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East Village Mexican: Sorry But I need help!

Hate to do this and risk re-inventing the wheel, but:

I need to take someone out to a celebratory Mexican dinner tonight (another SF transplant)... Can someone steer me to a LES/EV place where we can get a rockin' meal? Cool with any price range, any decor, etc., etc.

Thanks! Promise to provide feedback, too!

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  1. La Palapa or Mercadito come to mind...

    3 Replies
    1. re: nikky

      La Palapa is good--great fruit drinks too

      1. re: nikky

        I had a really bad experience at La Palapa. It was way too hot in the resturant that night, they refused to turn the air conditioner on. What made that worse was that the resturant was over crowded, our food came at varying times. Just an overall awful experience.

        1. re: rdflig

          I've been here a number of times. The food is consistently good, and it's varied. You can do the light "taqeuria" meal, or you can have a full-on feast.

          I had one bad service experience at LP, but it was kind of self-inflicted... showing up at 9:30 on friday with a group of 10+. Without reservations. They tried to accomodate, but through not a lot of their own fault, it turned into a service disaster.

          Otherwise, I've always been at least satisfied with La Palapa.

      2. El Maguey y la Tuna - very casual, and not very atmospheric, but it serves up the most authentic Mexican in the area.

        Itzocan - tiny and cute but you may wait a while for tables, but their creative Mexican is usually good, often very, very good.

        Mercadito is good if you want a better atmosphere, but I don't love the food that much - though their guacamoles are very good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kayonyc

          I agree with El Maguey y la Tuna...tasty and cheap

          1. re: trinyc

            Well, we ended up at El Maguey y la Tuna... wanted so much to love the place, but, alas, could not... The service was delightful, drinks tasty, but the food just lacked soul, depth, complexity. Kinda disappointed. I'll keep hunting, though!

            1. re: RickFromNYC

              I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your meal, but if you want more authentic Mexican, you won't find it in the East Vill. You really need to go way uptown, Hell's Kitchen, or to Queens. It's a good standby for me when I'm downtown - they're the only ones in the area that have Pozole or ok Chilaquiles.

        2. Anyone try Mole on Allen yet????

          1 Reply
          1. re: wingman

            The food is very good and a much better value than Mercadito where the portions are tiny. We had a wonderful dinner the other night consisting of fresh guacamole (made at the table) and homemade chips, tacos, chicken mole, and veggie fajitas. The tortillas were warm and soft, just the way I like them. To top if off, we shared homemade Tres Leches cake and chocolate halvah cake. The service was pleasant and efficient. Keep in mind that it is still BYOB for the next week or so, but beer and wine are sold next door. Enjoy!!

          2. Barrio Chino on Broome & Orchard has great enchiladas, tacos, and the steak is particularly good. For lighter fare, the tacos with a side of spinach. They also have terrific margaritas.

            1 Reply
            1. re: socialbreakfast

              I also like Barrio Chino on the LES. Their margaritas are a bit pricey (grapefruit and jalapeno, yum!). Their Huevos Rancheros are good. If you can't get to San Diego or Mexico it's a possibility.