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Good Mexican in Cincinnati?

I started a similar thread a year or so ago but thought this was worth revisiting (because it is indeed a never ending quest!).

A few years ago dh & I made it a practice of trying all the local mexican restaurants. Our favorite is (and has been for quite a while) Rincon in Eastgate (near the Biggs). Really good chili verde, tamales, chili colorado, mole and enchiladas.

It seems new mexican restaurants are springing up in Cincinnati every day and it is hard to know which to try. I live north of the city (between montgomery & mason) and we haven't really found anything around us we like (we are giving El Toro a try tonight). Didn't care for Fiesta Bravo at all.

So whaddya think? Found any really good mexican food in Cincinnati?

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  1. We like Rincon very much and are also fond of El Ranchito on 5 Mile (Anderson Twp) and Habanero in Clifton.

    1. I make no claims of authenticity on any ethnic restaurants, as I have done very little international travel, but I do know what I like:

      1) The small chain called Acapulco - good, cheap, friendly service, fast. Locations I know of are in Fairfield and Milford.

      2) Rio Grande in the lower part of the Newport shopping center

      Oddly, I have had VERY bad experiences at both Rincon and El Ranchito, but I have also heard others praise the food at both places since then, and more than once. Maybe it is time for me to re-visit.

      1. I like El Ranchito, though I think their margaritas are tasteless. We tried Los Portales at Skytop, the foot of Mount Washington, and didn't care for it. I like the fajitas at Margarita's, everything else is run of the mill. I'm also a fan of La Mexicana in Newport, and a couple of years ago I ate at a hole-in-the-wall in Florence called El Pueblito that I thought was pretty good.

        But I still haven't found anything that blows me away. After getting an uninspired meal at Los Portales (basically, it was a shrimp stir-fry on a tortilla), I began to wonder if the owners of Mexican restaurants are doing what their Chinese counterparts have been accused of for years -- toning down the food for gringos. I just don't get the sense that what I'm being served is authentic.

        1. Chain-wise, I like Abuelo's. Don Pablo's is okay, too. I wouldn't make any claims of authenticity for either. Having never lived in the Southwest, I probably don't know what real, excellent, authentic Mexican food is anyway!

          Of the independents, I think the place at Winton and Kemper is the best I've tried. Unfortunately I can't remember the name. Rio Bravo, maybe? Anyway, they have a shrimp quesadilla to die for, and everything tastes like cooked from scratch.

          1. Just thought I'd update this thread w/my feedback on our latest mexican experience. We ended up going to Palacio Azteca - it is in a hotel off Mason-Montgomery. You would have to be looking for it to find it. Dh knows the owners - they are former employees from Rancho Grande who decided to start a place on their own.

            It was pretty good - better than many others I have tried but not as good as Rincon. I just had a chicken enchilada and chili relleno. Not particularly spicy (and I LIKE spicy) but I imagine that is in order to appeal to the masses. Dh had chili verde and really enjoyed it. Worth a try if you are looking for something new!

            1. I have been in at least six different northern Mexican states and I do not know what "authentic Mexican" food is.

              In Cincinnati, I have always found El Coyote on State Rd. in Anderson Township to be quite good. They serve a wide variety of Mexican as well as Tex-Mex dishes which are well prepared.

              They must be doing something right as they have been open 20 years in a terrible location where the previous 12 restaurants closed within a year.

              El Coyote Tex-Mex Cafe
              7404 State Rd
              Cincinnati, OH 45230-2159

              1. Love this thread! I am from San Diego...born and raised. The site of Mexican restaurants coming to this area is INCREDIBLE. I like to think of myself as a connessieur of sorts...and here are my thoughts.

                #1 -- Heads and tails above the rest...Palacio Azteca in Mason (off Bardes Road by the Home Depot on Fields Ertle). Has increbile eats and the best 40oz. Margarita you'll ever taste!

                #2 -- Casa de Tequila... a smaller out of the way eatery off Cincinnati-Dayton exit on 75. Go West about a mile and it's in a small shopping strip on the left. Great food...horrible margaritas.

                #3 -- Cactus Pear...a little expensive...not real mexican food, but it tastes good and their margaritas are ridiculous

                #4 -- I have to agree with TJ on this one...there is a place in Milford called Aculpulco...pretty good stuff. I'd go back and I HAVE!

                1. I will be going around and giving some of these a try. I was born and raised in California, and have gone to Mexico before. Nothing Ive had here is really what its like West. I'd say the closest I've had to authentic street mexican food from a taco wagon, you look up anywhere that says taqueria. That will narrow your search.

                  I found a taqueria I cant even find in google in Springdale close to Springdale and Northland Blvd, right next to that Princeton Plaza shopping center. Theyre still not quite authentic, but litterally the closest I have had here in the midwest so far.

                  I just cant stand Tex Mex. If you put any kind of cheese on your taco its not authentic to me. Its supposed to me simple, a soft corn tortilla with the meat of choice, a smooth salsa (roja), fresh diced onions, celantro, and a lemon/lime wedge. Chicken tacos are my favorite, West they only use dark meat chicken shredded. White meat chicken is so boring and blah to me, signature Tex Mex is white meat chicken.

                  1. Another good tell tale to authentic Mexican food, besides being sure they serve dark meat for their chicken tacos, is seeing if they have Beef Tounge(Lengua) as an optional taco meat choice. Also Brains(cabeza) will be on the menu. I havent found cabeza here yet, but Lengua is here @ real authentic Mexican. So, check for that not that you have to get it (Lengua is actually my personal top pick for meat of choice). Theyre usually holes in the wall, which are always the best places to go.

                    If you wonder what Lengua tastes like, its pretty much like the best most tender (NOT chewy like youd think) pot roast, but, even MORE tender than pot rost. It falls appart in your mouth. Its diced into small cubes. Its just fantastic. I buy beef toung personally whenever I find it here and make my own lengua tacos on the regular

                    1. Taqueria Maya is located in a strip mall between Play It Again Sports and Lens Crafters by the King's Auotmall. I go there for lunch. Their food is outstanding. Here are a couple of reviews:



                      The address is:

                      Taqueria Maya
                      9996 Kings Automall Dr
                      Cincinnati, OH 45249
                      (513) 677-6292‎

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mikjackson77

                        I moved to Cinci from Los Angeles and the best Mexican food is in Kentucky. Don't laugh......
                        A Mexican family moved their from north of San Diego and opened a very small restaurant called La Mexicana. Its in Newport on Monmouth st, a five minute walk from the levee. They have a small but very authentic menu (read no cheesy goo or sour cream dropped on everything) and I rate their tacos as good as anything I had off of a truck or in a restaurant in LA. Give this place a try, you will not be disappointed.