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Best Boston Area Mexican

Where's the best in the area? I'm so happy just to eat Mexican that it's hard for me to discriminate. To my mind the test is: Do they have good chile rellenos and tamales? If yes, I'm happy. I usually go for a triple combo with those two dishes and a taco or an enchillada.

I like (in no particular order): Taqueria Mexico, Acapulcos, Cancun (N Plymouth), Tu y Yo, Ole, Zocalo Cucina, and Ixtapa. I'm not a fan of Sierra's in Sudbury...I don't really count it as a Mexican restaurant. The Border Cafe an On the Border are OK. It's been a while, but I wasn't blown away with Casa Romero. Long time since I've eaten at Sol Azteca, but I have a positive memory. Probably my fave is Cancun, but that may be because when I eat there I'm happy to be on my way to the Cape.

So, what do you think folks?

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    1. re: bartleby

      Angela's..I

      t's located in E Boston and has some truly fabulous food...not just a tacqueria, with burritos, etc..but genuine Mex dishes cooked by a talented woman from Puebla...and helped by her family.

      Really worth a trip if you love Mexican food. Don't miss the mole...and be sure to check the specials menu..which changes. It's comparable to the best I've had in Mexico.

      The guacamole is also not to be missed.

      http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

      1. re: 9lives

        They're now serving most of the specials every day (mole, adobo, pepian, shrimp with cilantro...) and these are now all on the new printed menus, along with rajas and other goodies.

        This weekend they also have huazontles, "Mexican broccoli" in a shell of egg (?) with a light broth...and may have gazpacho...The huazontles are something eaten for Holy Week, but greens are still available so Angela has made more this weekend.

        1. re: fredid

          That is a poor translation for Huazontles.... its a vegetable native to the Mexico City area that resembles a cross between leafy spinach & broccoli (the little balls)... its par boiled, rolled up with melting cheese, dusted in flour, egg wash, pan fried, then simmered / baked in a thin cooked Tomato or Pasilla salsa.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Thanks for the clarity! Chowhounders to the rescue (of good information from bad) once again!

    2. Angela's in East Boston for sure, Tu Y Yo in Davis also pretty solid

      1. Angela's Cafe is my favorite. Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham is my second favorite.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Tu y Yo is in a better class - "homestyle Mexican restaurants"?

          I've been a fan for years, but I want to broaden my experience - out of curiosity, because chowhounds have described walking there from the "Airport" T stop, is ANGELA'S very close & someplace you could easily drag a suitcase en route to Logan? Or is that an inconvenient (bad) idea?

          1. re: beacon_hill_boy

            It's a 7 minute walk, 6 short blocks. If your suitcase is on wheels, no problem! (BTW, returning to the Airport T stop and airport busses, you don't need to pay a fare - there are elevators and a stairway available outside the fare gates.)

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            I had to thank MC for recommending El Amigo. I've been a few times already and it's easily the closest to authentic Mexican I've had in Boston (I'm from LA). Angela's is really great, but El Amigo is good street Mexican, and it reminds me of home.

            Most importantly, they GRILL their flour tortillas for burritos, so they aren't gummy, unlike literally every other burrito I have had in the greater Boston area.

            So thank you. You've made one displaced Angeleno find at least a close approximation of home.

            1. re: bza

              I could not be happier to hear that folks are going out of their way to patronize El Amigo. I just love that little place, was thrilled to find it still going strong recently (and plug it in a Boston Phoenix review). That was probably the happiest discovery from my most recent stint working in Waltham.

          3. I'll agree with Angela's. I also give very high marks to Tres Amigos in Stoneham. And I've found Mexico Lindo in Melrose to be consistently good.

            1. Here are my top 5, in order, more or less:

              1) Angela's Cafe, East Boston
              2) Cafe Azteca, Lawrence
              3) La Siesta, Winthrop
              4) Taqueria El Amigo, Waltham
              5) El Sarape, Braintree

              Taqueria La Mexicana in Somerville is somewhere on this list, too, but I haven't been there in a few years...

              1. Has anyone tried Ken Oringer's new Mexican place yet?

                2 Replies
                1. re: adverb

                  I don't forgive the single-tortilla tacos. That's just inexcusable.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I'm okay with them. At least they are very good, housemade tortillas - or were. But I see no reason to make the trip minus a Sox game, or in my case, a Manu Chao concert. On the other hand, I eat at TaQueria la Mexicana at least once a week.

                2. Thanks, All, for the great ideas. I'd heard of Angela's but made the trip. Now I will. Keep the ideas coming.

                  1. Another vote for Angela's
                    Also, Forest Cafe, Tacos el Charro, Yucatan Grill (or Taco), and Sol Azteca is still pretty good.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: bostonbroad

                      I went to the Forest Cafe a few weeks ago after not having been there in years, but wasn't too impressed. They've always served black beans instead of refrieds.

                      1. re: podence

                        Hmm. Personally I'm OK with the concept of black beans--let's face it, they're in Cambridge, and at some point you gotta give the crunchy granola folk what they want (lest you think I'm ripping on Cambridge, I live *right* next to this place).

                        Forest Cafe's Mole was actually the first I'd ever had, and I thought it was pretty darn good. Only been there once, can't comment on the rest of the food.

                        1. re: podence

                          I get the impression that you think black beans are not Mexican. I disagree with that. I haven't exactly traveled the entire countryside of Mexico, but when I've been down there, I've only seen black beans. Maybe it is a regional thing, but clearly black beans are served in at least some parts of Mexico.

                          I will also pile on and recommend Angela's.

                          1. re: Alcachofa

                            I agree with Alcachofa - black beans are Mexican and commonly found in the coastal areas and southern Mexico, while pinto beans are northern. E, whose family is from northern Mexico, prefers pinto beans. I like both!

                            1. re: Rubee

                              Like other Chowhounds, Angela's Cafe is my favorite too:

                              Adding Angela's link:

                              -----
                              Angela's Cafe
                              131 Lexington St, Boston, MA 02128

                              1. re: Rubee

                                Yes... there are actually dozens of beans traditional in Mexican cooking... but the 4 "Big" beans most commonly found are Pintos (in the Border States)... Bayos & Flor de Mayo (both similar to Pintos but lighter tan color, different pattern & less starchy) rule Central Mexico... and then Black Beans (less starchy than what we get in the U.S.) rule Southern Mexico.

                              2. re: Alcachofa

                                Agreed. Black beans with epazote and cotija.

                            2. re: bostonbroad

                              I keep forgetting that Tacos El Charro is still open. I heard they were going to close years ago, but they seem to keep chugging along. Thanks for reminding me of this decent Mexican place in JP.

                            3. Just as a confirmation of my love, I ate at Angela's today. I had all of the chalkboard appetizers and the Mole, but with pork. Wow. Gorditas, Pulled Beef Tacos, Soupe Azteca, Guacamole, Chicken Flautas, and many more treats. A slightly excessive but incredible meal (with 2 dc). Total bill, $57. Less than 20 bucks a head for one of my favorite meals I've had in Boston. Please go.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: BeantownHound

                                Angela's is amazing, I echo what everyone has said here....we ate there a few weekends ago and the mole was truly outstanding...

                                I was, however, NOT blown away by the guacamole. I suppose this could be because I make my own guac and I love how I make it (sorry, not much humility here when it comes to my guac..)
                                Yes, it was created right in front of me (we sat at the bar) and no doubt it was fresh and the flavor of avacado shone through --I thought it could have used just a bit more kick -- --more lemon/lime maybe, a little more salt, and/or hot sauce? They certainly had all the ingredients but I felt it was just a bit restrained...I could have doctored it up myself but I felt sort of weird doing that since it was being made right in front of me. Am I the only hound that felt that way?

                                1. re: twentyoystahs

                                  i feel that way about my guacamole as well. :)
                                  i don't make alot of things well, but when it comes to guacamole, i do.
                                  what do you put in yours if you don't mind sharing?

                                  1. re: daylight

                                    Hi folks - pardon the interruption, but if you want to exchange tips on making guacamole, please start a thread on the Home Cooking board, as that discussion is off topic here. You're welcome to post a pointer to such a thread if you wish to.

                                    Thanks!

                                  2. re: twentyoystahs

                                    Back to Angela's, when our guacamole was served they brought over two types of hotsauce in small dishes at the same time.

                                    I liked that preparation, since we could try it simply as presented, and then add to it. What really stood out was the deliciousness of the avocados, and I didn't use the hot sauces as much as I might have otherwise.

                                    In hindsight, I should have ordered more, just to play around with the possibilities.

                                    My guess is that they would be happy to see you bring it to your taste preference, and would provide the ingredients!

                                    1. re: chowfamily

                                      Hmm. We did not get the hot sauces with the guac. I do remember getting those little small dishes of hot sauce, but i think it was with the apps or entrees we ordered.
                                      I think good guac has either lemon or lime (whatever your preference, i think angela's uses lime, which is more common --i like lemon, myself); hot sauce (i use frank's); lotsa garlic; and salt. I add chunks of plum tomato too.

                                    2. re: twentyoystahs

                                      Very good tableside Guac at Ole Mexican Grill in Cambridge as well.

                                    3. re: BeantownHound

                                      That's pretty amazing (what you got for the money), considering it would cost almost that much in Austin! Man, you sure have my mouth watering; I'm heading for the kitchen!

                                    4. TAQUERIA DEL SOL, 55 Everett Avenue Chelsea, MA Telephone: 617-887-2588
                                      Hidden Gem!!.
                                      Their sign outside reads "Authentic Mexican restaurant". It was highly recommended by a girl that lives around the corner.
                                      Open 7 days a week. Very small place and very casual neighborhood stop. (Music a little to loud for me though).
                                      Not a huge menu selection. Nothing fancy on the menu.
                                      I found our meals fresh and delicious.
                                      We Loved it!! As for Mexican food, I am not a fan of American/Mexican (like On the Border) and I love Mexican food so it was a treat to do a road trip to a place with the words Authentic in their name.
                                      We ordered soft tacos plate and puposas plate (like a pancake) stuffed with meat & cheese, offerred with red sauce and coleslaw, mexican style.

                                      Located off of Route 16.
                                      I was expecting to see chips and salsa put on our table, but that wasnt the case.
                                      (maybe where the Authentic comes in?). I think they can offer it, but didnt see anyone else with it on their tables nor did I see it on the menu. But I read a review somewhere and someone mentions their chips made of tortillas.
                                      We chatted with the Owner who was very pleasant. Looking foward to going their again. Hope you enjoy it like we did.

                                      1. I still like my Tacos Lupita. $6 - three tacos - a pile of rice and beans - yum!

                                        First time to Angela's last week - they did not have any non-blackboard specials that y'all have been touting. :(

                                        The mole converted me - I have never been terribly enthusiastic about it elsewhere, sort of a "I don't get it" reaction, but I had a "so this is what it's supposed to taste like!" moment at Angela's. Incredibly rich, complex and light! - all the other moles I've had were so ... heavy....

                                        For the record, the rest of my DCs pretty much got standard fare - burritos and such - and pronounced them to be the best they've ever had. So don't let all this talk about tunnelling rodents, flutes and "Mexican broccoli" scare off the less-adventurous.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                          What do hounds make of the Taqueria La Mexicana remodel? I was there last week, first time since the completion of the expansion into the old Irish Eyes space.

                                          Now you have to choose between take-out and waitress service, no more order at the counter action. The result seemed to be a menu-wide price increase and the enchilada plate (my fave) was thin on the sauce. What a shame, but I hope it was a blip.

                                          They have a full bar in there now it seems, so it would be logical that food is going to run later than it used to, which will be good.

                                          1. re: chickendhansak

                                            The servers are dinner only. The rest of the day is counter service. They haven't completely revealed the new menu, as they are nervous and acting cautiously. It will have more seafood appetizers, mixed gorditas and grilled steaks and fish.

                                            1. re: almansa

                                              My anecdote comes from a mid-afternoon Saturday visit, 2-3 p.m. FWIW.

                                              New menu sounds good.

                                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                            Bob - The "non-blackboard specials" have become the regular printed menu! The mole, for example, was one of these....

                                          3. i have also been looking for good mexican places.
                                            my thing is, they have to have refried beans.
                                            let me clarify even further, they have to be PINTO refried beans.
                                            i once ordered a side of refried beans at this place down in the fenway area (forget the name, it's known for it's tacos i guess...) and they gave me black bean refried beans which tasted kinda burnt and gross.

                                            so i've posted on several different boards regarding mexican places, and angela's seems to be most people's favorite.
                                            i still need to get there someday, somehow.

                                            i've also noticed so many places that sound really good, but are outside of boston/cambridge area.
                                            so it'd be a bit hard for me to get to since i don't drive.
                                            i guess if they're THAT good, it'd be worth trying to find my way out to some of those places.
                                            are they T accessible, such as the place in winthrop, waltham, lawrence?

                                            my boyfriend sometimes gets a zip car though, to do errands.
                                            so maybe that's when we could try some of the places.
                                            on one occassion we went to a place called el tapatio, or tapatio's or something in rhode island, and they had the best chimichangas!

                                            have you tried burrito express?
                                            i like them.
                                            (they also have really good fries, funnily enough...)
                                            i also really like andale'. good mole tortas. and they're super huge too!
                                            they have pinto beans, but not refried...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: daylight

                                              Taqueria Mexico in Waltham is just off the #70 bus route, which runs very frequently out of Central Square, and they have excellent refried beans. Yes, they're pintos.

                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                Another vote for Taqueria Mexico and the refrieds. Really good!

                                            2. Tacos Lupita on Highland in Somerville. Not much atmosphere - Its a lunch place, but they make a mean gordita...

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: grant.cook

                                                Actually on Elm Street. The source of my favorite torta in town -- carne asada and some pretty excellent two-bite tacos. One of the best, IMHO.

                                                -----
                                                Aguacate Verde
                                                13 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                1. re: grant.cook

                                                  On Elm a block from its terminus at Somerville Avenue.
                                                  It's open for lunch and dinner.

                                                  1. re: grant.cook

                                                    It's actually on Elm, and it's open for dinner too (same menu). I agree about the gordita.

                                                    1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                      I got a chorizo burrito and a roast pork burrito at Tacos Lupita on Saturday. The chorizo burrito was a little spicy/hot but very tasty. The roast pork burrito was very good and my favorite burrito at Tacos Lupita. Both burritos were freshly made and you can taste the difference compared to the burritos at the fast food places.

                                                      1. re: buffet king

                                                        There is nothing like a taco at taco lupita when one of the woman is making the tortillas to order. When she is creating them fresh, I always get a gordita. A million dollar flavor for under $4.

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          TL is a top site, my joint fave in the area, but don't go rocking over there for "dinner" at 9 p.m. because it'll be closed.

                                                  2. going to Tu y Yo tonight.
                                                    i'm excited about it since it seems to be a favorite amongst a few people.
                                                    i looked at the menu and i think this is what i'm getting:

                                                    for app & salad:
                                                    Tostadas de Pollo con Mole Negro
                                                    Crispy mini corn tortillas topped with chicken & mole negro.

                                                    Tu Y Yo
                                                    Lettuce, tomatoes, fresh cheese and cilantro dressing.
                                                    (i'm gonna see if they can add avocado)

                                                    main course:
                                                    Cochinita Pibil ( María Ruz Viuda de Espinosa 1908)
                                                    Shredded boneless pork loin, marinated in a sauce made of paprika, orange, garlic onions and spices.

                                                    or maybe this one. i can't decide...
                                                    Bisteces "Mamá Evelia" (Evelia Gómez Viuda de Guzmán 1930)
                                                    Angus chopped tender sirloin sautéed in onion and "tomatillo-chipotle" sauce

                                                    i saw alot of cactus stuff.
                                                    my mom loves the stuff. i don't.
                                                    and has anyone tried any of the grasshopper dishes? YIKES!!!
                                                    (i hope this isn't off topic... sorry if it is)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: daylight

                                                      If done right, cochinita pibil is a great dish. Ate so much in MX, that I learned to cook it myself..with a few modifications...for another board.,:) Don't recall Tu y Yo's version.

                                                      http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

                                                      I remember liking a c(h)uitlacoche dish..on the menu..spelled with a "c" crepa/salsa poblano..under apps.

                                                      1. re: 9lives

                                                        so, had the cochinita pibil and it was awesome.
                                                        the reason why i decided to go with this dish is that the last time i tried it i was 11 years old and my parents took me to guatemala.
                                                        it was my first experience with it and i fell in love. i ate it the whole time we were there.
                                                        but never saw it again. maybe once or twice somewhere but i can't recall.
                                                        i'm 30 now, and finally decided to try it again.
                                                        it didn't taste the same as when i had it at 11, but it was quite delicious!
                                                        so flavorful and tender.
                                                        i loved the tu y yo salad too.
                                                        just lettuce tomatoes cheese and cilantro dressing.
                                                        it's the dressing i loved the most.
                                                        definitely my new authentic favorite restaurant out here.
                                                        unfortunately we didn't have room for dessert...
                                                        next time!

                                                        oh yeah, and the jalapenos stuffed with chicken and served with a tomatillo sauce were awesome too!!!

                                                    2. Another vote for Angela's. I'm a Firefighter assigned to a firehouse in East Boston. I've been there for 10 years and oh how I've longed for good mexican in Eastie. We go there now pretty much everyday for lunch. The people are very friendly and the food is incredible. It's far and away the most authentic Mexican in the area (and I think I've tried them all.) Don't miss anything with the mole poblano or the verde sauce.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: firewrx612

                                                        Could you say more about which verde/green sauce you love? The salsa verde? (more a sauce then a chunky salsa - which is offered on gorditas and other dishes?) Pipian verde?(I forget the many ingredients in this, but I believe sesame seeds and cilantro? maybe? are the two "signature" ingredients - served w/chicken, maybe pork..) Or the wonderful cilantro (?)/tomatillo sauce with shrimp? (OK, now I have to re-do my weekend plans to eat there again! Soon!)

                                                        1. re: fredid

                                                          On the recommendations of those posting here. I've tried Andale, Tacos Lupita & Villa Mexico within the last week - to see what I've been missing. All were as good as the Chowhounders have suggested.

                                                          While I think Andale deserves the praise it gets, my porc burrito tasted sweet - flavored w/ apple-juice? - and the mole sauce was smokier (but not aggressive) The workers are El Salvadoran, if that's any hint. The portion was generous but easily digested, the price very reasonable, and the atmosphere is gringo. It's a very safe Mexican, easy to digest but nothing exciting however. (Exciting for me is grasshoppers at Tu y Yo, fwiw.)

                                                          Tacos Lupita is less gringo joint and a real destination - so its favored by Somerville locals, Latin academic types, and moms with groups of small kids. I find this El Salvadoran cuisine abit greasier, savory - authentic comfort food that tastes & feels more authentic than the bland Tex-Mex of Qdoba (by comparison.) It's much cheaper than other 'Mexican' places I've tried - and its got enough on the menu to keep you experimenting and testing new things. My gordita seemed ridiculously cheap for the huge portion.

                                                          Villa Mexico (strictly take-out) has lots of character and a cult following - it's a tiny kitchen space in gas station convenience store that can be erratic (and mamacita is overworked!) Her homemade salsas are killer, and the menu is amazingly diverse for such a small operation. I ate a very rich tostada - and I intend to check off a few other offerings in coming weeks. Grad student foodies from the nabe (and hipsters from elsewhere) flock to this joint - so abit of patience is required at feeding time. OTOH, by its proximity to the Charles, this would be the perfect option on a summer eve, to enjoy a quiet moment & some chow down by the River. It will be crazy on those film nights - bet everyone gets the same idea.

                                                          1. re: beacon_hill_boy

                                                            //Grad student foodies from the nabe (and hipsters from elsewhere) flock to this joint//

                                                            Oh good Lord, what have I done?

                                                          2. re: fredid

                                                            Sorry. I was talking about the tomatillo/onion/cilantro green sauce on the enchiladas.

                                                        2. I've only been to Mexico once, but lived in CA for years. Around here I'm a long-time fan of El Sarape (Braintree / Weymouth Landing).

                                                          And when it comes to salsa, should I be ashamed to admit I love Trader Joe's Salsa Verde? Very tasty.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: musicman

                                                            Another vote for El Sarape. In addition to the great food, the staff couldn't be more hospitable...

                                                            1. re: annlaw

                                                              ditto here...the closest thing I've found to the Mission district in SF...but don't go if you're having a birthday...

                                                          2. I like Mi Pueblito in East Boston. Try their beef soup on weekdays and seafood soup on weekends. It's authentic and good because 99.99% of their clientelle is Hispanics and the wait during peak times is horrendous.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: joebloe

                                                              Personally, I was impressed by Mexico Lindo in Melrose. I had the Pork "Al Pastor" and the tacos were light, more like crepes, so I didn't walk out of there disgustingly full. The vinegar-based pork recipe was excellent. Plus this was Cinco de Mayo, and I never saw two bartenders work so hard or crank out so many mixological wonders in the space of two hours!

                                                              1. re: letseat714

                                                                For some reason Mexico Lindo was touted to me as one of the greatest places for Mexican food, but everything Ive had there has been somewhat flavorless, and just not particularly appetizing. I went twice- I wont go back.

                                                            2. I went to Taqueria El Amigo and it was pretty awesome the waitress was real friendly and the food was outstanding. I got chicken mini tacos squeezed a lil lime on them and i was in heaven.

                                                              1. Let a thousand flowers bloom...but most of the places touted here are great IF you like Mexican food from El Salvador or Los Angeles. If you want Tex-Mex that will bring you back to Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio then you have one choice and that's Taqueria Mexicana (and the new restaurant Cantina Mexicana) in Somerville. The tamales are to die for, the fresh salsa has real kick (not the Pace ketchup you get in most places in Boston), and the pork tacos will make you beg for the marinade recipe. The restaurant has additional (higher end) fare (try the steak with grilled avocado) and killer jalapeno margaritas. I've tried almost every place mentioned on this board and find most of them pretty mediocre in my view.