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Jul 6, 2008 06:46 AM

Mexican food in Saratoga Springs, NY

Hi all,

Just wondering what the general consensus was on the Mexican places in SS.

So far I've only been to Cantina and wasn't all that impressed. The dish I had (spicy shrimp tacos) was okay, and I thought their serving sizes were rather paltry.

What's the Chow scoop on Leon's and Mexican Connection?

I'm not looking for authentic, just fresh, yummy (not greasy or heavy) and reasonably priced will do.


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  1. Hello,

    Sadly, the tri-city area and Saratoga Springs seem to be a desolate area for Mexican Cuisine. At least, that is the opinion my friend who was raised on native mexican food has come too.

    Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, I've heard good things about Carmen's in Troy. Except, it is cuban food. One does what one can.

    1. Leon's and MC are basically bad Tex-Mex. Amigo's Cantina in Schuylerville is quite good, though.

      5 Replies
      1. re: gerchak

        Thanks Gerchak. That's not too far away either.
        I'll go check it sometime soon.

        I also read/heard about a place in Ballston Spa. I think it's Sunset Cafe or something like that. Have you been there?

        1. re: EllieLA

          Morning Ellie, not being a fan of mexican, I can say I do not look for it. My friends who are talk about El Loco in Albany and I am not sure about the other spot but I think it is called Mexican Radio. When I used to work in the resto business there was always talk of a great place in Hudson Falls. I have heard good things about the schuylerville place as well....

          1. re: jspear

            As a former Texan, I can say El Loco is neither traditional nor very good. Mexican Radio is in Hudson, no where near Saratoga , and has interesting and innovative food, as long as you're comfortable paying NYC prices for Mexican food (which seems oxymoronic to me.)

          2. re: EllieLA

            Sunset Cafe has some nice food but it's really "Southwestern" rather than Mexican.

            1. re: gerchak

              Here's the link to El Mexicano in Hudson Falls-very good place:


              Mexican Radio, also excellent, is in Hudson, south of Albany.

        2. I do not think Mexican Connection's food is bad. I have been a customer there for over 20 years and while slightly overpriced for Mexican, I enjoy going there. Their margaritas are good, complimentary chips and salsa, and generous portion sizes. They do a good year round business in Saratoga and have a loyal clientele, so while they may not be the best Mexican compared to other areas, they are obviously pleasing to some people. I would give them a try and see what you think.

          6 Replies
          1. re: yellowlablover

            Wow, this topic hasn't been discussed since last year.
            Since then, El Mexicano has opened a second location in Saratoga Springs.

            I have been there several times and think it's fantastic. The food is fresh and flavorful and everything I've ordered has been amazing.

            The only drawback I think, is that they don't have their liquor license yet. It hasn't stopped me from going, but I know it's been an issue for some.

            Has anyone been here? Thoughts?

            1. re: EllieLA

              I thought it was mediocre and overpriced, but have only been once and will try it again. I thought the same of El Mariachi, confirmed by 2 more visits. I like the creativity of Cantina and I love Amigo's in Schuylerville, the best Mex around.

              1. re: gerchak198

                I'm certainly not an expert Gerchak198, but I did live in SoCal for many years and had great Mexican food there. This place measures up really well.

                I overheard a woman at another table who said she lived for many years in the Southwest, and the food at El Mexicano was excellent.

                If you do try it again, I hope you enjoy it. Pop back here and let us know.

                1. re: gerchak198

                  Just ate at Cantina last night. "Seared" tuna was blackened, the chicken in the tostada was so salty i couldn't really tell weather it was chicken or pork, the refried pinto beans--if they had any flavor at all--tasted like slightly burned mud, and the bluefin tacos needed an extra lime squeezed on them to get rid of that not-so-fresh smell. i tried their duck taquito a couple of weeks ago--now i think they must've fried that taquito in the same nasty oil as the bluefin. the upside, very friendly waitress, pretty good margaritas and the chips and salsa was delicious, at least compared to other really bad offerings. saratoga needs better food!

              2. re: yellowlablover

                We went to Mexican Connection last night. Me for the first time. When it comes to Mexican food I'm a San Diego, "not in the East" snob. I admit it. We all have our shortcomings :)

                Service was very good. Chile relleno was decent. Guac was okay (not the usual commercial mash), my preference is for a chunkier style. Even better when it's made tableside. Margaritas were very good.
                SO had the steak fajitas and I had an enchilada platter. The chicken enchilda and beans were good. Appreciate all the vegetarian menu choices. Portions were huge and prices were reasonable.

                Mexican Connection
                41 Nelson Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

              3. News flash: A new mexican restaurant opened recently IN Saratoga Springs on southern Broadway called "Mexicana" - You can find it easily not by it's sign (I think it's WAY too small) but by the bright green wall. Hoping to go their after racing season's over.
                Give it a try!

                4 Replies
                1. re: shihtzuattitude

                  It's El Mexicano, which was already discussed.

                  1. re: gerchak198

                    Just returned from a month in SS (working, sad to say). Ate at El Mariachi twice, first time was OK, so went back for more. Won't return. Really bad. leons and MC I gave up on years ago. Didn't try the new on on S. Bway. Off topic,but had a not so bad meal at the new Chinese place Shanghai Grill. Only had vegetarian dishes so can't vouch for the meat/seafood/fowl ones. YoYo Ma ate there wheen he performed with the PO so if he can, I figuered why not?

                    1. re: Stuartmc910

                      Hi Stuart,

                      In regards to your off-topic, I read a few bad comments on local boards about Shanghai Grill, so I probably won't venture there. Their main location is supposed to be so good, so I don't get why the SS one isn't. Hope YoYo Ma fared better than others who ate there.

                      If you come back to SS and try El Mexicano and let us know what you think.

                      1. re: EllieLA

                        I have had several good meals at Shanghai Grill, favorite being Peking Duck! Went to El Mexicano again, since everyone seemed so surprised that I thought it was mediocre. Same old mess swimming in cheese and wet beans. Tamales just plain bad. Maybe everyone is seduced by the mini-quesadilla amuse-bouche, and the free dessert chimichanga (neither one of which did I want). Expensive and empty as well.

                2. You should try Leon's, it is owned by an old jockey and is great!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kailin

                    Leon's discussed repeatedly above. Read before posting. Leon's is not very good.

                    1. re: gerchak198

                      I tried Leon's this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Prices were very reasonable. chips and salsa were complimentary but quality was superb. The chips had clearly just been fried and the salsa was fresh and flavorful with just a hint of spice. The guacamole was also top notch. I had the Mexican style steak tacos with cilantro, sweet onions and pico de gallo. My date had the chicken flautas which I tried and they were out of this world dipped in sour cream and guacamole. Both dinners arrived piping hot with authentic Mexican rice and refried beans. Service was friendly, attentive and on point. Prices were very reasonable. Our entrees were 13 and 12 dollars and came with all the fixings. Margaritas were large, frothy and refreshing and only 3 dollars for happy hour. Leon came around and checked on us which was cool. All in all it's a special place I'm glad we found it. One thing I would've liked to have seen is XX amber on draft.

                      135 Crescent St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

                      1. re: morrisongreen

                        Just ate dinner at Leon's in Saratoga; it's been a couple of years since I was last there. It was delicious, and very well-priced. Pork in green chili sauce and chicken chimichangas were both first rate!