Taco Tuesday is totally a thing, and Flautas Friday should be a thing, too. I love those little rolled fried tacos, and I went on the hunt to find some good flautas options in town. The filling, crispiness, and number of flautas varied from order to order, but one thing is for sure: Champaign-Urbana is not lacking in fantastic flautas.


In a styrofoam container, there are three flautas atop rice with two dividers in the background with sour cream and lettuce on the left and beans on the right. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

El Paraiso

El Paraiso in Urbana's Broadway Food Hall serves an order of flautas for $7.50. Three corn tortillas filled with chicken and cheese were deep fried and served on a bed of rice with a side of beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, and lettuce. These flautas were banging. The chicken and cheese filling was flavorful and juicy. This was the only order of chicken flautas in my list that had cheese on the inside, and maybe that's why it was so amazing. The salty flavor was so good, and the crispy exterior crunched loudly when I bit the tortilla. I'm talking layers and layers of crunch. Somehow these chicken flautas tasted decadent and buttery (perhaps from the fry oil) but not at all greasy. Paired with a hearty portion of rice and some tasty beans, these flautas were exceptional.

El Paraiso
401 N Broadway Ave
Urbana
T-F 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sa+Su 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On a white oval plate, there are four flautas in a ring, and inside, there are toppings like sour cream, pico de gallo, grated white cheese, and guacamole. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

El Rancho Grande

El Rancho Grande in Savoy has flautas Mexicanas on the menu for $9. Four fried corn tortilla flautas were filled with my choice of chicken or beef (I chose chicken) with lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. The flautas came straight from the fryer and were piping hot when they arrived to my table. The exterior had the crunch I look for in a good flauta, and the filling was pretty good. It was shredded chicken with little soft bits of peppers which gave a nice flavor without being spicy. All the toppings in the middle of the plate were good, and I enjoyed dipping my flautas in the guac, then some pico and cheese before shoving it into my mouth. Free chips and salsa were included with the entree when I dined. I enjoyed this dish outside at one of the tables in front of the restaurant, and while the view of Domino's Pizza wasn't picturesque, the food and service were excellent. 

El Rancho Grande
505 Commerce Dr
Savoy
M-Th 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In a styrofoam takeout container, there are three flautas with brown edges from the fryer and in the two dividers behind, there is sour cream, guacamole, pico, and lettuce. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

El Toro

Across the street from McCollum Park, El Toro's newest location sells flautas for $9.99. The flautas entree came with four rolled, fried tacos (two with beef and two with chicken) served with lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream on the side. The tortillas were fried to a golden brown that tasted as good as they looked. The edges were really crispy, and the inside was still super hot even after my drive home. I tried the chicken flautas first. The chicken was shredded and somewhat dry, but the green peppers in the filling gave the flautas a tasty flavor. The beef flautas were superior, for sure. Shredded, tender beef with a great tomato flavor filled two of the corn tortillas. The beef flautas had something especially delicious going on, and as I ate it, the juice from the beefy flauta ran down my hand. The dish came with a lot of lettuce, a teeny bit of guacamole (I could have eaten so much more guac), and a scoop of pico plus a bag of free chips and a pretty big cup of salsa. It was a solid meal that was definitely fried fresh to order.

El Toro
1005 S Neil St
Champaign
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily

In a styrofoam container, there are three flautas covered in cheese atop tin foil. In the other divider, from the left, there are onion slices, a tomato slice, lettuce, then Mexican rice, and then beans. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

La Mixteca

I ordered La Mixteca's flautas ($9.50) for takeout one rainy day. There were three fried tortillas with a filling choice of chicken or beef. I chose chicken. These flautas were covered with sour cream and cheese and served with a mini side of rice and beans plus raw onion, a slice of tomato, and lettuce. The flauta had lost most of its crispiness, unfortunately, from the cheesy topping and (likely) my drive home. The filling in the flautas was just shredded chicken: no cheese, peppers, or sauce in there. The chicken was a little dry, and it needed some salsa which, thankfully, was provided at no extra cost (with a bag of chips) with my order. The chips from La Mixteca are one of my favorite chips in town because they are so crunchy, crispy, and salty. Three salsas (a medium tomato salsa, a mild green salsa, and a spicy orange salsa) were provided for free as well, and all of the salsas were great.

La Mixteca
510 N Cunningham Ave
Urbana
Su-Th 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

On a rectangular white plate, there is a pile of pico and guac beside three flautas covered in sour cream and cheese beside rice and beans. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Maize at The Station

I really love these flautas ($15) from Maize. You can choose your filling from these options: chicken, steak, chorizo and cheese, or potato and cheese. I am obsessed with the potato and cheese flautas, and they never disappoint. Three fried tortillas were filled with soft potato with a cheesy flavor, and then topped with a heavy drizzle of sour cream and crumbled cheese. The middle had a smooth texture of mashed potatoes, and the contrast of the filling versus the crispy, fried tortilla was something phenomenal. The dish was simple but truly imcomparable. Also, Maize isn't messing around with their sides, either; my order came with a healthy scoop of guacamole, freshly made pico, and a side of rice and beans — in addition to complimentary chips and salsa at the table. Yeah, it's the priciest flautas order in this list, but the quality of the food — and the fact that it's the only place I can get a potato flauta in town — make the price worth it to me.

Maize at The Station
100 N Chesnut St
Champaign
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.