As a Duke student confined to campus on the day-to-day grind of the school week, my guilty weekend pleasure is grabbing some friends and heading off campus for some good food. On these occasions, my friends and I often realize we’re itching for some really good guacamole. Although one of my favorite things about living in Durham is the wide variety of tasty options, it can sometimes be overwhelming figuring out where to go. Even if you can narrow it down to the type of cuisine you’re craving, the selections are still numerous. From Cosmic Cantina to La Vaquita, how can one possibly make the best decision? This past weekend we decided to once and for all determine what restaurant serves up the best guac in Durham.
Our unanimous first choice, El Rodeo’s guacamole was easily the best we sampled all day. This was the guacamole you crave, the chunky and fresh classic avocado taste with a hint of lime and El Rodeo’s choice of spices. Though lacking the spicy aftertaste often associated with great guacamole, this guac had a versatile flavor that even a sensitive palate could enjoy.
Location: 905 W Main St #1, Durham, NC 27701
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm; Fri 11am-10:30pm; Sat 12pm-10:30pm; Sun 12pm-9:30pm
A Blue Devil off-campus favorite, Nana Taco did not disappoint. What Nana’s guac lacked in basic flavor it made up for with a little extra kick. We were once again pleased with the chunky consistency of the guacamole, which paired well with the accompanying tortilla chips. With a super fun atmosphere and great margaritas if you’re of drinking age, this restaurant is a great option overall.
Location: 2512 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 11am-9pm
Admittedly, I did not expect Cosmic Cantina to show up high on this list. A popular late night stop for Duke students and Durham residents alike, Cosmic greatly surprised us by coming in at number three. We were immediately intrigued when we receiving a different style of chip with our order, after having sampled the same exact variety of restaurant tortilla chip at every other stop. The accompanying guacamole didn’t disappoint either. Cosmic’s version was clean and fresh, while smoother and less chunky than both Nana Taco and El Rodeo. This guacamole had a strong avocado taste and could have benefited from the addition of other flavors.
Location: 920 Perry St, Durham, NC 27705
Hours of Operation: Daily 11am-4am
If you’re looking for a different twist on traditional guacamole, El Corral is the place for you. The avocado base of this unique guacamole was infused with a heavy lime flavor and a nice smooth texture. El Corral makes a citrusy take on traditional guacamole that you’re sure to enjoy.
Location: 1821 Hillandale Rd #8, Durham, NC 27705
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 12pm-9pm
El Rincon Durham has the guacamole for the avocado “purist.” A very simple flavor with a strong avocado taste, this guacamole would be best featured accompanying a burrito or enchilada with strong, spicy flavors.
Location: 3808 Guess Road # 1, Durham, NC 27705
Hours of Operation: Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-10 pm, Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-9pm
Dos Perros has received numerous accolades for their guacamole, and I had high expectations that this would be my favorite stop of the day. After ordering guacamole to go, we were disappointed that the restaurant had not also included chips, as every other stop we had made. It got worse. After opening the bag, we were disappointed to find the tiny containers, dwarfed in comparison by the sizes we had received at every other restaurant for essentially the same price. The guacamole had a strong bitter taste, and while that may appeal to a food critic’s palate, it is not the flavor to be enjoyed casually with a side of chips.
Location: 200 N Mangum St, Durham, NC 27701
Hours of Operation: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm; Brunch: Sat-Sun 10am-2pm
The Patron Mexican Grill’s guacamole was completely smooth and oddly buttery. If guacamole is what you’re craving, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Location: 3438 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Hours of Operation: Mon–Thurs 11 am–10 pm, Fri 11 am–11pm, Sat 12 pm–10pm, Sun 12 pm-9:30 pm
La Vaquita is a roadside stand with a walk-up order window and accompanying outdoor picnic tables where you can enjoy your meal. This stand would make a fun, casual and authentic date idea. But, definitely try something on the menu that is not served with guacamole. This guac was way too creamy, pasty and completely flavorless.
Location: 2700 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707
Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 10am-9:30pm
More Ways to Get Your Guacamole Fix Here: