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[MSP] Mexican restaurants on Eat Street

Last night my husband and I were in the mood for Mexican food and decided to hit Eat Street. Someone had recently recommended Morelos to us so we started to head in that direction until we realized we'd eaten there before (but just didn't remember the name of the place). We thought the food was "fine" but weren't dying to go back, so we decided to pick a different Mexican restaurant along Nicollet Ave.

But we had no idea where to go. And ended up going to Little Tijuana.

What do my fellow Minneapolitans think? Where should we have gone? We live close to that neighborhood and did not want to drive much farther, which is why we didn't go to Midtown Global Market. Someplace on Lake Street would have been fine, but again, we didn't know where to go.

I feel like Mexican is the one cuisine missing from husband's and my restaurant repertoire. We have our favorite Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, etc places, but haven't found "our" Mexican place yet.

Suggestions? (Please try to limit your recommendations to places in Minneapolis west of MGM and south of downtown. We don't like to drive too far on weeknights.)

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  1. I don't know the Minneapolis geography that well, so, I hope this doesn't stray too far for your requested geography but we did explore some taquerias on Lake Street (all West of Midtown Global Market) at our "Lake Street Chowdown/Taco crawl." Pineda and La Hacienda were the overall favorites, I'd say, though there's plenty more exploration to be done.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38485...

    ~TDQ

    3 Replies
      1. re: shoo bee doo

        Where is Pancho Villas, shoo bee doo? I'm not familiar with it. Any dish there you recommend in particular?

        ~TDQ

    1. I can't offer any suggestions, but am interested in what you thought about Little Tijuana. I haven't set foot in there, but have been vaguely curious about the place.

      Bob

      4 Replies
      1. re: bob s

        I used to go to Little Tijuana all the time. It's definitely not an "authentic" mexican place, more of a diner with hearty americanized Mexican. Not like Chi Chi's, more like Boca Chica. Taco Morelos used to be good but since their remodel I think they are overpriced and not very good.

        Sorry I can't recommend anything on Nicollet as I generally just eat Asian there but thought I would chime in on those mentioned. Why not ask one of the many hispanic people in the neighborhood what they think is good?

        1. re: misterpatrick

          I agree about Taco Morelos -- they've definitely "Americanized" their food. I assumed that Little Tijuana was similar, but didn't know for sure.

          1. re: bob s

            Little T's is at least cheap and revels in its dive-ness. Morelos is like a recycled Chi Chi's. I miss the dive aspect of it.

          2. re: misterpatrick

            t's USED to be cheap-- now imo it is overpriced cheap food. used to go get a $4 big american-style burrito there 8-10 years ago, now the same menu item is $10 and less than 1/2 the size. i second mersidots123's post below mine.

        2. The only time I reccommend visiting Little T's is after a couple of stiff drinks...

          1. I agree with the Pancho Villa rec. They have terrific fresh seafood, amazing camarones al diabolo, and you can wash it down with a wicked michelada made with your choice of beer. They even make their own horchata, and it's delicious. On weekends, they have off-menu breakfast items such as chilaquiles. It's a hot spot for local birthdays. It reminds me of the better off-the-tourist-grid places I've eaten at in Mexico. It is a resto, not a taqueria, with table service. It's located at the bottom end of Nicollet, a few doors up from Black Forest and across from Azia.

            I also agree that Morelos is not worth stopping for. The only time I've eaten there, the service was slow and the food so forgettably generic, that I honestly can't comment on it other than that. It reminds me of the worst of the strip mall Mexican of the deep south of about 15 years ago.

            1. Has anyone tried el Nuevo Rodeo? Whenever we've been to Town Talk, Dashen, or Midori's late in the evening there always seems to be a lot of Mexican Immigrants heading there for their nightclub.

              But, they also have a full service restaurant, open from 10:00AM until 3:30AM - and the description/menu on their website ( http://www.elnuevorodeo.com/ ) seems fascinating.

              I've never been, but I'm thinking I might have to go...

              4 Replies
              1. re: Danny

                Thank you for the recommendations. The next time we find ourselves in this situation we will certainly try Pancho Villa, Pineda, or Taqueria La Hacienda.

                As far as Little T's, I'll agree with the others who described it as Americanized and dive-y. That being said, the place is pretty appealing at 2:00 when you're sloshed because the portions are extremely generous for the price. They also have a very, um, colorful wait staff who simply add the entertaining people-watching factor.

                As for the food: I had a taco platter and husband had a something-else platter. Both looked basically the same and tasted basically the same. Like Chi-Chi's food. The same basic ingredients thrown together in different combinations and called different things.

                I don't mean to talk smack about Little Tijuana and don't regret going there. I think they know what their market niche is and fill it well. I enjoy going there when I want to get filled up on good-tasting food for not a lot of money. (Notice I didn't say "authentic," but "good.")

                1. re: Danny

                  We have been there to dance (my wife likes reggaeton) but have not had a chance to sample the chow. I am similarly curious, especially considering they have jalapeno poppers on the menu.

                  1. re: Danny

                    I like El Nuevo Rodeo, although I haven't been there for 8 or 9 months. I'd say it's good, solid Mexican food, with all the standards (carnitas, tortas, tamales, tacos), plus seafood (ceviche, tillapia, vuelve a la vida, etc.). And they have a full liquor licence, if you like that kind of thing.

                    http://www.elnuevorodeo.com/pages/hom...

                    I posted a review about my torta at El Nuevo Rodeo 'way back in ought-five:
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/124664

                    Anne

                    1. re: Danny

                      Just ate at Nuevo Rodeo tonight! The happy hour goes from 4-7 on weekdays, with 2-4-1 drinks, $2 margaritas, and 1/2 price apps. We ordered the pork-al-pastor and the steak entrees. The pork was great, the steak was just okay. Worth stopping by for the drink specials, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.