At Salt Lake’s Taqueria Los Lee, the owners make guests feel like family while serving gorditas to rave about

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Taqueria Los Lee serves gorditas, combinations plates, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, elote, specialty drinks and made-from-scratch hot sauce.

Taqueria Los Lee is, in many ways, reminiscent of your favorite aunt’s house —where family welcomes you with open arms and delicious smells waft from the kitchen.

The Lee family began catering in Utah more than 15 years ago and, with the recent opening of Taqueria Los Lee, multigenerations are able to work together and share the food of their homeland.

Charm and kindness radiate from the taqueria’s corner table, where guests will sometimes find co-owners Oscar and Rosa Lee and other members of their extended family. Their daughters, Flor or Ani, often are the first to greet customers (in English or Spanish) and explain the menu.

In the kitchen, Rosa makes flavorful tacos ($1.99), burritos ($6.99 and $9.99), quesadillas ($6.99 and $9.99) and gorditas ($2.99).

Visitors can order these items either à la carte or in a combination, with their choice of various fillings. Choose from carne y papa, a satiating mix of beef and potatoes; puerco rojo, pork simmered in spicy red sauce; puerco verde (green pork); beef; chicken; cheese or beans.

Taqueria Los Lee, just north of Nibley Park Golf Course, has become known in the neighborhood for its house specialty — homemade gorditas. These pancakelike pockets are made with masa, stuffed with a desired filling and then cooked until golden and crisp.

Six combo meals allow customers to enjoy a variety of taco and gordita preparations at budget-conscious prices from $5.99 to $8.99. Each is served with flavorful rice and beans. Tacos come on fresh corn tortillas with a side of onions and cilantro.

Over the course of several visits, I tried every option. Carne y papa was stick-to-your-ribs wholesomeness, while green pork had a nice balance of tangy and sweet. Chopped carne asada won’t disappoint red meat lovers, while chicken fans will be surprised by the nuanced shreds of juicy breast meat. Even a simple cheese gordita offered weighty sustenance without being overly greasy.

In addition to the regular menu, rotating daily specials such as mole and pozole can be found at Taqueria Los Lee. Other features, including chicharrones, were noted on a sandwich board outside the restaurant.

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Taqueria Los Lee co-owner Oscar Lee works the front counter during a break from cooking. Taqueria Los Lee serves gorditas, combination plates, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, elote, specialty drinks and made-from-scratch hot sauce.

No matter what you’re craving, the servers will walk you through your order as you peruse the chalkboard menu on the back wall and make suggestions based on your likes and hunger level.

As you wait for your order to be made from scratch, try your hand at Lotería, a Mexican bingo game that serves as art on the walls of the restaurant.

If you choose to eat in, all of your meals will be served with three bottles of housemade hot sauces—ranging in heat levels from medium to hot — but all fairly intense for my gringo palate. The red is actually the least spicy, while the green and white have elevated heat levels but also more intense flavors.

There’s a lot to love about this new neighborhood restaurant. Taqueria Los Lee gives customers delicious homemade food served at reasonable prices with a friendly smile.

Heather L. King also owns www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches

Taqueria Los Lee • (★★ ★½ (out of ★★★★). This family-owned taqueria specializes in housemade gorditas and tacos. Enjoy them à la carte or in combo meals for less than $8.99.

Food • ★★★★

Mood • ★★

Service • ★★★★

Location • 2646 S. 700 East; 385-259-0764 or www.facebook.com/tqloslee.

Hours • Monday -Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; closed Sunday

Entrée Price • $

Children’s Menu • No

Liquor • No

Reservations • No

Takeout • Yes

Wheelchair access • Yes

Outdoor dining • No

Onsite parking • Yes

Credit cards • All