Amayas Taco Village has been serving up hearty, traditional TexMex in Austin for over 20 years, and I've been eating there for more than 10. You can comfortably file this review in the 'old favourites' category. This neighborhood fixture is wildly popular and constantly packed. Be prepared to wait for a table at almost any time of day.
I've talked somewhat extensively about the joy and danger of trad. TexMex in previous reviews, so I'll restate the important points here very briefly. This is not light food, nor is it fancy or 'gourmet' by any stretch. For lovers of the form, however, traditional TexMex is a singular sensation and Amayas Taco Village may be the best place in town to get it.
There is a kind of holy trinity of TexMex consisting of the cheese enchilada w/ chili con carne sauce, the crispy beef taco, and the red salsa. These three items are the pillars on which any worthwhile TexMex place supports their business, and Amayas kicks absolute ass in all three areas.
The salsa may be my favorite in town. It's a smooth tomato based salsa that is hot without being overwhelming, and has a nice twang to it. It's delicious on chips, but really shines when liberally applied to the food.
The enchiladas are just fantastically fantastic. The chili con carne gravy is thick and delicious, and the wrapped up tortillas are tender and fun to chew. With a heaping helping of the salsa, you are headed to enchilada nirvana.
The crispy beef taco (called the Village Taco at Amaya's) is also totally excellent. Amaya's has won Austin Chronicle awards for it's corn tortillas (as well as it's enchiladas for that matter) and it only takes one bite to see why. The homemade torts are fried up just in time to get filled with seasoned ground beef and sent to your table. The texture of the tortilla is really nice; not so much crunchy as chewy and substantial. Again, don't fail to load it up with the salsa.
In conlusion, go to Amaya's sometime soon and get a Deluxe Dinner. You'll be stoked.
Amaya's Taco Village - 4.5 stars - Cornbiter Deluxe
5405 N. I-35, Capital Plaza
Hours: Mon-Sat, 7am-10pm; Sun, 7am-3pm