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Mexican on Smith Street?

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Are El Pitayo or Nuevo Portal on Smith Street worth checking out? They look fairly authentic (read: dirty) but I was hoping to get an opinion from you guys.

If not, are there any good Mexican spots in Carroll Gardens/West, Cobble Hill or Red Hook? I've got a massive craving for a good tamale...

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  1. Nuevo Portal isn't Mexican -- it's Puerto Rican / Dominican. El Pitayo is Mexican but it's awful. Really really awful. Also awful are Lobo (the WORST!), Mexicali, the California Tacqueria and Buddy's. Alma has a nice view, but the food is just meh and overpriced.

    I went to Viva in Red Hook a couple of weeks ago and it was decent. Not spectacular, but better than any other Mex in the hood (at least until the ball fields return -- if they do). It's on Sullivan, between Van Brunt and Conover.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oolah

      I agree with you on California Tacqueria & Lobo, but CT always has people there (I guess the three axioms about real estate are true) and Lobo’s only saving grace are there margaritas and outdoor space. Likewise with Alma, but you’re paying more for the view. We’ve had OK meals at Mexicali, nothing special. However, of the mediocre de Mexican we like Buddy’s. For the neighborhood their delivery is quick, food is decent and moderately priced IMO. Some CH mentioned their fish tacos, I did not particularly care for them and would stick to the burritos.

    2. I know people hate it, but Pacifico is decent. I haven't had their tamales, though. I think their posole is great . . .

      4 Replies
      1. re: seb

        have to agree. Pacifico is cheap, tasty and generally a good scene

        1. re: jimmyjazz

          pacifico cheap & fun scene, definately. tasty? barely.

          1. re: TBird

            i suppose the beer helps

            1. re: jimmyjazz

              :-)

              it usually does!

      2. We recently ordered from El Pitayo due to a similar craving and I will say that it is the best of the bunch that oolah mentions. It's by no means great but better than all the rest (which isn't saying a lot). I didn't try the tamales but the enchiladas were okay.

        1. I'm not sure if they have tamales, but the Fast and Fresh deli on Hoyt Street, between Atlantic & State definitely has the best tacos and tortas in the neighborhood.

          2 Replies
          1. re: EJC

            good call EJC, I completely forgot about F&F. They do have tamales & they are great.

            1. re: EJC

              Wow. Why is this place kept so quiet? Stopped by here yesterday on your reco' and tried the pork tamale. $1.50, microwaved in the husk. Cheap, filling, authentic, dirty, and delicious; just the way Mexican street food should be. I only wish i lived closer!