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Mexican in Jacksonville?

Good Day...Does anyone know of a decent Mexican Food restaurant in or around the Jacksonville area? I've tried most of what are called Mexican places and find that they only know how to make one kind of meat that is "universal" for all their dishes. I stopped by a place called "Ole`" the other day and had a combination plate with three different items. The only problem was that they used the exact same meat mixture in all three of them! I lived in the west and sout west for most of my life and had to move to Florida for a job. I dearly miss decent Mexican food. Any/all help GREATLY appreciated.

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  1. La Nopalera
    Dona Maria
    Cha Cha's

    google it for directions, first two have multiple locations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: travelingfood

      I love La Nopalera! It was a must do when I visited my friend in Orange Park. I haven't been in a few years because she had moved away for a while, but I'm headed up there in Jan. and will have to go again.

      1. re: travelingfood

        Can't think of any great Mexican restaurants in the Jacksonville area. When I lived there I seem to recall going to Campeche Bay in Jax Beach more often than any other.

        For a decent Southwestern fast food fix try Sierra Grill.

      2. If you have spent most of your life in the west and southwest - you will hate all Mexican food here - except perhaps the kind you cook yourself. Jacksonville is pretty poor when it comes to many types of ethnic restaurants.

        On the bright side (for you)- there have been increasing numbers of Mexican workers here in the last few years - so perhaps we'll get a few decent Mexican restaurants eventually. Robyn

        1. Thanks for the responses. I've tried Nopalera with the identical results that I've had at many Mexican places here...all dishes with beef use the get that meat out of the same pot, no matter what the dish...taco, burrito, enchilada, etc. At several places I've been to, they even put that horrid stuff into a chile releno! Oh, Lord forbid!!! I have to agree with pvgirl. Probably nothing authentic yet. I'll keep having to slave away at my electric stove...but then, that's another gripe! (NO gas here!!!) LOL

          2 Replies
          1. re: davidbinjax

            No gas lines here for the most part (there are some in a few developments) - although some people cook with gas using propane tanks buried in the ground. When we built our house - we passed on the tank in the ground - since the water table is so high. Robyn

            1. re: pvgirl

              You can still get gas in the older neighborhoods like Springfield or Riverside.

          2. find Pepe's Hacienda off University blvd and old St Augustine rd. They're in the Fred's shopping center.
            3615 Dupont Ave
            Jacksonville, FL 32217
            (904) 636-8131

            Probably the best true Mexican restaurant hidden in town. Very cheap food but they're all a plate full, I mean, fork and knife burritos for $4. They're also a market too where you can buy fresh chorizo and stuffs.

            The chain restaurant La Nopalera is decent too, just haven't been there after discovering Pepe's.

            1. I checked out this post bc I agree that there is nothing stand out in Jax. Will check out Pepe's though.

              As far as cooking with gas, I have a tank hidden in the azalea bushes and it works great. Line runs to fireplace, pool, kitchen - even a stop at the site of future outdoor kitchen.

              1. Try Castillo De Mexico on Kernan Blvd & Beach Blvd. If you have an appetite, take advantage of their $7 lunch buffet special. Otherwise, their portion sizes are significantly smaller compared to what is typically found at Cha Cha's or La Nopelera. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy those places too.

                1. I'd hit El Potro on 3rd St. at the beach. Their shrimp quesadilla is surprisingly good. Authentic isn't happening, but it's interesting to see how an imported cuisine changes due to regional influences. Campeche Bay is decent, too. (The one on Atlantic near Regency, not the one at the beach) The steak they use in the Carne Adovado is pretty great.

                  1. I took my family to the La Nopalera in Fleming Island tonight Saturday February 16, 2008. The waiter was in a terrible rush and as a result he spilled a full glass of marguerita on me soaking me miserably. Mistakes happen but the following actions made me realize that this restaurant is oo busy to care. I was soaked and sticky so I had to leave. I left the rest of my family and went home to change clothes. NO ONE came to the table to apologize. Finally my wife asked for the manager who took several minutes to come out. When he finally arrived she explained wht happened. He laughed and said they were very busy. My wife got upset and finally he reluctantly offered to pay for the meal if I wanted to come back. He was flippant and really showed little interest in our situation. They left very upset and NO ONE made any further attempt tp make amends. This establishment is in too big a hurry to care about ruiining my families evening.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: djhrhino

                      There is no good Mexican food in this city. I'm a native Texan and the stuff I find here wouldn't pass muster for even the worst Mexican food in places like San Antonio, Dallas, Houston or Austin.

                    2. The Mossfire Grill (http://www.mossfire.com/) is southwestern meets Florida food.

                      El Dorado in Callahan is a low-key mom and pop Mexican restaurant.

                      My parents like La Chicanita Tienda in Kingsland & El Ranchito in St. Mary's (I haven't been to either).