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Apr 9, 2007 10:43 AM

best mexican dining in mpls

Anyone have any suggestions on where to get some great mexican food in the cities? 5 or 6 years ago I had some great mexican food in a strip mall in oakdale or stillwater near a Bakers Square. I don't believe it is there anymore, but I remember they had the best enchiladas. They served their salsa in little plastic water pitchers. I remember them having a green salsa also. Its been a while since I've been in the area, but when searching I haven't found anything in the vacinity other than Acapulco which looks fairly new.

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  1. You should try the Mexican taquerias along Lake Street. There are a lot of good Mexican options in and around the Mercado Central, like Manny's Tortas and Taqueria La Hacienda. That's a good place to get started

    1. My favorites at the moment are all at Midtown Global Market---Taqueria Los Ocampo for the al pastor huaraches and La Sirena Gorda for the deep fried tilapia platter. Everything I've had at La Sirena Gorda has been lovely, actually. There's also a little Mexican bakery in MGMkt that makes a nice tres leches cake and a Mexican butcher (Bymore Meats) that makes some fabulous barbacoa chiva. These are super-casual, almost cafeteria style "stands" inside a big, ethnic market. Manny's Tortas has a stand in MGMkt also. Exploring MGMkt is a fun way to pass the time. You can also do some light grocery shopping there because they have a produce stand, butcher, etc.

      Here are the chowdown reports from our visits to MGMkt:

      I also love exploring Mercado Central on Lake Street (Manny's Tortas is there--I love their cubano--, as is La Perla where you can buy a stack of 36 house-made corn tortillas, still hot, for $1), but, similar to MGMkt kind of casual, cafeteria-style atmosphere, but much more authentically Mexican.

      There is a Las Lomas tamales stand in both Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market; I prefer the one in Mercado Central. I also prefer the Mercado Central location of Manny's.

      We had a "chowdown" on Lake Street recently where we explored several taquerias: Taqueria La Hacienda (the chorizo quesadilla, believe it or not, and the alambres al pastor) and Pineda (the torta, the spicy chicken tacos) were the favorites, though it's clear we need to explore each of their menus more deeply.


      1. Marissa's Bakery on 27th (or so) and Nicollet has great Mexican pastries. The churros are fantastic. The pineapple turnovers are amazing. There is also Princessa (sp?) on 34th and Nicollet that we frequent. They ahve a great cheese turnover and tamales on the weekends, if you get there early.

        Now that it is becoming summer, expect great Mexican on the streets of Minneapolis. I've gotten fried plantains, tacos, corn, and other treats at roadside stands. I find them mostly on Nicollet, Lake Street, and 38th Ave. S.

        We love El Parisio on 35th and Nicollet for Mexican Seafood. I just had the Shrimp Fajitas and they were fabulous. Tons of fried peppers and onions, huge shrimp, fresh tortillas and a side of rice, beans, guac, sour cream, and lettuce. Tasty.

        And if you are looking for sort of authentic, sort of not, there is always Salsa a la Salsa on Nicollet and about 15th. I think they cater to the American born crowd a little more, but I find there food to be good.

        2 Replies
        1. re: churchka

          Pineapple turnovers at Marissa's?

          Thank you churchka. My mission for Saturday is all laid out.

          Would you happen to know if they have tres leches cake? Because I may have to schedule myself in for couple of hours at the gym....

          1. re: churchka

            Is Salsa a la Salsa affiliated with the "a la salsa" in Midtown Global Market? I had a nice chicken mole with tamales there. It doesn't feel as authentic as some of the other stands and taquerias that I've mentioned, but it's a pretty good option if you want table service. And margaritas!

            Answering my own question, according to a la salsa's blurb on the MGMkt website they are indeed related:




          2. If you're near Oakdale/Stillwater, you may have to drive into the center of St. Paul for good Mexican food.

            Head to Robert Street & Cesar Chavez Street (that's a clue!), which is a multi-block stretch, on the street formerly known as Wabasha/Concord, called the "District Del Sol." It has a lot of Mexican restaurants and shops.


            My favorite is El Burrito Mercado, a supermarket with a cafeteria line as well as sit-down dining.


            Even better is the roasted corn stand in El Burrito's parking lot - when weather permits. Get your corn "con todo" - it's brushed with corn-oil margarine and crema (Mexican sour cream), then sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese and dusted with chili powder. Man, oh, man - that's good eating! If these guys had a stand at the State Fair, they'd make a million - mostly from me.

            And there are several bakeries down the street. My favorite is Don Pancho's at 140 Cesar Chavez - there's usually a pupusa van outside, too.

            However, I don't recommend this area for Cinco de Mayo - the festival has gotten too commercial, and there's almost no Mexican food available (although you can get your fill of funnel cake, gyros, and foot-long hot dogs). Instead, go to E. Lake Street in Minneapolis, somewhere in the viscinity of Chicago or Bloomington Ave.


            7 Replies
            1. re: AnneInMpls

              Marissa's #2 on 38th and Nicollet where one could buy those great tamale's changed its name. Haven't been in there so I don't know if they still have the tamales, but if so, they had tamales for $1.50 that were terrific. It was a grocery store, not a diner, but still.

              I totally concur about Mercado Central.

              My vote for best Mexican, although it's more of an interpretation of Mexican, is Masa. It's D'Amico's Mexican place on Nicollet Mall (11th, I think). It blew my mind. I had the baby chicken and grilled green onions. The churros chocolate sauce there will make your brain melt out of your ears. Any serious foodie passing through or living in the cities MUST eat there at least once.

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                I know El Burrito Mercado is a board favorite, and Anne's right, the neighborhood is certainly authentic enough, but I've always been disappointed there. The bakery's nice, and the market's pretty good (I love to buy their take-away refried beans), but I've never been impressed otherwise. According to Dara (City Pages critic), their stews are their best dishes, although, her review is from 1999 and, I confess, I haven't tried their stews. Maybe I'm ordering wrong.

                Anne, what do you recommend at EBM?

                P.S. That roasted corn stand and the pupusa van sound fabulous! I must check those out. Weren't you also the one to mention the roving tamale cart you've seen outside EBM in summers, or, am I mixing that up? That sounds like a winner, too.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Thanks for all the replys. I actually am about an hour south of the Cities near Ellsworth Wi. So the trip up for good food usually once or twice a week is well worth it. :) I'll have to make a few trips to try all the places everyone suggested. Keep up the tips if you think of any others.

                  Thanks again

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I'm not Anne, but I am a fan of EBM. Dara was right - generally speaking, stick to the stewed meats. Their individual names are escaping me, but there are several tender, flavorful options. Pick what sounds/looks/smells good to ya, throw it on a tortilla, sprinkle on some onions and cilantro, and you've got yourself a very satisfying experience indeed.

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      At El Burrito Mercado, I usually get one of spicy guisados as a dinner (with corn tamales, rice, and beans - the rice and beans are nothing special). I practice my feeble Spanish asking the name of the guisados, and I rarely understand the answer, so I never know what I'm eating. But I love the one that's spicy chicken. It's REALLY spicy. (Luckily, I do understand "es muy picante".) And there's one with cactus strips that I like a lot, too. On the non-spicy front, I like the barbacoa, the birria de res, and the carnitas. The tamales are nice, too.

                      If I'm not very hungry (that is, if I eat some roasted corn on my way in), I get a spicy chicken taco and a carnitas taco, then I load on the onions and cilantro and lime. Not as good as the El Pastor tacos at Los Ocampos, but very, very nice.

                      Mr. Tastebud always gets a carnitas quesadilla, which is a delicious artery-buster.

                      I don't, however, like their horchata - I think their version is too sweet. So I get a Pina Jarritos and I'm happy.


                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                        Oh, and the info about tamales outside of El Burrito Mercado wasn't from me, but from MSPD, who is always on top of the best spots in the Twin Cities. MSPD, you rule!

                        Here's the thread:



                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          Thanks Anne and diesel--it does seem I've been ordering wrong. It's honestly been a years or two since I've been (after 4-5 disappointments, I gave up), but the things I've ordered in the past that I wasn't thrilled with were carnitas in some kind of verde sauce, chiles rellenos, and burritos (can't remember which meat now, but I gave it a couple of different tries.) But, it does seem like I should stick with the stews--that spicy chicken one sounds mouth-watering, indeed!

                          (And, yes! that's the thread about the tamales! Thank you!)


                    2. I still think some of the best and most authentic Mexican seafood is at Pancho Villa, across from Azia on Nicollet. Everything there is fabulous. Much better than Salsa a la Salsa.

                      Also, even though they don't have a breakfast menu per se, they do have several good Mexican breakfast treats, such as chilaquiles.

                      As for something quick on the south end of town - Tacos Morelos on Plymouth Ave in Bloomington has really good lunch-counter style tacos and burritos, and their seafood soups are really good. It's definitely a taqueria though, no table service.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Loren3

                        I think you mean on "Portalnd Ave" in Bloomington, just south of 494. And yes, yummy but not stylish surroundings.

                        1. re: happysnacker

                          Yes. Portland. I'm not from around here, and I'm always confusing Portland, Penn, and Plymouth for no good reason.