’t skimp on the portion sizes. Case in point: One taco is $1.50. It consists of two fairly large corn tortillas and is busting at the seems with meat (al pastor is the way to go!), fresh cilantro and onions, and spicy red sauce on the side (a must if you ask me). I’m usually a three taco gal as I have a nice appetite, but they had me stuffed at two (especially since you gotta save room for an empanada!) Empanadas come with spicy cabbage deliciousness and a different red sauce, not as hot but a good dipper. Every item I’ve ordered has been tender, flavorful and fresh, unlike many other restaurants in the same cuisine. It seems you can’t really go wrong here. They deserve the good reviews, and I’ve never had bad service or a wrong order. Try it out and you’ll have solid leftovers for a couple of meals.
El Guanaco's Website
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.