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Jun 9, 2008 11:47 AM

MSP- Looking for great Mexican food

Can anyone please suggest some really good Mexican restaurants. My father and I both love Mexican food and are always on the search for good ones but every time we try a new place we are disappointed. My father is a vegetarian so places with a lot of vegetarian items would be helpful. We used to love El Pariso but the last time we ate there it was not good at all. Neither of us like Pepitos and recently ate at Pancho Villa and found that bland. We do like Taco Morelos but are looking for more alternatives.

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  1. maxie,

    There are hundreds of Mexican restaurants in MSP. What is your definition of "good Mexican"? (Listing a few specific dishes will greatly enhance your response)

    I just had some outstanding tamales (pork and one sweet corn) and al pastor tacos at lunch today from the Mercado Central (at La Loma and Taqueria La Hacienda respectively). Photo of the beautiful crispy, juicy al pastor spit below. But without some specific input, this may not be what you're after.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MSPD

      Thanks for the input, added more info.

    2. Mexican and truly vegetarian is difficult. The authentic places usually have tastier food, but dishes often include lard (in beans, veggie tamales, etc.). So you're left with "Americanized" places, which often means bland or boring food. See this thread for more info:

      But if your dad is OK with lard or meat stock as a possible ingredient, see these threads for recommendations:

      And if Dad is a pesco-vegetarian (aka fish-eater), go to La Sirena Gorda at the Midtown Global Market. Great fish tacos!


      1. So, is this a downhill alert for Pancho Villa? I ate there recently, and virtually all the customers there were hipster gringos. Not a good sign. All I had was nachos, which were still quite tasty, but my fond memories of the place from last summer include amazingly spicy and flavorful seafood, delicious micheladas, terrific breakfast chilquiles.

        And you found them bland. Maybe you ordered the wrong thing? (let's hope)

        1. All the places I would suggest use lard in the beans and masa unfortunately.

          If your dad joins the land of the meat eaters though, I think the best in MPLS are Hacienda, Pinedas, Gorditas el Gordo, Taco Taxi, Los Ocampo, La Loma, Pollo Loco De Los Santos, and Manny's. If any of these places have something without animal in it, it would likely be Taco Taxi or Pinedas as they don't use fresh masa, but I wouldn't bet on it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Foureyes137

            I recently enjoyed some Happy Hour eats at Masa on NIcollet Mall. Prices are
            higher there, it's fancier, and the food is a bit more varied than many other
            places. I really liked the Arroz Verde- 'Green rice with jicama, apple and roasted poblano', and a fish taco- also had the black beans with Queso fresco cheese, found them too salty. Happy Hour prices made it painless to try several things- that green rice was something unlike anything I've ever had, a really nice combination of textures and flavors. They do have some interesting veggie entrees and sides. They are at www, . Let us know what you end up with-

          2. Last weekend we met our veggie friends at El Patio in St. Paul on W.7th. They are part of the Morelos chain, and we have had a few good meals there. They have three specific veggie items on the menu and I believe they don't use lard or stock in their beans or rice. I never asked, but I'm sure my friends did. Give them a call.

            I'm not going to say its the most "authentic" mexican, but there are always plenty of hispanic customers, which I generally take as a good sign.

            The patio is the overwhelming reason to go there, as is the 2for1 tap.

            So if you want a nice night out and good food, give it a try. We weren't dissapointed.