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Oct 23, 2007 08:20 AM

Southerwestern/Mexican near Minneapolis Institute of Arts

My family is going to see the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Are there any good southwestern (New Mexico) or even Mexican restaurants nearby?

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  1. There is a restaurant on Nicollet called Old Arizona. It is not within walking distance from the MIA, but is close. I have not eaten there, but...well, it's called old Arizona.

    Pancho Villa is on Nicollet and 25th. Mexican. Rather typical. It is loud and circus-like, but the Tacos Mexicanos are good.

    Morelos is on 26th and Nicollet and is not very good. I would avoid, very Chi-Chis.

    Little Tijuana is on 26th and Nicollet as well, I would suggest avoiding this too. Great at 3am, not so much the rest fo the time IMO.

    I'm sure there are others, but for better Mexican choices, I recommend heading just a few blocks south to Lake St. Gorditas el Gordo, Hacienda, Pinedas, the places in MGM and Medcado Central are solid.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Foureyes137

      Pancho Villa's specialities are seafood, if you get them they are very good. I got a whole fish diablo style (I think) and it was great. Stay away from the tacos and burritos, they are boring and not their speciality.

      1. re: churchka

        The nachos at Pancho Villa are good.

        I agree about Morelos (oh, how they used to be good - I hate when good places decline) but they do have one point of attraction, still - they have molcajetes, which are hard to find. You know, with the heated salsa and cheese in it, right from the oven?

      2. re: Foureyes137

        Looking at the menu for Old Arizona, it doesn't really seem Mexican, or even southwestern. About 6 sandwiches, including a rachael, a portabello sammy, and brie. They do have a black bean burrito, but that's about as close as it gets. The picture looks as though the decor is southwestern though. Do they have nightly specials that lean in that direction? I have never heard of this place before; I am just wondering if it really fits the OP's request.

        1. re: autmommy

          That is why I prefaced it's mention with a disclaimer and posted the website. Hopefully OP reads it.

      3. Another option would be to go to Bar Abilene, which isn't that far away (it's relative - I have no idea how far you're travelling to get to MIA). That's a SW bar/grill. I've always liked the food there, they make great tableside guac, and the margaritas are good. I have had terrible service, though.

        Bar Abilene
        1300 Lagoon Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        2 Replies
        1. re: pgokey

          The worst steak I have ever had in the Twin Cities was at Bar Ablilene. It made the Sizzler look good. If you go to Bar Abilene stick with the Guac and Tequila. They have a great list of Tequila.

          1. re: GastronautMN

            Not at steak eater, so you could be right. I will vouch for the enchiladas and the burritos, though. Good stuff.

        2. Try Midtown Global Mkt. La Sirena Gorda is really good and Salsa a la Salsa gets a lot of good reviews.

          1. Links Salsa a la Salsa has two locations in the MGM and on Nicollet Ave

            Salsa A La Salsa
            1420 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            Midtown Global Market
            2929 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

            2 Replies
            1. re: mnitchals

              Unless they have made significant changes recently, avoid the one on Nicollet. Threads abound with reports of spotty service and inconsistent food.

              1. re: Loren3

                Agreed. Ate there once and was far from impressed.

            2. Little T's (Little Tijuanna) has it's good points and bad points. It has the best Fajitas in town hands down. They come out smoking and the onions & peppers get really carmelized. Thier skillets must be glowing when they plate them up. Their nachos are bountiful too (even the half order must be shared). I haven't had much of the rest of the menu because I always order Fajitas there.

              You must be willing to listen to Motorhead (or other such music) and not have an issue with piercings, tattoos etc. on your server if you go there. They are the anti-Don Pablos and that is a good thing. One of the worst meals of my life was at a Don Pablos.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GastronautMN

                There are several dishes there that would make me long for Taco Bell. They are also complete Nazis about paying the bill. They won't do seperate checks, and they won't do more than one credit card per check. It's really annoying.

                That said, while their nachos aren't even the best on Eat Street (Pancho Villa), getting a full order to go is a great way to feed a party. The tray is HUGE and only $10.