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MSP Authentic Mexican and Margaritas?

Has anyone found a good authentic mexican place that also has good margaritas? We'd
prefer the Mpls/St.Paul area though I know there are some good places in the far flung
suburbs. I know Boca Chica, La Cucaracha and El PAtio in St. Paul but none are my favorites food wise. Any new places? What's you favorite thing to order?

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  1. Fantastic question--I can't wait to hear some answers. My one experience at Boca Chica was miserable, alas. La Cucaracha and and El Patio, as you say, are pretty ho hum, though, to be fair I've not been to La Cucaracha in awhile, and not since they started sourcing organic ingredients. I really wish El Patio were better because it's such a treat to dine outdoors this time of year and their patio is really lovely. Someone recently (diesel I think? said their nachos are pretty good.) Another place in a similar category of food, though, slightly better than all those places in my mind, that has margaritas is Pepito's on Chicago in Minneapolis. I really really love their salsa--smooth and smokey. And their chile rellenos are pretty good. Not a universally good menu--just great salsa and the occasional gem. It can get pretty crowded, too, but if I want a margarita and to get my salsa fix, it's where I go.

    I have dined at A La Salsa in MGMkt a couple of times now and they have margaritas. I would call the food a step above all of the places mentioned above. But, my dream would be Taqueria Los Ocampo with table service and margaritas. Do they offer than in any of their locations, I wonder (I wish!)?

    ~TDQ

    7 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      TDQ, your comments are the hight of hopefulness. I LOVE Los Ocampo, but lets get serious. Margaritas? lets wait for them to work up to non-plastic "silver"ware. I would love to find a place where i have to bring my own fork and knife that also has a bar, if only because it would be a hilarious combo.

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        Well, a gal can dream. :) La Sirena Gorda in MGMkt doesn't offer margaritas does it?

        ~TDQ

      2. re: The Dairy Queen

        Clarification: It was La Cucaracha whose nachos I said were pretty good.

        I haven't tried the nachos at El Patio. And I probably never will because all three times I've been there the service has been astoundingly bad. Even if I got the urge to go back, and order the nachos, I would probably be served something else, with no apology or bill adjustment to ameliorate the situation. (Can you tell I'm bitter? Hee hee.)

        I don't know what you consider a "good margarita," but to me it's made with fresh lime juice (no commercial mixes allowed!), a nice tequila, and something sweet (Cointreau when I make them at home), served on the rocks with salt. I know of a few places that serve a margarita along those lines, but none of them are Mexican restaurants. I hope someone knows of a place that fits the bill! What a heavenly combo that would be!

        1. re: diesel

          Ha! Yes. It was La Cucaracha you mentioned that has the great nachos--I don't know how I got that twisted up because in my mind, I remember it quite clearly. I'm so glad you spoke up as I wouldn't want someone running to the wrong place.

          I pretty much agree with your assessment of El Patio, except that I'd be willing to brave their lousy service as long as I could sit on their lovely patio with beverage in hand if the food were good, but the lousy service combined with the lousy food is just too much.

          And, P.S. I don't know if any of the places mentioned thus far have "good" margaritas--I think I was just trying to think of places that have margaritas at all. Good ones would be a whole other level. I'm embarrassed to admit I like the margaritas at Green Mill. I don't know if they meet your standards, diesel, or not. But, they don't serve Mexican food at all, so they definitely don't meet cherrylime's request.

          ~TDQ

        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          I must agree, if Los Ocampo had maragaritas and a patio...dear lord I'd never leave. I'm imagining a giant patio with white sand and a guy who brings my either a haurache or a margarita every 10 minutes.

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Masa downtown Mpls .. The best and most interesting real Mexican in town. Margaritas are made with top shelf spirts .. large selection of margaritas. The menu has outstanding Mexican seafood options.

            1. re: Maggie19

              Nice menu... reads just like a typical mid-level city restaurant in Mexico.

              http://www.masa-restaurant.com/MASA_d...

          2. I love El Paraiso on 35th and Nicollet for seafood dishes and ceviche. They also have a little outdoor patio which makes it nice for summer dining, although it's on a pretty busy intersection. I've never had the margaritas, though they do have a liquor license.
            I've been happy with the margaritas and food at Pancho Villa, also on Nicollet. However, I'm not much of a margarita afficionado.

            7 Replies
            1. re: drew13000

              Thanks for the reminder on El Paraiso. Someone said once they had a nice Sunday brunch, but the couple of times I tried to go on Sunday mornings, they were closed and I kind of gave up (half-hearted hound, I am, I know). Do you know any thing about their Sunday brunches? If they're still good and what time they start?

              ~TDQ

              1. re: drew13000

                I love El Pariso and they have great Margaritas. One thing to note is that most of their non-seafood items are ho-hum, but the seafood stuff is great. I highly recommend both the ceviche and the seafood cocktails.

                Of course, I may be biased, I can see the restaurant from my dining room, so when I don't want to cook, I look out the window and say, let's walk down to El Parisio.

                1. re: churchka

                  Churchka, can you describe El Pariso's Sunday brunch? How is it? When is it available, etc?

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Oh, I know nothing about the Sunday Brunch. I haven't eaten there on a Sunday, we usually go to Pagoda.

                    1. re: churchka

                      Pagoda does a Sunday brunch? I'd love to hear about that, if you feel like posting about it. Sounds intriguing!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        No, we just eat lunch there after church. It is a couple blocks from church and opens at 11:00. Sorry for all the confusion.

                        1. re: churchka

                          Sounds lovely! Thanks for the info!

                          ~TDQ

              2. One of my cousins did a stint in a Minneapolis factory... told me about a place that served Bluegill Tacos during Fish Fry Fridays.... anybody have an idea what place this might be... apparently it was as good as Mexican can get given MSP's ingredient limitations.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  I've always kind of had a soft spot for Pepito's too..true not the most authentic
                  but I do like their food and love their salsa. Los Ocampos with margaritas! Yes that'd be perfect. For now I'll have to settle for take out and going to the mexican market nearby (on Payne ave.. Bymore I think? They also have a small amount of deli stuff, carnitas etc) and getting the 15 limes for a dollar and making the margs at home to have with our Los Ocampos..Squeezing all those limes gets tedious but it's kind of a nice ritual too..

                  -----
                  Bymore
                  857 Payne Ave, St Paul, MN

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Hmmm...sounds delicious, but I haven't heard of such a place. I'm hopeful that someone might know. The Red Stag Supper Club apparently offers bluegill for its FFF. http://www.redstagsupperclub.com/pdf/... Does anyone know if they are in taco form? Red Stag's pretty new, though, so depending on when your cousin was here, it's doubtful this was the place s/he referred to.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Hmmm...I've done some more googling and searching through my personal archives and can't find any mention of bluegill tacos... Eat Nopal, perhaps you can ask your cousin the name of the place next time you have a chance? We'd love to hear his/her other Twin Cities tips, even second hand!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        My couisin is now living in Cancun, doing the 3 jobs to live in paradise thing... I will send him an e-mail but he is hard to get in touch with.

                        I googled Mojarra Minneapolis and found some good reviews of Vallartas... sounds promising.

                    2. Salsa a La Salsa on Nicollet has a nice selection of menu choices .. fresh ingredients. Margs are good, nothing like Masa however. El Burrito Mercado in St Paul is excellent and authentic, just beers and wines, no margs.

                      1. I haven't tried the margaritas there, but Indio has excellent authentic Mexican. It's more upscale than most of the places you list, probably similar in quality and price to Masa, listed in a prior reply.

                        The place is only a couple of months old and impressed me a lot on my Mother's Day visit.