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Need the BEST Mexican Restaurant in Naples Fl???

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We are going to Naples for the day and wanted to have Mexican food for lunch..
Can anyone recommend the best place to go in Naples??

We will be around 5th ave and also Old Naples but we will have a car and can drive anywhere....

Thanks!

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  1. I Haven't tried it yet, but there has been a new ad on the radio lately for a restaurant called 'Cilantro Tamales'. Supposedly all the cooks are actual Mexican housewives. If you go, let me know how it is. Other than that, I have been to most of the rest of them and would not recommend any one of them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SPARK

      My husband, who is from Naples, recommends Meson Ole, on the corner of 22nd Ave N and US 41.

      We're wondering where Cilantro Tamales is?

      1. re: Linda B

        Sorry it took so long to get back to you. The ad says it is just south of Immokalee Rd on US41. I still have not made it there yet!!!

    2. There are several mexican places here, few are worthy
      of a mention on chowhound. The only ones we ever consider returning to are: La Bamba, Cilantro Tamale
      and Taco Ardiente. The first two have table service,
      Taco Ardiente is food in a basket, but really good and fresh. Chicken burrito with the cabbage and the quesediah (can't spell it, but know how to order it)
      are worth eating. Stay away from the nachos, cheeze whiz...........
      Cilantro's is on the north trail, La Bamba is Pine Ridge road and airport, Taco Ardiente is Pine Ridge and north trail.

      2 Replies
      1. re: newt

        I'd forget the mexican food and have lunch at Grouper and Chips. The best grouper sandwich and many other
        dishes. On the Tamiami Trail, close to Old Naples/5th Ave.

        1. re: newt

          We tried La Bamba and were not impressed--the food is American Mexican, not authentic, and was ridiculously salty. Ick. I can't wait to try Cilantro Tamales...everyone says it's great.

        2. newt is probably right....went to cilantro tamale and the food was so salty it was inedible.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mzim

            We like Cilantro Tamales quite a bit and eat there often, usually ordering their signature Cilantro Tamale; a corn-husk-wrapped tamale stuffed with cheese and cilantro. They also make several types of tamales. Very good. I have to say, though, that occasionally one of the dishes is over-salted. I don't like too much salt, so this really bothers me. I don't know why this happens, but fortunately it's only the occasional item that is too salty. Still, there is no excuse for that. We keep coming back, though, and are usually happy with the food.

            1. re: TomOHaver

              Cilantro Tamales has excellent chips and two salsas that are served in a neat molcajete kind of thing. The overall food it OK. I prefer La Bamba for dinner. They have two locations, one on Airport Road near the courthouse and one on Pine Ridge Road and Aiport Road. Meson Ole has been consistently awful for Mexican food in my experience. Their Spanish food is almost edible.

          2. I love Cilantro Tamales, heard great things about Iguana Mia but haven't tried it yet.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              Iguana Mia is good, but not great. OK for a casual meal, but not if you are looking for something outstanding.

              1. re: lexpatti

                Cilantro Tamales in Bonita Springs has closed. There is one in Naples Park. Google it.

                I like La Bamba in Estero, Florida at the Miromar Outlets Mall.

              2. IMHO, I thought Iguana Mia was horrid. Cilantro Tamales is ok. The problem is there's nothing really authentic that I've found, which is a shame because of the large Mexican population. It could be there's some tiny, hidden place cooking with real lard that we haven't discovered. I would 2nd the recommendation of Newt and have the best fried grouper of your life at Grouper & Chips.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RevrendAndy

                  RevrendAndy, I completely agree with you on Iguana Mia, and I found Cilantro Tamales to be astoundingly unimpressive. I won't return to either. I just moved here from Memphis, TN where we have a surprisingly large population of Mexican Americans. We have some of the very best Mexican restaurants in the nation, if you ask me. I am still looking for a Mexican restaurant here in Naples that is actually good enough to frequent. If anyone has any other suggestions, I am all ears!
                  Thanks!

                2. Actually, if you are looking for authentic tacos al pastor, you can try a little tiny place on Bayshore called Taqueria San Julian. The tacos are $1.50 each (or they were 2 months ago) and served on soft shell with fresh cilantro, radish and lime wedge. I can't vouch for any other "dishes" there but those tacos are the real deal as far as I'm concerned. I'm not trying to say that this is the best Mexican restaurant in Naples...it all depends what you're looking for, I guess.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Val

                    There was an article in the Naples Daily News about a year ago with a list of local Mexican restaurants where the tacos were very authentic, not tomato, lettuce etc on them. Have you heard of this article?

                    1. re: bonro

                      I believe I remember reading the article...it also mentioned some good taquerias in nearby Bonita Springs off Old 41 in vicinity of W. Terry Street that I am also familiar with because I worked in Bonita from Jan. 2005 til June 2005. Bonro, if you are still looking for that article, have you tried searching the NDN website (naplesnews.com)?
                      Also, our chef at work, Juan, is from the Yucatan and he really likes a place called Maria's in Bonita Springs, also on Old 41, north of Bonita Beach Road? Has anyone tried it?

                      1. re: Val

                        El Paisano is the restaurant in Bonita Springs a little north of Old 41 on Terry Street. It is extremely cheap and authentic, and is very popular with the Mexican population (always a good sign). The staff speaks very little English but are very welcoming of everyone.

                        Maria's is also excellent and very popular with the Hispanic population. Their salsas are incredible, and everything is always fresh. I recommend it highly!

                  2. Tapatio on the East Trail is the real deal. Most of the help and most of the customers speak very little English. Cilantro Tamales is bland, bland, bland, as are most of the others.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 1stmakearoux

                      I vote for Tapatio for authenticity. The place was packed, food tasty, and not one person, customer or waitstaff, spoke English-a good start!

                      I also like Habaneros, in downtown Naples, closed Mondays, 947 3rd Ave North, with tasty huge portions.

                      I think we need to get some more Mexican savvy people to lay in on this one to suggest others for authenticity and reality check. Naples has: Taqueria San Julian on Bayshore (I enjoyed their sister store in Fort Myers), La Buena Mesa 11375 Tam Tr East (Bolivian, Mexican Cuban, Columbian too ), and Tortilleria La Rancherita 5474 Rattlesnake Hammock, to name a few. Cilantro Tamales is bland. La Bamba and Meson Ole Tijuana flats, are Americanized. Iguana Mia in Bonita Springs is wretched-salty and overcooked, and filled with Midwesterners who should be more adventuresome.

                      A local writer, Mark Krzos, noted of Bonita Springs that “With Monarcas at Bonita Beach Road and old 41, Maria’s, El Mesquite, El Sarape Taqueria — and El Paisano and Tortilleria La Rancherita located just a block off Old 41, this section of the city may quickly adopt the unofficial name of Burrito Springs.

                      Happy authentic hunting!

                    2. Hey there Readers!!

                      I am from Naples and would like to recommend some places for good Mexican Food.
                      I know you guys want a place where you can enjoy a meal and of course some good drinks as well. I strongly recommend Maria's on 41 and Collier Blvd, they also have one in Bonita Springs. There food is excellent and fresh. My next choice is El Tapatio on East Tamiami Trail, near Naples Manor. They are always packed and have fresh food. El Tapatio is always packed but well worth the wait. In Marco Island there is a Spanish-American placed called La Casita they are on San Marco Blvd. and very very tasty. Enjoy these few places. I went to Cilantro Tamales, La Bamba, Iguana Mia, and several other places and yes they are more of an American-Mexian blend, nothing Authentic.

                      Enjoy!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sexymami

                        Recently tried Maria's for the first time (the Bonita Springs location)...really, really great! Highly recommend the spicy seafood soup...beautiful pieces of shellfish in a spicy broth. Someone I work with is from the Yucatan and he told me that Maria's is wonderful; he was right.

                      2. oh you guyssssssssss I just remembered there is also another place in Naples it is called GARIBALDI it is a restaurant and Bakery on East Tamiami Trail it is right across the street from Eagle Nest Park. I am not sure what the name of the plaza is but they have several different stores there. Good Luck and Enjoy

                        1. I've eaten at all the mentioned restaurants and I suggest that you drive up north to Old 41 in Bonita Springs for authentic Mexican food at El Mesquite, El Paisano, and others.

                          1. We just tried Cilantro Tamales and loved it- They put an outdoor patio area that was very romantic. The guacamole was amazing. I read the other review about finding a restaurant that used real lard- this place does in the tamales. Also, they had an amazing special, chille relleno with shrimp and queso blanco- I can't wait to go back. Hated jalepenjos in Ft Meyers, same with Meson Ole and Iguana Mias. Those places obviously buy caned products- YUCK

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tdestef

                              I went to the Cilantro Tamales on 41 in Bonita and not only was it too bland, but I had that distinct feeling that my order had been prepared in advance and heated in the microwave. It was mouth burning hot and not in a good way. I read in a earlier post that they have closed and I'm not surprised. Try Taco Mix on Bonita Beach Rd near the beach (it used to be a Taco Ardiente) good food and I have always found it to be consistent. It's still the same people working there from when they were Taco Ardiente.

                            2. Maria's on Old 41 in Bonita is terrific! The chef cooks Mexican City, Michoacan, and even coastal authentic recipes, and they are delicious! The Queso Carne and the Seafood soup were the best. I have a write up on my website with photos.

                              After this, I would try several of the other Mexican places in Bonita-said well worth a try, names noted above.

                              Forget about Americanized-Mexican bland food at Cilantro Tamales, Taco Bell, Meson Ole, Iguana Mia, etc. You don't find Mexicans eating there in any noticeable proportions, do you?

                              Take a hint I use when I travel...go where at least 1/3 of the diners are Hispanic...for a Hispanic meal. Same goes for other cuisines, and stay at least a block or two away from the main tourist roadside restaurants (as appropriate-and ask locals wherere they go), to get more authentic and more reasonably priced food-that's where the locals are!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                Cilantro is an upscale Taco Bell. Amigo's on the East Trail is very good. Habaneros downtown has the best salsa around.

                                1. re: cab3

                                  Where can one find a great Mexican tamale in Naples now? I did love the Cilantro Tamales vegetarian tamale...I hear it's gone down in quality...anyone????

                                  1. re: Val

                                    Val,

                                    Ya got me. Since Habaneros closed, I don't know what to recommend for "great" anymore in the more central area of Naples.

                                    I've not tried El Tapatio or Garibaldi's perhaps 5 miles east, on East Trail, and I've heard there's some other authentic Mexican spots in that area.

                                    I ldefinitely like the look of fairly new Señor Tequila's Fine Mexican Grill just off 951 a couple blocks north of Golden Gate Parkway, sorta behind my current favorite (Peruvian) spot, Inca's Kitchen, and north of lovable Saw Grass Cafe. I've not been there at Senor's yet.

                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                      Thanks...I can call El Tapatio to see if they do tamales...by the way....you know of any Puerto Rican restaurants here in Naples? Thanks!

                              2. I live in Ohio and make it down there every year or two and everytime I go I make it a point to go to Taco Ardiente. I order the 5 hard tacos in a basket, Good stuff. The last time I was there I was told they moved and I never found out where. It was in Feb of 06 . Anyone know the new location of it? Im heading to Tampa for a while and im also going to visit family in Naples in about 3 weeks and decided to google it so I can have some good freaking tacos again. Taco Bell just isnt the same.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: speedyd900rr

                                  There's one at Pine Ridge Rd, just a block or so East of US 41, at
                                  1040 Pine Ridge Rd Naples, (239) 263-2000‎ there's one or two more you can google to be sure they are open, and see if they are closer to where you are.

                                  Also try hidden Taqueria San Julian 3575 Bayshore Dr Naples,
                                  (239) 775-6480‎ and some out the East Trail for authenticity.

                                2. really don't bother --its all mediocre tex-mex. Maria's in Bonita sounds promising but that's not Naples--about 30-45 min away.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Zeits

                                    The best mexican restaurant that I have eaten at in the Naples/Bonita Springs area is Flaco's which is just south of Pine Ridge and Tamiami Trail. They make the best enchiladas that I've ever had. The service is good, prices are reasonable and the food is really tasty.

                                    1. re: ming yu

                                      I ordered a fish dish there a couple of years ago that was so salty that I could not eat it. I had send it back. Not a good sign.

                                      1. re: TomOHaver

                                        I tried Senor Tequila's Fine Mexican Grill out on Collier Blvd, (in a strip mall behind Inca's Kitchen) last night with the most RevrendAndy and Mrs Rev. The food was ok Mexican, spicing adjusted for Anglo's taste. About 90% of the clientele is repeat Anglos, and very few Mexicans or Hispanics. The margaritas were on the sweet side, seafood was properly cooked, but just "missing something" on nearly every dish. On the ceviche, it was missing moisture, lime and S&P, the signature Globitos de Mariscos was properly cooked but bland, and so on.
                                        We did like the Campechana, a large seafood cocktail, however it still tasted better and more authentic with salsa mixed in. The fajitas were tasty, as were the tacos al carbon. There were a fwe miscommunications on reservarions, on ordering, so be doubly sure your are understood by the staff. They are friendly and helpful, however next time we'll try our rusty Spanish on them.

                                        The two musicians, Frankie Ray and Maryellen, are very good-worth getting a table close to them. I've not had really good Mexican in Naples. There's still some tiny spots out East Trail to try.

                                        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                          this thread started in 2004...the search continues in white bread Naples, so close to many mexicans, but still no gold ring. Not any better in Fort Misery, perhaps somewhere in between....lovely Bonita.

                                  2. Ivan said it all about our dinner. The search goes on. In Bonita there are some pretty good little taquerias that are authentic with little english spoken. I can't name names but they are on Old 41 in downtown Bonita-1 of them next to the Sherwin Williams paint store.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: RevrendAndy

                                      Yes! I know that place at the Sherwin Williams plaza...went there like 2 or 3 weekends ago for tamales...they were wonderful...it's called Tortelleria la Rancherita...busy, bustling little place, hard to find a parking spot (well on a Sunday afternoon it was)...those cute little pork tamales were $1.50 each and came with some green tomatilla sauce...2 of them totally hit the spot for me! I did take-out and just totally was in heaven eating them in my car in the parking lot...LOL...but you CAN sit down and order there in a little dining room!

                                      1. re: Val

                                        I've dined there for dinner and enjoyed it. They only serve beer but allowed me to bring my own margaritas, which are better than most of the really sweet concoctions made with a mix in many restaurants.

                                        1. re: Val

                                          I made a pilgrimage to Tortelleria la Rancherita yesterday to have a little lunch and buy some tamales. The place was very busy at 1 pm. I was the only gringo and was made very welcome by the man behind the counter and the fellow who brought out my food. I had two tacos, one chicken, one pork and guacamole. All were very good. Their Pico de Gallo was wonderful and quite hot. I bought a dozen tamales, pork and chicken. Excellent salsa verde. Guacamole was good but needed a little more cilantro and heat to my taste but that was easily solved.

                                          My dad used to buy tamales from a hand cart in Tulsa and I remember them fondly. These were just what I was looking for. It's an easy detour for me when I go to Coconut Point. Will go back often.

                                          1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                            LMF,

                                            Glad to know you made the pilgrimage to check and share that Tortelleria is the real thing on quite a variety of samplings. Yaaay!

                                            Has anyone tried Taco Mix, with Mexican and Cuban menus, at: 4288 Bonita Beach Road, said to be jammed between a motel and a car wash? Chiara Assi spoke well of it months ago. I don't even remember seeing it when I drive on Bonita Beach Road, however yesterday a taco fan spoke well of it.

                                            BTW Crust has been bought by the Bella Vita of Bonita folks, and is now called Tuscan Bistro. Food should be good.

                                            I'm foolishly making the pilgramage to the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, to overpay for small tidbits, jostle large crowds, walk between or on spilled food on the sand, and sample quite a few wines. Some one's gotta do it every 2-3 years.

                                            1. re: LilMsFoodie

                                              Went to Tortelleria la Rancherita tonight and is was not very good. I had steak Gordita (soggy tortilla - microwaved?, dry fiberous steak, sloppy and bland) a pork burrito (soggy, greasy on bottom, pork was tender and moist, but bland bland) and of course 2 pork tamales (bland, super dry pork - like jerky) and no sign of mole sauce as menitoned on the menu. My wife had steak Floutas (sp?) and we received more beef jerky like dry bland steak in a deep fried torilla, its like they forgot the rest of the ingredients? The tostadas were the best thing we had, probably becasue they actually had more than 2 ingredients.

                                              We went to Maria's last year and it wasn't bad, but I definately would not go back to Tortelleria la Rancherita. I would say we are very forgiving and our meal tonight does not deserve one.

                                              One the bright side I loved the mexican strip mall atmosphere, paper plates and cold beer. Salsa verde was good as were tortillas, guac wasn't bad either. Too bad the food sucked!

                                              1. re: Oatz

                                                Sorry your meal was bad. It seems like steak or beef isn't the way to go, just like in Mexico.

                                                1. re: RevrendAndy

                                                  A Google Maps search yields two locations for Tortilleria la Rancherita:

                                                  5474 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, FL‎ - (239) 417-5611‎

                                                  and

                                                  26751 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL‎ - (239) 498-4633‎

                                                  I gather that folks have been talking about the latter, Bonita location... Has anybody got anything to say about the Naples location?

                                                  -----
                                                  Old 41 Restaurant
                                                  25091 Bernwood Dr Ste 1, Bonita Springs, FL 34135

                                        2. LaBamba on Airport Rd S. across from home depot. Best Mexican food. Try the steak or chicken ranchero, large enough to split if you order extra tortillias. Comes with beans and rice.
                                          There are two locations in Naples, Pine Ridge Rd, and Airport Rd. South. I like them both, but prefere the Airport South location.
                                          They also do a great job at take out. Portions, price and heat are right on the money. Ask for chips though, they are not included in take out.

                                          1. Has anyone tried El Rincon in Naples??

                                            -----
                                            El Rincon
                                            1939 S 8th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: greenhouse

                                              First I've heard of it...not too far from where I work...are they open for lunch? Thanks! Might be able to check it out soon.

                                              1. re: Val

                                                I called the other night and they answered the phone in Spanish, and the girl spoke very little English, so this usually means darn good food. We got the tip from a local Central American that frequents the place....

                                                1. re: greenhouse

                                                  Went there for take-out today...had to go to the courthouse so it was on my way...chose the pork tamales from the appetizer list, you get 4 for $7.25....the masa was extremely salty, yikes...somewhat skimpy on the meat--I only at 2 of them. Loved the tamales from Rancherita in Bonita Springs much more...not sure I'd go back to Rincon. There may be better items on their menu, to be fair.

                                                  1. re: Val

                                                    I returned to Cilantro Tamales a few days ago and was disappointed. It seems to have changed owners or managers. The only things I ever ordered there were the cheese and cilantro tamales, refried beans, and guac, but the quality does seem to have slipped. Too bad.

                                                    I've eaten at the Taqueria San Julian on Old 41 and Bonita Beach Rd twice in the last few weeks and have really enjoyed the tacos. These are more the Pacific Coast Mex rather than Tex-Mex style tacos. Very simple: your choice of meat with onions, cilantro, and lime juice on a double homemade soft corn tortilla. Yum. At $1.50 each, I can eat a few of them. Really great freshly made guac and salsa, too. With that and a Negra Modelo or two, I'm a happy man.

                                                    -----
                                                    Taqueria San Julian
                                                    11601 S Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33907

                                                    Cilantro Tamales
                                                    10823 Tamiami Trl N Ste D, Naples, FL 34108

                                                    1. re: TomOHaver

                                                      Hi, Tom...I had heard that CT had gone down...wasn't about to spend $12 on tamales to find out, though. Too bad, as you say. I like the Taqueria San Julian on Bayshore and have been past the Bonita Beach Road location a bunch of times on my way to I-75..lol...so it's good that both of their locations offer good Mexican. Will try their guac next time, too! Thanks!

                                                      -----
                                                      Taqueria San Julian
                                                      11601 S Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33907

                                              2. re: greenhouse

                                                I have been there a few times (El Rincon). I always have tacos al pastor and they are good. Plenty of chips and good salsa. Lunch specials are cheap ($6+/-) and you get 2 tacos, rice & beans.

                                                Taqueria San Julian aso has a location on Bayshore Rd in Naples that is good. They have 5 or 6 tables for lunch and make their own salsas so you never know what kind they will have on the table.

                                                My favorite is Tortelleria la Rancherita on Rattlesnake though. I just wish they had a few tables because I often over look it when going for lunch with a friend for that reason.

                                                I am not a fan of LaBamba, though.

                                                1. re: sparkalina

                                                  La bamba is pretty icky, I agree with you. I WILL try El Rincon again though...as a I said, to judge it only on ONE menu item really isn't fair.

                                                  -----
                                                  El Rincon
                                                  1939 S 8th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

                                              3. We recently discovered a wonderful little taco place out in Immokalee. It's called Anthony's and is on Main St. just south of CR 846 (Immokalee Rd). The tacos were great, and the gorditas were out of this world. Yes, I know, it's a hike, but drive out there for lunch and then stop at the Paleteria Tierra Caliente, 317 New Market W., for amazing frozen confections (popsicles called "paletas") made of fresh tropical fruits.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Alto2

                                                  I'm glad you spoke up for a business in Immokalee! I don't go out there enough...thanks, Alto2!

                                                  1. re: Val

                                                    Alto2, thank you for the heads up on Anthony's.

                                                    Val, I've not tried Rincon, but I did go to Taco Mix and the Bonita Taqueria San Julien this past week. Both are authentic. I prefer the richer taste of Taco Mix's tacos.
                                                    I also think the Bayshore Drive Taqueria San Julien is better on food and atmosphere than the Bonita Taqueria.

                                                    I put up a review of Taco Mix at:

                                                    http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                                                    and will go back to try thier cuban sandwich.

                                                    -----
                                                    Taco Mix
                                                    4288 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                                                    1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                                      oooh, thanks for the clue on Taco Mix!! Looks great, first time I've heard of it...heh! Will def check it out some weekend very soon!

                                                      -----
                                                      Taco Mix
                                                      4288 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                                                      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                                        We ate at Taco Mix early on, and it was entirely forgettable. I lament the change in ownership of El Paisano in Old Bonita, which was, IMHO, the best Mexican restaurant around. Now, El Paisano's food is bad, and the place looks really scary.

                                                        -----
                                                        Taco Mix
                                                        4288 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

                                                        El Paisano
                                                        5803 15th St E, Bradenton, FL 34203

                                                        1. re: Alto2

                                                          Alto2,

                                                          Unfortunate you had a forgettable meal at Tco Mix. Today I had a very good taco al pastor at La Fogata in Bonita Springs.
                                                          I'll avoid El Paisano, until I hear otherwise from someone.

                                                          Perhaps as it gets closer to season, we'll have enough hounds to do a chowdown and sample 3 or 4 different Bonita Springs Mexican places in a week or so, and compare!

                                                          -----
                                                          La Fogata
                                                          924 Northlake Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33408

                                                          El Paisano
                                                          5803 15th St E, Bradenton, FL 34203

                                                  2. We had a wonderful dinner at Iguana Mia last night. Good food, great service, fun atmosphere and a reasonable price. Fairly authentic, with some Tex-Mex thrown in. Stay away from the regular margarita (sweet, low alcohol content) and go for their upgraded version with patron.

                                                    -----
                                                    Iguana Mia Mexican Restaurant
                                                    4329 Cleveland Ave Ste 601, Fort Myers, FL 33901