CANS Taqueria is part of a row of pastel colored houses that could be easily mistaken for model homes, or part of a brand new subdivision. It doesn’t have any of the refactored grace of, say, a post garage Decatur eatery, or a in-the-basement charm of a Center City Philadelphia chocolate shop found in a block of row houses. The area looks and feels like a growing suburb, and CANS could just be the sign on the door of a next door neighbor. As you pass however, you might catch the “KIDS EAT FREE” sign in the tiny strip of green between the eatery and the road, and manage to turn around in time to try this place out.

I’ve to some extent avoided CANS, because CANS Taqueria and Pure Taqueria have very vocal and rather nasty online partisans, and their boorish behavior vandalizes almost all the review sites for these two restaurants. It’s not uncommon to see people create accounts, log onto a review site, say something like “(CANS|Pure) sucks! (Pure|CANS) is far better; you need to go there” and never be seen again. Since this kind of nasty fighting can involve overzealous staff, I would suggest that both restaurants should do their best to put an end to it. It only makes their own establishments look bad.

That aside, CANS was looking like something out of a Bogart and Bacall tropical scene when I arrived. They were taking full advantage of the cooler spring weather and windows were open and the patio had a fair amount of customers. What it didn’t have this day was a crowd. Unlike Pure, where the seating is often cramped, people had room to spread out here. Many of the tables had a copper or brass outer layer. I sure thought that was cool.

Chips came early and they were nicely arranged. I didn’t eat chips, but the table next to me with three kids sure did, and they refilled the chips routinely. The salsa is good and has a decent amount of cilantro. A couple tastes and I was looking forward to what they could serve.

I didn’t see any mind blowing entrees at CANS. I saw panuchos, which I’d never had, but that was it. The appetizers have a lot of variety and depth, however, and they offer 5 different salsas. Things like Chiquitos (tiny tacos) and Mexican riblets dot the appetizer section of the menu. The tacos were diverse but missing exotics such as beef tongue.

To start I ordered ceviche and I had their pollo plate (chicken tacos). I was very tempted by the puerco tacos (pork shoulder and mexican cheese), but didn’t want the headache of figuring out how much cheese I was eating and how much fat was in that particular cheese. Simple foods work best for me these days, and I knew as well that I was ordering food I would end up doggie bagging.

The ceviche was good and fresh. I was having a hard time not eating it all, and it was nearly a day’s serving of meat for me these days. I had the same issue with the tacos, as the serving size was more than ample for me. I nibbled on the ceviche and ate a pair of tacos. The banana chips were too good looking not to try at least one. The same held for the green rice and the black beans.

Service was very good. I was being tag teamed by at least two people all the time I was there. They also have the neatest delivery car. Surf boards on the top and a hula girl on the dash make it a wonderful bit of eye candy.

To summarize, this place is a cut above. I have no problem recommending CANS as a place to eat. The food is very good, the atmosphere relaxed, and the solid service make it a pleasure to attend. If the overly partisan fans can stop bickering on the Internet, then everyone would be better served, because there is plenty of room in Atlanta for taquerias as good as this one.

Verdict: Roomy, breezy, fun restaurant with excellent service and very good food. Highly recommended.

CANS Taqueria
12635 Crabapple Rd
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(770) 663-0908

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