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Mexican food in the Balto burbs

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Is there any place (non-chain, please) for decent Mexican food in the north suburbs of Baltimore? We're certainly willing to trek into the city a bit if there is someplace great in Mt. Washington, Belvedere Square, etc.

We tried Mari Luna's on Reisterstown Rd in Pikesville. It was good, but not great food.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. Fiesta Mexicana
    8304 Philadelphia Rd, Rosedale,MD 21237
    410 686-0134

    They are next door to a hair salon. Fiesta Mexicana prepares authentic Mexican food to order. It is not a fancy place - they started mostly as a take out place but are starting to add tables/booths. It's a very Mom and Pop type of small Mexican restaurant and the prices are reasonable and the food is very good. I just ate there this evening and had the best item I have had since I've been going there (I've probably been there close to a dozen times) - Tortas which is a Mexican sub that had chicken, cheese, tomatos, onions, avocados, lettuce, cilantra and - I told them to hold the jalapenos. It was just fantastic. They also have excellent fresh home made guacamole dip served with chips out of a bag.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Whitemarshjohn

      Thanks so much for the posts on Fiesta Mexiana! Three of us went last night and proclaimed it by far the best Mexican food we've had in Baltimore. I lived and worked in Mexico for a number of years, and my daughter's friend goes there every summer, so we are not novices, and have been very disappointed with previous Mexican restaurants. Fiesta's owner Maria Guadalupe and her husband were absolutely wonderful - when I called to see if they would be open past 8:00 pm, they said they would wait for us. Maria G. explained the dishes in detail to the two college girls and was very enthusiastic about the quality of their food. She and her husband spoke to us frequently during our meal there to check on how we felt about degree of heat, etc. (just right in my enchiladas - on the hot side, and just right in the quesadillas - mild). We had an order of nachos with half beef, half chicken - perfectly fresh, chopped fresh cilantro on top, and delectable. Also ordered guacamole which she made fresh in front of us. Salsas were true Mexican, not Chi-Chi's style - several varieties. I ordered enchiladas verdes, best I've eaten since living in Saltillo, Mexico. Topped it off with a Mexican Tamarind soda - try it if you never have, it is the perfect complement. Daughter and her friend both had chicken quesadillas, totally unlike anything labeled a "quesadilla" they've had. Lots of extremely fresh food, flavors were truly authentic and the family was great. I told them to open an outlet in the Lutherville area and they'd be overwhelmed with customers! We will definitely go back, soon, and take friends. If you're looking for the real thing, not Americanized versions of Mexican food, don't hesitate to make the drive to Fiesta Mexicana. Just save us a table!

    2. I like Mazatlan on Joppa Road, just south of Harford Road.

      3 Replies
      1. re: crosby_p

        Joppa Road runs pretty much east-west. Would that be east of Harford Rd.?

        1. re: Hal Laurent

          Yes.

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            I am direction-challenged in this city...it is towards Perry Perry Hall..Sorry!

        2. second that recommendation for Fiesta Mexicana. Truly authentic Mexican food by a couple hailing from Mexico Çity. I live in Cockeysville and trek there at least once a week.

          5 Replies
          1. re: onocoffee

            Thanks for the recommendations, y'all! Do you know if Fiesta Mexicana is open for lunch at all? I live in Lutherville, but work in Rosedale (FSH) and lunch choices are often very limited (too many chain/fast food restaurants).

            1. re: trillgirl

              What about el Salto on Joppa Road/Perring Parkway? I've been a few times and have been very pleased.

              1. re: trillgirl

                It is open for lunch. I have gone there a few times. The owner is incredibly friendly and sweet. And he sometimes gives me free candy!

                1. re: trillgirl

                  trillgirl-
                  Fiesta Mexicana is open for lunch and they recently opened on Sundays.

                  As to whether you'll like a particular restaurant really depends on you and your tastes. I've tried numerous "Mexican" places around this city and find that most of them just do not satisfy. Too "gringo" for my tastes - meaning that the food has been watered down to a lower standard: ketchup-y salsa, shredded lettuce and cheese on lame tacos, that kind of thing.

                  For my palate, I prefer more "authentic" and "traditional" Mexican food. Food that emulates or recreates what you eat in Mexico instead of the Americanized translation. That means corn tortillas and simple lime and guacamole on my tacos, quesadillas that are fried and wrapped in corn masa like an empanada, tortas that are hollowed out breads filled with tasty goodness.

                  For those that just love and adore places like Los Portales, El Salto and the more TexMex or TacoBell/Chi Chi's/Holy Frijoles kind of "Mexican", the places that I prefer will probably not appeal to them.

                  1. re: onocoffee

                    see ya at the taco truck!

              2. Definitely try El Salto in North Plaza shopping center, just a stone's throw from Fiesta Mexicana I guess from the location of it (I've never been to FM, but must check it out!). Killer chile rellenos at El Salto - the best! Get El Numero Treinta (#30): two rellenos and a burrito, plus a margarita on the rocks with salt. Yum yum.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Montebello

                  I'm sort of on the fence regarding El Salto. I've been there quite few times because it's close and cheap. I would recommend trying something a bit more adventurous than their standard tex/mex food.

                  While it is in the city, my favorite is Holy Frijoles in Hampden. Which is close to both Mt. Washington and Belvedere Square. I've become a bit of a margarita snob and Holy Frijoles is one of two places that I will order a margarita from (the other being Geckos in Canton/Fells Point). I have never had a bad meal there. The nachos are addictive. They added a larger section a few years ago, so it is no longer the cramped space it once was.

                  Also, we tried Zen West (which is a block away from Belvedere Square) a while back and weren't impressed. They had just opened when we tried it, so it may have improved since then.

                  1. re: Montebello

                    I like El Salto for three reasons:
                    1) Kid-friendly
                    2) Liquor License
                    3) Tacos de Carne Asada, only I thing i will eat there.

                  2. El Salto is cheap, but it's not really any more Mexican than many of the chains. I do go there quite a bit because it's close and they really are very kid-friendly.

                    Zen West has gotten better but isn't really Mexican, either. They have Shiner Bock, though.

                    I like Fiesta Mexicana. I also like Mazatlan but their hours seem kind of inconsistent.

                    Kiko's on Belair Rd in Perry Hall is decent. Los Amigos in Hamilton is pretty good, similar to El Salto.

                    None of these are particularly excellent, but they're all decent and most of them are decent value.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: uac1530

                      Sadly, Kiko's has (or will be soon) closed.

                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        I ate there once and thought it was pretty good.

                    2. I think El Salto is terrible from the powdered mix tasting Margaritas to the ketchup like bland salsa. Yick!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hon

                        This is true, the salsa sucks.

                        1. re: uac1530

                          They have a hotter salsa you have to ask for which is much hotter but doesn't offer much taste.

                          1. re: hon

                            The chile d'Arbol salsa that comes with the Tacos El Salto is really good (and quite picante). I've never tried to order it by itself (I only know it has chiles d'Arbol in it 'cause I asked what was in it once...which wasn't easy with the language barrier).

                            1. re: Hal Laurent

                              I am sure thats what I had, I just found that it didn't have much flavor.

                      2. Da boys and I went to Fiesta Mexicana tonight - THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the recommendation to go there. We loved it. Authentic, freshly prepared and tasty.

                        I had the enchiladas with the verde sauce - tangy & spicy (wonderful!); son #1 had the flautas with beef and son #2 wolfed down two of the beef tacos. Took a piece of flan home for dessert later. I'm sure I'll be back there very soon. FYI, dinner hours are only until 8pm for now, so go early.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: trillgirl

                          Entonces tengo que irme a Fiesta Mexicans porque a me gusta comida tipica.

                        2. trillgirl,
                          Wow, I'm glad you and your family enjoyed Fiesta Mexicana - I value your opinion since you have eaten at Mari Luna's and their food is concidered to be really good by many. It seems that each time I go to Fiesta Mexicana they seem to get busier and buiser which I'm happy to see since the the Husband and Wife are such nice people and work so hard to put out great food. Their Torta's ( I think I spelled that right) which is the little sub/sandwich is just out of this world - I love the chicken one.

                          1. for people on the south side of baltimore burbs in the howard county area, you might want to give el azteca a try near the intersection of 108 and 32 near the auto park. they have a fantastic pork dish in a red chili sauce (asado de puerco) and the friend that recommended the place to us first swear by their chicken mole but im not a mole fan. just another small place in a strip mall next to a high's and definitely better than the chains around the columbia area.

                            1. Wow, I just drove past Mazatlan this evening - I'll have to try them because they are only about 5 minutes from my house. I drove past Kiko's and they had the big CLOSED sign in the window. It's so sad. Their food was suppose to be very good (I had only eaten there once) and the interior was really cute. I hope it's not a sign of the times.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                                Oh, we used to go to Mazatlan all the time!!! We love(d) that place. The only reason why we haven't been there in a while is that some time ago they changed their hours so that they closed earlier in the day and we could no longer make it there in time. Which is too bad, because it was by far our favorite Mexican place in the area (and run by a very nice gentleman and his family). I assume they're still operating at their same level of quality.

                              2. baltoellen,
                                A while back I told you that I was not sure if Fiesta Mexicana was worth driving over half an hour to go to, but I'm starting to gain the confidence to recomend the drive (at least to try it once). Again, it's nothing fancy - you go up to a counter and take the food back to one of a limited number of tables, but the more I hear about others going there with favorable reviews and the more I go there myself the more they gain my complete confidence.

                                1. Definitely seems like Fiesta Mexicana wins hands down according to this list. Im looking forward to trying it. I have to agree with Onocoffee when they say that many places around town just dont satisfy. I know this post was directed toward N. Baltimore burbs, but I want to speak to the Mexican experiences ive had so far in the city and area in general. Salto and Los Amigos are just mediocre. Holy Frijoles (in my neighborhood of Hampden) is just way over rated. Food is ok but not great-im not talking about mojitos, just straight up edibles. Loco Hombres is over-priced and boring. Went to Mari Posa once and was disappointed. El Patron on Charles St. was also a bomb. Its not to say that these places are terrible but theyre just not cutting it in my opinion. There was a decent place on Bel Air Rd but I think they closed within the last year. The best Mexican Ive had in the whole area is El Azteca down in Clarksville. Very high quality and straight up good.

                                  For a city the size of Baltimore, Im disappointed in its overall culinary quality. I think we tend to settle for alot of mediocrity here-either based on hype, atmosphere or just not knowing any better. A friend of mine whos a chef in CA even reported that this was mentioned in a national food magazine. Ive been doing alot of posts on this site recently regarding different types of food. I do think Baltimores tastes are improving but still hoping for better.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dws

                                    Be very aware if and when you eat at Los Amigos on Harford Rd. The owner has a tendency to place additional charges and overcharge on the ticket. This happened to me 3 different times ending with me returning to address the issue. The last time she overcharged me $14 and some change. As far as the food, it's good, not the best I;'ve had, but good. I just don't like being taken advantage of.

                                  2. If you're willing to go in to the city, El Guapito on Mulberry is fantastic.

                                    1. There's a new taco truck in the parking lot of the Sunoco gas station on the corner of Security Blvd and Rolling Rd (across from Security Mall.) The Sunoco is on the same corner as Las Vegas, FedEx Office, and Five Guys.

                                      I haven't been in the area during lunch time for a while, but I aways see the truck in the evenings (after I've already had dinner, of course.) I'm guessing they're also there for lunch. The menu I saw posted on the truck was only in Spanish, but it's not too hard to figure out what everything is. Has anyone tried it yet?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                                        Took the 10 second detour to see if the truck was there on my way out this morning. Wasn't expecting it to be there, but there it was. I read "Latin Food 2" and "Hyattsville" on the passenger side door of the truck. Not sure what the story is.

                                        In any case, I took a picture of the menu (attached). Here's a better upload that reads much clearer: http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/95...

                                         
                                      2. On Monday I enjoyed a dish of chicken tinga at Lilly's on Dobbin road in Columbia, It was served with yellow rice, side salad, fried plantains, and three very fresh corn tortillas.

                                        1. I'm a huge fan of Los Amigos! Never had the overcharging issue there, although I think the owner likes us because we have been to Peru and know a tiny bit (really tiny bit) about Peruvian food. Not sure if the Mexican is as authentic as the Peruvian, but everything I've had there has been delicious!

                                          I eat at Holy Frijoles quite a bit, just because it's the closest place that's decent and cheap (and I like the atmosphere.) Food is far from great, but better than most of our other local options! Zen West is practically inedible, Loco Hombre is only so-so and way overpriced, etc.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: torybug

                                            I don't like Holy Frijoles because I don't like being served food by dirty hippies. Loco Hombre is definitely overpriced and boring. When I was a child my mom and dad used to take me to La Hacienda all the time and I have good memories of that. It got worse as time went on and is closed now. But my mom and I are still looking for great Mexican, so I'm excited to take her to Fiesta Mexicana tomorrow for her birthday. It seems to be a favorite here. Thanks for the recommendation!