Penned by Dave, EatSalem's newest writer.
If he is not in his backyard in relentless pursuit of the perfect brisket, pulled pork or tri tip, he can likely to be found at a Junior Hockey game somewhere in the Pac NW. Follow him on Twitter @oldscud
I’ve heard it said that Salem is a taco town. Having spent the first forty years of my life in the taco nirvana of Southern California, where excellent little taqueria’s exist on nearly every street corner, much like the famed coffee bars of the PacNW, I needed more than a catchy tune in a clever, and cute, video to fully convince me of that. Yes, there are some decent tacos in Salem but nothing has made me forget about all those great taqueria’s in Sunny SoCal quite like Marco’s place has. Here you can truly find a great selection of authentic taco’s at insanely affordable prices. Located on High St at Union, Marcos Place, AKA El Tapatio, has quite the lineup when it comes to tacos. All tacos come wrapped in double tortillas and are stuffed with the meat filling of your choice, Carne Asada, Pollo, Al Pastor, Carnitas, Lengua and Chorizo along with fresh cilantro and finely chopped onions. My favorites are the unique Papas Con Chorizo (potato & sausage) and of course, the best fish tacos this side of Rosarita. The fish is crisp, the sauce is perfectly spiced and the cabbage slaw adds a nice crunch.
Marcos is not just tacos though. Here you can find the very best Chile Rellenos in town. These are made fresh onsite. Hand dipped and served with a tasty mild sauce, rice, beans and a salad. The quesadillas are also very good. If you like tamales you are in for a treat. Marcos has some very tasty tamales as well. They are billed as the best in town and I can not disagree. It’s really hard to find good, authentic tamales anywhere and these are among the best I’ve ever had.
As much as I love the food here I do have a few gripes.
The burritos are a bit of a disappointment. They are your standard fare, rice, beans and meat along with onions and cilantro. I do not care much for the beans they use. They have always seemed like soupy pinto beans with no real flavor. The tortillas are a bit chewy for my liking and the end product never has enough meat to satisfy me.
The cups of sauce in the to go orders are annoyingly small. They contain about a tablespoon full of sauce and they may throw 3 or 4 of them into an order of ten tacos, and that is if you ask for extra. More often than not, there is no sauce in the bag at all if not requested. The sauce itself is outstandingly delicious, I just wish there was more of it.
The service is sloooooow. Always. Count on it. It’s never bad, it just takes a long time to receive your meal once you order. I walked in yesterday and ordered a few tacos and it took nearly twenty minutes. This was mid afternoon, there were only a handful of diners when I walked in and most of them already had meals in front of them. This may seem like a minor gripe but it’s enough to keep me from being a more frequent customer. If not for the consistently long wait times I would rate Marcos Place a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
All in all, you will not find more authentic tacos, rellenos and tamales anywhere else in Salem. It’s a good location, plenty of parking, indoor and outdoor seating and they even have a drive-through window. I think. The pricing is very affordable and if you are lucky enough to be able to chat a bit with Marco you will likely find him to be very likable and he will make you feel like one of the family in no time.
Mon-Sat: 10 am - 8 pm
615 High St NE