Taco Del Mar, Keizer Station

It seems like the new Keizer Station is getting a new chain store almost daily. Plenty of parking, in fact, the parking lot is so spacious, to go between stores you still need to drive. But if you insist on walking, there is one pedestrian path between Ross Dress For Less and Taco Del Mar. On this walk, you get a great perspective of the mass development happening in our neighbor city to the north. The architecture and floor plan reminds me of every other big box development built in the late 90's. I imagine, soon enough, if you live in Keizer, you'll no longer need to shop and eat along river road. There has been some speculation that Trader Joe's was thinking about moving into this new super mall. Box to box next to the other chain stores, it would be an indication to me that TJ's has totally sold out. Anyway, I was excited to hear that Taco Del Mar was in this new mega mall. They have a TDM in SE Portland that's in what looks like an old gas station or drive up diner building. The place is always packed even in a competitive Portland dining scene. In Keizer TDM looks more like your typical fast food joint and less like a creative, up in coming business model, kind of like Trader Joe's fifteen years ago. So get in line, and order your Mexican food as you like it. They have a fairly simple menu of tacos, burritos, salads and quesadillas. For just over six bucks I ordered the two tacos, one with carne asada and one with chicken, chips and salsa and a drink. The food was tasteful and the taco shells were full of meat. The chips were crispy and fresh and not at all greasy. This is way better than Taco Bell and fresher than Muchos Gracias for about the same price. If I could complain about one thing, it's the tiny size of the salsa container that comes with the chips. There was only enough in the little dish to provide salsa for about half of my chips. When I went back up to get more, the guy at the counter was so busy, I had to speak up to get his attention to get another small container. Next time I will remember to ask for two when I order. I know Eat Salem readers hate it when I review fast food, but this is a good one and worth mentioning. A sign on the wall says, that this is Taco Del Mars 250th store, maybe 251 could be located a few miles south in our town.

12 comments:

D. Lamkid said...

I'm glad you had a good fast food meal here. I went soon after they opened for lunch one day. The special of the day was fish tacos.

They were slighty warm breaded fish sticks! With a very fishy taste. The place was dirty on this day, and service was well...not even there.

I have eaten at others, that have been very good, so was very dissapointed in the meal we got here. But will try them again, after reading about your meal.

Salem Man said...

D.
I agree, I didn't think that it was as clean as a new restaurant should be. The ingredients in the warmers seemed like they had been there for awhile. When we turned around to sit down, two of the tables still had crumbs from previous customers and the table we sat at was wet from the recent wipe down. I hate that. The food was prepared well and tasted like it should. I don't believe in ordering fish tacos unless I'm near the coast, not that that matters.

Anonymous said...

How about not reviewing chains what happened to keeping it local.

B Dilks

jeff said...

I went with my wife shortly after it opened.

We weren't impressed, and it was kinda spendy.

-s said...

The best TDM in the area is the one in Tigard. The Keizer Station one was just ok and kind of variable in their quality and portions.

Anonymous said...

I've eaten here almost weekly since it opened, yes, at times it has been less than clean, but the food has never disappointed. The new layout with the standard seats isn't as fun as the palm tree and bar, but this is still a great place for mission style burritos that are filling and flavorful.

Anonymous said...

If you eat at Taco Del Mar, you have to get the Mondo Burrito. It's the only thing worth getting. The other food is ok but the Mondo Burrito is what you have to get. It's like a giant burrito and you get to pick everything you want in it, you even get to pick the kind of tortilla, beans, meant, etc. They are so good!

John said...

My wife, daughter and I eat at Taco Del Mar every Monday night (double punch monday). It is one of the few fast food resturants we will eat at beacause they are not just another greasy fast-food joint. Also the rice and beans are one of the best nutritious kids meals anywhere in town.

I have always liked their fish tacos (which are probably middle of the road, but always consistent). The mondo burrito is good and my wife always orders the taco salad as their lettuce is almost always fresh.

Dsperin said...

I was so excited for Taco del Mar... and then I went there. I didn't expect it to be a Mexican Subway. I don't like having to order my food cafeteria style.

I got some two-taco order and they were all driipy and soggy from their "salsa". I won't return.

Anonymous said...

I ate there once and dont think i will return I had yhr mondo burrito and it was basically a rice and bean burrito. little meat and so much dried out rice that I drank two full cups of soda to get it down.....
On the brighter side i do like that all of thier containers are earth friendly and the little salsa cupa and take out bags and soda tops are all biodegradable! I wish more resturants would do that

Anonymous said...

Hi I am actual an ex employee of the keizer station and Wow. I have worked at taco bell before TRUST me taco del mar is 100000x better. You have your totilla shells which are flavored TOMATO, SPINACH, WHEAT and WHITE. I recommend spinach, doesnt taste different but its healthy and looks cool. Beans are all organic and not cooked with any meat oil. Taco bel cooks the rice with the same oil out of the deep frier which gets black fast and they only change once a day. Guacamole is made freshly every day. I understand it can get really dirty but you have to understand when you have 4 people running around trying to get everyone served, keep clean, make sure food is stocked for a line of people that goes out the door, then i will guarantee it will get a little dirty but it only gets dirty from The messy customers that come in and leave a huge mess then other people get mad at us for not cleaning it up. All in all TACO DEL MAR is the healthiest place you can go for a fast food mexican food resturant, its a little spendy but look at how much your getting and the quality.5 dollars is not that expensive for a burrito that is the size of your arm. And for people who say they didnt get enough blah blah, you have a mouth ask for more. Did you know they have regulations on portions of food per plate.
As for the fish tacos, those are deliciose when they are fresh. Just not a lot of people order them and they take 8 min to cook, So get what im saying, its worth the wait on a fish taco, just make sure they are fresh!!

Barbara B said...

I just went there yesterday and bought 2 Mondo Burritos (one chicken, one veggie) and a quesidillo (probably spelled that wrong, but you know what I mean!) -- all for take out.

The three young people working there were all very friendly although I wish they'd have slowed down just a bit (the place was empty so there was no real rush). Still, they were very nice and prepared my food efficiently and well.

The food was well packaged and I love the fact that the container was bio-degradable instead of that horrid styrofoam.

Everything tasted great and each burrito was almost big enough for two meals. The total came to $13.47, which is pretty good for a meal and a half for two people.

All in all, I like this restaurant and I'll definitely go there again. It can't compare to a sit-down restaurant like La Hacienda, but if I'm in a hurry it'll suffice.

By the way, it's not in the Keizer Station "Food Court" but over in the section near Staples and Lowes.