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Best Mexican food?

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I am in search of an excellent Mexican restaurant in New Orleans and would greatly appreciate any recommendations.

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  1. Not Juan's Flying Burrito. Sorry, but this is the only mexican place I've been to in NOLA and I didn't like it.

    1. Mexican food is one area where New Orleans is very weak.
      For truly Mexican food, the only place I know that's any good at all is Taquero/Coyoacan on St. Charles. It is truly Mexican dining. Tacos and other less expensive dishes downstairs, and Mexican fine dining with an excellent chef upstairs.
      For Southwestern food -- sorta New Mexico/Texas food,
      Santa Fe on Frenchmen is very good. Neither place is cheap, but the plates of food at Santa Fe are very large.
      I've never finished my plates there.
      The rest of the "Mexican restaurants" are a real disappointment to anyone from the southwest, or who has traveled in Mexico extensively.

      10 Replies
      1. re: jayne

        I agree, not much good mexican food.

        More about Taquero's-- many people are very annoyed to find that this is not a place that serves fajitas with a big pile of rice and refried beans on the side. It is very authentic, quite expensive, and the chef does not take kindly to substitutions. Completely worth it in my opinion.

        Many people find Taqueria Corona to be very good, it's more the American idea of a mexican restaurant,without being too gloppy. I've never been much of a fan of Santa Fe, but everyone else I know likes it. They do have fantastic margaritas.

        You might have more luck with Central American or Cuban stuff-- Liborio's downtown is quite good (Cuban), and recently reviewed in the paper (and by a few other people I know) as being good is Fiesta Latina out on Airline Hwy.

        I recently reviewed Vera Cruz on Maple St, which has been bad for a very long time, but recently acquired a new chef, and I've been very happy with my 3 meals there this spring. I'll link the review below. And I notice someone responded with another suggestion on that thread.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. re: Jess

          Taqueros Coayacan is two restaurants, the more formal one being upstairs. If you want really cheap stuff and I don't think it's too bad you can go to Country Flame on Iberville. They do some Cuban stuff too.

          1. re: Jess

            Taqueros Coayacan is two restaurants, the more formal one being upstairs. If you want really cheap stuff and I don't think it's too bad you can go to Country Flame on Iberville. They do some Cuban stuff too.

            1. re: bwdirector

              ah , the country flame, fueling the quarter's workers,scumbags, vagrants, and tourists for a long time now. i remember in the early 90ies they had a more expansive cuban menu... cheap but definitley hit and miss..broiled pork chops arnt bad for greasy ultilitarian fare.
              tostones fried extra crisp with salt and lime... i miss new orleans.

              also good hit and miss, with a decidedly more central-american flair is the plate lunch at the Union supermarket, next to thrift city and rock n bowl.

              1. re: swampy

                when did union supermarket reopen by rock n bowl? i know it's been open out in kenner for a while. as for best mexican/central american, i'd say the taco trucks. not all are the same but it's definitely fun to try them all out. taqueria is my favorite of the uptown offerings but you have to keep in mind that the owners aren't mexican, they're from central america (i think el salvador? i've forgotten by now).

                1. re: missmable

                  Union Supermarket is still closed. They're tearing down and rebuilding everything but Rock 'n' Bowl.

            2. re: Jess

              Tauqeria Corona is not necessarily completely Americanized. Why would they serve tongue.

              1. re: Tara

                I didn't say it was completely Americanized. I said it's more what americans expect: tacos or enchiladas that come with a side of rice and refried beans.

              2. re: Jess

                Santa Fe on Frenchmen is gone!! A new restaurant- La Vita (the same as the one in Mid-City) opened there last week.

                1. re: Jess

                  If you want to go the Cuban, South/Central- American route, Maya's at 2027 Magazine is absolutely wonderful!! They do a slow roasted pork to die for that they serve over gallo pinto with pico de gallo, and they have the most delicious pan-fried plantains with this lovely cool creamy dipping sauce; also a truly killer chile relleno. My dad always calls the restaurant ahead of time to make sure they have them before we go in. Everything is thoughtfully seasoned and very well-executed and they always have a TON of yummy specials to choose from. Also they have very excellent cocktails...

                  mojitoland.com

              3. Taqueria Jalisco or Taqueria La Mexicana, both on Terry Parkway on the westbank. these are the only "authentic" places that I know of.

                Also have heard rumors of a Taqueria on Airline Dr. all the way out in Kenner.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Chris

                  I'm glad to see some one actually pitching real mexican food and not some hybrid "cuisine".

                  1. re: batterdip

                    I agree. I enjoy both, particularly the chilaquiles at La Mexicana as well as the gorditas and chile relleno at Jalisco. I have found that, for those who say that there is no good Mexican food in N.O., they have generally not been to either of these places.

                    1. re: batterdip

                      anyone know the deal with the new restaurant called "The Kitchen" on Canal St? I heard it's "mexican food" but don't know if it's real mexican or just more nachos and quesadillas.

                      1. re: Chris

                        It's central American and its fantastic.

                  2. Can anyone update this post? Are these places still open -- and are they still good?

                    Thanks in advance.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Adrienne

                      Give us about 6 months to a year and this place should be crawling with good true Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, thanks to Katrina. There are real good taco trucks all over town now.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        While I have not been to La Mexicana since the storm, I hear it is open. I have been to Jalisco several times, and it is always packed, and the food is just as good as it was before. There is also a new Central American place on Stumph, about 1-2 blocks off of Terry. Also try Christy's PoBoys on Stumph for excellent Cuban food, particularly their oxtail stew and ropa vieja.

                        1. re: Adrienne

                          Vera Cruz is still open, but the new chef they had before the storm is not back, so I can't recommend going there.

                          Fiesta Bistro by Lebanon's on Carrollton is new this year, they have a little tapas menu that's pretty good. They also have tacos etc.

                          1. re: Adrienne

                            Just went to Coyocan on the corner of St. Charles and Martin Luther King Blvd. last night (3/16/07). Post-Katrina, they no longer have the two different restaurants as described above, and everything is located downstairs. A beautiful dininng room, with dim lighting, lots of room between tables, and our server was really great. They did a nice presentation of orders from their extensive (20+) tequila list and served me a nice Michelada, which isn't something I'd been able to order elsewhere in New Orleans.

                            Seems like they've combined the lower-end and higher end menu items from the two different restaurants. From the giant open kitchen came some steaks and high-end traditional mexican dishes (Chile Relleno con carne, Pollo con mole) in the $18-30 range, and burritos, enchiladas, etc. for $5-10. I had two double-fist-required bean and cheese burritos for $4 each. Simple, but good. I spent more on my drinks than my meal, which isn't a bad thing.

                            The waiter said they are trying to get enough staff to open up the upstairs, but until that happens, they'll just run the downstairs and serve off of both menus.

                          2. The Kitchen, referenced above, is gone. It's now a coffee shop.

                            1. Does anyone know anything about El Gato Negro or Tomatillos?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: breakaway

                                I just went to El Gate Negro last night and it is one of the better Mexican restaurants I've been to. It has a much smaller menu than you usually find, but all the classics are there. The cooking staff is extemely friendly, and, as for taste, it is as good as anything else you will find if not better.

                                1. re: breakaway

                                  Tomatillos is still great in a pinch. It still qualifies more as Tex-Mex, but the patio outside and the big-ass margaritas make up for it. I head there regularly for lunch and am generally satisfied with the nachos. The only negative is when I asked for hot salsa, the waiter put it in the microwave... Seriously...

                                2. I don't know about those, I'm sorry, but I thought I should update my above post, as I went to Felipe's (behind the shopping center at Calhoun and Claiborne) a few weeks ago. Everything was very fresh, there's a salsa bar, it hit the spot. Sort of the format of a Moe's. The tortillas were not homemade, unfortunately. But the price was right, and it will definitely do when I feel like Mexican.

                                  1. A great new place:

                                    Tacos San Miguel, at Claiborne and Elysian Fields. Next to the Family Dollar store.

                                    It's a truly authentic Mexican hole in the wall.

                                    1. Panama Hat above referred to Taco trucks. Do the trucks have consistent locations? Can you help me figure out how to find them? ANd what their hours might be?

                                      Thanks.

                                      1. They are all over town now, even out in Metairie. Most that I have seen are along Elysian Fields but I haven't driven around much lately. I don't know exact hours but it looks like mostly lunch. Mexican restaurnats are popping up all over; one appears to be opening next to Preservation Hall on St. Peter. Soon I don't think you will need to ask where they are, just which ones are good.

                                        3 Replies
                                          1. re: Panama Hat

                                            they're pretty consistent about their locations. not to sound like i'm stereotyping but you can find them wherever you find a lot of the hispanic workers: by lowe's, home depot, etc. the one at the gas station near claiborne and carrollton is pretty good.

                                            1. re: missmable

                                              Anywhere that is, except in Jefferson Paris. They banned the taco trucks this week.

                                          2. If you are willing to drive a bit there is a wonderful Mexican Resturant on the North Shore.Don't remember the name, Take the causeway north and exit to the left towards Madisonville and Rt. 22. The resturant is just there on the left in a little shopping center before Mandeville High School. We used to eat there faithfully every Friday night.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Midcity Bmore Girl

                                              Bmore girl:

                                              The place you're referring to is--I think--called Casa Garcia, and while I haven't been to the Northshore location I'm very much familiar with the original Casa Garcia in Kenner (on Vets between Power and David). Even if I'm completely wrong about your Mandeville rec, I grew up on this restaurant and thereby it remains my favorite in the metro area for Mexican food.

                                              And while we're talking about Kenner, there is a place I've driven out to a few times on West Metairie that serves killer Salvadoran food--not Mex, I know, but it's called La Pupuseria La Macarena and has proven fantastic every time--has anyone been?

                                              1. re: redAir

                                                Yep. V. good, though I always feel like the pricing is higher than I expected. I know the food is fresh, etc, but if you have a couple of courses, the total tab can creep up into the "nice restaurant" zone, and it's just a simple place.

                                                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                  Celeste,
                                                  Have you tried Taqueria Sanchez on the West Bank?

                                                  At first they had a taco truck, then they moved in to a former snowball stand at 46 Westbank Expy.

                                                  The pupusas and barbecoa tacos are excellent. They also throw in a side of cilantro spiked hot sauce.

                                                  Jeff

                                                  1. re: TulaneJeff

                                                    This is the little blue & white place, right? PDG (pretty darn good) all the way.

                                            2. i agree that taqueros-coyoacan is very good, but too authentic for most people, with servings that are more delicate and not smothered in cheese and sour cream. i have never understood the fascination with santa fe - the food is just not that good. taqueria corona isnt my favorite, either, unless you are a BIG fan of cheese. juan's flying burrito is ok, but nothing to write home about. mexican is just not that great around here.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. I don't know if they're always there, but the few times I've been to the farmers market at Uptown Square on Tuesdays, there are vendors where you get pretty good tamales and other Latin food, not all Mexican, but decent.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: collegeconnoisseur

                                                  Isabel sells tamales at the Saturday CCFM in the Warehouse district, as well. Someone asked her once how many she makes before each market and she said 12 dozen!! The family also makes chorizo, their own tomatillo sauce, and a few other products.

                                                2. Tomatillo is open on Esplanade and Frenchmen.

                                                  I have been to both San Miguel and Felipe's in the past few weeks. They are so different.
                                                  Felipe's: The food was good but over priced. I think tacos run at about $4 for 2 tacos. You need several to get full. In the corner by the drink machine they have a salsa bar with four house made salsas, all of which are really good. There is a bar which makes great margaritas from fresh squeezed key limes. My only complaint is the "applebee's" like atmosphere.

                                                  San Miguel: The experience is totally different. Folding chairs and card tables are all that are in this place. They have a great selection of daily prepared taco fillings all of which are tasty. This place reminds me of the taco shops on the southside of Chicago.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ggordi1

                                                    You thought Felipe's was overpriced? My darling husband and I stuffed ourselves for a total bill of about $13. I had some sort of platter for around $6.

                                                  2. I posted this in response to a question about Marisol's, located where Tomatillo's is now.

                                                    The name is Tomatillo's. We gave it a try a couple of times, but were not impressed. They have overpriced Margaritas and their food is average at best. I was extremely put off by their mole sauce. If you like Marisol's food, Chef Pete, (the chef at Marisol's,) cooks in the outdoor seating area of Bacchanal on Sundays. Bacchanal was opened a few years ago by the then sommelier, Chris Rudge. It is an excellent wine shop/bar, and bargains abound. He and Chef Pete go way back, and Pete usually has an eclectic, large and diverse menu. Show up early to beat the line and ensure there is enough food Bacchanal is located at 600 Poland Ave., (Poland and Chatres, the last corner in the neighborhood.)

                                                    If your looking for a good Mexican restaurant, try El Gato Negro at 81 French Market Place, (right across from the French Market.) The food is authentic Mexican and well prepared. Prices are reasonable, and they just got their liquor license and now feature hand squeezed Margaritas. Try the carrot!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ozzie

                                                      El Gato Negro was very good...try the mojito!!!

                                                      1. re: nolalover

                                                        I agree that El Gato Negro is very, very good. I went there for lunch last week and left stuffed for less than $10. I had two fish tacos that were absolutely amazing. They make their own fresh tortillas (I had flour tortillas) that were warm and amazingly delicious. Service was friendly and fast- of course I was the only one there as I was late for lunch but early for dinner. A good deal for a great meal off the beaten path- at least while the French Market is not up and running fully.

                                                    2. I think I'm the only one, but I like Juans. And Taquiera Corona. And Superior Grill.

                                                      I'm not a Mexican food purist, though.

                                                      Never, ever go to Nacho Mamas.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: cor

                                                        I can't believe no one else likes Superior Grill. I love their mesquite grilled fish tacos. The grilled chicken puff taco and house margs are pretty great too.

                                                        Any other Superior Grill fans?

                                                      2. I love Taqueria Sanchez - right near 9 Roses. The chicken tacos were so good that I haven't been able to steer away from them to try anything else... Very authentic stuff.

                                                        1. I found a jewel of a little Mexican Restaurant in Lakeview - I am from Texas and I found thier food to be remniscent of home! Truly Tex-Mex. I especially love their shredded beef tacos, but have not found anything on their menu that I've tried to be to my disliking... SALSAS POR EL LAGO is the name of the restaurant and it's located at 124 Lake Marina Drive in New Orleans - check it out!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: yeehatexasfilly

                                                            Bless you for finding Tex-Mex!!! Do they have real queso there?? Or is it the awful glop served in all of the faux Mexican spots in NO?

                                                          2. Best Mexican in NOLA? Head west and drive about 5 hrs to Houston. I learned not to not look for great Cajun in Houston nor great Mex in NOLA.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: serich

                                                              Serich's post made me laugh. I moved here from Houston a little over a year ago and totally agreed with him.....I had tried Carrettas, Taqueria Corona, Casa Garcia, Gato Negro, etc, etc, etc.and was sorely disappointed. Superior Grill was ok but still not even close to that which I had grown accustomed in Houston...although the margaritas were pretty decent. Just as I was about to give up, I discovered Taco San Miguel. It is just off Severn in Metairie...behind the WOW Wing place. The owners are from the Houston area and it reminds me alot of home. The only thing they are lacking is a tortilla lady to make fresh tortillas onsite as is common in Houston. :-) The restaurant is small and parking is a little tight but in addition to indoor seating, they have a small front patio, a drive through window and even serve breakfast tacos....something I never thought I would see here in New Orleans! In sum, it is the closest thing I've found to the real mccoy here in NOLA.

                                                              That being said, I eat Mexican food breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I go back to Houston and other Texas locales. Then I come home to NOLA and have a po-boy. It kind of balances out I suppose.

                                                              -----
                                                              Taco San Miguel
                                                              2120 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                                              1. re: txgirl

                                                                I like Taco San Miguel, but I've noticed that their meats can be a bit dry--okay, really dry. I know tacos don't usually have the moistest meat in the world, but this was pretty bad. I try not to eat too much meat anyway, so I've been ordering the rajas tacos--perfect. I called on a recent Sunday night to place an order, and when I arrived to pick it up, the woman behind the counter told me they didn't have rajas or nopales--knocking out the only two meatless taco fillings. I guess I could've asked for beans instead, but I just got some chicken and pork. They were dry and not what I wanted, and I also got the feeling that the woman hadn't told me over the phone that they were out of rajas because she figured that once I got there I would order something anyway, rather than leaving empty-handed. I was the only customer there, and I just felt like I was not treated honestly.

                                                                1. re: midcity

                                                                  Please let the owners know, both about the dryness of the meat and the response you received from the employee. I have a feeling they will welcome the feedback and will not only make it right for you but take steps to avoid those problems in the future.

                                                                  1. re: txgirl

                                                                    Thanks--I will. I still have a positive perception of TSM and will go back, but I was just bummed out. It was there or Phil's Grill that night--should've gone to Phil's.

                                                                    1. re: midcity

                                                                      I need to check Phil's out. My stepson said they have some interesting burger choices.

                                                                      Also, if you come across any new Mexican alternatives in the area, I would love to know.

                                                                      One interesting food tip: I discovered that the grocery section of Walmart sells raw, ready-to-cook tortillas. I used to buy these in Texas and didn't think I could find them here. They are a good alternative to store bought. All you do is throw them into a hot skillet or a few mintues until they are cooked. They are in the refrigerated section. :-)

                                                                      1. re: txgirl

                                                                        Thanks for the tip! I will look for them. I have been wanting to buy a press, but I'm just too busy to make my own tortillas right now.

                                                                2. re: txgirl

                                                                  TSM sounds like it's worth a go - thanks for sharing!

                                                                  1. re: txgirl

                                                                    Good to know about TSM - thanks for sharing!

                                                                3. Had Fiesta Latina in Mid City last night, less mexican more central /south america, AMAZING. I had menudo rojo, perfectly cooked tripe and it had a beef knuckle in it. The broth was spicy and viscose from proper attention to the stock used. I can't wait to go back. The portions are huge!!!! Also had chicken tamales done in banana leaves with potato and chic peas, I am craving that this morning.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cheesegrater

                                                                    Across the street, Taqueria Guerrero is quite good as well. I went there when they first opened and was quite unimpressed, but a friend of mine urged me to go back. I'm glad I did. Chicken mole, enchiladas, and chimichangas are all excellent. They also serve up a very spicy sauce along with there free chips and salsa. They are also open on Sundays which is a plus.

                                                                    1. re: germyw

                                                                      I will check it out. Thanks for the tip.

                                                                    2. re: cheesegrater

                                                                      Fiesta Latina is on Airline out by the airport.
                                                                      is there another in Mid-City?

                                                                      1. re: edible complex

                                                                        The one with Taqueria Guerrero across the street is near Carrollton and Canal. Its in a metal box looking building if I'm not mistaken

                                                                    3. Some of the best Mexican food I have had in New Orleans is at a taco truck on the Jefferson Hwy/Claiborne at the corner of Eagle. Very cheap and delicious. Truly authentic Mexican food. Most of what has been reviewed here I would only call "Mexican Style" food ie. Superior Grill, Juans, Felipes...
                                                                      They have tortas, burritos, sopes, and of course, tacos. They offer carne asada, sometimes they have al pastor, carnitas, chorizo. I am a transplant from Los Angeles where I was a frequent taco truck visitor. This one could hold it's own on the mean streets of L.A.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: zebrasix

                                                                        Agree to liking the taco trucks, but a lot were operated by folks from Honduras and El Salvador and offered their style of cooking.

                                                                        This is not directed at you, but to compare New Orleans' Mexican restaurants to Texas or California is quite unfair as each region has its own style, which is how it is in Mexico itself. I always find it amusing to read people's complaints of Mexican cuisine who have never been to Mexico and base their comparisons on some version they grew up on in their local area. Not to say you can't get good cuisine of any heritage or culture anywhere, but understand the diversity of tastes and flavors of a nation before making gross generalizations of a style of cooking.

                                                                        1. re: edible complex

                                                                          EC has a good point - what most people consider Mexican is often Cali-Mex, Tex-Mex or even New Mexico - Mex.
                                                                          Having spent a lot of my youth surfing in the Baja, the clean fresh coastal tastes are nothing like Tex-Mex. I went on to visit Veracruz and feast on their lovely shrimp. The Yucatan has lots of Caribbean influences. Hunting in the Sonoran desert brought lost of great beef dishes. A dental service project took me to Oaxaca where their dairy cows allow them to make the most terrific cheeses. I also know of the amazing moles from interior Mexico with the layers of chocolate, cinnamon, etc.
                                                                          To that end, I have not found good Mexican food in New Orleans. What I have found is wonderful Central American food. Love Taqueria Guerrero though I haven't tried El Rinconcito or Fiesta Latina yet.
                                                                          But hey, with all the amazing food here, who's complaining? Not me

                                                                      2. I realize this is an old post, but I MUST write about La Fiesta on the Westbank. Perhaps my search functions are faulty, but I am amazed that I have not found mention of this place in all the chowhound Mexican food postings. This place is awesome. Great salsa, AMAZING refried beans, hot jalapenos, delicious chile rellenos, great cheese enchiladas, yummy, saucy tamales, and killer margaritas. Having spent the first 18 years of my life in south Texas, I do NOT say these things lightly. I think it's a testament to the restaurant's quality and consistency that it has been there for 37 years. And Maria, who has been there about half as long, is an absolute delight. It's worth the short drive over the CCC. Trust me.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        La Fiesta Restaurant
                                                                        1412 Stumpf Blvd, Gretna, LA 70053