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Mexican in RI?

  • k

I really like Mexican food, but haven't found any really, really good mexican food in RI. I am looking for something as close to authentic as possible. Don't get me wrong, Chili's has some good food, but it's not exactly authentic.

For anyone in the Northern VA/DC/MD, Anita's is a good measuring stick.


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  1. d

    Chili's has some good food????? Not Likely.
    Try Mexico on Atwells Ave not too far from Mt. Pleasant Ave, you might have a slightly better Gordita there. Don't miss out on the trio of salsas they have too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DodinBouffant

      Mexico is awesome, but I prefer to take out from there. Don Jose Tequila's on Atwells is very good as well. There really aren't many good mexican restaurants in RI that aren't chain-like.

      1. re: DodinBouffant

        Amen. I think Mexico has the best Mexican in all of New England.

        Goat tacos, baby!

      2. I always wanted to go to Rojelio's Railway Café which was reviewed in the New London Day back on 3/4/1999. I'm not sure of how they've faired over the past four years so definately call. This is in South County near Westerly.

        Rojelio's Railway Café, 196B Shannock Rd, Shannock, RI 401-364-9250 5:30AM-1:30PM M-F, 4:30-8PM F, 6A-12:30PM Sa & Su

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ben

          Rojelio's sadly doesn't exist any more. It was pretty authentic and overall excellent. Mexico on Atwells Ave is very authentic. I highly reccomend it.

        2. I have been a patron of Mr Taco in West Warwick for YEARS! I love the chile con queso (aka Vat of cheese) and the quesidillas are good too. The food is cheap, the service is great and the 'ritas are tasty! Very casual, family atmosphere. Great place to just hang out w/ your friends and have FUN!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Polly V

            I agree about Mr Taco, but I won't go back there because it is way too smokey! Even when I was seated in the non-smoking section it was too much. Such a shame cause the food was incredible.

          2. Also on Atwells Ave. is Chilangos, a fantastic, inexpensive, Mexican joint. It is really cheap and good. Try the torta (mexican sandwich).

            1 Reply
            1. Is Tortilla Flats (Hope ST in Providence) still any good? It's been there for 30+ years, it must have something going for it...

              1 Reply
              1. re: aunteejoy

                The food at Tortilla Flats is so-so. The only thing it has going for it are the chips and salsa and decent bar scene.

              2. I have the best memories of Mr Taco!! No smoking problem there anymore :) Awesome soup, pork with a poblano base, I believe..
                Sr Flacos in Westerly is pretty decent..

                1. Tortilla Flats is about as Mexican as Chilis. I'm not a fan.
                  The best Mexican I have had in RI was at Taqueria Lupita on Dexter Street in Central Falls. Outstanding entrees such as the Pipian de Pollo (chicken in pumpkin seed sauce). Everything that I have eaten there has been fantastic and fresh and flavorful. mmmmm.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: pork_chop

                    There is a really good Mexican street food (Version of fast food) restaurant in East greeenwich called Tio Mateo's. They sell very authentic Mexican food (except for the burritos), all the cooks are real Mexicans. It is not a sit down service like Don Jose's, it is the type of food you would purchase at a street vendor in Mexico. Below is the link to their website:


                    1. re: Sean

                      I had a look at this website - not sure where you might encounter "tostada salad" on any street in Mexico : )

                      My pick for the best - or rather, most authentic - Mexican in Providence and south (haven't explored Central Falls...) is definitely El Tapatio in Cranston (Google it; or see earlier posts). At least this is the closest I've found to a typical menu at a restaurant in Mexico or L.A./San Diego. It's a large, sit-down place with good margaritas too. I've never seen anything like real Mexican street food (tamales, al pastor tacos, corn-on-the-cob w/ chili and cheese) in Rhode Island.

                      1. re: cant talk...eating

                        Thanks so much for this info. I actually just returned from living in Mexico for 3 and a half months. I am dying for tacos al
                        pastor and now I know I good place to find them.

                        1. re: Stef

                          Good tacos al pastor?! Def. try taqueria lupita!!! its in central falls on dexter street it's a small place but thier food is unbelievable!! the burritos are gigantic!! u will absolutly love it!!

                          1. re: nikkian

                            We recently went to Taqueria Lupita on Dexter Street in Central Falls for lunch. Food was pretty good, but not nearly as fantastic as my favorite La Casa del Pueblo that closed a few months back :-(

                            We tried the sopes -- great, but a little heavy, 3 of them for $6 topped with black beans, crema, and queso fresco. The tacos al pastor were disappointing -- really quite dry, surprisingly so! The tinga tacos (chicken, onions, a tasty sauce) were great though, as was the agua de jamaica (made in-house). The agua de jamaica was lovely, actually -- probably the high point of the meal with the tingas.

                            Our waiter, son of the señora who owns the place and cooked all of our food, was charming and accommodating. I might try a tingas burrito but I wouldn't ever order al pastor there again.

                            Now that La Casa del Pueblo is closed I have to find I new favorite! Lupita was good, but I prefer Chilangos and, for tacos, the tortilleria on Atwells (Tortilleria Piaxtla).

                        2. re: cant talk...eating

                          El Tapatio is great. Used to live in California.... It's the best I've had here (but haven't yet tried Taqueria Lupita.) Will soon!

                          1. re: new ri foodie

                            I'll put in another vote for El Tapatio. Also, El Azteca in East Providence.

                            1. re: theholycow

                              Went to El Tapatio today for lunch. They've added Tacos Callejeros to their menu (Jalisco-style). They were out of this world.

                              I can't figure out though if this place is a chain or not. Anyone know??

                    2. Rojelio's Railway Café is no more, unfortunately. I frequented that place often, one day it was just gone...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sean

                        They had problems with the landlord and moved to a slightly more upscale location in Charlestown. Sadly, that didn't last long.

                      2. Yeah, they have a number of items that would fit in at Taco Bell, but the basics such as the tacos and enchiladas and the sides are authentic (they sprinkle Queso Fresco over the beans) The tacos are made from their own corn tortillas served steamed and the filling is your choice of Adobo marinated Chicken, Steak, or Pork and covered with lettuce and cilantro. They have a mild verde sauce or my favorite spicy Del Diablo. They also serve numerous flavors of Mexican soda (Jarritos).

                        1. My favorite Mexican locally is in Central Falls, on Dexter Street. Many of you will recall El Sombrero, which was plentiful, passingly good and CHEAP. (Dinner for 8 would be like, $40. Always, always lines.) I think they closed a few years ago, but a far better purveyor just down the street, in terms of taste, if not price, is Taqueria Lupita. The family is from Pueblo. They stopped over briefly in Brooklyn and then came here. They make a righteous mole and a few other entertaining items, including fish specials and something pretty yummy with pumpkin seeds. The only thing I'm not wild about there is their flank steak. I love to take our kids there -- they'll offer these little cheesy tortillas to the kids to tide them over.

                          As for Tio Mateos, I have to say, it may not be an authentic mexican with a capital A and a capital M, but I have found the components to be fresh, healthy and nicely balanced. I think it's a great option when you want to stuff a nice fat burrito in your face that's good for you and tastes fantastic. Again, I would say, get something with mole. But then, I always say that....

                          1. The two favorites I've found, after years of searching, are currently (and I second the recommendation already made here) Chilangos on Atwells, and Taqueria Lupita in Central Falls. I'm curious about Taqueria Pacifica in AS220, which appears to be a California-Mex joint, but haven't made it over there yet? Anybody tried it?

                            1. we went to taq.pacifica @as220 a couple of weeks ago.its cali style,americanized but pretty good.very cool bar area with good selection of beers,didnt try a margarita but it look like they know what they are doing.we had chips and guac ,really good salsa and hot sauces[im sure they were house made]i had a chicken burrito thats was good and my girl had a veggy something that was really good , burrito i think.over all it was pretty good not as authentic as the place on atwells but better quality .theres a place in fall river that we went to a while back that was pretty good also i think its called caliente or something close to that,anyways kinda cali style again really good salsa byob with a really good margarita mix if you bring your own taquila a little expensive but good quality we went to stickyfingers in north providence a long time ago and they had ok mex mr taco in warwick is selling dog food described as mexican food yuck i think thats it for mexican from my view im sure theres others out there

                              1. A taco shop also called Lupita right in the middle of Olneyville square has become a favorite lunch habit. Tacos, tostadas, al pastor stack up well against anything else around. No frills counter service and formica booths.
                                Otherwise Chilangos has the edge for overall dining experience and Lupita in CF has the edge for sheer food excellence.
                                And I still go to Tortilla Flats when I want draft beer. Avoid the tacos, enchiladas and burritos except the Harvest Burrito. Get the fajitas, inauthentic I suppose, but decent food. As others here have pointed out, the salsa is worth a detour.

                                1. I like Tortilla Flats- i do enjoy the harvest burrito, and the fajitas are also delicious. it doesnt claim to be super-authentic, but it does the trick to satisfy a basic mexican food craving.

                                  i just went to chilangos for the first time yesterday and was very pleased. i had the flautas which were delicious, and their salsa is nice and fresh and spicy. i think chilangos is succesful in achieving authenticity...oo i also had the horchata and it was sweet and yummy.

                                  1. I need to second, or third, or fourth Taqueria Lupita. I'm there probably once a week or so for the spicy goat soup and spicy pork tostadas, absolutely amazing food. Couldn't be cheaper either, esp for the super fresh ingredients they use.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ridave

                                      Effing headed for the Taqueria Lupita, pronto. Probably tomorrow.

                                      Thanks for posting about these places. I've felt the dearth of good Mexican here in the Ocean State. I spent the four high school years in the SFO bay area, and had the real thing from friends' grandmothers, etc. At a previous job, I'd do a lot of local travel and knew about a lot of good ethnic food, but never too much Mexican...mostly Dominican or generic "Spanish"-----I'd recommend the Carolina Market on Broad St for that, btw. Or Pito's, if it's still there. Just have never had a clue on the Mexican, beyond Tortilla Flats, which is eh, but easy for me w/children.

                                    2. If you like Mexican, you might also like Guatemalan. Check out Mi Guatemala on Atwells Ave, past Mexcico, on the right hand side. Always filled with Guatemalan families. Great home made food. If you're adventurous and like tongue, I think their Lengua Guisada is some of the best anywhere! And they have lots of varieties of inexpensive sopas type things. The portions are generally huge, and the prices reasonable. The service is always friendly. If your server doesn't speak English, another will appear who will. And you can keep up with the latest hispanic soap operas while you're there!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: photorc

                                        I suspect I would like Guatemalan, and I've heard that Mi Guatemala is really, really good. And my (CA-book learnin') broken Spanish might go further there than it does w/Dominican or Puerto Rican Spanish speakers, heh.

                                        We were in New Orleans (WISH I had known about Chowhound then----I'd have checked here first) around New Years, and had lunch at a Honduran place----loved it, though it was very much like Mexican.

                                        1. re: photorc

                                          Other good guatemalan is El Chapancito on Broadway and Mi Ranchito around the corner on Westminster.

                                        2. good mexican food??? try Taqueria Lupita!!! on dexter street in central falls thier food it great!!! my favorite are the burritos and when they say just to get one u better listen!!! u will have enough food for a few days!!!

                                            1. You should check out El Rancho Grande at 313 Plainfield St. in Providence. It's a small, warm and friendly place with great food (the owner is very picky about her ingredients and does all the cooking herself)! They are doing a special this weekend for Mexican Independence Day and have traditional dancers from 4-6pm on Saturday (Sept 15th).

                                              My favorite thing I've tried there so far was the ceviche - it was SO amazing, my boyfriend and I agreed that we could eat it every day.

                                              1. No one (i think) has mentioned the Taco Truck. Now called Taqueria Pacifica on Empire street. Best fish taco around. It's totally a boutique hipster joint, but the food is tasty. It's "Baja" style so lots of black beans and chipotle sauce. Damn tasty, but not cheap. The top mexican in southern NE award goes to Mexico Garibaldi, hands down. El Pastor tacos and grilled onions. The El pastor burrito is whip ass as well, but it's hard to pass up the tacos at $1.50 each. Stay away from Cilantro downtown unless you like crunchy rice and cold fillings. Big "pppppppbbbbt!!!!" for that place. Tortilla Flats is for people who want "mexican food" but don't want to leave the comfort of the east side. Might as well go to Chili's or Chevy's Fresh Mex where the grated cheese is a two color blend. ugh. Tio Mateo's is "ok" but it too is pretty Baja. Shrimp tacos and the like. Bagel Gourmet (go figure) on brook st. east side has a surprisingly tasty burrito.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: bucketfoodsnob

                                                  LOVE Bagel Gourmet Ole (have only gone to their Thayer location) for burritos, including breakfast burritos. I crave them right now, in fact. My Berkeley-transplant, Mexican food snob neighbor loves them also.

                                                  I work near Taqueria Lupita and might need to go there right now after reading this. They are my favorite, though I'm dying to try Taqueria Pacifica.

                                                  1. re: Moonpie1

                                                    Taqueria Pacifica is good, but that's about it. I go there plenty because it's convenient, easy, they're nice, and they have more non-meat options and burritos--I've never had a decent burrito in Prov, even at the places I love--but I definitely don't think it's that great. Pacifica's biggest problem is that it's wildly inconsistent and they often seem to forget salt, which really ruins my meal. Nothing worse that pulling apart an already unstable burrito to add salt. And the only reason they have the best fish tacos around is because none of the other good, authentic places have fish tacos at all--again, different style.

                                                    As for Mexico garibaldi, I know lots of folks love it, but I have no idea why anyone would go there instead of continuing another few blocks to Chilangos. Different leagues, in my experience.

                                                    1. re: celeriac

                                                      I definitely agree with the assessment of Mexico vs Chilangos. Chilangos all the way.

                                                    2. re: Moonpie1

                                                      yes. breakfast burritos, YUM! I need to try Taqueria Lupita. I wish there was a good "plate style" burrito in town. Jalisco in Atlanta GA makes the most amazing chicken burrito supremo. Slathered with sour cream fresh salsa and crispy lettuce. Dunno if it's "authentic" (or even a burrito due to the sauce on top, enchalada maybe?) but I haven't had anything as tasty on a plate here.

                                                      1. re: bucketfoodsnob

                                                        A new Mex place in Portsmouth El Perkey on Park ave is pretty good. Please, I love the Bar at Tortilla Flats, but the food has never been any good.

                                                        1. re: icouldeattoo

                                                          I'm surprised to see that people actually recommend el pastor at ANY restaurant in RI...it seems that they al cook it on the grill. I'd imagine that none of the places does a high enough volume in pastor to actually do it on the spit. But we have finally given up on pastor.

                                                          I was seriously disappointed in Taqueria Lupita...we've not ever gone back after our first time.

                                                          I also still can't figure out why restaurants that serve mainly antojitos take soooo long.

                                                          The places we consistently go back to are El Hidalguense and La Casa del Pueblo.

                                                  2. Has anyone tried any of the Mexican places on Broad St? Restaurants or trucks?

                                                    There's one by the post office that always smells really good. The way it smells makes me immagine that they always have satellite soccer playing at the bar...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mom2allergickid

                                                      I would really like to check out one of those places. How about an informal chow outing? Email me (see my profile) if you would be into it, anyone.

                                                    2. I'd second the nod to El Rancho Grande on Plainfield: http://www.elranchogranderestaurant.com

                                                      My landlord is from Mexico and told me that this was not only very authentic, but that some of the dishes (the homemade mole, for example) would be standouts in Mexico too. I just love this place: friendly service, absolutely delicious, freshly prepared food, and a charming interior. It's also very inexpensive: you can get lots of little things -- three-bite tacos for a buck or two -- or a big order of enchiladas for $10. I love the tacos arabes (spicy pork and pineapple in a chile sauce in a fresh tortilla); the mole is great; the salsa verde is bright with tomatillos and with perfect heat. The only thing I wish they had more of is desserts (they don't have many, and I wish they offered tres leche cake), but overall they're absolutely outstanding. Also, look for a dinner they do on Valentine's Day with all the courses made with chocolate.