On a recent Friday evening, a friend and I were craving tacos and we couldn’t go to our usual place Banditos because it turns into a bar and becomes a bit of a madhouse. Our other favorite, Tortilleria Sinaloa isn’t open for dinner. I had remembered reading reviews about how the Mexican food at Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point. Papi’s Tacos is owned by the people who own Alexanders Tavern (a bar around the corner in Fells Point) and the food there is pretty good so I was excited about this. I also remembered that the owner, Charlie Gjerde is brothers with Spike Gjerde (the man behind Woodberry Kitchen and other local favorites) so I was sold on Papi’s Tacos for dinner.
We arrived around 8:30pm and were hoping to catch the end of the dinner rush, but no such luck. The place was packed, the bar was full and everyone was having a good time. We were excited. Fortunately there wasn’t a wait and we snagged the last table in the small dining room.
After looking over the menu, everything sounded awesome that we needed more than a few minutes to decide what to try. While we were looking over the menu, the waitress brought us complimentary Chips and Salsa. The salsa was great, but the chips tasted like they came out of a bag. They were complimentary though so I wasn’t exactly surprised. On the menu they had an order of chips you could buy for $2 so I’m assuming those are homemade.
To accompany our chips, we decided to order the trio of salsas. We ordered the salsa verde, picosa and guacamole. The guacamole was delicious and so was the salsa verde. The picosa was pineapple and diced peppers, it was sweet with a little tang of spice and we loved it, however I was expecting a more traditional salsa with pineapple chunks in it, instead of chunks of pineapple with spices. However it was still delicious and later I tossed it onto my tacos. We were pleased with our choices.
We also ordered the Elote Esquites. Elote is Mexican street corn and hands down, one of my favorite dishes. This rendition was awesome, cobbed corn dusted with lime, chile pequin, cotija, Mexican mayo, and epazote. The other place where I’ve had awesome elote is Banditos. I would go back to Papi’s for the elote alone, there aren’t too many places in Baltimore that have it on the menu and this was delicious.
Papi’s Tacos also has a build your own street taco option. Because we were craving tacos, we each opted to do this.
My friend opted for the Gringo Style Taco with the chipotle roasted chicken. This was great, the chicken was marinated nicely and packed with spicy flavor. However my friend ordered no crema and her taco came with it anyway. But overall it was a great dish packed with flavor and further enhanced with the addition of the salsas we ordered.
I ordered the Authentic Style Adobo Costillas. While both tacos were good, this style was the clear winner, it was loaded with flavor and tasted even better when we threw on the guacamole and picosa salsa. Hands down these are some of the best tacos I’ve had to date and I can’t wait to go back and have more.
For great authentic Mexican food in Fells Point, consider Papi’s Tacos. Between the great atmosphere, wonderful drinks and amazing food, this is one place you don’t want to miss.
Papi’s Tacos is located at 1703 Aliceanna St., in Fells Point, Maryland.
by RACHEL LIPTON
SPECIAL TO THE BALTIMORE GUIDE