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Good inexpensive Mexican?

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I have a craving for some reasonably priced Mexican food. Three places recently opened up and wondering if any one has been to El Zarape 1548 E. Passyunk Ave., Molcajete Mixto, 746 Christian St. or Cantina Los Caballitos, Passyunk avenue? Or, is there any where else you recommend? It seems like a lot of "good" places are in the S. Philly area.

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  1. I've been to the Cantina and El Zarape. Avoid El Zarape. I ordered a carnitas taco and a steak taco, the carnitas consisted mostly of giant white hunks of uncooked pork fat attached to tiny pieces of meat. It was basically a raw fat taco. It makes me a little ill just thinking about it. If you want good cheap authentic Mexican, El Jarrocho is great, at 13th and Ellsworth. Get at least one chorizo taco.

    The Cantina is very good, not very expensive but not as cheap as a tacqueria. It's more Mexican-inspired than authentic Mexican. Their empanadas are fantastic. I don't like margaritas, but my friends who do say theirs are some of the best in the city.

    1. Taqueria La Veracruzana on Washington between 9th and 10th is fantastic, and very cheap. I have eaten most of the menu, and I have never been disappointed.

      1. See my review of Molcajete Mixto...not cheap.
        I love Taco Riendo at 1305 north 5th street (Thompson). Owned by the father of the owner of Las Cazuelas on Girard. Cheap Mexican.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Suefoo

          I 2nd taco riendo..... we liked it even better than las cazuelas.

          1. re: joluvscards

            I'll third Taco Riendo. I find their mole to have more of a kick to it than Las Cazuelas. You can also BYOB, but don't expect fancy glasses.

            1. re: croutonpiggy

              just returned from taco riendo... CUTE little place north of northern liberties (is that kensington?) at 5th and thompson, a block up from girard. i would estimate it seats no more than 30. very new and fresh-looking - not gritty at all compared to some of the other places i've been around south phila. but gritty is sometimes good, too.

              i don't know about inexpensive - i spent $15.50, but i guess i did order some of the more expensive things on the menu: dos tacos de chile poblano relleno con quezo servido con arroz (chile relleno tacos, basically), a side of chips, salsa and guac, and a grapefruit soda.

              the chile relleno tacos came with mexican rice, onions, mexican cheese and a red sauce, basically. they were double-wrapped in thick tortillas, so i eventually had to discard the tortillas so i wouldn't fill up on those alone! those were very tasty, but i think above the tacos, the chips, salsa and guac stood out. the chips were thick, oily, salty and super-crunchy, perfect but oh-so-filling. the salsa was that runny, orange-y kind, which i love so much but seem to rarely find outside of mexico! i think they use the same one over at las cazuelas, owned by the same family. the guacamole used ripe avocadoes and was chock-full of cilantro. yum. could have stood for some more onion in my opinion, but very good nonetheless. the grapefruit soda (i'm really starting to like mexican sodas!) contrasted perfectly with the guac.

              i wish there were more for vegetarians, but i think the meat-eaters would find a million other things to write home about here. i will try to remember to scan in the menu when i get to work tomorrow, and post on photobucket. there are some wonderful-looking breakfast choices (served from 9a - 12p) for those of you looking for something besides your everyday pancakes. :) there's also a soup of the day (someone else was munching on this when i visited, looked like a spicy tomato broth, possibly a type of tortilla soup?). listed under the taco menu are taco de alambre bistek o pollo con quezo do oaxaca (grilled chicken or steak tacos with peppers, onions, oaxaca cheese) and several other weirder specimens, beef tongue, cheek and head. i see no ojos, sorry! also on the drinks menu, other than the mexican sodas, are agua de horchata (rice milk with cinnamon) and a mexican hot chocolate. yum. i'll have to return soon to try what i can of those.

        2. like cazuelas

          looove plaza girabaldi (11th and washington - byob) get the ribye tampequena, anything "al pastor", or the nachos

          1. Taqueria Veracruzan. 9th and Washington. Get the grilled steak tacos or quesadillas. Plaza Garibaldi is also great for carne asada and mole.

            1. Three cheers for Plaza Garibaldi...most consistent and interesting offerings of the whole bunch. My kids love the Sopes, my wife (Venezuelan) loves anything they have with Carne Asada. BYO

              1. Two words: La Lupe. In So. Philly near Geno's and Pat's. It's the real deal.

                1. I agree with dougherj and halene--Taqueria La Veracruzana. Get the Tacos al Pastor.