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Mexican - New Haven, CT

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Can someone recommend a good Mexican rest in the New haven area?

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  1. Baja's on the Post Rd(route 1) in Orange, CT.

    1. Right on Broadway about 1 mile from Yale is a terrific Mexican Place. Name escapes me but its the only one on Broadway. Parking is avail across the street near the Yale bookstore.

      3 Replies
        1. re: Flavelle

          I just, two days ago, talked to someone that had eaten a Bulldog.... burrito. He said it was "OK", but not very "Mexican". It's fast food. It does not qualify as Mexican food, by a stretch, IMHO.
          One block away at the corner of Whalley and Howe is El Amigo Felix, I call it Tex-Mex. We've eaten there about six times and think it is a fair representation of Tex-Mex. Tex-Mex is the closest thing I can compare it to. It is the best you can do in this "downtown area" for a Mexican food fix. Forget anywhere else in the area. They are pathetic. If you are willing to go to the Fair Haven area, a few miles away, then go to Guadalupe La Poblanita for good, real Mexican food. They are nice folks, too. You can bring wine in. No corkage fee.
          There is El Tapatio, at the corner of Grand and Ferry. One block west is El Charro. On State Street there is Mezcal, that many like, and you get to stay away from the Latino neighborhood, if that concerns you; it doesn't bother me in the slightest.
          Do not listen to those that are pushing Aunt Chiladas, unless of course you are looking for the in-authentic, pseudo Mexican food, like you get at Taco Bell. They have cold beer and magaritas.... and a nice patio setting. This is up the road (Whitney), a bit. I've eaten Aunt Chilada's food twice and that was twice too often. I would acquiesce to nachos and beer. See, that wasn't too vociferous, was it?

          Veggo likes to go there and hang with the college kids and feel young again. Can't blame him. ¿Cuándo voy a recibir a comprar la cerveza que usted, mi amigo?

          1. re: Scargod

            Cuando camarones pueden silbar.

      1. An older thread gave good marks to
        Villa del Sol (evidently not as good now as when I visited several years ago.
        El Charra Allegre on Mechanic St.
        Jalepeno Heaven on Rt. 1 in Branford.
        Ixtapa on Whitney Ave in Hamden
        An unnamed taqueria on Rt. 5 in Wallingford (I've been there but can't remember the name either. It may be Mexican 2000 on N. Colony St.)

        7 Replies
        1. re: DonShirer

          I forgot Guadalupe La Poblanita at 500 Foxon Blvd.
          Not flashy, but more authentic than Su Casa or Cuckoo's Nest.

          1. re: DonShirer

            I wasn't impressed with Jalapeno Heaven. I thought it was your typical Mexican fare. But I've been wanting to try Poblanita for a while.

            1. re: Bette

              Gee, I thought Jalapeno Heaven was the most authentic. Love their homemade chips and salsa. And their appetizers and entrees are yummy! Best of all, the servers are friendly and knowledgeable. I have some food sensitivities, and every server, so far, has been able to list the ingredients used in each dish.

            2. re: DonShirer

              I know the Taqueria you're talking about. Tiny place, authentic Mexican. A gringo like me got funny looks going in there.

              I forget the name but "Taqueria" is in the title of the place. Mexican 2000 also on Rt 5 in Wallingford, but avoid that place. Awful food. It's a new place..with a different name now. I tried it again..still awful.

              No, this Taqueria is right on Rt 5 by the North Haven line near the Chef store. Just take Exit 13 off of I-91 and make a right. It's not even a mile away on the right-hand side. Blink and you'll miss it.

              1. re: rmmcgrath

                Taqueria Mexico! It's a fantastic little place that you'd really never look twice at if you didn't know it. Definitely check it out, I generally grab lunch or dinner at least once or twice a week.

                1. re: rmmcgrath

                  Another vote for Taqueria Mexico in North Haven. I was a regular when I worked near there, but hadn't been in awhile. Last week I was coming back from a college tour with my 16 year old who was complaining of hunger pangs and insisting (despite knowing how fruitless her request was bound to be) that we stop at a McburgerDonutSub for some cooked chemicals. Instead, realizing how close I was to exit 13 off I-91 South I swung in to the Tacqueria for a plate of assorted (chicken, lamb, beef and chorizo) tacos. These are simple but delicious bites: 2 small soft tortillas one on top of the other piled with the meat topping of your choice and some minced onions. At only a $1.25 each, order a few. Make sure to ask for limes which they will gladly provide upon request. Squeeze some lime juice, put one of two types of hot sauce on (I prefer the green), fold it up and it's gone in 2 or perhaps 3 bites. My daughter heartily agreed that it was the best "fast food" she'd ever eaten.

                2. re: DonShirer

                  You can see my comments about Ixtapa elsewhere, but it is smallish, noisy, no atmosphere, often full of kids (I think because it's inexpensive) and the food is just OK. Margaritas are usually good. It's pretty much mediocre Am-Mex. I've had decent food and more often it was pretty lame and occasionally, poor. I've eaten there at least eight times and now I avoid it because I don't like not knowing what you will get. The frequent "McDonald's atmosphere" would be tolerable if the food were better and predictable.

                3. Guadalupe La Poblanita is now on Chapel Street near the Ferry St. Bridge in New Haven.
                  It doesn't get any better than this in the N.H. area. Try the Gorditas and the Roast goat,
                  they're my favs.

                  1. Is Guadalupe La Poblanita right on Chapel St? I just looked it up and it said Middletown Ave? Thanks, Richie

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: javaandjazz

                      Caught me too. They have just moved (again!) to 136 Chapel St. in New Haven.

                      1. Guadalupe la Poblanita is definitely the best (and most authentic) Mexican in the New Haven area. Grand Avenue - also in Fair Haven - has a couple decent spots for Latin Cuisine, too. Try El Coqui for some good Puerto Rican style fare. But definitely hit Guadalupe. Their mole is excellent!

                        1. Thanks for mentioning where Guadalupe la Poblanita moved to. They do have the best mole! I also really like Margaritas in Branford - haven't tried their mole though. Jalapeno Heaven in Branford is good but don't get the mole. It's sweet there.

                          El Coqui does have good Puerto Rican food - just ate there a couple of weeks ago.

                          1. I noticed recently that the Mexican population in the New Haven area has grown large enough to support weekly Sonidero concerts. I saw a flyer advertising the shows, every Sunday at a club near downtown. The flyer said that they would serve "antojitos Mexicanos" but I can't imagine they would be decent unless they were catered by a good restaurant.

                            Sonideros are large, very loud sound systems that play a style of music called reggae-cumbia. In NY and NJ some of the concerts are even videotaped and released on DVD and sold here in the Tri-state area and in Mexico.

                            If the Elm city can support these concerts I suspect there a few more Mexican gems waiting to be discovered. Happy hunting!

                            1. I am surprised no one has mentioned Aunt Chiladas in Hamden, almost in Cheshire on rt. 10. I love the salsa and margaritas. They have all kinds of burrito combos. It can get loud in there sometimes especially upstairs. This time of year if it is cold enough they will have the fireplace going.
                              The guacamole is hit or miss, if you like real hot food ask for the habanero salsa.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: redhed94

                                OMG! Don't go to Aunt Chiladas! We had one of the worst experiences there EVER! The food was AWFUL! Swimming in grease and just disgusting. I posted about it 3 months ago. YUCK!

                                1. re: acervoni

                                  I went to Aunt Chiladas about a year ago and I thought it was great!

                              2. I checked out Tortilleria Michoacana for the first time this weekend, and it's great! What a find! Located in what looks (and feels) like an old warehouse on a weird block of Grand Avenue (corner of Grand and Hamilton), Michoacana has some of the tastiest tacos al pastor and tacos de carnitas I've had in a long time. And their salsas (they served a sweetish tomatillo salsa, and a fiery hot, almost creamy chili paste/sauce that I'd never had before) were both excellent, too. Their tacos are fairly small, but at $1.50 a pop, they're the right price. Delicious! I went in on a wet, cold, Saturday afternoon at 1:30, and the place was full (they've only got 5 or 6 tables). Don't let the location and appearance scare you away - they've got a nice parking lot, and everyone uses the side door. Friendly staff, terrific food, great place. Taqueria Mexicana #2 has been my taco standard for a while, but this place is just as good.

                                1. The mexican place on mechanic street is now called Mezcal. That Guadalupe la poblanita on chapel and Baja in orange are the best.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: keith2000

                                    oops, I recind my recomendation of Baja no longer a fan. Absolutly the two best mexican restaurants in New haven are Mezcal and Guadalupe.

                                    1. re: keith2000

                                      I definitely agree, Keith 2000. I've tried all the other places mentioned on this thread.

                                  2. I 2nd 3rd 4th 5th etc.. Guadalupe le Polanita. Very authentic Very economical Very good

                                    1. This post began 3 months before I discovered Chound, but this is another vote for Aunt Chiladas in Hamden. Scargod will vociferously disagree, but he has acquiessed to buying me a frosty cerveza there (his idea). And scargod has been there many times, with hollow complaints. He protesteth too much. He reminds my of my grandfather 90 days in a row with no sense of urgency: when are you going to get me off this boat?

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Shucks, I promised him one. I've been duped! Know any good Danish chow in the North East????
                                        Holy Guacamole!

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          BYO Tuborg and pickled herring; closest is NYC, and so long ago I can't vouch.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            The Scandinavian Society at Park Ave. and 53rd?

                                        2. re: Veggo

                                          Scargod and I often tussle over the best mexican restaurant ( I am a Mezcal man), we are in firm agreement on Aunt Chilada's being a terrible example of mexican food. I have spent plenty of time there in the past when a friend was a bartender, and while the karaoke nights are quite a spectacle, the food is unimaginative americanized fare that I would expect at Chili's.

                                          1. re: EastRocker

                                            Mezcal: Had a great lunch there today. The dark, roasted pepper salsa is very flavorful and somewhat unusual, as the thicker chips. We had the shrimp appetizer, with avocado, in a sweet tomato soup with cilantro and onion. Delicious... SO had chicken enchiladas verde and I had Mama's chicken... the stewed chicken with tomatillos, raisins and chipotles in adobo. I was told this was food from the Mexico City area. The only negative was the beans were lukewarm or cooler and they only had one glass of Malbec and then SO had to switch to Cab.
                                            They were fairly slow for lunch. Besides us, there were only about six people eating while we were there, between 12 and 1PM, and we only saw one employee in the front. Not sure when they open but we were given a one page "lunch" menu (in addition to the regular menu), that featured a lot of egg dishes,
                                            The food was quite good and certainly not Americanized slop. We are eager to try other dishes, at this point.

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              I eat at Mezcal almost once a week. I am boarderline addicted to their Nacho's # 3 with carnitas. My favorite lunch special is the torta with carnitas. If you are looking for the best plate of nachos you have ever had Mezcal is the place. They also have a killer Margharita. Get the one made with fresh squeezed lime juice not the cheeper one made with sour mix. You won't be disappointed.

                                              1. re: keith2000

                                                I ate lunch at Mezcal yesterday, right at noon. When I was about to leave three women came in; otherwise it was empty. Too bad.
                                                The fire roasted (dark) salsa was warm and very good with just the right amount of heat. Chips were thick and fresh. I ate too much chips and salsa!
                                                I ordered a bowl of pollo caldo or chicken soup. It was almost a meal in itself. It came with a whole lime, cut in two, chopped sweet onion and chopped cilantro. The waiter then brought me hot corn tortillas. I don't think they were made fresh but they were pretty good.
                                                Next came a carnitas tortas or pork sandwich. Tortas are often heared and browned on the grill. This was that way and had a nice crunch to it. Inside was the rubbery Mexican cheese (much like mozzarella), fresh avocado, lettuce and tomato. It was a big sandwich and very good. On the plate was a roasted fresh jalapeno. Eating this along with the sandwich gave it a nice zip! I kept adding salsa or squeezing fresh lime on it.
                                                I had to drink two Negra Modellos to wash everything down, of course.
                                                I was stuffed at the end and very proud of myself! It was really enough for two and was about $25.
                                                So, EastRocker, I am changing my tune about Mezcal. The food was good!

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  My friend told me that the place was packed tonight. I was glad to hear it. They typically don't do great lunch service.
                                                  The bartender Hugo is a great guy and makes really good drinks. He will be the one with the belt with roosters carved into it. He is worth talking to and getting to know.
                                                  Next time you go in try the Pollo entomatado a la Mama Gude...May be the best chicken I have ever eaten.

                                                  I am really glad to know that you had a good experience there. I will advocate for Mezcal always I truely love that place.

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    hallelujah, he has seen the light! :)

                                          2. I have yet to try it, but I have heard from a few California natives that La Cocinita on Park and Chapel by Viva's is good.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: junipersong

                                              You mean Viva Zapata (the Mexican restaurant)? I was reluctant to add "Mexican restaurant", the place is so bad.
                                              Is La Concinita related to them? Google says, "La Concinita Mexican Coffee". No info about them anywhere. What kind of food?

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                Unrelated. I haven't been, but I think it's standard fare. I trust my fellow Californians that it's worth checking out.

                                                1. re: junipersong

                                                  The very informal burrito counter that was in the same space, just prior to La Concinita, was pretty good. Limited hours though. I don't know if that still applies, and I'd love to hear more . . .

                                            2. Baja's in Orange and Guadalupe La Poblanita at 136 Chapel Street, New Haven. I think there are also some places in Fair Haven as well.

                                              24 Replies
                                              1. re: GoodFoodie

                                                I'll second Baja's in Orange. I've been meaning to post a review for a few months now, but never got around to it. The food is the best Cal Mex I've had in New England (and better than a lot I've had in California).
                                                Everything else about the place is a little bit of a disaster. The decor and atmosphere are a small step up from a mall food court. The service is on the level of Appleby's and the like. To an extent, that is to be expected for the price. But I was a little annoyed that they were insistent that their credit card machine wouldn't allow them to split our bill onto more than one card, and acted like we were nuts for even wanting to do this.
                                                The food more than made up for everything else though.

                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                  I ate at Baja's once. Not terribly impressed: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1643...
                                                  I think I would rather eat at Taqueria #2 down the street or Mezcal.

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    Scargod....are you talking about the Taqueria on Route 5 in Wallingford? Didn't know about Taqueria #2 in West Haven. Is that what it's called.

                                                    Baja's is not GREAT Mexican, mind you - especially for a Californian but it is the closest I've had in CT. La Carreta in New Haven on State Street is also not bad- no frills.

                                                    There are recommendations for Aunt Chiladas in Hamden and Viva Zapata which I wouldn't give to my dog. Ixtapa in Hamden is not Gringo-owned but the food is still bad.

                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      I definitely prefer Taqueria #2, but that's a whole different animal. Taqueria #2 tastes like what I've eaten in Mexico. Baja's tastes like what I've eaten in California, which I like a lot but have never been overly impressed by - and whenever I'm that way these days, I try places the Californians on these boards trumpet as amazing and authentic.
                                                      You might have softened on Mezcal, but I have not. The one meal I've had there was bad enough that I have no reason to ever give it another shot.
                                                      I've only been to Baja's the once, so maybe it was a fluke, but my carnitas were cooked well, and the mole sauce was good. It is unfortunate that they insist on calling the avacado flavored sour cream guacamole, but I'd rather have that than plain sour cream.
                                                      When I want actual Mexican, I go to Guadalupe la Poblanita (or, given that most of the meals I've had in Mexico were on a several months long service trip to Durango and consisted of nothing more than a plate of beans, a stack of flour tortillas, and a bottle of mezcal, I'll eat it at home). When I want Tex Mex, I think El Amigo Felix fits the bill, but I've never been to Texas (a crime, I know). If I want Cal Mex, I don't know of anywhere else to go but Baja's that is even remotely decent.

                                                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                        Dan... I think we are on the same page.
                                                        I would go to GLP first and others are a distant third, with Taqueria #2 a close second, but very basic food and accoutrements, and you would be better served if you speak Espanol!
                                                        I could fix Texas (Tex-Mex), cuisine for you.... Right now we are having wonderful, reddish, 1.5 pound trout from the lake.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          I think so too. And that's an enticing offer.

                                                        2. re: danieljdwyer

                                                          How long ago did you eat at Mezcal, DanielJDwyer? (If this is chronicled somewhere and I missed it, forgive me and redirect me!!)

                                                          Cuz I love it. The menu has its ups and downs - enchildadas verde, carnitas and chicken pipian are our favorites. But overall it's a step up - freshness, quality, value - from El Amigo Felix, which I also kinda like.

                                                          1. re: zoe p.

                                                            As I have mentioned, I have a renewed interest in Mezcal and think of its food as more authentic Mexican than El Amigo Felix. I could be talked into going to Felix because it reminds me of Tex-Mex. It has been OK. Still, hands down, I like Guadalupe la Poblanita for very tasty authentic Mexican.
                                                            BTW, we're now back in Vancouver; time for a hot bath! Then we're off to Shanghai River for dinner....

                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                              I stopped by today (Sat.) at 11:30, and although their sign said they opened at 11, the place was closed up tight with no cars in the lot. This is the second time I've experienced a Guadalupe meltdown. Luckily I found a good Thai place in Branford (see review elsewhere) to ease my piquante pangs, but I'm definitely souring on the Chapel street location.

                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                I see guadalupo el poblonito mentioned a lot. I was thinking of checking it out. What is the deal with them not being open? Are they a little hole in the wall?

                                                                1. re: DonShirer

                                                                  It is odd that they would be closed on Saturday. Did you look for a note on the door? I wonder if anyone else has been recently or noticed this phenomenon of not being open during their normal hours?
                                                                  They say the hours are Wed.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Tuesdays . Another web place said they were open till 8PM. If so, I would think it would apply only to weekdays.
                                                                  Guadalupe La Poblanita. 136 Chapel Street (203) 752-1017. It's good stuff, if they are open.

                                                              2. re: zoe p.

                                                                It was before I used this site, so maybe three years ago? I haven't seen anything about a change in ownership since then.
                                                                Maybe I'm a hard ass, but I can't forgive certain fundamental errors. Salting is one of them. The pork I ate was way too salty - and I am a salt addict - and my beans were bland from lack of salt.
                                                                They might do fantastic things and I caught them on a bad night, but I don't eat at Mexican places often enough for it to be worth another shot.

                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                  Are you sure it was Mezcal? Because if it was three years ago, it was probably the mediocre Mexican place that Mezcal replaced?

                                                                  In any case, I've eaten at Mezcal many many times and always thought it was great.

                                                                  1. re: MAER

                                                                    It has probably been 2-1/2 years since Mezcal was El Charro Alegre.
                                                                    We ate there once when it was El Charro Alegre and it was mediocre to poor Tex-Mex like stuff, as I recall.

                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                      Eh, what can I say. I'm getting old. The memory isn't what it used to be. It was definitely Mezcal, but it might only have been 2 years ago.
                                                                      I'll grant that, given the overall positive sentiment for the place, they've probably gotten better in the last 2 years. But, again, I don't go to Mexican places often. I usually just make it at home if I'm craving it. When I go to out for it, I want it to either be a place I haven't been, or a place I know I'm going to like (Guadalupe la Poblanita). Life is too short for bland beans.

                                                                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                        DD, do you hit the taco trucks and if so, which do you prefer?

                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          I've only been to the Ixtapa truck, based on recommendations here, and only a few times. I've thought it was great each time. It eats up half my lunch break just to get to and from the car, though. And - I know, I know, this is sacrilege - I'm not really a taco guy. I like tacos, but they're never what I'm going to order at a Mexican restaurant. Eating a taco makes me really want beans.

                                                                          1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                            I don'y think I've ever ordered a taco at a restaurant either, I just love and miss the lat night taco truck culture out west. I'll take a taco over a sandwich, though. I got my Ma on a 130 lbs of pintos at UNM and w/ raising 5 kids, we buy them by the 40 lb. bag here from our health food store. I get enough beans, I make a lot of New Mexico style chile that is a red chile pork "gravey" that goes OVER a bowl of refried beans and is topped w/ grated cheese and diced raw onion, Yum.

                                                                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                              Uh oh, I think we have a conundrum involving Catch 22.
                                                                              You don't really like tacos by themselves. Tacos make you want beans. Good beans are hard to find. You won't retry Mezcal's beans 'cause life's too short. Life's too short so you don't have time for a taco.
                                                                              I guess you're stuck with Guadalupe la Poblanita and that's not a bad place to be stuck.

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                I wouldn't say I don't like tacos by themselves. In fact, after this thread, I'll be going to the Ixtapa truck for lunch today. I just love beans. They're my favorite part of any Mexican meal.
                                                                                And life isn't too short for me to eat a taco. It's my lunch break that is too short for me to get to where the tacos are without the whole affair being rather rushed. This is why we need siestas.

                                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                  Yes, the American school I ran in Bolivia, the parents thought we were barbaric to only have an hour for lunch and no siesta! I eat a tremendous amount of pintos, but they are not the favorite part of the meal (but close). What do you find so appealing about them?

                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                    I love that, because they're so cheap and therefore eaten by nearly every culture, there is a nearly endless variety of bean dishes. When I was in Mexico (coincidentally doing education related service work) every home's pot of beans was noticeably different than every other's. Maybe because of that experience, beans make a Mexican meal feel complete for me. I could extend that to Latino food in general. Growing up, I ate a pretty large number of Puerto Rican meals. I can't imagine one without arroz con gandules. Similarly, because of my own family, I have trouble divorcing the idea of a cookout from baked beans, no matter what the grilled protein may be.
                                                                                    I also just think that beans just taste damn good, and are both the most satisfying vegetable and the most satisfying protein.
                                                                                    That being said, I went to the Ixtapa truck on Long Wharf on Friday for lunch. I did find myself wishing I had some beans, but it was also the best lunch I've had in months.

                                                                                    1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                      In the cellar we have 5 gal. buckets of pintos, black, navy and garbonzo beans.
                                                                                      Next trip to NH, I gotta hit the taco trucks. I did very much enjoy Tapatio w/ Scar last autumn.

                                                                  2. re: zoe p.

                                                                    You should try the pollo entamade a la mama guida I like it even more than the pipian. Although I clearly can't spell it properly.

                                                          2. Last night we met Daniel J. Dwyer, the Meriden born and raised New Havener and Chowhound, at Guadalupe la Poblanita. Daniel is moving to Boston and will be missed in the area. Also joining us was Miss Kattyeyes of Middletown. We had to have her join us for objective and balanced reporting!
                                                            We brought two bottles of red and G la P provided glasses. They serve beer only. They did not charge us anything for corkage.
                                                            There were many condiments that came with our order of freshly cooked tortilla chips. Pico de gallo, salsa verde (that had a little heat), mild red chile sauce and a mild orange tomato salsa that none of us could quite figure out. There were also lime slices. As we were served our plates more of these condiments came out. We brought home quite a bit of pico de gallo. Katty thought it bland, and that was so. There are a million different versions of pico de gallo and this one had anemic tomatoes and no green chiles. There was essentially no heat in these condiments, though I'm sure we could have had heat had we requested it. I ordered pozole (soup), for the table and our waitress brought out small bowls for everyone when I requested them. There was quite a bit of pork in it. Everyone remarked that it had wonderful flavor.
                                                            SO and I had a cheese and a beef chile relleno dinner with a very good “caldillo de tomate” (much like fresh tomato sauce in Italian cooking), and freshly made rice with a wonderful unctuous chicken broth seasoning. Though traditional, the filling in the rellenos was mostly thinly sliced potato; while tasty, it was slightly disappointing that it was almost all potato. Still, they were very good tasting with a perfect light coating of batter and pan fried to perfection. The beef relleno was spicier, either due to a healthy dose of black pepper, the huge poblana pepper itself, or both. SO did not care for the rellenos that much and thought the food bland.
                                                            Daniel ordered a simple stewed pork dish while Katty had chicken enchiladas verde. I believe everyone was happy with their food, except as noted. All the plates came with a small bowl of basic pinto beans in thick liquid. They were not very flavored. There was one bean tostada brought to the table. I’m not sure what it belonged with! There was also a big container of fresh and tender corn tortillas supplied for the table. They brought out chicken with mole which we didn’t order, but I kept it for the table. The white meat chicken was tender and the mole very dark and strong with a coarse texture, probably from peanuts.
                                                            I noticed too late that they had a list of specials posted that included about six varieties of tamales. Shoot!
                                                            I think that about covers the food…
                                                            As a side note: I wished that they would put at least the pico de gallo in the little bowls rather than the small plastic “pill cups”. It is hard to spoon out, too small to get a chip into and half ends up on the table.

                                                            Service was a different story, relative to my fondness for the food. The front door was propped open and there was not a soul in G la P at 7PM! Later, one family with two young children came in. That was it for customers till we left at 8:30.
                                                            It is a reasonably large restaurant with, ostensibly, a dance floor in the middle. There is a bar behind that. I have never seen anyone seated on the right side, but I’ve never seen the restaurant close to empty before. The restaurant’s family sat over on the right side and watched TV in semi-darkness. I believe the waitress is related to Guadalupe. I could see Guadalupe scurry off to the kitchen when we finally ordered food. Our waitress acknowledged that Guadalupe cooked for us. Everything was freshly made and it took a while. Since there were no other customers, our waitress mostly sat at the family table, within view of us, but seldom came by unless something came out of the kitchen. We initially asked for water, but none was ever brought to us. Several plates came, so half the table had their food, and then there was close to a ten minute wait for the other relleno and the enchiladas. Luckily, I was able to divide up the tostada and the posole. I did not perceive the service rude or hostile, but it was very minimal. We did not order the chicken with mole and the rellenos were mixed up. Because of the high ratio of potato in the rellenos it took me a while to realize they were not what we ordered and switch them around. At 8:20PM they turned off all the lights except over our area. A not so subtle hint that they wanted us to leave. They close at 8PM!
                                                            Talking to SO on the way home, I gathered that the service spoiled it for her. She wondered whether they really wanted us there. We have been to G la P a number of times before and she’s never voiced a complaint. The service was good on those occasions. Once it was an enjoyable meal with Passadumkeg and his wife. Now my SO is not hot to return. She now feels the food is too bland and too starchy. The service (a snub as SO took it), and the potato-filled relleno, really chilled her towards G la P. I don’t think Katty was sufficiently impressed either. :(
                                                            I feel differently because I like the style of Mexican food so much (as I think Daniel does). I think this is another instance of finding the combinations of food on the menu that you like. I think SO could really enjoy something else on the menu, as she has previously.

                                                            The food itself was a bargain. The total bill was $58!
                                                            I think the chowhound get together was a success. We had a good time getting to know each other as it was just the four of us. I would like to do one again.

                                                            Guadalupe la Poblanita
                                                            Fair Haven area of New Haven
                                                            136 Chapel Street
                                                            New Haven, CT 06512
                                                            Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                              Sorry that we couldn't join you all last night. Hope to make the next Chowhound get together!

                                                              1. re: joan mar

                                                                The cabrito was very good the time we went to G la Pand it is hard to find up here. Tex, I really liked Tapatio's the time we went and I don't see it listed on this thread. It is a bit sleazier than G la P, but the food was excellent, especially the cerviche. A memorable meal. And being across fro the Mexican supermercado, make it handy for those who need to take beef tongue back up to the land of lobster.

                                                              2. re: Scargod

                                                                Very good summary by Scargod. The service was basically non-existent, but pleasant in those few brief moments of its real existence. It's been better when I've been there before, which has always been at lunch when the restaurant was busy.
                                                                I'll also note that I thought the salsa verde was very good. The others, not so much. I tried a piece of Scargod's relleno and thought it was pretty good. The rice was very rich, though plainly flavored. I liked it. The beans were subtly flavored as well. They both tasted like they were cooked with either pork or chicken bones. The mole on the chicken mole was fantastic, but I thought the chicken itself was a bit bland.
                                                                One minor correction. I had cabrito al horno (goat to the oven), not stewed pork. I thought it was delicious, but again, very plain. The meat was absolutely perfectly cooked, though I'm not used to it with quite so much fat.
                                                                All in all, I think this food is very close to the food I ate on a daily basis in Mexico, with some regional variation.

                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                  DD, I had the cabrito and agree, but put it on the corn tortilla w/ a little salsa and it was excellent.

                                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                    I thought I'd get that dish wrong and just took a stab at it being pork. It was very fatty. I liked it, but don't think I could have eaten it all without accouterments as Mark has suggested. It think technically, the chicken should be simmered in the mole for a little while at least. I have had it in Texas where legs and thighs were cooked, all or partially, in the mole and was falling off the bone. Yum. If I am correct, G la P and many others keep cooked chicken at the ready, and the flavors don't have any opportunity to meld via cooking. The chicken may have been cooked with very basic seasonings, or none at all, so it can be used expeditiously in many dishes.
                                                                    Thanks Daniel. A good time!

                                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                                    Scargod, thanks for arranging our little get-together. Thanks, too for the wine you brought (that I didn't intend to drink, but thank you just the same!)--especially since our waitress was not concerned whether I had anything else to drink with my dinner. ;) I didn't know/remember you had asked for water. All I'll say is once all the food arrived, the "service" portion of the meal seemed to be over. I don't remember being asked how everything was or if we needed anything. Thankfully, we were having a really good time, which I think trumped the meal itself.

                                                                    I did like the posole and was glad you shared. You had commented in the restaurant that you really liked their corn tortillas--I did, too. I also enjoyed the salsa verde on my enchiladas and the quesa fresca...but I honestly didn't care much for the chicken in my enchiladas. Even at home, when recipes call for boiled chicken (to shred for enchiladas, for example), I am not a big fan, but I add plenty of seasonings, don't overcook, then shred with a fork so the chicken is kind of light and fluffy. My chicken was chunky and kinda slippery. :( I mention this because I took my other enchilada to work for lunch today, heated it up, noted the texture of the chicken, and ended up eating just the corn tortilla with salsa and cheese...then threw the rest away and bought a salad.

                                                                    On the other hand, I did enjoy the mole you shared with us. I also appreciate that you shared your beans as somehow (randomly) three cups of beans showed up even though we ordered four entrees. It was bizarre how they screwed up the order a) by bringing mole that no one ordered, b) by bringing half the meals at one point, then the other half about 10 minutes later, then c) four people, three portions of beans. ;)

                                                                    I was kinda shocked the pico de gallo had such crummy tomatoes...especially when I had overshot the restaurant on first pass and noticed a local farmers' market right down the street. Not like good native tomatoes are hard to come by this time of year!

                                                                    Company was great and I'm glad we had a chance to finally meet Dan. I'm totally with your SO on the service aspect, though. Until that other family arrived, we were the only ones in the restaurant and I certainly didn't feel welcome or as though anyone cared how/if we were enjoying our meals. The price was a total bargain, but so is my little Mexican joint downtown (Middletown)--Iguanas Ranas. It's a little hole in the wall, but I prefer their food. In fact, we went tonight and I had two tacos--one chorizo (delicious!!!), one barbacoa. Service there isn't stellar, either, but more because you have to order at the counter and then kinda anything goes. ;) But I do like the food there very much. And at $2 per taco, it's hard to beat.

                                                                    For me, G la P fell short of my expectations. It may have been authentic, but "this snack not for me." So you and the Scargoddess will have to try other Mexican in my neck of the woods and tell me what you think. I'll tell ya right now, leave service out of the equation if you come to Iguanas. It is even less of a restaurant by way of ambiance, seating and service, but I think you will enjoy the food more. And another one we should try together is Monte Alban (in Hartford). I haven't been in a few months, but that has been a favorite of mine for many years now.

                                                                    In any case, it was a fun evening. I wonder where we'll wind up "chowing down" next?

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      I'm pleased to see everyone getting along, and maybe New Haven's loss of DD will fill the void in Boston after tatamagouche moved to Denver (where she has an incredible web site). In any event, happy anniversary to this thread- 3 years today.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        Ohmygosh, good catch on the third anniversary of this thread! I'm glad to see a New Haven thread with staying power on this board that's NOT ABOUT PIZZA! :) If that isn't deserving of some sort of special designation, nothing is!

                                                                        I am sure DJD will be as valuable a contributor to the Boston board as he was here. We'll miss his posts!

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          When are you coming home for a visit? Do I have to arrange the next Chowdown to be in your honor.....at.. at.... Aunt Chiladas? Don't tempt me!
                                                                          I don't like waste and things scattered about so I tried to continue a good thread.
                                                                          There is a good population of Latinos in New Haven, Danbury and Hartford (and elsewhere, I'm sure). I think the food of the culture is rich with flavors and textures and doesn't deserve being buried under pizza. There are good Latin variations everywhere to be found if you hound them out! Then there's Spanish...

                                                                          Speaking of cheese: DD wants to become a cheese head. I should probably let him speak for himself if he wants to, but I know he loves cheese and comes from farming stock like I did.
                                                                          The queso fresco cheese on the tostada is what I hoped to find on some of the M food elsewhere and is often sprinkled on the beans. It is a great addition to black beans visually and taste-wise. These touches are what are often missing in the dumbed-down places.

                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                            I do like queso fresco and was happy to find it at G la P. I'm not sure why it doesn't make more of an appearance in other Mexican places since it can even be purchased at Stop & Shop now.

                                                                            I can only guess in established places where Americanized Mexi-food is the order of the day, no one knows enough about queso fresco to miss it. Or maybe it is a more expensive ingredient and a cost-saving measure to use cheddar/jack. In any case, let's not say "dumbed down"--I hate to think anyone feels I'm dumb (or my tastes are) because I'm an American. ;)

                                                                            I have to admit, it did cross my mind, too--when Veggo returns to CT, will we need to meet at Aunt Chilada's? :) I know he has sentimental ties to the place.

                                                                        2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          All good and valid points. I don't recall ever before having the kind of aloof service like we had. I believe I recall that getting service in Spain required us asking for it in a lot of places. I'm going to check on that... I recall similar service at Tapatio. Inverse hovering.
                                                                          I am open to all exploratory meals when it comes to Q and Mex. Hell...anything but hot dogs and pizza.

                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                            "anything but hot dogs and pizza." Tex, is this your Elgin roots talkin'? Good pizza and hot dogs are the eastern equivalent great taco trucks and hole-in-the-wall Mexican in the southwest; just different ethnicity. I guess you were weaned on too much Pizza Uno.
                                                                            "I am open to all exploratory meals when it comes to Q and Mex." Even Spam fusion?
                                                                            Gotta go make some chorizo and egg tacos for breakfast. I want to retry Tapatio's next time and drag you to some taco trucks. I can't believe that you haven't hit them and are not a local authority on them by now. Get crackin' before it snows.

                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              Sorry I couldn't join you too. Sounds like they may have had an off day, but I haven't been there for a year. You might reconsider Aunt Chilada's...we had a very discouraging visit there 2 years ago. And I'll have to try Katty's Iguanas the next time I am in Middletown near meal time!

                                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                I might try Aunt Chiladas again though I see no reason for them to change given the ever present college crowd and the lack of taste people have (in general), regarding decent Tex-Mex.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  'Forgive them for they know not what they do."
                                                                                  Or conversely, ... the lck of taste Texans have (in general) regarding decent New Haven pizza. Ooooooo.
                                                                                  Quick, Scargod of Google Maps and Garmens; is there any place good to eat near Cobs Cook State Park?

                                                                        3. Meriden's ' El Mariachi' has the real thing. 'Me cae si no'. Some cool guys from Central Mexico opened about a month ago..their food is EXCELLENT and the prices cannot be beat. I grew up in Mexico and these are real tacos, cocktel de camaron, nopales, aguas frescas, you name it. It is not elegant and the neighborhood may scare you a bit if you are not familiar with downtown Meriden at night. A compadre or ours invited us last Saturday night. 5 people had all kinds of tacos, shrimp cocktails, carne asada and tostadas AND drinks and the bill was...$68 USD. If you like Aunt Chiladas, don't go to this place. El Mariachi is for people who are not looking for 'frosty drinks' and combo platters. If you are looking for menudo, tacos de pata, then make the trip over. There are menus in English. Here are the coordinates:
                                                                          El Mariachi
                                                                          81 W Main St #B
                                                                          Meriden CT 06451
                                                                          tel: 203-238-0909.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jmmex

                                                                            As mentioned, El Mariachi is not a fancy place with fancy food. It IS the real deal with authentic Mexican-New Mexican style of red and green hot sauces, and hearty food, like overstuffed lingua soft tacos, for very little money! The pastor tacos had fresh pineapple in them!
                                                                            They did not have an English menu for us Gringos when we went there, but the waitress was very fluent in English and our understanding and ability to communicate was adequate, so it was not an impediment.
                                                                            No chile rellenos and no menudo, though they have something very similar to menudo. The tamales were excellent. It was ALL EXCELLENT! They only serve beer.
                                                                            With three beers and food leftover the two of us ate lunch for $29, out the door.
                                                                            This is about a 20 mile, 20 minute easy drive from downtown New Haven.

                                                                            El Mariachi
                                                                            81 W Main St Ste B, Meriden, CT 06451

                                                                          2. I would really recommend La Carreta in New Haven on State Street if you've never been. The burrito deals are pretty great, 6 bucks even for a jam-packed heavy duty burrito. Very tasty. They make plates as well that are mighty good and right around the same price range. However, I'm a die-hard burrito fan so that's why I usually stop there.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: canihaveurpants

                                                                              You forgot to mention that this is a tiny take-out place.
                                                                              I haven't been there, but I am surprised if it is good Mex. This is the first time it has ever been mentioned on here that I know of.
                                                                              For a sit-down meal go another 2-3 blocks to Mezcal for a real Mexican meal. They are not very expensive.

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                That's true about La Carreta being a tiny take-out place, but good take-out can always be convenient in a pinch. I do stick with what I said about the food and it's quality though. I'm sure it isn't the greatest mexican place around but I would still recommend it.