ADDRESS: 706 W Lancaster Boulevard #109, Lancaster, CA 93534


I remember the couple of times when I would venture out to the Lancaster Boulevard area to go for either lunch or dinner, I would always see a line of people out the door of Don Sal Cocina & Cantina whenever I passed by. It definitely seemed like that place was always popular, and that was no different on the night that my friends Angel and Julie asked if I wanted to get dinner there.

We got there on a Saturday night at around 6:30PM, so right around prime dinnertime. The wait time ended up being about 45 minutes, but it sounded you can also make reservations at the restaurant, too. The interior of the dining area itself is relatively large, with open air ceilings and a bit of an industrial décor feel to the place. There is an open air kitchen in the back of the restaurant, and it actually seemed like it was relatively loud in the restaurant itself. There’s a small stage where it looked like there was some sound equipment set up, presumably for when they had performers there. I’d imagine that for the tables situated right in front of those speakers, it’d be a bit difficult to carry a conversation with the music blasting.

There is certainly no shortage of food options to choose from here. Four full pages on the menu were populated with appetizers, soups, salads, combo plates of tacos, burritos, or enchiladas, along with other meat and seafood entrées. The Tableside Guacamole definitely caught my eye when I saw it; I haven’t seen that on a menu since a Mexican restaurant I used to frequent back when I was in Maryland about eight years ago or so. I was also definitely feeling tacos, and the varying meat choices was making it difficult to choose from. But eventually, I decided to go with the al pastor, carne asada, and carnitas.

My combo plate came with a choice for a cup of soup, so I opted for the Tortilla Soup. I’d recently tried it for the first time at another restaurant and really enjoyed it, so it definitely made the choice easier. That arrived not too long after we had placed our order, and the thing that definitely struck me was the quantity of tortilla strips that had been loaded up into the soup cup. There was also two nice chunks of avocado on top, but only half the cup was filled with actual soup, with the rest being the tortilla strips. The soup, however, did have a good flavor and was complemented well by the shredded chicken and cheese, along with the avocado and tortilla strips.

One of the staff members came out with a full tray of ingredients in preparation for our tableside guacamole experience. He cut up some avocados and placed them into a stone bowl, after which he added in tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, salt, pepper, and some lime juice. He progressively kept mixing everything in the larger bowl as more ingredients got added in. It’s a cool experience to see your guacamole made fresh in front of you, and I thought that the taste of it reflected that as well. We added just a bit more salt to our group’s taste, but overall it was definitely a solid appetizer.

My eyes were definitely larger than my stomach that night, because as the main entrées starting coming to our table, my tacos turned out to be a lot of food. Four tacos total (each of them double-wrapped with corn tortillas), along with the rice and beans, it was a tall task to try and finish it all, especially after the tortilla soup and guacamole. But I started off with the Carne Asada taco, which I did find to be a bit dry overall. The meat was also a bit chewy, and I thought that it probably could have used a little bit more seasoning.

For the Carnitas taco, you definitely couldn’t say that the restaurant skimped out on the meat. My taco ended up having a pretty huge slab of braised pork, topped with some avocado and cilantro on there. The only thought I had was that it could have been better if the meat was shredded just a little bit more, so that each bite you’d get a good proportion. The pork had good umami and savory flavors, and I think some pico de gallo would have been perfect to have a bright, acidic flavor to balance things out.

By the time that I started moving onto the Al Pastor tacos, I was already approaching the “full” gauge on my stomach. I ended up only being able to eat one of the tacos, leaving the rest of the plate for lunch the next day. The chunks of al pastor was complemented by the cilantro and onions, which I thought went well together. The al pastor itself had some pretty good savory flavor, and that ended up being probably my preferred taco meat of the three that I tried that night.

At the end of the day, for the four tacos, rice, beans, and cup of soup, that already totaled just over $30. Even if that did seem like pretty high, I will say that there was a pretty substantial amount of meat provided on each taco. Even if the atmosphere seemed a bit on the louder end on the inside, the area was pretty spacious and the décor definitely felt more on the modern side. For the quality of the food, however, I felt that I could find better elsewhere in town, and it wasn’t worth the 45 minutes that we ended up waiting.

Let’s now take a look at the Don Sal Cocina & Cantina Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** Tortilla Soup **
Chicken soup topped with jack cheese, tortilla strips, and avocado.


** Tableside Guacamole **
Fresh avocado mixed with tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Served with a basket of tortilla chips.


Carne Asada Taco
Sliced pieces of steak, topped with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and avocado.


** Carnitas Taco **
Braised pork topped with cilantro and avocado.


** Al Pastor Taco Combo Plate **
Al pastor topped with onions and cilantro, served with rice and beans.


And finally, here are my rankings for Don Sal Cocina & Cantina:

Food: 4 / 5

The flavors of the food overall I thought were “good,” but didn’t stand out enough to be “great.” There’s no denying that there was a good amount of meat, however, for each of the tacos that I ordered.

Atmosphere: 3.75 / 5

Even though the modern industrial décor was more along the lines of what I typically enjoy, the loudness inside the space ended up detracting from the meal a bit if you are trying to have a conversation at your table. I do like that the seating itself is pretty spaced out overall within the dining area.

Service: 4 / 5

Our waiter was pretty nice and came over to the table a few times during the course of our meal to see how things were going. I also thought that the food was making it out of the kitchen at a pretty good pace.

Price: 4 / 5

Even if the combo plate was dominated by the refried beans, from a portion standpoint, I think the amount of meat on the tacos helped to balance things out a bit. Would I pay $30 for the food that I got in the future? That’s where I have a bit of hesitation.

15.75 / 20

Categories: California, Restaurants

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