A Review of El Jefe's Taqueria

By Olivia A. Nicholls

I think one of the greatest first-world problems at Harvard is the fact that Chipotle closes every night at 10 p.m. (yes, on weekends too). Even when you run to that far corner Brattle Square, if you reach Chipotle at 10:00 p.m., you can already see the chairs being put up. Pushed on by my need for vaguely Mexican-inspired food plus a habit of visiting Felipe’s too often, I decided to venture where few Harvard students had gone so far…yes, I went to El Jefe’s Taqueria.

The Scene

As I walked in the entrance, located near the Garage I was wondering how it would compare with Taco Truck, the restaurant that was located there before (which I remember getting a taco there for one day and never going back). Would El Jefe’s fall to the wayside like Taco Truck?

The place was very bright. It was so bright that that the only features of the place I remembered were the huge rack of hot sauces near the condiment bar and the flat screen TV. I don't think that is good for a restaurant that stays open until 4 a.m.

Out of the many food choices they offered, I chose a Mexican Bowl for $8.02 (tax included). For that price, I could get one of any meat plus any other selections. They had the usual selections (black or pinto), (brown or cilantro rice) and free guacamole. But they also had items like plantains, shrimp and more. But out of the sheer sake of comparison, I ordered a carnitas bowl, similar to how I would at Chipotle.

The Taste

Since the place was empty during the time I ordered, I trekked back to my house to taste. Now was the moment of truth. Would I experience a whole new world of flavors? Will I no longer have to walk all the way to Brattle Square to get something to eat? At my first bite, I realized that my food... was cold. Not even lukewarm. I *know* it wasn’t my fault because I had spent so little time between getting my food and sitting down to eat it.

After using the microwave in the dining hall (does anyone know how it works?), I tried it again. At second taste, I didn’t know what I was trying to expect. It tasted technically edible, like swai. But it wasn’t great, like swai. I finished eating just because I didn’t want to waste any of the cash I spent. The most I can say was that the guacamole was fresh by the time I ate it.


I’m not going to tell people to avoid going there, but I won’t force them to try it out. It didn’t have the weirdly addictive quality that Chipotle thrives on. Maybe I went on a bad day but I don’t think I will stop visiting Felipe’s anytime soon. If you are unsure yourself, I recommend sticking to the Chipotle or Felipe’s that you are used to (or Qdoba even, it does have free guac too).

Food and DrinkHarvard SquareFlyby Bloggreat expectationssorry not sorry

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