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Jul 15, 2006 05:15 AM

best tacquerias

This is a branch off from the earlier topic on upscale Mexican ( As several have pointed out, there is no truly great upscale Mexican food in the Boston area. For my money, the best Mexican food to be had in Boston is at tacqueias, most of which are a good sight cheaper than Tacos el Charro in JP (see 'upscale Mex' posts on that topic). This is the usual response when someone posts asking for Mexican recommendations, so it makes sense to start a dedicated thread on the matter.

Tacos Lupita (which is actually Salvadorean, but the cuisine is similar) is far and away the winner here, and there are several other posts to this effect on the boards.

Boca Grande is cheap and solid if not excellent. I recommend pozole, black bean soup and the pollo al carbon. Their enchiladas are weak.

Tacqueria la Mexicana in Union Square is inconsistent. Several times I have had what my former roommate dubbed 'tuna salad style chicken' tacos, which is disturbing. Other times I have had great food there. The Aguas Frescas are consistently good.

These are generally the places I frequent. I have heard good things about El Pelon's fish tacos (what about their other stuff) and mean to try them. Other than that, any other contenders worthy of mention?

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  1. Try Rosticera Cancun in Maverick Sq.

    Also like the tacos (and their very nice salsas) at El Rancho Grande, also in East Boston, closer to the Wood Island stop.

    2 Replies
    1. re: limster

      Second El Rancho Grande's tacos and salsas - nice family too that runs it. We like the carnitas, birria, and carne asada.

      1. re: limster

        Yes yes yes. Their carnitas is up there with the best I have ever had in Southern California. I really like the joint too, it is about the size of a walk in closet with stools and a small counter ledge on each side. There is no counter just an opening to the tiny tiny kitchen and the smells from that kitchen are orgasmic, I promise you this.

        Tacos Lupita is also seriously good.

        There is another place in Maverick Sq. I forget the name but is is around the corner from the Store 24. It looked like a sit down place and was full of mexicans, which is a good sign in my opinion. Has anyone been there?

      2. Solid thread idea.

        Most familiar with tacos al pastor at Boca Grande. Among the best cheap eats orders in Boston.

        Please no one mention so-and-so has huge, cheap burritos on this thread. Why obscure the delicacies of guac, pico, and salsa with rice and beans? (keep those on the side) It's not terribly difficult to roll up rice and beans in a tortilla.

        Beginning to check out Maria Bonita at Mass Ave and rt 16. Not enough info here at this point.

        3 Replies
        1. re: adams_jo

          I found Maria Bonita to be a bit on the boring/bland side but admit I have only been once.

          1. re: adams_jo

            I tried the tacos al pastor at Boca Grande after reading this board, and found it very greasy (not crispy pork as someone mentioned below, more like dripping all over the plate). Could be a bad day, batch, or serving I guess. I'll try again as there was a good variety of choices. What meal was it that I saw them chopping grilled meat for someone's order?

            1. re: steinpilz

              As far as I can tell, I'm the only person who has used the word "crispy" in relation to tacos al pastor, but I was talking about the ones at Anna's, not Boca. I don't like Boca's nearly as much.

              Be warned that no matter what, tacos al pastor ARE greasy. It's simply the nature of the beast. (Think of the doner at a kebab shop: the meat in tacos al pastor is formed and cooked under the same basic principle, and this kind of spit-roasted pork is both extremely juicy and, yeah, kinda greasy.) But at their best, the ones at Anna's are just as I described: the shards of meat are so smoky and crispy and flavorful that they taste slightly of bacon. The key seems to be when and off what part of the slab the pork is sliced, but since the Anna's I favor is always crazy busy, I never bother to make a special request for the crispy bits.

          2. El Pelon does an excellent job and my 2nd favorite is Anna's.

            1. My far-and-away favorite is Taqueria El Amigo (formerly El Mariachi) in Waltham. Their starring players are the carnitas (rich and porky, and sizzled on the griddle so it has fabulous crispy bits) and the corn tortillas (not homemade, but better than whatever Boca Grande uses). They also excel with small touches like really well soaked onions (to kill the sulfur-y bite and let the sweetness come through), nice fresh salsa, and very friendly service. The chicken is very good too, although I've only had it once or twice (hard to keep me away from the carnitas). It's worth springing for the tacos especiales (four to an order), as they include a wedge of avocado. I don't particularly recommend the lengua, unless you REALLY like getting a slab o' tongue in your taco. Lupita's lengua is much better.

              They also have an excellent torta -- roll is a little doughier (and smaller) than Lupita's, but a close second to the champ.

              Also in Waltham is Taqueria Mexico (very good, but I haven't been since I discovered El Amigo) and Hungry Coyote, which opened more recently and was very good in my one visit there.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MichaelB

                I went to El Amigo Friday based on your and MC's past raves. Excellent carnitas tacos and carnitas torta. I doubt the folks at Lupita are shaking in their boots, but the food was well-prepared and tasted good. The service was very cordial considering I do not think the person at the counter spoke much English. The free chips and homemade salsa are a nice touch. Delicious, somewhat spicy salsa but I think the chips were straight from a bag. Whatever, they're free.

                The giant tank of white stuff appeared to be horchata. Has anyone tried it yet?

                1. re: MichaelB

                  We tried El Amigo on your review and loved it. Really friendly waitress and home cooked authentic food. We had chips from a bag though - not fresh - so that was the only negative...and it would be great if they served beer. Great food though - totally. Loved the mexican "family feud" on the television. I felt like I was in Mexico. We were the only English speaking people there. We'll go back - and soon!

                  1. re: MichaelB

                    I'm a fan of lengua tacos, and find Taqueria La Mexicana's lengua consistently and clearly preferable to Lupita's. TLM's has a richer flavor and is softer; lupita's is more bland and sometimes a little rubbery.

                  2. Taqueria Mexico in Watertown is excellent.

                    I wish I had kept a list of the places I used to visit in East Boston. When I worked out that way, I always got such a charge out of poking around shoddy storefronts looking for lunch. May great meals there...