Restaurant Reviews

El Cilantro: An Unexpected Hidden Gem

May 20, 2018

You know what’s cool about Ballston Spa? There are a bunch of restaurants that are really great.

There’s Next Door Kitchen & Bar and Augie’s which are staples in the village, but there’s also some awesome casual and ethnic spots including Leon’s, Alaturco, and now, El Cilantro.

Tucked away kind of behind and to the left of Alaturco at 388 Milton Ave, El Cilantro is a Mexican restaurant that’s authentically Oaxaqueno.

The menu includes items like Tlayudas (a thin crunchy tortilla with mashed beans, quesillo, lettuce, tomato, avocado & meat), tamales special of the day, and Menudo de Pansita (tripe soup).

The owner came over and asked if we were ready to order, and in true annoying Ashley fashion, I asked him what he recommended. 

He couldn’t have been nicer, saying that he loves the taquitos, and the beef tongue was his favorite. 

Yupp, that’s right. Beef tongue.

Guess what I did? I ordered it. Well, I ordered one. I also ordered the chicken, chorizo and beef. These come as the traditional “street cart” style, with chopped white onion, cilantro, and a fresh lime to squeeze on top.

Bottom left is the tongue. CHECK IT.

Alright, so you can actually SEE the tastebuds when you look closely at the meat, but I still dove in. After trying all four, I have to admit, the flavor of the tongue was my favorite. The texture was almost filet-esque, melting in my mouth with every bite. Sure, it was a little challenging to get past the fact that I was eating tongue, but if you’re into that sort of thing, this is a MUST TRY.

The other three meats were all incredibly impressive as well, especially the chicken. Generally, I would have to say that when you order chicken at Mexican restaurants, it’s just pulled chicken and it’s dry as a bone. Sometimes they add sauce on top to help, but it’s still dry chicken with sauce. 

This chicken was super juicy and flavorful, like it has been slowly simmering in broth all day long. Definitely recommend if you’re not feeling the beef tongue!

All in all, I’m SUPER excited to have this place in Ballston Spa. The staff is very friendly, the location isn’t bad, and the food is fantastic. FYI – the restaurant is still waiting on their liquor license, but it’s currently being processed.

For the full menu, click here.

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  • Reply Steve N. May 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Lengua tacos (beef tongue) are common in authentic Mexican taquerias, they’re not a novelty. They’re also popular, and they’re delicious.

  • Reply John May 27, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Lengua is my goto taco.

  • Reply Verona June 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Lmao..I’ve been eating tounge on rye bread w Gulden’s mustard since I was a kid (any Jewish deli worth it’s salt has it on the sandwich menu…Saratoga needs one) at Reins in Vernon CT. Beef tounge is fantastic. Cheers Jim

  • Reply El Cilantro Serving Up Authenticity | Saratoga Food Fanatic November 1, 2018 at 9:24 am

    […] first visit was back in May, and I’ve been raving about it ever […]

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