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Mexican Food Hell.

Flavelle Dec 17, 2006 11:51 PM

Pardon the language, but that is what my hunt has turned up when looking for a Decent Mexican Place. I have yet to find one, and honestly I don't think they exist in New England. I just moved from California and where I come from the Salsa is Spicy if you know what I mean...

So here's my dilemma:

Stale Chips from a Bag
Sweet Salsa (which for some reason I have been told is the spiciest salsa...)
Fake cheese (okay even for tex-mex, what is up with that???)

Just basically bad food all around.

I've had
El Torrero (post road): Too expensive, sweet salsa, fake cheese lettuceamole (that's right i said it and i'll let you figure out what this $4 sensation was pretending to be)- This place is the whole she-bang when it comes to crap.. I do not recommend it.

Baja's: I left before I even finished... I had to mix up salsa with their 50 flavors to create something edible... and where i come from if you are at a sit down place you are served your own salsa

Bulldog Burrito: I wasn't expecting anything out of it. I new it was one of those tex-mex burrito places but they used like the entirely wrong type of beans

La Casita: ( I actually worked there) totally tex-mex and not too bad for what it was... Best salsa i've had in this area. the chefs were from the same part of Cali as me and they know what spicy means.

Viva Zapatas: Great chips-Crap Salsa... I didn't even have the mexican there i just had a guac burger which i will have to admit is delicious.

Okay so now you see my problem... Somebody please shed some light on a decent place.... with real ingredients.

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  1. c
    chefstu RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 03:27 AM

    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 Reply
    1. re: chefstu
      NextNetNow RE: chefstu Jan 27, 2008 02:00 PM

      Sing it, Sista!

    2. n
      Noreaster RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 05:20 AM

      Tacqueria Mexico on Charles Street in Waltham, MA. As far as I can tell, completely authentic

      1. s
        Sean RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 12:34 PM

        Don Jose's (Providence)is fairly authentic:


        Tio Mateo's (East Greenwich)is a pretty good version of Mexican street food (Taco's and Enchiladas), authentic sauces and Mexican soda:


        Others like Mexico Garibaldi, authentic menu. I found the food to be authentic but rather bland in my view:


        That's the only decent ones I can think of in the area, it is New England after all.

        1. l
          LisaLou RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 12:50 PM

          I just wanted to give you sympathy. At least in VT I've found the salsa hot. I used to live in Chicago where you could throw a rock and hit 2-3 Mexican restaurants. Imagine my horror walking into a NJ supermarket not finding hot salsa and seeing extra mild salsa on the shelves. What the heck is extra mild salsa?

          1 Reply
          1. re: LisaLou
            momjamin RE: LisaLou Dec 18, 2006 06:26 PM


          2. Bri RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 12:59 PM

            I've lived in VT almost 2 years and completely given up on trying to find good Mexican food; now I just make my own. There is a great Columbian place in Pittsfield called La Fogata, definitely not Mexican, but very good.

            1. t
              thinks too much RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 01:41 PM

              If you've been to Zavala's you must be in the New London area.
              Up in Willimantic there is a Carniceria connected to a Hispanic grocery that is wonderful. It looks dodgy and there is no English spoken there, but the flavors. Just tacos and a special of the day (menudo on my last stop) The owners also own a place in the same town with a bigger menu called La Casita, but it has been closed of late.

              2 Replies
              1. re: thinks too much
                thinks too much RE: thinks too much Dec 18, 2006 05:50 PM

                Oops. I didn't mean La Casita. I meant El Palenque.

                1. re: thinks too much
                  Jeremy01506 RE: thinks too much Jan 20, 2008 07:38 AM

                  I second El Palenque, I used to frequent it when I was working in Willimantic! I miss not being able to go there any more, may need to take a drive down one weekend (and hope they're open!).

              2. finlero RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 02:40 PM

                I live in Boston now, but grew up in Phoenix. My wife is a "New Mex-pat". 3 possible options for you:

                1) As much as I hate to recommend a chain, there's an On the Border right near New Haven in Orange, CT. A lot of their food is just plain bad -- BUT -- their chips and salsa are homemade, and the salsa actually has a bit of a bite. Steer clear of all but the most basic entrees, such as the fajitas, which actually come with homemade tortillas!

                2) I'm looking for a guinnea pig to check out Autentica in South Hadley, MA (about 90 minutes from New Haven). They profess to be a *New* Mexican restaurant, and they personally import all their chiles from Hatch, NM, the fabled mecca of spicy chiles. If you go, please please post, as will I if I beat you there.

                3) If you want want your spicy Mexican with a side of urban hustle, head into Manhattan and go to Los Dos Molinos. Their original restaurant has a reputation as being among the best (and spiciest) in Arizona; not sure what possessed them to open in Union Square, but I can't visit the city without stopping by. Their "kick ass margaritas" live up to their name.

                2 Replies
                1. re: finlero
                  sryder RE: finlero Dec 18, 2006 02:57 PM

                  I actually haven't heard of the new place (Autentica) in South Hadley, but I'll definitely have to check it out soon and report back.

                  I really enjoy La Cazuela in Northampton, MA. They have great mole, which is usually my test for a good Mexican place, and they have decent chips and spicy salsa. They have a few different types of salsa actually, and you generally have to ask if you want their super spicy habanero salsa, but it's tasty and hot.

                  I'd have to agree with you about On the Border. We've got one around here, in West Springfield, MA. I don't like much of their food, but munching on chips and salsa while having a few drinks there isn't bad.

                  1. re: finlero
                    finlero RE: finlero Feb 28, 2007 11:00 AM

                    As long as this thread has been revived, I thought I'd mention that I finally made it to Autentica in South Hadley.

                    Executive summary: very good, save for the depressingly mediocre tortillas. Only place of its kind in New England.

                    My post from a few weeks back: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/370309

                  2. d
                    DowntownHound RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 03:56 PM

                    If you find yourself on the Cape visit Ay1 Caramba Cafe in Falmouth or Harwich http://www.aycarambacafe.com/ It's the kind of food I used to enjoy when I went home to California.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: DowntownHound
                      hurc81 RE: DowntownHound Jul 15, 2007 07:54 AM

                      I will second the recommendation for Ay Caramba, although if you're also looking for atmosphere, you'll be disappointed, especially if you're seated next to a completely pretentious, snobby couple who think they're all that because they know the owner. Tables are close enough to hear other's conversations, which I can't stand,(ever heard of indoor voices, people?) but the food was great.

                      The best place that I know of for Maxican food in the Connecticut area (and I've eaten Mexican all over the country, including CA) is a little place on RT6 in Woodbury. Woodbury's a small town, but it's got some slammin' restaurants - Carole Peck's is there. Continue on the road that Carole's is on for about 2-3 more miles and on the left side you will see a two story bright green building with a large sculpture of a bull outside - the place is called Jav's. Great salsas, they have a big salsa bar, and some are really spicy - and they will kick it up if you ask. They've only been open about a year, but the owner had all the tables and chairs handmade in Mexico and the place is really pretty. The owner's a nice, hardworking man who came here a dozen years or so ago to seek the Americn Dream. I say good for him and have at it - my husband says thank god we finally got some authentic Mexican in town! Check it out and let me know what you tink. It's worth the drive from the NH area.

                      1. re: hurc81
                        jmmex RE: hurc81 Oct 21, 2007 07:07 AM

                        Based on the suggestions posted on this site, we went to Jav's in Woodbury. Excellent tacos (fresh and made Mexican antojito style) and homemade salsa and chips. Can't wait to go back to try the rest on the menu. Thanks for the posting!

                      2. re: DowntownHound
                        acooksdelight RE: DowntownHound Feb 12, 2008 11:51 AM

                        Hey - if you're on the Cape, you have to check out Sam Diego's - right on Iyannaugh Rd in Hyannis (Exit 6, biggest Tourist area of the Cape) and I don't remember having anything bad... I also don't remember being able to finish anything with the large portions!

                      3. h
                        homesick for food RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 04:01 PM

                        Forget about La Cazuela, it's as far from typical as the North Pole. In Hadley, Mi Tierra is reasonably good.

                        1. JohnnyCT RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 05:07 PM

                          If you are looking for authentic Mexican here are a few options in your part of Connecticut. I will back Chefstu up and say that Guadalupe La Poblanita in New Haven is great. La Poblanita on Park avenue in Bridgeport is good as well. You can tell by the names of the restaurants that the Mexicans in this part of CT are from Puebla. Monte Alban in Hartford is really good too.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JohnnyCT
                            Scargod RE: JohnnyCT Feb 11, 2008 01:15 PM

                            I have not been to Monte Alban (Hartford) either. What's that like? I just want clean, safe and good Mexican or Mex- American. I just won't be able to drag my woman into a crappy place. Small, local places are fine if the other criteria is met. I am not picky about the version as long as it is good. I recently had great authentic Mexican in Austin, TX at the Fonda San Miguel and lots of Tex-Mex. I also love the Mex-New Mex variety. (FYI, I'm a Texan)

                          2. masha bousha RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 05:22 PM

                            Let's see...do they have New England style steamers and New England Style hot dog buns in SoCal? Nope. I guess that's why my Dad always gets those things when he comes back to New England once a year.

                            yeah, sorry to say, besides a couple of decent fish tacos as Agave Grill in Downtown Hartford, I've never had anything that resembled "authentic" Mexican food like I've gotten out west, specifically in SoCal (San Diego area).

                            1. JohnnyCT RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 05:48 PM

                              Wow, you are talking about Hartford CT, the city with the densist population of Hispanics on the east coast(second only to Miami) and the best tacos you can find are at the Agave Grill???

                              Come on Masha Bousha you have to explore the city a little better than that.

                              1. masha bousha RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 06:18 PM

                                Well, Mexican is probably my least favorite ethnic food so Agave is fine by me. I've had excellent fast food at little joints in San Diego all over the place but I haven't had anything of that ilk in the Greater Hartford area.
                                You can't have a fish taco with shredded iceberg lettuce on it...and Agave knows that....whereas many other CT/East Coast places make unauthentic tacos.

                                1. JohnnyCT RE: Flavelle Dec 18, 2006 07:47 PM


                                  The fish taco is a specialty of the Baja region of Mexico. In NY and CT the majority of Mexicans are from Puebla a state in Southern Mexico. Their specialty is mole, they also make tacos arabes, if anybody has found these in CT let me know.

                                  When I think of "Authentic" Mexican I think of a restaurant with a Mexican cook and Mexican clientele. Quite a few exist in CT and more are popping up, I have posted about a few in the past. Happy chowing :)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JohnnyCT
                                    HeidiCT RE: JohnnyCT Oct 15, 2007 09:10 AM

                                    I grew up out west and moved here when I was 18. That doesn't make me an expert on Mexican food, by any means, as everyones tastes are different, but I have a good base to go on.

                                    We have had a horrible time finding good Mexican out here. Most of them are "New England Mexican". Blech........

                                    Lots of great places listed on here that I'm going to have to try. Maybe we will find some place new. We tend to always end up at Puerto Vallarta's. They are in Middletown, Cromwell, Avon, W. Hartford, Newington and Southington.

                                    They have a good selection of "american" mexican food, such as quesadilla's, fajitias, nachos and other things that people seems to always associate with mexican food, like burriots, tacos and the like. What I love about them though is that they have so much more to offer then just this.

                                    -homemade tamales
                                    -spicy, hot, muy caliente salsa for the asking
                                    -freshly fried chips
                                    -chili rellenos made with fresh chiles
                                    -tons of different mole's
                                    -lots of other great foods that are more "authentic" then tacos and burritos.

                                    Here is the link to their menu. http://www.puertovallartausa.com/menu...

                                  2. xilinxchic RE: Flavelle Dec 22, 2006 03:56 PM

                                    Taqueria Mexico
                                    850 S Colony Rd
                                    Wallingford, CT 06492

                                    The Carne Asada Tortas are worth the trip to this little taco stand. They offer a limited menu of tacos, burritos and tortas - each with a variety of filling, including pork, chicken, and beef tounge if you dare. Each comes with a red (chipotle-based?) and green (jalepeno-based?) sauce that I load up on. No chips and salsa, but they do also offer tamales.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: xilinxchic
                                      chefstu RE: xilinxchic Feb 28, 2007 04:44 AM

                                      I second Taqueria Mexico, the tortas are killer and the meundo is very tasty. This family knows what there doing.

                                      1. re: chefstu
                                        tripster RE: chefstu Mar 1, 2007 05:25 PM

                                        +1 on Taqueria Mexico in Wallingford and as well a mention of the one in West Haven on Rte 1. Acknowledging Panini Guy's spot-on remarks about generalizing the food of a large and diverse country, I'll say that the two Taqueria Mexicos are excellent food. The Wallingford one has a mean pozole (not that I'm a particular connoisseur of same, but it was righteous), and the West Haven one had the El Yucateco hot sauces that I love -- green, red, and chipotle!

                                        The West Haven one is more expensive for soft tacos, but the tacos are bigger, too. Last time I was there, I had a scrap special: one each of cabeza, lengua, y chorizo. Soooo good.

                                    2. e
                                      Elizzie RE: Flavelle Dec 23, 2006 03:27 AM

                                      El Mexicano in Norwalk, CT is authentic (Mexican cook and Mexican clientele). Plus there's a place on Fort Point Street in East Norwalk that many of my Chowish friends rave about...I've never gone in because every time I drive by I'm on my way to something (business meeting, whatever) but I always thing, "Ah, I gotta go in there..."

                                      1. TonyO RE: Flavelle Dec 23, 2006 03:41 AM

                                        Green Mountain Gringo makes what I would consider pretty tasty salsa and crispy tortilla strips. They should be available at most grocery chains in CT.

                                        1. l
                                          lexpatti RE: Flavelle Dec 23, 2006 09:31 PM

                                          If you are heading north on Rt. 93, can't believe no one hasn't mentioned Hermano's in Concord, NH - The Best Mexican - two salsa's on the table and I like hot but the green stuff, I can maybe handle a good tablespoon on my whole dish. Everything is homemade. Excellent food. I've taken a lot of people here and they all say- hands down "Best Mexican". Also love La Carrata (sp) - there is one in Nashua, NH and one in Manchester, NH.

                                          1. s
                                            Sean RE: Flavelle Dec 23, 2006 10:45 PM

                                            What's the word on Senor Flacos in dowtown Westerly, RI? Just came across the other day.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Sean
                                              Bivalve88 RE: Sean Jul 17, 2007 05:28 PM

                                              While I wouldn't call it truly "autentico", it's pretty good for South County. It hits the spot when the Mexican cravings hit. It's owned by the same folks as the Up River Cafe, if I remember correctly. We really like the spicy shrimp and chipotle dish. They recently revamped their menu and added some non-Mexican dishes, which I find disturbing (burgers and **shudder** Mexican Lasagna). I'll have to reserve judgement until we give it a try.

                                            2. f
                                              fetegirl RE: Flavelle Dec 24, 2006 04:48 PM

                                              Candelero's in Manchester VT has the greatest food, authentic guac, stiff margaritas, super friendly staff, awesome chips and lots of heat. It's great.

                                              1. c
                                                cannedpoo RE: Flavelle Dec 24, 2006 07:54 PM

                                                Real Authentic Mexican resto's don't serve 'salsa'. You can order pico de gallo but salsa is a Tex-Mex thing. The most authentic Mexican places are Los Mariachi's on Rt 5 [owned and operated by genuine Mexicans] in Wallingford-try the Shrimp Mexican style, the guac and the rarely seen in CT-Taco's pastor-pork, grilled onions.raw onions and cilantro...But they do not serve tomato salsa-just salsa verde.
                                                Also try Ixtapa on rt 10 -Whitney Ave in Hamden. They do serve 'salsa' but it leaves a lot to be desired IMHO.
                                                My favorite places are not authentic-they are Tex-Mex.
                                                Aunt Chilada's in northern Hamden on Whitney Ave-their salsa is chunky with tomatoes,onions,garlic,jalapenos and IMHO it is delicious! I always get extra. Guac ok not great.
                                                My other top pick is Su Casa in Branford-salsa is thinner but very tasty. Guac is great here.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: cannedpoo
                                                  janetofreno RE: cannedpoo May 13, 2007 08:26 PM

                                                  Real Authentic Mexican resto's don't serve 'salsa'???? What do you define as salsa?? I have lived in Mexico and there was always salsa on the table...often several types.. In fact, the best Mexican food is often well-spiced but NOT "picante" and the salsa is there for you to add so the dish can be as picante (or not picante) as you wish. I will say that the authentic Mexican salsas tend to be different than what you get in the US: often more complex...the chilis are more likely to have been roasted ahead of time and the salsa cooked.....

                                                  I just noticed that you mentioned the authentic places "do not serve tomato salsa-just salsa verde." So maybe that's what you meant by your statement. Yes, there are many kinds of salsa....including salsa verde! Its still salsa in my book......

                                                2. u
                                                  uzzadazza RE: Flavelle Dec 26, 2006 05:44 PM

                                                  LOS DOS Molinos in Manhattan ROCKS!

                                                  1. e
                                                    eatmeportland RE: Flavelle Dec 26, 2006 09:48 PM

                                                    I moved away from Connecticut a few years ago, but I remember a little place called Olé Molé in Fairfield being great for Mexican. Takeout or very casual dining. It seems they have a few locations now. http:www.ole-mole.com/

                                                    1. r
                                                      redhed94 RE: Flavelle Dec 26, 2006 11:25 PM

                                                      I think Aunt Chilada's in Hamden has the best salsa around. If your'e looking for real hot ask for a side of their habanero salsa. The Guacamole is hit or miss . They got killer Margarita's and a great view in the summer on their deck.We go there alot in the winter, we sit near the fireplace . It can get a little too loud in there for me sometimes. I like the burritos from the cart in New Haven ,near Yale, I think it is run by Roomba's. Other than that you have to go into the city for the real thing( N.Y.C.).

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: redhed94
                                                        davidlpt RE: redhed94 May 13, 2007 08:22 PM

                                                        The family who owns and runs the cart near Yale (Yale-New Haven Hospital) opened up a small take out place on State Street in New Haven. Same menue with a few more things. La Carreta.

                                                        1. re: redhed94
                                                          Scargod RE: redhed94 Oct 27, 2007 08:05 AM

                                                          The food at Aunt Chiladas sucks! There is nothing Mexican or tasty about it.
                                                          Why go there if not for the food?

                                                        2. JohnnyCT RE: Flavelle Dec 27, 2006 01:45 PM

                                                          Redhed94 you are killing me! How are you going to send people into the city for the "real thing" when there is plenty to be found in CT?????? Just off the top of my head you can find Authentic Mexican at La Poblanita, La Michoacana, and Azteca in Bridgeport. There are plenty of spots in New Haven and just about every urban area of CT, not to mention nearby upper Westchester, especially Port Chester and White Plains.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: JohnnyCT
                                                            Scargod RE: JohnnyCT Oct 27, 2007 08:10 AM

                                                            I'm a Texan. I know Mexican and Tex-Mex. El Guadalupe La Poblanita is the very best Mexican food around. Quite authentic, consistent and flavorful. I've eaten there many times (and at their original location).

                                                            1. re: JohnnyCT
                                                              Scargod RE: JohnnyCT Feb 11, 2008 01:02 PM

                                                              I have not been there, but I read that Azteca is in a "sketchy" part of Bridgeport. My woman would not like a dive or want to worry about safety or theft in a sktchy part of town. Is this true? Since La Michoacana is in the same area would the same apply? Is it a hole-in-the-wall, too? What about La Poblanita? What's that like?

                                                            2. c
                                                              cthoops RE: Flavelle Dec 29, 2006 08:09 PM

                                                              I'm originally from Southern California and spent the majority of my childhood living in a small desert town about 15 miles from Mexico. I think I've hit most of the Mexican places in the greater Hartford area, and I would say the top two are Monte Alban on Farmington Avenue and Ay Chihuahua on Franklin Avenue, both in Hartford. They both serve real Mexican food - people who think "real" means enchiladas or burritos smothered with cheese and sauce will be disappointed.

                                                              Give them a try - you'll be surprised.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: cthoops
                                                                kaixoman RE: cthoops Jun 21, 2007 07:53 PM

                                                                I have yet to try Monte Alban. But, Ay Chihuahua in Hartford I can call truly Mexican. Not too many places offer pozole,menudo,caldo de rez,sopa de albondigas & tacos/burritos de lengua/buche. Those are foods that most Americans will not even fanthom eating. My mother was Mexican & I have lived both in Mexico City/Tijuana & in San Diego.Had my share of authentic Mexican food.Ay Chihuahua brings me back to those days & home cooking. When I first moved to New England. The only so-called Mexican restaurant was Taco Bell (yuck!) & tortillas were sold in can!!!! Over the last 20 yrs or so. There has been a slow but steady change .More & more restaurants have been springing up in the area. So, with time we will see better quality. Dont give up all hope. We've come a long ways around here.

                                                              2. j
                                                                joaniebaby RE: Flavelle Dec 29, 2006 09:49 PM

                                                                I have not tried Ay Chihuahua but second Monte Alban. Also have had some excellent meals at Coyote Flaco in Hartford but I haven't been there for quite a while.

                                                                1. k
                                                                  karenaso RE: Flavelle Dec 30, 2006 10:45 PM

                                                                  we go to Acapulco's in Stratford, CT. The salsa and chips are quite tasty. I ve had the shrimp dishes and all are great. Have to agree with the On the Border comments, food is awful. I disagree about El Torrero in Milford. It isn't bad, yes unfortunately, they have gone up in price, but we like it, the best Margaritas, none of that sour mix crap, lime juice all the way. And don't forget, Tex Mex and Mexican are different cuisines. Authentic Mexican isn't necessarily spicy as is Tex Mex! A few more to try, Taco Loco in Bridgeport and Senor Panchos in Monroe, it is more commercial, but not bad.

                                                                  1. puppymomma RE: Flavelle Jan 1, 2007 04:35 PM

                                                                    La Carreta in Nashua, NH is owned and run by a Mexican family. I ate thee a couple of times and it was quite authentic. I also traveled in Mexico for several months, so I think I can attest to the authenticicty.

                                                                    It's been a while since I ate there because I moved a few years ago, but I can assume it hasn't changed much.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: puppymomma
                                                                      abs294 RE: puppymomma May 17, 2007 08:52 PM

                                                                      La Carreta is delicious. My father works up in Nashua and goes there at least once a week for lunch. It does seem pretty authentic, so I don't think it's changed since you've been there.

                                                                    2. m
                                                                      MJCT RE: Flavelle Feb 24, 2007 01:28 PM

                                                                      Where is the La Casita that Flavelle mentioned above? Has it closed?


                                                                      1. s
                                                                        Slubgob RE: Flavelle Feb 27, 2007 12:19 PM

                                                                        I lived in LA for 4 years, so I have an idea of what "real" Mexican is. The best I've found in the Hartford area is El Serape, 931 Broad Street. Cheap, filling, and muy aunthetico.

                                                                        I have a soft spot in my heart for Monte Albon as well, although I do tend to consider them a little more pan-South American. They're a bit fancier too -- El Serape is more on the side of comfort food.

                                                                        Happy eats!

                                                                        1. l
                                                                          lilapinkfrog RE: Flavelle Feb 27, 2007 12:59 PM

                                                                          Cafe Sol Azteca in Newton Center has the best chicken fajitas (only served on weekends) as well as the best sangria I have ever had-and I will try sangria anywhere, anytime. They also make a mean chicken tostada. They also have a location in Boston but it is not nearly as good as the Newton Center location.

                                                                          During the summer, another nice place to go to is Agave in Newburyport-great drinks and food and nice place to walk around on a summer night.

                                                                          1. othervoice RE: Flavelle Feb 27, 2007 03:16 PM

                                                                            I'm not sure how far you're willing to go but I've been told that LaCaretta is excellent. It's located in Nashua,NH and also in Manchester. I too lived in California for 25 years and have yet to find anything in the way of Mexican restaurants that even comes close. I am planning to give this place a try. Anyone out there have any comments?

                                                                            1. p
                                                                              Panini Guy RE: Flavelle Feb 27, 2007 07:03 PM

                                                                              When I think of "authentic Mexican"... well, I don't think of "authentic Mexican". I think of Oaxacan or Veracruzana or Norte or Baja or something else. SoCal mostly the latter (fish tacos, burritos) and a bit of the Northern (anything else in a tortilla and some stews). TX and AZ mostly offer only the Northern. Sad to say Chicago does a better job of representing the full range of Mexican regional cuisine than do the border states. So I wouldn't be too quick to jump down anyone's throat over "authenticity".

                                                                              Sorry, I lived IN Mexico (not San Diego, not LA, not Texas) for some time and I get prickly about such generalizations. Suggesting that a particular place serving tacos or burritos is "authentic Mexican" would be like finding a Pizzeria Uno in Paris and declaring it' as "authentic American", when its range of infuence is fairly limited to Cook County and most of the rest of the country could care less about it..

                                                                              Wish I could help more in your search. Unfortunately I moved out of Bridgeport just before the Mexicans and Salvadorans started opening up shops. And rarely ate in Hartford. Just about every "Mexican" place I've been to in CT offered combo plates - a very "American" thing.

                                                                              But if you're interested in a dinner that doesn't have a combo plate number attached to it, I've enjoyed the Forest Cafe in Cambridge for some 20 years. It's always been pretty solid on pork, fish and seafood offerings, focusing more on the cuisines of the southern states. Still, the guac is chunky, the salsas fresh, the meals tasty.

                                                                              Although the kitchen there might be dumbing down. I just looked at the menu and they've gone and added nachos and a burrito, I suppose because people expect those. And that's just sad.

                                                                              Btw, sangria is something you drink in Spain, not Mexico. The sangrita is the Mexican drink - orange, lime, sugar, salt, cayenne anc tomato juice, not wine. It's what you drink with a shot of tequila. Sort of a Mexican bloody Mary.

                                                                              Not sure what they drink in LA or San Diego. But I have had many a sangrita in Texas.


                                                                              1. thegolferbitch RE: Flavelle Feb 28, 2007 03:54 AM

                                                                                Marcia's Cantina on Rte 1, Wells, Maine....knowledgeable and passionate about fresh meats, veggies, fish and respectful of tequila. I love love love Marcias. I also like La Carreta in Nashua and Cafe Azteca in Lawrence.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: thegolferbitch
                                                                                  Jerry Saywell RE: thegolferbitch Aug 13, 2007 08:08 AM

                                                                                  Ah me. Was so looking forward to going to Marcia's after getting off the train in Wells Friday night, only to see they are closed with a sign in the window saying "On Permanent Vacation". The building is also for sale.

                                                                                  Jerry Saywell

                                                                                2. Gio RE: Flavelle Feb 28, 2007 04:13 AM

                                                                                  Tres Amigos in Stoneham MA & Mexico Lindo in Melrose MA are considered to be pretty good Mexican restaurants just north of Boston. Amigos is in a strip mall and more a take away place, but the food is exceptional.

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    Jerry Saywell RE: Flavelle Feb 28, 2007 06:17 AM

                                                                                    You might consider Surfin' Tacos on Main Street in Wakefield, RI. Owner/Chef is from California and uses only fresh ingredients. Menu includes tacos (including fish) burritos, tostadas and freshly made sides.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Jerry Saywell
                                                                                      Bivalve88 RE: Jerry Saywell Jul 17, 2007 05:43 PM

                                                                                      We were so excited when Surfin' Taco opened, but were really disappointed with it. The chips were way too thick and greasy for my taste. The fish in the fish taco was fried first, New England style, and served with a creamy sauce that tasted too much like plain mayo, if memory serves. I expected the fish to be uncoated, more like ceviche I guess, maybe vinegary? Nothing was very spicy. The beef burrito was okay for what it was. Maybe my taste buds have been burnt to a crisp over the years but nothing really jumped out at me and made me say "Wow! That was great!"

                                                                                    2. h
                                                                                      hink RE: Flavelle Mar 8, 2007 05:10 PM

                                                                                      I've always likes La Veracruzana in Northhampton, MA. A very casual place frequented mostly by the college crowd, the food is fresh and good. Lots of choices of salsas, chopped onions, cilantro, etc. at a help yourself bar. I sometimes get a horchata, a sweet, cinnamony (I think) rice-based drink that is like dessert in a glass. For a fast food chain, I don't think Baja Fresh is too bad. There too, you can help yourself to as much chopped fresh cilantro, jalapenos, pico, etc. as you would like.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: hink
                                                                                        kaixoman RE: hink Jun 21, 2007 08:12 PM

                                                                                        I find La Veracruzana to be "Americanized" Mexican. Initially in W. Mass they were probably
                                                                                        the first Mexican-flavored restaurant. But, over the past 10 years there has been an influx of more Mexican restaurants & now I see the differences."Veracruzana" is makes some things that are Mexican. But too many things are for the American palate & not very challenging to the taste buds. Often things are made to look bigger/fuller.But they are full of cheap 'fillers' aka rice & plain beans. A true burrito is full of its meats or whatever it is meant to have. Not 85% rice & beans & the rest cold meats that have been sitting around all day. They used to have a great salsa counter. Now even that is poor quality & the varieties are gone. I guess they are content making lots of $$$ on the 'americano' students & dont care about the quality of their food. Oh well . Time to move on to better places.Other firends of mine that have spent time in Mexico have said the same thing. Que
                                                                                        mala onda!

                                                                                      2. v
                                                                                        vtmorp RE: Flavelle Mar 10, 2007 09:52 AM

                                                                                        I've lived in Vermont for about 15 years. Candeleros started as authentic Mexican owned by an artist who also spent a lot of time in Mexico. No one ever came, so they changed it to Tex-Mex, some authentic Mexican & Southwestern. The food is awesome, but their mole sauce is superlative! Most restaurants in Mexico are judged by their mole sauce and theirs could fit right in!
                                                                                        They make their chips every day and serve 2 kinds complimentary with 2 different kinds of salsa. We can ask for as much as we want!
                                                                                        Nothing comes out of a can - it's all done fresh and my vegetarian friend is always happy! Plus, they have a frozen pomegranate margarita that kicks ass!
                                                                                        The service is friendly and the servers have been there for years so it must be a good place to work. We know it is a good place to be. And the atomosphere is so authentic and comfortable. We love it!

                                                                                        1. v
                                                                                          vtmorp RE: Flavelle Mar 10, 2007 09:54 AM

                                                                                          Oh yeah - Candeleros is in Manchester, Vermont! Sorry...

                                                                                          1. d
                                                                                            davidlpt RE: Flavelle May 13, 2007 08:18 PM

                                                                                            I know this post is a handful of months old, but try Ixtapa Grille at 2547 Whitney Ave in Hamden, CT. I lived on the Texas - Mexico border for some time before coming back to New Englad and have endured the same troubles! Their Pescado Veracruz and Enchiladas Jalisco are excellent!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: davidlpt
                                                                                              cowgirlinthesand RE: davidlpt May 13, 2007 08:45 PM

                                                                                              Definitely DON'T bother trying Coyote Flaco in Williamstown. One promising meal and then the rest were the dinners from hell.

                                                                                            2. b
                                                                                              barclayspot RE: Flavelle May 17, 2007 09:40 PM

                                                                                              I feel your pain. I grew up in New England and didn't even really know what good mexican food was until I moved to Los Angeles 7 years ago. Recently, I went back for a visit and found La Carreta http://www.lacarretamexican.com/locat.... It will never compare to SoCal Mexican, but it's pretty damn good. If you order right, you'll be in for a treat.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: barclayspot
                                                                                                eileenfon RE: barclayspot Aug 7, 2007 08:50 AM

                                                                                                You should try Tito's Cantina in Middletown RI. They have by far the best chips and salsa I have ever had. They have a location in Seekonk MA as well.

                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                janeer RE: Flavelle Jun 22, 2007 05:00 PM

                                                                                                I don't know where you live. But, as someone who lived in California for a number of years, and lunched almost daily on Mexican food, I can say that it is difficult to find good, authentic Mexican food in New England. There is NONE in Rhode Island, where I live, although you can get a decent taco in the back of the grocery store at the tortilleria on Atwells Ave. In Boston, there is Sol Azteca for a full-service restaurant with reasonably authentic menu, and they do pretty well. And for a taqueria, Boca Grande (Porter Square location).

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: janeer
                                                                                                  Passadumkeg RE: janeer Jul 11, 2007 12:35 AM

                                                                                                  That's why this is New England and not New Mexico! I could not find fried clams at all in Albuquerque. The nerve of these people! That's why I cook my own and dislike the Pilgrims.
                                                                                                  Read Calvin Trillian's book Zen somethingorother, a paean to all the wonderful foods sampled in some specific locale and can not be found at home. Man what is New England's problem? I can't find Finnish or Bolivian food either!

                                                                                                  1. re: janeer
                                                                                                    Keithel RE: janeer Jul 11, 2007 01:50 PM

                                                                                                    How does Tu Y Yo compare to Sol Azteca? If I had to guess, Tu Y Yo is more experimental than real Mexican cuisine, but I really have no idea...I'm from New England after all, but I always love the places that others quote as "more mexican" than the typical "on the border", regular burrito place, or such place.

                                                                                                    1. re: Keithel
                                                                                                      phoebek RE: Keithel Jul 18, 2007 08:09 AM

                                                                                                      I know that Tu Y Yo is popular on the Boston board, but I haven't been especially impressed. The first time I was there, I commented to the owner that I hadn't seen beans served the way the restaurant served them (almost like a soup.) His response was, "that's authentic Mexican." Well, my late grandmother was Mexican and lived there her whole life, and her beans weren't like that!

                                                                                                      1. re: phoebek
                                                                                                        Keithel RE: phoebek Jul 18, 2007 08:22 AM

                                                                                                        Could be a different part of Mexico I suppose...

                                                                                                        1. re: Keithel
                                                                                                          finlero RE: Keithel Jul 18, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                                                                          Tu y Yo is Veracruz-style Mexican. Having spoken with several Mexican friends who have dined here, I understand the soupy beans (which I personally rather like) to have some authenticity. You're right that there's a huge variation in terms of the styles of beans cooked throughout Mexico. To me, decrying soupy beans as un-Mexican is somewhat akin to saying that an apple pie isn't authentically American unless it's made with some specific variety of apples.

                                                                                                          Having said that, I agree with phoebek that Tu y Yo isn't over-the-top great. I've never had a bad meal here per se (the tamale appetizer assortment and various sangrias are very, very tasty), but I've also never been downright dazzled. Add to this the fact that I feel like my total bill is always about $10pp more expensive than it deserves to be and I always leave vaguely annoyed and underwhelmed.

                                                                                                          1. re: finlero
                                                                                                            phoebek RE: finlero Jul 19, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                                                                            For clarification, I wasn't suggesting that the soupy beans were un-Mexican; rather I was hoping the owner might have shed some light on their origin rather that to simply say they were "authentic."

                                                                                                    2. re: janeer
                                                                                                      basachs RE: janeer Aug 7, 2007 09:25 AM

                                                                                                      have you tried Chilangos on Atwells in Providence or Tacqueria Lupita in Central Falls?

                                                                                                    3. s
                                                                                                      Shooley RE: Flavelle Jul 11, 2007 04:07 AM

                                                                                                      I, too, miss good Mexican food in New England. A recent stop at Dos Amigos in Northport, Maine, supposedly the "best Mexican around," treated us to shredded pork enchiladas that tasted kind of sweet. I figured out it was bbq shhredded pork! Yuk! And, no tacos on the menu? What's up with that. To top it off, the cost of two enchiladas with a side of beans was $13.99. I'll make my own Mexican party.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Shooley
                                                                                                        Keithel RE: Shooley Jul 11, 2007 01:51 PM

                                                                                                        Umm, AFAIK, tacos are not really mexican -- they are an american invention inspired by Mexican food.

                                                                                                        1. re: Keithel
                                                                                                          Panini Guy RE: Keithel Jul 11, 2007 06:50 PM

                                                                                                          Tacos are definitely Mexican. Some of the other "things wrapped in a tortilla" that make up 99% of the menu in 99% of eastern US restaurants may be bastardizations of something in Mexico, but tacos - as defined by fillings inside a folded corn tortilla (often 2 corn tortillas used per serving, filling usually no more than a heaping tablespoon - no shredded iceberg, no chopped tomatoes, no imitation jack cheese) are definitely eaten in Mexico. Just usually not for the family dinner. Mostly street food, light lunches and late night snacks for the most part - although there are certainly exceptions.

                                                                                                          I'll say it again - Forest Cafe, Cambridge. http://theforestcafe.com/

                                                                                                          1. re: Keithel
                                                                                                            Shooley RE: Keithel Feb 1, 2008 12:55 PM

                                                                                                            Re. tacos: I lived Phoenix for 18 years and have been to many different locations in Mexico. We ate a lot of tacos on the street...very simple, very good.

                                                                                                          2. re: Shooley
                                                                                                            bojyra RE: Shooley Jul 11, 2007 03:08 PM

                                                                                                            I am so SO sorry that anyone sent you to Dos Amigos. I used to live in Portland and it's truly, really terrible. That said, I always went to get El Salvadorean food for my fix, even though it's not exactly the same, at Tu Casa. Go there next time. I promise it'll be better, you poor thing.

                                                                                                            1. re: bojyra
                                                                                                              Shooley RE: bojyra Feb 1, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                                                                              Tu Casa's in Portland, right? I've heard it's good. And I love papusas!

                                                                                                          3. d
                                                                                                            debvil RE: Flavelle Jul 11, 2007 05:02 AM

                                                                                                            Has anyone tried those Mex food trucks on Long Wharf by the flag Guy off 95 by IKEA? You can see them from the highway. I drive by weekly and always wonder...?

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: debvil
                                                                                                              emilief RE: debvil Jul 11, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                                                                              You can find reasonably good Mexican Food at the Villa Mexicana in the gas station on Cambridge Street across from Finagle a Bagel near Mass. General Hospital. Very spicy homemade salsa, great tamales, good burritos etc.

                                                                                                              1. re: debvil
                                                                                                                Keithel RE: debvil Jul 11, 2007 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                umm.. which IKEA are you speaking of? the one in Stoughton, MA? or Elizabeth, NJ?

                                                                                                                1. re: Keithel
                                                                                                                  flattop5 RE: Keithel Jul 12, 2007 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                  I believe Debvil refers to the New Haven IKEA off exit 46 on I-95.

                                                                                                                  1. re: flattop5
                                                                                                                    Keithel RE: flattop5 Jul 16, 2007 10:05 PM

                                                                                                                    Wow, there's one in CT now too? they're really popping up all over.

                                                                                                              2. v
                                                                                                                viva manchvegas RE: Flavelle Jul 11, 2007 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                Havineg grown up in central California and going to school in San Diego and Mexican food being my favorite ethic cuisne, hands down the best, most authentic restaurant I have been to is in Jamaica Plain. i can't remember the name off hand will search and post later. This was truly Mexican and not Mex-American or Tex Mex. Mole Poblano, Pozole, house made tamales, menudo, beef tongue tacos all the great mexican classics wiothout the americanized versions. it is a hole in the wall, catered to the locals, and definetly a place that most people from the suburbs would never go into. And I loved every last bite. When i lived in JP I went there at least twice a week.

                                                                                                                The original La Carreta in Manchester, NH is the best Mexican-American food i have run across in the northeast. But for the most part most Mexican restuarant in the NE cater to the local taste and not to the authenticity.

                                                                                                                1. v
                                                                                                                  viva manchvegas RE: Flavelle Jul 11, 2007 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                  Found it!!!

                                                                                                                  Tacos el Charro on Centre St. In the heart of Jamaica Plain

                                                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                                                    bojyra RE: Flavelle Jul 11, 2007 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                    I have complete and total sympathy for you. I great up in Washington, where there is plenty of great Meixcan food, then moved to Maine and thought my Mexican-food-life was over.

                                                                                                                    The only good Mexican food I have had in New England was actually in Boston near Fenway: El Pelon Taqueria, 92 Peterborough Street, Boston, MA 02111
                                                                                                                    (617) 262-9090.

                                                                                                                    My favorite wasn't even Mexican, but really did the trick: Tu Casa Salvadorena Restaurant, 70 Washington Ave,
                                                                                                                    Portland, ME 04101 (207) 828-4971.

                                                                                                                    Good luck!!!

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: bojyra
                                                                                                                      Sean RE: bojyra Jul 11, 2007 07:59 PM

                                                                                                                      Hard shelled taco's are an American invention. The creator of Taco Bell was the first to fry them up...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Sean
                                                                                                                        Passadumkeg RE: Sean Jul 13, 2007 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                        Sez who? What is your source? This sounds like an urban legend.

                                                                                                                        New Mex Transplant

                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                          Sean RE: Passadumkeg Jul 21, 2007 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                          I heard it on "The History of ..." on the Food Network


                                                                                                                          1. re: Sean
                                                                                                                            Passadumkeg RE: Sean Jul 21, 2007 10:46 PM

                                                                                                                            The hard shell taco that needs no cooking may be a Glen Bell or Old El Paso invention, but the crisp fried corn tortilla is very Mexican; go drive the length of Mexico. The compasinos in Chiapas did not learn to cook from Taco Bell.

                                                                                                                            El Viajo

                                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                                      femmedeau RE: Flavelle Jul 18, 2007 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                      My favorite Mexican spot is in Branford on Route 1. Take exit 54 and turn right for about a mile to Jalapeno Heaven. Great stuff!

                                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                                        femmedeau RE: Flavelle Jul 18, 2007 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                        Sorry- Branford, CT just outside of New Haven. Take I-95 north to exit 54 for Jalapeno Heaven.....

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: femmedeau
                                                                                                                          hollerhither RE: femmedeau Feb 1, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                          Yeah, I did like Jalapeno Heaven when I lived down that way! Good carne.

                                                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                                                          bmielke1 RE: Flavelle Oct 2, 2007 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                          I am from Minnesota, and I find it much easier to get good Mexican food there New England.

                                                                                                                          I now live in Boston, and I am thinking of trying a few of the suggestions above. I lived in Providence for 5 years before moving to Boston. I found 2 decent Mexican restaurants in Providence. I am planning on an evening trip down to Providence to the first restaurant below.

                                                                                                                          The first place that I found was called Mexico. It is on Atwells Ave west of Federal Hill. Their Chips Rancheros are really nice, and they serve it with red and green salsa. The salsa verde is usually spicy, and on occasion it can be extraordinarily spicy. My friends and I though the difference in the spiciness of the dish was due to the days that the chiles were harvested... The red salsa is good, but it is not as spicy. Also as a side note, I could not taste any Tomatillo in the salsa verde. I usually do not like the Tomatillo taste in most salsa verde's, but in this one the only real taste that I get out of it is a fresh green chiles taste.

                                                                                                                          Now as far as main dishes go, I can only make one suggestion. I did not like their enchiladas. I told this to a friend, and he said that I should try some other dish. It was not on the menu, but they knew what I asked for. I think the written name of the dish is Carne Adobada En Salsa Verde. It is a few pieces of pork cooked in the green salsa. Each time they said Carne Adobada En Salsa Verde it sounded to me like they were saying Carne Nebada En Salsa Verde. So I am not too sure on the pronunciation. The waitresses will probably understand you if you ask for pork with salsa verde. Be warned before ordering this, it can be extraordinarily spicy depending on how hot the salsa verde is that day. If you like spicy foods with a lot of flavor, this will be a dish that you will like.

                                                                                                                          The second decent Mexican restaurant in Providence that I found was at Olneyville Square. I believe the name was La Lupita. Most of the customers come in and order in Spanish. They do not always have someone working the register who is very fluent with English. However, they will grab someone who can take your order in English. I only suggest this place for lunches. It is a lunch sort of place for the working class people of Olneyville. They have really good lunch foods there including: tostadas and tacos. Also I can not emphasize this enough either, the prices are to die for. You can leave there stuffed for less than 7 bucks. Their tacos were not what you would find in most Mexican restaurants. I was told theirs are traditional, soft corn tortillas with feta, cilantro, onions, and your choice of several meats. I forgot what their meat choices were but I believe pork, ground beef/taco meat, shredded beef, chicken... Order 'with the extras' if you go there. I never ordered without; but, I had assumed that this was the cilantro and onions.

                                                                                                                          I am really missing this place on my lunch breaks up in Boston now. I can not get stuffed for the same price and I can not find food half as good for that price that stuffs me during lunch.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: bmielke1
                                                                                                                            Haze RE: bmielke1 Oct 10, 2007 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                            I was born and raised and have lived in New England my whole life. I have traveled a fair amount on business and vacations (Mexico twice) but definitely can't speak to authenticity of Mexican food. I did, however, love La Cazuela in Northampton - the margarita's were the best (better than some in Mexico), the chips and salsa were terrific, the mole was very nice and the chile relleno (only served in season) was almost as good as one I had in San Antonio years back (which people there told me was authentic and it was fantastic!). I'm on the hunt now for the best chile relleno around as La Cazuela has changed ownership, name and menu. Any recommendations?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Haze
                                                                                                                              hollerhither RE: Haze Feb 1, 2008 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                              I agree with you on La Cazuela's margaritas, but disagree with you on the food. ;) Ah, well. Apparently Veracruzana is controversial on this board, but still seems like decent for what's available. I also like Mesa Verde in Greenfield, but it's a bit less authentic. Nice fresh ingredients, though.

                                                                                                                            2. re: bmielke1
                                                                                                                              atheorist RE: bmielke1 Oct 14, 2007 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                              Add El Rancho Grande on Plainfield St. to the list of "Decent Mexican restaurants" in Providence.

                                                                                                                              We loved the taquitos, tacos, shrimp cebiche and sangria. Absolutely fresh and flavorful. The guacamole was bland but the salsa verde fixed that. I like the food better than Chilango's. It is comfy, bright and clean but I do enjoy the cozy funkiness of Chilango's.

                                                                                                                              What hell?

                                                                                                                            3. h
                                                                                                                              HeidiCT RE: Flavelle Oct 15, 2007 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                              I grew up out west and moved here when I was 18. That doesn't make me an expert on Mexican food, by any means, as everyones tastes are different, but I have a good base to go on.

                                                                                                                              We have had a horrible time finding good Mexican out here. Most of them are "New England Mexican". Blech........

                                                                                                                              Lots of great places listed on here that I'm going to have to try. Maybe we will find some place new. We tend to always end up at Puerto Vallarta's. They are in Middletown, Cromwell, Avon, W. Hartford, Newington and Southington.

                                                                                                                              They have a good selection of "american" mexican food, such as quesadilla's, fajitias, nachos and other things that people seems to always associate with mexican food, like burriots, tacos and the like. What I love about them though is that they have so much more to offer then just this.

                                                                                                                              -homemade tamales
                                                                                                                              -spicy, hot, muy caliente salsa for the asking
                                                                                                                              -freshly fried chips
                                                                                                                              -chili rellenos made with fresh chiles
                                                                                                                              -tons of different mole's
                                                                                                                              -lots of other great foods that are more "authentic" then tacos and burritos.

                                                                                                                              Here is the link to their menu. http://www.puertovallartausa.com/menu...

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: HeidiCT
                                                                                                                                jmmex RE: HeidiCT Oct 21, 2007 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                Maybe, but the 'sopa de tortilla' was awful at Puerto Vallarta in Southington. Campbells soup based. This restaurant is catering to the Taco bell fan club, and as Heidi notes it is American. IMHO, PV has strayed too far away from Mexican food basics (less is more when it comes to ingredients and extras).

                                                                                                                              2. Scargod RE: Flavelle Oct 27, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                As I have said elsewhere here, El Guadalupe La Poblanita, in New Haven, is the best "real" Mexican food I have had in Connecticut.
                                                                                                                                I just ate, for the second time, at Hot Tamale, in Seymour. They opened on 10-11-07. I would classify them as New England style "Tex-Mex". Here is a major excerpt from my eGullet review:

                                                                                                                                Recently we got out and sampled a new restaurant which just opened in Seymour, CT. http://hottamalect.com/ "Hot Tamale" is what I would best describe as "Tex-Mex, New England style". (Remember, my roots are in Texas and I used to eat, drink and sleep Mexican food.) They are in the first little strip center on 67 (or New Haven Road) just off Highway 8, if you head east. This is a very classy, well decorated restaurant. They spent some bucks on this interiorand it has a nice bar, too. I'm ashamed to say this but you just don't expect a place like this in Seymour or hardly in New Haven!
                                                                                                                                We went on opening night (10-11) and I was impressed by how smothly most things went. The row of tables where we sat were a little crowded. There were heavier-than-average weight people on both sides of us and I felt like I was in the pushed-forward front seat of a small car with a big person behind me; my knees at my chin; but in this case it was the table in my gut. They could do with removing one of the tables in that row.
                                                                                                                                But as to the food...
                                                                                                                                They served up a good margarita at the nice bar with four, large, widescreen TVs. They seemed to know what they were doing behind the bar. We barely had time to drink it before our table was ready. It took a few minutes of waiting for me to wrap up the bill at the bar. It would be convenient if they could have transferred the tab to our table... Do they not do that in Connecticut?
                                                                                                                                Once seated, we started with guacamole made fresh, at the table. The preparer added olive oil and vinegar, along with a lesser dash of lime juice which made the mix rather soupy and odd tasting. They should leave traditional guacamole alone and not be trying to do wierd stuff with it! It was OK, but I would not allow any funny stuff on the next go-round. The salsa was tasty but had no heat. They have a hotter chile sauce, you have to ask for, but it is very plain. Mixing this into the wimpy salsa helped. It could use some lime juice and jalapenos.
                                                                                                                                My partner had Chile Rellenos, which I consider a true test of a Mexican-oriented kitchen and I had a combination plate which included a twice-wrapped beef tamale (paper around a corn husk!) soft beef taco "ranchero" and chicken enchilada with tomatillo sauce. My "Combination Quatro" was good and flavorful, except for the taco. It was just ground beef and it was flavorless. The rice and beans were OK. The rice was a little bland. The chile rellenos were prepared properly, in the classic, thin batter style, but they were undercooked. The outside was beautiful, while the chile was hardly edible, it was so raw. This was not a bad experience for a brand-new restaurant, on opening night. We went back last night (Friday) and they asked if we had reservations! They were absolutely packed and had a two hour wait, so we went elsewhere.
                                                                                                                                We will return, eventually. I want to try the Chicken in Mole. Can you imagine; having to make reservations at a restaurant in Seymour?

                                                                                                                                Now, on our second visit, I can report that the food was OK, again. They do not skin their chile rellenos, which is a major fauxpas. The salsa was again, very wimpy. The flautas were decent, but too thick, so they did not get cooked enough in the middle. The "spiced" filling was very under-seasoned. My Pollo Mole (Chicken with Mole Sauce) was disappointng from the standpoint that many, if not most, recipes call for the chicken to be baked in, cooked in or heated in the Mole sauce. I got bland, boiled chicked breast chunks with a thin Mole poured over them. The mole was too thin; and then, like everything else, was not flavorful enough. To be fair, it had a good flavor, but it was not concentrated enough. Our service was lacking because there was a disconnect between who was supposed to take our table. We waited for and then requested the hostess to find our waitress. This all took at least fifteen minutes before we were greeted by our waitress. Getting drinks took quite a while too.
                                                                                                                                Still, all in all (if you are not too picky about the authenticity of the food) the quality of the food is very good and I would recommend trying it. They have other dishes on their menu that are not Mexican at all, but look very interesting, like "Seafood al Pesto Rosso", which they mispell on their menu to read "all Rosso"!
                                                                                                                                I grew up on Tex-Mex. I wish they would "kick it up" a notch with the seasonings and get a little more authentic. Guadalupe la Poblanita it is NOT!

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                  ctwebnet RE: Scargod Jan 19, 2008 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                  La Caretta, 930 State Street New Haven, CT

                                                                                                                                  Wherever you live make the trip. You will not be let down.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ctwebnet
                                                                                                                                    Scargod RE: ctwebnet Feb 11, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                    I have given up on Hot Tamale in Seymour after about four visits. See my Chowhound post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483834.

                                                                                                                                2. redfoxmom RE: Flavelle Jan 20, 2008 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                  in manchester, vt i suggest trying the bean restaurant.....really good! i was born and raised in so. california and i love this one. we eat there a lot! enjoy :)

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: redfoxmom
                                                                                                                                    mjoyous RE: redfoxmom Jan 30, 2008 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                    I liked the Bean too (though I really loved the restaurant there before them, which did CA style Mexican!). But the last time we were at the Bean, about a month ago, the food was terrible--as in cold, thrown on the plate, and we wondered if there was a new owner?

                                                                                                                                  2. Passadumkeg RE: Flavelle Jan 27, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                                                                                                    I'd like to keep this board alive and try to sum it up on pleasant Mexican dining experiences, so we make a short list of places to seek out rather than the long list of places to avoid. My choices: The Mexican Restaurant in Hancock, Me. An authentic cheap taco joint w/ 5 tacos for 4 bucks and great menudo and tamales. Authentica in S. Hadley, Mass. Very good New Mexico style Hatch green chile enchiladas and pozole. A little further afield, El Tapatio on Main St., South River, NJ. The best and very reasonable Mariscos(seafood) outta the Southwest and BYOB too!

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                      Scargod RE: Passadumkeg Feb 19, 2008 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                      There's a lot of good info here, and I for one, want to know about the "losers" and the negative aspects of places. Sometimes there are redeeming qualities mixed in with the negatives. I have said elsewhere that some places are "good" for drinks.... or, "their guacomole made at the table is excellent" while panning the place's food, in general.
                                                                                                                                      I will, in the end, make up my own mind from reading these posts and there are those those who's opinions I value. I'm not into rose colored glasses, looking only at the positives and avoiding criticism. You could start your own "positive only" thread. I like hell.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                        Bri RE: Scargod Feb 19, 2008 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I want a *real* critique on a place. I try to be very specific about what I liked and didn't and why. And just because I didn't like something doesn't mean I'll never go back. I usually give a place 2 visits before forming any kind of permanent opinion.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                          Passadumkeg RE: Scargod Mar 9, 2008 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                          Scargod, I did. Check out Mexican Food Heaven. I got a print out in my car's glove box for when we head south next month! Hell is just a short Taco Bell away.
                                                                                                                                          Gimme a hot tamale baby w/ a frijole!

                                                                                                                                      2. m
                                                                                                                                        mjoyous RE: Flavelle Jan 28, 2008 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                                        Add Authentica in South Hadley, MA to the hell list. We went there for lunch on Saturday based on some postings from Chowhound. Shared, for $2.95, the guacamole with chips and salsa bar. The guac was fine, except it was one tiny souffle cup (as in, about 1 heaping tablespoon.) The chips were, of course, out of a package, and the salsa was fairly worthless. I settled on the green, which at least had some tomatillos in it. Friend has the pico, which I refused to taste as the tomatoes were at best a light pink. The "hot" came with a disclaimer "our hot is not very hot."
                                                                                                                                        Then ordered a tamale dinner ($10.95) with christmas chile on the side. The tamales were inedible. They had been refrigerated, then warmed IN water. They turned to some sort of slop that could not ever be called tamale. Beans were edible, rice was really bland. Green chile was the best thing on the platter. The red was poorly seasoned and bland.
                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I'm picky, and yeah, I lived in Texas for 6 years and travel as frequently as possible around Mexico, but to be frank--Trader Joe's frozen green chile tamales have these beat 6 ways (and that's not saying much.) Tamaleless and sad in New England.

                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: mjoyous
                                                                                                                                          finlero RE: mjoyous Jan 28, 2008 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                          Man, that's really too bad to hear. I grew up in Arizona, my wife in New Mexico, and while we didn't capital-L-love our visit to Autentica, it definitely tasted like legitimate NM-style chow. Maybe a hit of methadone instead of smack, but it was a high of some sort.

                                                                                                                                          I actually specifically really liked their red chile with the papitos. Here's hoping you just got a bad batch rather than it being a more protracted issue. If I make it to Autentica again, I'll definitely report back.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: finlero
                                                                                                                                            Passadumkeg RE: finlero Feb 7, 2008 08:26 AM

                                                                                                                                            Ditto! As a recovering New Mexican, the Hatch green chile enchilada was a fix as was the posole. The rest eah. The burrito, bad.
                                                                                                                                            Go Lobos!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: mjoyous
                                                                                                                                            cowgirlinthesand RE: mjoyous Jan 28, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                            Have you eaten at Veracruzana in Northhampton lately? Had a great meal there at the bar a few weeks go. Chile rellenos were so so good!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                                                                                                                                              mjoyous RE: cowgirlinthesand Jan 30, 2008 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                                              Last time I ate at Veracruzana was about a year ago, and I had the chile rellenos, which were, at least that time, rather bland. Admittedly, each chile will be different, so I don't hold that against them, but wasn't impressed with the rest of the food either.
                                                                                                                                              They seem to do quantity over quality.
                                                                                                                                              Actually, the only decent chile rellenos I've had up here are in Albany, at a restaurant that started as one and has now expanded to a few--El Mariachi.
                                                                                                                                              Not surprisingly, was best at the original, when Mama was in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mjoyous
                                                                                                                                                cowgirlinthesand RE: mjoyous Jan 30, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                I agree with El Mariachi. Without going OT for this board I also love Bros Tacos! Wonderful tortillas!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                                                                                                                                                  mjoyous RE: cowgirlinthesand Jan 31, 2008 07:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Ok...where are Bros Tacos...am ready to go!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mjoyous
                                                                                                                                                    cowgirlinthesand RE: mjoyous Jan 31, 2008 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                    If you do a search on the tristate board you'll find some wonderful raves.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                                                                                                                                                      mjoyous RE: cowgirlinthesand Jan 31, 2008 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Menu looks great. Will be headed there soon! Gracias.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cowgirlinthesand
                                                                                                                                                    mjoyous RE: cowgirlinthesand Feb 7, 2008 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the Bros Tacos recommendation! Ate there Tuesday night, when the friend I was picking up at airport was delayed, and back again on Wed. for lunch when he finally got in. Great, real food tacos on real doubled soft tortillas. Salsa's were worthy of eating, rice & beans were pleasant. We tried a range of the "bros" style tacos and liked them all.
                                                                                                                                                    Wish it was closer to home (I'm in the Berkshires too.)

                                                                                                                                            2. n
                                                                                                                                              northshoregal RE: Flavelle Jan 31, 2008 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                              www.cilantrocilantro.com is located in downtown Salem, Mass. Upscale and Excellent!

                                                                                                                                              1. j
                                                                                                                                                jackbauer RE: Flavelle Feb 1, 2008 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                A shout out for Tacos Parilla Mexicana - Worcester

                                                                                                                                                This is the third time I've had lunch from this establishment....what can I say? They are the real deal. The sopes and papusas melt in your mouth, with their expertly crafted corn tortillas. Fillings all fresh and prices just right. They deliver too! We placed a huge order and they brought it right over...they are really nice people. Can't recommend them highly enough!

                                                                                                                                                From July, 07. Couldn't agree more. Millbury Street, Worcester.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: shoes
                                                                                                                                                  lexpatti RE: shoes Feb 2, 2008 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                  agreed, one of our favorite little places in Manch,NH is owned and run by folks that barely speak english, menu is written both languages - it's awesome!!! El Mexicana on Wilson St. Manchester (tucked in a little neighborhood).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jackbauer
                                                                                                                                                    homesick for food RE: jackbauer Feb 2, 2008 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                    fyi--any place selling pupusas is likely salvadorenean, not mexican, as this antojo doesn't exist there.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: homesick for food
                                                                                                                                                      Shooley RE: homesick for food Feb 3, 2008 03:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Uh, I think we were talking about papusas in relation to a Salvadoran restaurant in Portland, not Mexican; we were digressing a bit as we salivated.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shooley
                                                                                                                                                        Bri RE: Shooley Feb 3, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                        It's spelled pupusa or pupusas, plural. Do they serve their pupusas with cortido? What are the pupusa options - loroco, chicharones?

                                                                                                                                                        For those who haven't tried them, its not a corn tortilla. Its masa stuffed with meat/bean/cheese/herb (pick your poison) stuffing and then pan fried and traditionally served with cortido (a sour cabbage slaw usually made with pineapple vinegar).

                                                                                                                                                        They're delicious!

                                                                                                                                                        Do they also have Salvadoran quesadilla? Not the tortilla and cheese thing, but the sweet bread they call quesadilla? I haven't had that in years and would definitely seek out pupusas and quesadilla as a road trip destination.

                                                                                                                                                  2. a
                                                                                                                                                    abigrace RE: Flavelle Feb 4, 2008 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I can't believe no one from the seacoast NH-southern ME area has mentioned Loco Coco's in Kittery, ME, just over the bridge from Portsmouth, NH! It's fantastic. Simple, cheap, order at the counter style. I haven't been to Mexico, but my friends who have think it's the most authentic they've seen in poor, cold New England. I've sworn off Dos Amigos (shoddy, hipsterific California-iefied variation on Mexican food) and am a loyal Loco Coco's follower for life.

                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abigrace
                                                                                                                                                      happybellynh RE: abigrace Feb 4, 2008 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Yes! Loco Coco's is my absolute favorite!! I make a point to stop wheneever I'm passing through... although now that they're in the bigger space, the lines seem to have grown as well... But they are definitely on the short list for great Mexican food in New England.

                                                                                                                                                      Has anyone tried Consuelo's Taqueria in downtown Manchester (NH)?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: happybellynh
                                                                                                                                                        Passadumkeg RE: happybellynh Feb 4, 2008 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                        My brother-in-law lives 2 mi. from LC's, but he hates Mexican and I found out about it on this board. We actually stopped by on12/26, but they were closed. Next time.
                                                                                                                                                        Loco en La Moca

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                          sarahjones RE: Passadumkeg Feb 12, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Out of all the so called Mexican restaurants out there in Nashua the only one that I really like is called La Caretta. The others are all Tex mex and so bland and all the same types of food. I tried Shorty's , On the Border, La Hacienda and even Tortilla Flat in Merrimack. La Caretta is the best of all of them. Here is a website to check them out.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: happybellynh
                                                                                                                                                          lexpatti RE: happybellynh Feb 12, 2008 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Love Consuelo's in Manch Vegas and very nice folks too (from Mexico). They have expanded the menu since my first visit, need to check them out again.

                                                                                                                                                      2. m
                                                                                                                                                        Mrrrl4real RE: Flavelle Mar 9, 2008 07:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                        My favorite is El Rancho Grande in Providence (Olneyville/Silverlake line). Best guacamole and pico I have ever had... I mention those things because they are usually the things that get forgotten, and are just sort of generic condiments in so many Mexican restaurants. These will blow.you.away.

                                                                                                                                                        That's just the small stuff. We go there for breakfast pretty often and my bf and I get the chilequiles, steak and eggs. It's soooo good. I don't know what the steak is marinated in, but it's thinly sliced and goes great in that combination. Good huevos rancheros too, though I would ask them to add ham.

                                                                                                                                                        Dinners are great, everything I've ever had there. We deserted Chilango's for this place.

                                                                                                                                                        1. b
                                                                                                                                                          barter1277 RE: Flavelle Jul 30, 2013 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                          so try Agave in hartford Ct or mexicali in ware Ma not spencer or holden Ma

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