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Looking for Mexican, not Tex-Mex

I'm looking for a more authentic restaurant or taco shop that is NOT Tex-Mex! I recently moved here from southern California and have been dissappointed with the "Mexican" food that I've found here so far. Any reccommendations for a delicious, authentic place?

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  1. Fuegos on Lamar is owned by a family from southern Cal. I don't consider the food any more "Mexican" than "Tex-Mex" is (maybe coastal Mex?), however, it is delicious and maybe closer to what you are used to. The grilled Ahi, Fish Tacos and Sopa de Albondigas are fantastic. It's a good thing it's going to be cold soon because I will be having some more of that wonderful sopa.

    I'm attaching the menu: http://www.fuegosauthentic.com/Menu.html

    1. Depends on what part of Mexico, too. Taqueria Arandas is Jalisco-style mostly. Fonda San Miquel is interior. I love both but eat at Arandas more often since it's cheap. Fonda is amazing but pricey. Are you looking for a favorite dish or meal? Maybe if you name it someone will have an "a-ha!" moment and remember where they enjoyed it here in town.

      1. Thank you to everyone for yor replies so far. I will definately check out the mentioned places.
        I'm interested in all good mexican food but what I miss most from socal is a really good burrito and a salsa bar with some delicious and varied salsas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rykerbrown

          this will not help you right now...but my husband and I own a Mexican place on Vancouver Island, Canada, called Diego's. (He was born and raised in San Diego) We have awesome simple but good burrritos filled with shredded meats (chicken, beef, pork) grilled with fire roasted green chilli and cheese, and we have that salsa bar you are craving! Shrimp or halibut burritos are great sellers. If you are ever up here, we are in Courtenay B.C. i know I am biased, but we do have a pretty loyal following.

        2. Sazon, on S. Lamar, near Oltorf

          1 Reply
          1. re: chowmick

            FWIW, a Cal-Mex burrito and salsa joint is no more or less "authentic" than the Austin places I assume have disappointed you. Fuegos is run by a CA family and I think it's a solid recommendation based on what you are seeking.

          2. Las Palomas always gets my vote, especially the seafood dishes and the cochinita pibil.

            1. Authentic Mexican food has a lot of variety. What authentic food does not? How would you define the USA hamburger?

              I traveled over 5 years in a RV full time with my wife: Washington, Oregon, (all over) California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico. The term 'tex mex" gets real abused.

              Tex-mex is defined to include: Chips and Salsa, Fajitas. There is a hell of a lot of palces in California selling chips and salsa! What exactly are you after here as "non-Tex Mex"? It has a lot to do with _what you order_ and what you dump on it. I've seen it defined as "Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices in addition to Mexican-style tortillas (corn or flour)".

              Try this thread:

              1. Can't make arguments about what is and isn't authentic, but La Michoacana on E. 7th has a great little counter inside the grocery. Spanish is a great help.

                After I pointed at the meat in verde sauce, the woman behind the counter was alarmed and managed to explain it was tongue. She was even more alarmed (I think) when I insisted on having it. Lengua en chile verde was delicious. Extremely rich beef flavor with a nice soft texture. Plus their al pastor wasn't bad either, with pork, onions and chunks of pineapple in a orangish fruit and chile marinade. Rounded out with rice, beans, tortillas, queso, guacamole, and pickles it made for a great -- and cheap -- meal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: zebcook

                  Fonda San Miguel. They tout themselves as interior Mexican food.

                  1. re: zebcook

                    I lived in Corsicana, Texas, for two years, and the La Michoacana there was one of very few good places to eat out. Fortunately, I like to cook at home, and the LM was an excellent source of groceries. Anyway, to get to the point, that lengua en salsa verde was my absolute favorite at the taqueria. I liked everything, but that was the best. It's really splendid. Try it, everyone.


                  2. I'm surrprised no one has mentioned Azul's interior menu. It has some interesting choices. Also, Sazon has a lot of Mex-mex options and for a while they were our go to place but our last two visits weren't as good. It bears keeping an eye on.

                    1. I completely agree with rykerbrown. Moving to Austin the TexMex just doesnt cut it. I also am from Southern california. I dont think I would say that So. Cal had authentic mexican food, but I will say for sure the Tex Mex is a watered down version of So. Cal version of mexican food. Mexican food in So. Cal has much more spice and heat to their food. I have been searching for months for a mexican restaurant that doesnt serve Tex Mex so I can get that heat and spice back in my food rather than watered down Queso. Anyone aware of a mexican restaurant in Austin area that has spicy mexican food? That would exclude any place that mentions Tex-Mex. Every time I see a Taco Bell taco from any of these Tex Mex places (Taco with hard shell), I am heart broken. Is there a place that sells corn shell tacos that are deep fried? If I wanted a "hard shell taco" from a tex mex restaurant I would just go to Taco Bell and save six bucks.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Tbiafore

                        JetBlue flies to Long Beach nonstop every day. They go to JFK & Logan, too, for all the folks complaining in the Brooklyn thread.

                        1. re: brentwood

                          You know, the problem with Austin is that the food isn't anything remotely close to the food that you can get in Bangkok, Thailand. You know, they have REAL street vendors in Bangkok - there's just no way that you can recreate that feeling and the flavors of the food. The thai food here jst doesn't cut it. I mean, come on, the pad thai here tastes like it was all obtained from the frozen section at HEB. I don't mean to complain, but it is easier to point out the negative than the positive.

                          And as for TexMex or Mexican: if you can't find anything other than TexMex in Austin, you just aren't looking hard enough. There's tons of info here (MPHs old posts, Scrumptions, Tom in Austin etc.) that provide plenty of recommendations.

                          That being said, for a true chilihead, like me, there's never enough heat.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            I agree with this. So many restaurants here don't use enough spice to me. I think it is just aiming to appeal the masses, not the chiliheads... Austin has such a diverse population from all over the USA, that I think many restaurants play it safe. I just search these boards for smaller places willing to push the spice edge or cook at home.

                            1. re: drdelicious

                              La Tapatia at Anderson Mill and 183 has a delicious spicy green sauce that you have to ask for. It has flavor and lots of heat!

                        2. re: Tbiafore

                          i've heard people say the hard shell tacos at Amaya's Taco Village are quite good, though i've not tried them myself.
                          i spent years in Mexico and the food isn't always very spicy. I too would like to find some spicier places though.
                          Checking out some of the dives and taco trucks might yield better results in your search.

                          1. re: Tbiafore

                            Hey if you are looking for hot, go to JUAN IN A MILLION at 2300 E Cesar Chavez. Their hot sauce is hot enough to change the flavor of whatever you are eating. And their breakfast is awesome, especially their DON JUAN taco, featured on MAN VS FOOD.

                            Juan In A Million
                            2300 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702

                          2. La Condesa and El Meson. I prefer the Burleson road location of El Meson. Near the airport only open for breakfast and lunch. Not Tex Mex and both lard free.

                            El Meson
                            5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744

                            La Condesa
                            400-A W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701