Whenever you find a good pupusa, you should let me know because I am a pupusa fiend. There is something so irresistible about the luxuriantly soft dough of a freshly-made pupusa around luscious cheese. My favorite pick? Queso (of course) with loroco (traditional). Not only is the item itself hard not to love but the accompanying slaw is always a home run. We wanted to find a go-to in Austin and Costa Del Sol popped up in our online search as the most viable candidate. It was assuring to know that the restaurant focuses on classic Mexican and Salvadorian food, not Tex-Mex or fusion creations.
Before you set expectations of a wondrous place, I wanted you to know that it is usually the case that quality food comes from sparse spots that spend their time and energy in making the food good, not beautifying their restaurant space. The hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop establishments often produce some of the best stuff. With Costa Del Sol, if we weren't looking for it in particular, we could have skipped over it during any drive in the area. It does not stand out whatsoever and the back parking lot where we parked had an odor to it along with plenty of potholes and refuse on the ground. Outside the restaurant was plain; inside it was colorful but casual. We hunkered down in a corner.
The goal of the meal was to stuff our faces with pupusas. A restaurant that offers Salvadorian food as well as traditional Mexican, Costa Del Sol had an extensive menu that featured items more commonly found in a household. We saw many plate options that came with healthy servings of rice, a few sides, and protein. They were simple but that's the point - you aren't fancying up your meals at home all the time, are you? I was tempted by the other dishes but chose what we had come for - pupusas. While I had a favorite place in southern California, the moment I bit into one of the pupusas here, it instantly became my favorite. Two topped generously with slaw will keep you full for a little while and set you back about $5 or less.
In addition to pupusas, you can find the delightful treat of a tamale de elote at this restaurant located at 7901 Cameron Road, Austin, TX 78754. This would be a simple tamale without filling but which has been made sweet and with corn baked in; it is light, fluffy, and addictive. We also enjoyed horchata that was heavy on cinnamon and flavor but also contained some natural grittiness we assumed was a part of the homemade process. All in all, I'm looking forward to our next visit to try the other dishes...if I don't succumb to the pupusas again!
Photography by Duc Duong.