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Jul 29, 2008 11:20 PM

La Mexicana (Las Vegas)

This Mexican place (3675 S Decatur Blvd., between Flamingo and Sahara, right across the street from Bonita Michoacan) was my favorite new-to-me restaurant from my current trip. I have only begun to explore the menu but I tried every taco they make (the lengua stood out for me) and had a fantastic carnitas torta, the best torta I've ever had in Las Vegas. I tried a couple of the delicate but not celestial tamales, too.

Along with classic L.A. street food (including burritos and taquitos), La Mexicana offers eggs, menudo, and tripe). There are daily specials, although when they run out, they run out (I was too late for birria, a recurrent special, every time I went).When birria is available, they offer it in tacos as well as a plate with rice and beans. Unless alcohol is essential, I don't see much reason to go to a Michoacan restaurant for staples when the food is better and much cheaper.

Are there other fans of L.M. that can recommend other faves?

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  1. Are the tortillas hechos a mano? And what made the torta so good? I'm always into a great torta. Do they have a good salsa verde?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Debbie W

      What made the torta good? The carnitas here are delicate, and the sandwich was moist from the jus. I think these are homemade tortillas, but I suspect not at La Nacional. I love the red salsa here (there are two, actually), and as I prefer red, I didn't try the salsa verde. Poly, the Chowhound who found this place, also touts the ice cream place on the other end of the mall (it's primarily a water store) that sells fresh coconut juice from macheted coconuts.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        I've never tried it but I think I'll check it out for lunch tomorrow....thanks for the tip. I'll report back!

    2. An update: Dave is slightly geographically challenged in this post, as the restuarant is a lot closer to Flamingo than to Sahara (its on the corner of Decatur and Twain, on the west side of the street.). But that's a good thing; that means its also closer to my office and within easy lunch reach. And after our lunch there today I think I'll put it in the regular rotation. One caveat: its at the end and back of the strip mall, kind of hidden away....easiest access might be from Twain.

      The tacos are good (and Dave is right; the lengua is very tasty). The carnitas are not the crispy kind I like, but very tasty. Their red sauce IS good, and I don't usually like red sauce all that much. Salsa verde has a nice tang too.....

      But the highlight of lunch today was my Caldo de Res (A Tuesday and Friday special). It isn't exactly caldo weather, but it looked so good on someone else's table that I had to try it. And it WAS good: a delcious broth, plenty of vegetables including a big cobbett of fresh corn, and tender not-too-fatty meat. One of the best caldos I've had in a long time. I'll be back!

      7 Replies
      1. re: janetofreno

        Thanks to all for the tip on this place. Due to your reviews I visited La Mexicana today and came away impressed. In this day and age it's not often you find a restaurant where you feel you really got a GREAT deal on a meal, but this place sure qualifies.

        I had three very good tacos (carne asada, carnitas and pollo), along with a huge bowl of probably the best fresh tortilla chips I've ever had (served hot too), along with a couple of good good salsas, and a Coke for a grand total of just over $5.

        This is why I love this board. I'd probably never had found this place on my own, but thanks to you guys it will be a regular stop on my rotation.

        Folks, if you're in Vegas and not looking for anything fancy but just want very good Mexican food at an affordable price, you can't go wrong here.

        1. re: janetofreno

          Of course, I meant to say that La Mexicana is between Flamingo and Tropicana., just across the street (north) of Bonita Michoacan. I'm still high on the carnitas torta and the lengua taco. I tried an enchilada last time, and although it was good, it wasn't up to the level of the tacos. The specials DO look good, and I'm still hoping to get there for birria before they've sold out.

          1. re: janetofreno

            Another update: lunch there Tuesday included a couple of tacos (lengua and pastor) and a "gordita" de rajas con crema (listed as one of the specials). This is a thick hand-made corn tortilla, stuffed with sauteed poblano chilis and onions, crema, and a touch of soft white cheese, and then grilled. Now I couldn't tell for sure but I swear there was a little spinach mixed in with the poblanos. Regardless, it was delicious and very freshly prepared. Bonus points for the Spanish-language coverage of Olympic synchronized swimming.....

            1. re: janetofreno

              So which place has the best tamales in Vegas? Are they good here or just ok? I've read a lot of hound reviews that mention Mesa Grill, but I was looking for some authentic/cheap tamales in the area.....

              1. re: mck28

                I haven't found great tamales in Las Vegas. i consider the ones at La Mexicana to be only OK.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  On the upscale side of Mexican food, we had dinner last Friday with janetofreno at Galerias. I haven't posted on this yet, so far I've only gotten to the Tableau/Bouchon post. But my husband had tamales at Galerias and he raved that they were some of the best tamales he's ever had. One chicken, with a red sauce, and one pork, with a verde sauce. My husband is a big tamale fan so he has a good base of comparison. I'm not a big tamale eater, but I did snag a taste of the masa from one of his, and it was really nice. Very light.

                  1780 N Buffalo Dr, Las Vegas, NV

                  1. re: Debbie W

                    I had a disastrous breakfast at Galerias. There were five of us and none of us liked our food. Maybe there was a different chef at breakfast, or we were there on a bad day. Considering the big Mexican population, I'm a little surprised not to have run into any "tamale ladies" or other tamale specialists. Dona Marie's has been around since the 50s or 60s. I haven't eaten their tamales since the 1980s, and I wasn't impressed.