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Mexican Food In KC

  • m

I would love to find an authentic Mexican place in KC. I am not talking about places like El Torito or Chi Chi's, but a small authentic place I might be able to get Medalliones al Limon or comparable Mexican cuisene. Not the Tex-Mex peone food we normally get.

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  1. Have you tried Manny's on Southwest Blvd? I have only been there once and don't remember if that dish was on the menu. Seemed to be authentic, as far as I would know. La Cocina del Puerco on Metcalf at Loehman's plaza is supposed to be authentic Mexico City style. I can vouch the food there is good.

    1. Ponaks is what my hubby says is good. He was raised in KC. We now live in San Francisco but visit KC a couple of times a year. That is where we get our BBQ fix. He said it has been 5 years since he went there but his dad who ran a taco john's resaurant knew the owner of ponaks. He also said that Manny's was good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Marla Z

        I wondered if Ponak's was still around--I lived in KC 20 years ago, and I still dream of it!! Yeah, it may be that Tex-Mex peone food, but NO ONE in the civilized world could beat their chips: hand-torn in bunches, so they stuck together, and folded in on themselves in places, and we used to fight each other for the chunkiest pieces as they came HOT out of the frier...Dio Mio!!!! And of course, the chili-rellenos...

        1. re: Marla Z

          No offense, but Ponak's is about the worst Mexican food I've ever had. A step down from Taco Hell.

        2. My advice: by-pass the popular places like Ponak's, Margarita's and Manny's. The food all tastes the same. The best and most authentic we've found is a hole in the wall in beautiful downtown Claycomo called El Sombrero. Nothing fancy and the service can be a little brusque....but the food is what you go for, right?

          Our favorites are the flautas, burritos and the tamales. The tamales are not on the menu but they usually have them. They offer a choice of american or mexican chile on several items; go for the mexican! Tender chunks of pork in a spicy red sauce. Hot but delicious. And the beans.....ahhh the beans. Not the crusted over mush you get at the other places. Actual chunks of beans with a flavor all their own.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Schmitty

            I'm with you--Manny's is too pedestrian. I should have walked out when I asked for chicharron and the waitress had never heard of it. I grew up in KC but haven't lived there in 25 years. Where is Claycomo? I'll try it out next time I'm visiting.

            1. re: jenniferfishwilson

              The Guadalajara Cafe at 1144 W. 103rd St is a white tablecloth authentic Mexican restaurant where the owner may take your order. He will endorse the real Mexican food he serves, not the Tex-Mex food some of his customers request. He is from Mexico. The menu is extensive.

              He has opened a second Guadalajara restaurant. I believe it is in Kansas City North.

              1. re: Bernie

                The shrimp dishes here are absolutely wonderful, but the chips/salsa...particularly the salsa...leave me wanting. Not a fan of salsas that taste as though flavored with chili powder

              2. re: jenniferfishwilson

                Okay, I'll agree about manny's, but now I'm curious...What's a chicharron?

                1. re: css

                  Chicharron is instant cholesterol--it's fried pork skin. A little bit chopped up with a great salsa on a palm sized tortilla is heaven on earth (as long as your doctor doesn't find out). The Jewish version would be gribenes.

            2. Cannot believe La Cocina and Manny's would be mentioned together (see 12/28 reply), but he's dead on about La Cocina del puerco. We keep trying other places, and going back to la cocina, which is the best all-around. Other good ones, at least places with good options, are the Taqueria Mexico (new location at Rainbow & SW Blvd...a little mild but great flavor), Mi Cocina on the Plaza (pollo con hongos--Wow! and it's good for at least one lunch of leftovers), Guadalajara (as I said in another reply, the shrimp dishes are fabulous), and my other "favorite", and the most "authentic" of the bunch, La Paisana at 401 kansas Ave. in KCK. Small, cheap, family run place with tamales by the each or by the dozen, great chile verde, and the best mexican breakfast menu around, 7 days a week. Long reply, but a favorite topic. I'm eager to check out some of the other rec's found here.

              1. Has anyone tried Jalisco's in Kansas City, KS? It is next to Mickey's surplus. It looks very interesting.

                1. Jalisco, in the Argentine - S 26th Street, Kansas City, KS. Place is great - not haut cuisine, but great - don't miss the buffet (lunch or dinner) -

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hereward

                    Wow! I never dreamed they were still around. The owner and I were both in the same KCK Jaycees chapter in the early 1970s. My first wife and I ate there frequently during those years - when I though we were happily married. The food was always good - not great.

                    In recent years, when I visit I have eaten on Southwest Blvd.or at Casa Paloma on Metcalf when I crave Mexican.

                    1. re: hereward

                      I have only ate at Jalisco Mexican Food, next to Mickey's once. I can't bring myself to go back, it was in the top three worst Mexican Restaurants I have ever been to, ever. It looked interesting but disappointed on every level, service, food, and expensive considering what was served.

                    2. Ixtapa in the Northland on Barry Road is a favorite of mine. It's wonderful. No Tex-Mex here. It's all very authentic. Here's a link to an article in the Pitch, http://www.pitch.com/2007-01-18/dinin...

                      1. Mi Ranchito, in Lenexa KS. Might not be REALLY authentic, but it's defnitily the best Mexican in the KC area. I just moved to the Biloxi, MS area and have tried 3 mexican restaurants--not a one is even close to Mi Ranchito! (they have really good guacamole)

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Dogs4Me

                          Dogs, I love the Ranch, too...have you tried Dos Reales on 75th just east of I-35? We also really like this place. I would call it a close second to the Ranch.

                          1. re: amy_rc

                            Is it related to the Mi Ranchito in Old Overland Park? I didn't have such a great meal there, though the pork chili verde was decent.

                            There's a Mi Rancho on SW Blvd that I've really enjoyed.

                            I believe Dos Reales is a cousin or sibling to Sol Azteca, also on SW Blvd. Very good chile colorado with flour tortillas.

                            More info with pics:

                            JoCo: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

                            SW Blvd: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

                            1. re: Aaron Deacon

                              I can't believe no one has mentioned Tienda Casa Paloma in Overland Park, KS . . .http://www.casapaloma.com/ Get the Pollo in Pipian, Squash Blossom Quesadillas or Pastor Soft Shell Tacos. Yum!

                              Also, Torero's mentioned above on Shawnee Mission Pkwy. has the biggest menu of any Mexican place I have ever been to . . .not everything is spot on, but I love the Milenessa Dinner (platters as big as your head). They also serve menudo etc. http://search.cityguide.aol.com/kansa...

                              La Cocina del Puerco is now Austin's Cantina of Austin's Bar & Grill in Olathe, the carnita's remain from the old menu and are really still terrific, but the rest of the menu is boring bar food. He has also done some remodeling on the inside, so if you want to relive the past go sit outside on the patio with the original furniture and eat your carnitas.

                              Mi Ranchito has several locations and I just recently discovered them . . .you will fight the cheese sauce battle on many dishes, but the menu it is varied and the service is the best I have had in any Mexican restaurant in this city. I have to say it is the meat they use in all of their dishes that is top quality and that makes a huge difference. I had the most simple and perfect Carne Asada Soft Tacos there topped with crisp shredded lettuce and fresh pico de gallo served with limes on the side . . .so good it made me cry.

                              I have learned from this thread more about places in KCK to try (thank you), and I wonder if anyone knows about the following places on my list:

                              Torreon Cantina hidden off of 87th street
                              Tarahumara Mexican Restaurant east of I-35 on 87th
                              El Pueblito - near La Bodega on SW Blvd.
                              El Pulgarcito - Johnson Drive to Merriam Drive next to feed store

                              1. re: jvergara

                                I agree on Tienda Casa Poloma. To me this is the only Mexican restaurant in town that has set itself apart from the others. I could eat at this place every day. Seems to be kind of a hidden gem. One thing I think would be cool with this place is if they'd occasionally whip up some fresh squeezed margarita's or import some hard to find tequilas for sale in the market.

                                1. re: clclark2000

                                  I really love the vibe at Tienda Casa Paloma and have been meaning to go back and try again before writing, but the food wasn't nearly as good as I wanted it to be. And we got a pretty broad sampling. I did like the beef tacos...may have been cabeza but I don't recall for sure. Really quite nice. Norteno-style, mostly flour tortillas. Love that they offer the flor de calabaza, didn't think it was very good, though.

                                  A couple other places I've mentioned elsewhere, but can never remember where...

                                  El Camino Real in KCK at (7th and Minnesota?) has terrific tacos al pastor.

                                  Ixtapa near Zona Rosa offers huitlacoche, according to The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza, which is promising. I haven't been.

                                  Torero's menu seems especially deep on shrimp dishes. Haven't had a chance to explore this, but I'm looking to. Too much for one man (or my cautious family) price-wise and portion-wise, but I've been trying to get a group together to take one deep dive into the menu. Email me if interested at aarondeacon at hotmail dot com.

                                  1. re: Aaron Deacon

                                    Huitlacoche, I've had this dish at Ixtapa. I've never had it anywhere else before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was delicious. Even my Tex-Mex lovin' hubby liked it. Truly, that was impressive. I had the squash blossoms too. They were also very good.

                                    Instead of ordering off the menu, I like to have them bring a three course dinner special. You just ask the server for it. They have several different menus that they rotate. You just tell them the ones you've already had. It's always been delicious.

                                    1. re: Aaron Deacon

                                      Aaron, that's weird, because I've never seen TCP's tacos with anything but corn tortillas. I know it's not traditional, but I actually like tacos with flour tortillas when they're steamed, yum. Maybe I'll ask again and see if they'd do that for me? I also second the pollo pipian and their tamales are pretty good, too.

                                      1. re: amyzan

                                        Went back last night and enjoyed it very much. Ordered much less, which was to our advantage. The barbacoa tacos/shredded beef were much as I remembered, which were very good. They were corn tortillas...I think the flour I was remembering were on the quesadilla de flor de calabeza.

                                        Also ordered the pollo en pipian...very enjoyable. Nice, nutty, pumpkin seedy flavor. Soft and tender but not mushy meat. I would prefer bone-in dark meat. Maybe they have that on request.

                                        Got a to-go order of their New Mexico green chili, but left it in the car overnight. Seemed like a good deal though at $4.50 for 32 oz.

                                        What was most exciting about this meal, though, and what I can't believe I forgot after the first time, was what a singularly good, cheap, fast meal this is.

                                        Since I've been here, we really haven't found anywhere for good takeout or anyplace that you can get "fast food" that's not nasty chain fast food. Here you go in, order at the counter, and your food's out in about the same amount of time as at Taco Bell or McDonald's, but it's so, so much better.

                                        The owner's a hoot and the place is energetic and bustling...a one-of-a-kind experience in the area, as far as I've been able to tell.

                                  2. re: jvergara

                                    My husband is Hispanic, and Casa Paloma is his pick... he says a lot of the food reminds him of his grandma's cooking. I'm so-so on most of the food, although I thought the squash blossom quesadillas were really good. I continue to go with him because I adore the owner and the atmosphere.

                                2. re: amy_rc

                                  I haven't tried Dos Reales. Unfortunatly I just moved to the Gulf Coast (MS) and I am missing Mi Rachito so much! I have tried 3 mexican resturants down here and nothing comes even close! I am getting ready to check my post on mexican resturants down here in a minute. Keep your fingers crossed for something good!

                                  1. re: amy_rc

                                    I finally tried Manny's and really did not like it at all. Frankly, I am surprised at its popularity and longevity. What Mexican restaurant charges for a basket of chips??? I will say, I did enjoy the salsa, but the rest of my meal was a greasy mess covered in shredded chese that had melted and then cooled down. Uugh! If I were my server I would have been embarassed to serve that dish to my customer.

                                3. There are a few pretty decent places in KC, most are not even close to authentic, a few are. Guadalajara Cafe, on 103rd is one of the best (owner also has Ixtapa, on Barry Road). I like Poco's on Southwest Blvd for breakfast mostly, but dinner if you get a chance (only on weekends, currently) is great also. El Patron, also on Southwest Blvd, has a great urban feel and the food is more authentic than most. Also for Overland Park, Tarahumara on 87th street and Tienda Casa Paloma are both really good.