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Mexican food in the Balto burbs

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

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

        1. 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.

              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.