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Sep 6, 2007 02:06 PM

Great Mexican food in Columbia, MO

After moving back to Columbia after six years in D.C. I thought my days of quality Mexican food were behind me. Not so. There are at least three really good Mexican places in Columbia. I'd love to hear other suggestions.

The Good:
1) Taqueria El Rodeo
2) Tequila
3) Carlito's (on Business Loop)

The Bad:
1) Rio Grande (Broadway west, near Truman's)

The So-So:
1) El Maguey
2) El Rancho (downtown on Broadway)

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  1. I'm still in DC but make regular trips back to bocomo, including later this month (short trip this time - and we're planning on moving back in 2-3 years).

    I've heard good things about Carlito's - maybe that it's similar to El Charitto Caminante in Arlington. I've had both your so-so's and agree. With El Rancho I'm even disappointed but had a friend say that it's close to Mexican as you'd find in LA.

    Are there any other comparisons with places in DC that you'd make with any of the good ones on your list?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      I actually was unimpressed with the Mexican offerings in six years I found only a few I liked, which is very strange given the enormous Latin population there. My all-time favorite was El Puerto on Route 1 in south Alexandria. El Rodeo is not quite as good, but it's close enough for me. El Puerto's house hot sauce is also my all-time favorite, El Yucateco.

      1. re: srowson

        Most of the latin pop in DC is Salvadoran or Peruvian, so many of the places that label themselves as Mexican in fact aren't even that to begin with. There's a few small joints - tacquerias really, like Pepito's and TECC in Arlington, and then the "little Mexico" places in Bladensburg, but I've adopted a tactic of getting to like the other ethnic tastes when they are true to themselves.

        I'll try El Puerto. There's a place on Columbia Pike in Arlington with that name - next to Abi's behind the 7-11. It's a Peruvian place though that seems to deep fry everything.

        I'll also try to get to El Rodeo then when I'm back in bocomo - if I have time after I run through the musts (Murry's, Booche's, etc).

        1. re: Dennis S

          Very true, most are Salvadoran...I was lazy with the terminology. I did have a good time at Mixtec up in DC a couple of times.

    2. What do you like at El Rodeo? I want to give them a try. I agree about Carlito's. And now they have beer!

      3 Replies
      1. re: steveb

        I agree with the El Rodeo and Carlito's recs... love 'em both. At El Rodeo I've been there a lot, but I've only tried the tacos- (I usually get two al pastor and two chorizo) and i have had the carne asada el rodeo which is really good, comes sliced thin, with fried cactus, beans, rice, guac. salad and a big fried's awesome...p.s. always ask for 'hot sauce' (sometimes they only bring the mild sauce), they are happy to bring it and it is very good, always a little different, always spicy....

        1. re: steveb

          I think the highlights at El Rodeo were covered by Zeke. The tacos asada are almost always great (once they were a little dry...just trying to be fair and balanced here) and definitely ask for the spicier sauce. The migas jalisco is wonderful for breakfast...just about the perfect hangover food if you ask me. They also have a cubano sandwich that was really good. I second also the carne asada el rodeo.

          Don't forget their juice of the day, which usually runs along the lines of watermelon or canteloupe. It's perfect after downing one of their fried jalapenos.

          1. re: steveb

            I can weigh in on El Rodeo - I have eaten there twice (though trustworthy folks have been recommending it to me for a while). The first time was lunch for a couple carne asada tacos, really excellent. The second time was for dinner. I was kind of excited about the mole, but it was a little peculiar. Almost like Hershey's syrup, no real complexity.

            This may, of course, have been an off night...and I will definitely go back. I echo my fellow hounds' fondness for the SPICY salsa. The salsas and tortillas and chorizo all sing their siren song of scrumptiosity a la Mexicana.