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Boston's Best Authentic Mexican/Tex Mex

Need help locating the BEST authentic Mexican or Tex Mex. Was in Texas over the weekend and the food was amazing...haven't found anything close in the Boston area. Slowly losing hope...

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  1. Not Tex Mex, but Angela's, in East Boston, for great (and I believe very authentic) Peublan Mexican, and Mesa, in the South End, for very good Southwestern.

    6 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Yes, Masa. Too late for me to edit my typo.

        1. re: Blumie

          Maybe Ive just had really bad experiences there, but every time I go back to Masa it is worse and worse. I had one good meal there about three years ago- and ever since it has been bad. Ive been unimpressed with the wait staff on occasion, their beef has been horribly over cooked, mussels were inedible, various items either over or under seasoned. All the way around-Im unimpressed.
          Villa Mexico though- fantastic.
          My two cents.

          1. re: fmcoxe6188

            Funny, my first experience at Masa was terrible, and I didn't go back for years. I've enjoyed it much more recently. That said, it ain't Mexican!

            1. re: Blumie

              Agreed-it absolutely isnt Mexican. But to that end- I wont be returning unless forced. Too many bad experiences

              1. re: fmcoxe6188

                I went to Masa about a month ago, and I had mixed results as well. First, I thought the waitstaff needed some real help. We were a party of six seated at a 4-top, and their plates were huge - not necessarily a big deal, but the plates sat on the table for a good 10-15 minutes after we were done before being cleared. Also, our server's knowledge of the menu and how the dishes are prepared was very suspect. As far as the food, I thought some parts of dishes to be very good, but the overall presentation didn't mesh well. For instance, I had seared scallops with I believe some sort of citrus sauce, which was excellent, but then a pile of shredded duck drowned in barbecue sauce was dumped in the middle of the plate. I also thought that they put some sauces/purees on the plate because it added to the color or presentation, but really didn't go with anything else on the plate. I think Masa has great potential, but they just haven't found the right formula yet

    1. Angela's and Taqueria Mexico in Waltham are my local standbys for Mexican. There is no decent Tex-Mex here. And no border Mexican since Maria Bonita closed.

      12 Replies
      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        What Barmy said.

        I'd add Villa Mexico at Grampy's Gas Station (yes, really) in Beacon Hill.

        For Salvadoran Mex, Pupuseria Mama Blanca in Eastie, Taco Loco in East Somerville, and Taqueria El Carrizal in Allston are all solid.


        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I am so sad about Maria Bonita (I think Aromatherapy first posted about the closing). Truly friendly, earnest folks, they had just renovated the space, and the ceviche was delicious. Beef machaca, too. They somehow had even secured a beer license. When I needed food for a hungry CH potluck party at the last minute, they shone through. The block in which they were located was tough - non-existent foot traffic. If they see this post, maybe they'll try to relocate to a more visible, albeit higher rent, locale.

          I feel really bad - I should have advocated more loudly and consistently. :(

          1. re: digga

            It was in a really bad spot. With Anna's, Boca and Tacos Lupita closer to the busier end of Mass. Ave., it was a victim of the competition from the South. To the north...I think people from Arlington are scared of crossing Alewife Brook Pkwy. ;)

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I live in East Arlington, and don't hestitate to hit North Cambridge, but the location did stink.. its easier to hit Sabatinos then trek through the residential stretch of East Arlington, cross 16, then park in North Cambridge. If it had been near the Capitol, I would have preferred it over all others..

          2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            Whatever happened to Tu y Yo in Somverville? Used to be one of the only authentic Mexican restaurants in town.


                1. re: robertlf

                  Yes, we have really loved our meals there. A friend was just telling me the cactus, of all things, was great when she was last there within a couple of months.

                  1. re: robertlf

                    MY FAVORITE PLACE! TU Y YO RULES. For more upscale Mexican, there's Ole in Inman Square, Taco Loco in Somerville and of course Tacos Lupita.

                    1. re: NiveaF

                      Ole is also poor. 2X I ate there the food was not particularly good or authentic.

                      Does not totally blow my doors off, but Cafe Angela in East Boston is probably the best in the area.

                      Tacos Lupita is pretty good, I also like Taqueria El Amigo and Taqueria Mexico in Waltham.

                      I had a really good special at Taqueria Mexico recently. They had puerco en mole pipian which was WAY better then the version I have had at Tu Y Yo.

                    2. re: robertlf

                      I went there for the first time last night, and enjoyed myself, but was generally underwhelmed. Started with the grasshopper empanadas, which are gimmicky... the grasshopper has a bit of sour grassy crunch, but that's all. Also had the huitlacoche, which was really nice. I'd planned on ordering their famous winter-only dish Chile Relleno en Nogada, but was told "we don't have it because it's not winter anymore"... said as 4" of snow sat on the ground and several more inches were falling outside. The server recommended the frog legs instead; my dining companions got the carnitas and the beef "borracha". Everything was nice, but very mild and under-seasoned, especially the carnitas pork, surprisingly. For the price, I don't know if I'd return in a hurry, personally. I will say that their sangria's the best I've had in town, and the avocado cheesecake was fantastic.

                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        Angela's makes an absolutely wonderful Chile Relleno en Nogada as an occasional special (so call first)

                  2. If you're willing to travel north to Gloucester, there is a fabulous take-out only place called Chili Choice. The food is less Tex-Mex, more New Mexico, and wonderful.

                    Chili Choice Products
                    20 Maplewood Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930

                    1. ... and if you are willing to travel north to New Hampshire (yes, i know its a hike .. but...), La Caretta in Nashua has a very good selection of home-made dishes like home made tamales and chile autentico.

                      1. For a lunch perspective, Tacos Lupita near Porter Square.. or if you are passing through Hartford, stop at this grocery called La Mercado, I think - inside are a couple of food counters that are DELICIOUS.

                        1. When I first opened this thread, I expected to see several nods for Anna's Taqueria for Mexican in the Brookline/Cambridge area. I haven't been for several months, but I have always had great food from there. The only burrito that has come close came from a hole in the wall place in Sonoma county. I work in East Boston, where there is a Mexican restaurant on every corner, and Angela's is the only place that even comes remotely close

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: SmugLump

                            Anna's is tasty.. I love their Tacos Al Pastor.. but the atmosphere is a bit collegiate - lots of young students, "burrito-nazi" ordering, etc. Probably because I hit the ones in Porter and Davis. But if its lunch and I am near Porter now, its Tacos Lupita. It passes the true Mexican food test, which is: if you wanted it, could you get tripe in a dish?

                            1. re: SmugLump

                              I like Anna's very much, but given that the OP was asking for "authentic" (a word I hate in food contexts, but whatever) Mexican or Tex-Mex and Anna's is more of a California-style burrito place, it didn't really fit. But an Anna's carnitas burrito and/or a couple tacos (pastor or lengua), washed down with horchata, is certainly one of my favorite quick lunches around the neighborhood.

                            2. I'm still a fan of Taqueria La Mexicana in Union Square. They've really pulled it together since they opened the Cantina and made a few changes to the menu that are improvements. They've changed the staff, so service is better and less harried. It's my go to rellenos place...can't get enough of 'em.

                              They've even added Mariachi on Fridays.

                              1. Has anyone heard anything about Mexican Lindo in Melrose? Someone I know went tonight and said it was very good...not sure I trust his judgement in Mexican food though. Anyone been there?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: FeastNut2008

                                  We've given it a few tries, but won't go back. The food is ok. My big complaints were HOT ceviche, sopaipilla that were nothing like sopaipilla, and wait staff that insisted both were served as they should be.

                                  1. re: tallullah

                                    I agree-Ive been a couple of times- very unimpressed. Didnt seem very fresh-or flavorful.

                                    1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                      the place has gone way downhill.

                                2. I lived in San Diego for 5 years and had all grades of Mexican food. From the gritty taco joint to 4-star dining. Since returning to Boston many years ago, I've always been disappointed in Mexican restaurants around here. However, a few months ago we discovered Cielito Lindo on Cabot Street in Beverly, and it's awesome. Only a beer and wine license. but a nice selection of Mexican beer. Made to order guacalmole is a must have, and the entrees are terriific. I love the Mayan pork enchiladas, and the fish tacos are authentic. I guess that's it, it's an AUTHENTIC place with amicable service and an owner-always-on-premises feel. The pork stew appetizer is amazing.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: hoohah

                                    Thanks for the tip. I am in that area often and would NEVER have thought to try a Mexican place in Beverly.

                                    1. re: hoohah

                                      I would second the recommendation to Cielito Lindon on Cabot Street in Beverly. Very authentic Mexican cuisine. Going further north to Gloucester, another favorite Mexican spot is Jalapeno's at 86 Main street is fantastic! I have also recently began to enjoy Tacos Lupita in Revere on Shirley Avenue. Cheap and delicious!

                                    2. If you're in Boston and you're looking for California-quality Mexican food, Anna's Taqueria on Harvard St. in Brookline (446 Harvard Street) is the most slammin' spot in the city. I know there are several other locations as well (refer to www.annastaqueria.com for more info), but the Brookline restaurant is solid.
                                      Unfortunately Anna's doesn't serve re-fried beans, but their carne asada, carnitas and chile verde are superb and if you're adventurous you can even mix meats.
                                      The legend of Anna's goes that several members of the Gordo's (San Francisco) family broke away from the clan and headed east, creating a Boston-based taqueria in the vein of the San Francisco counterpart.
                                      Whatever the story, the burritos, and quesadillas are terrific. Top those off with a Jarritos Toronja (grapefruit) soda and you're golden.

                                      Anna's Taqueria

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: dannyrogue

                                        Anna's definitely has refried beans.

                                        1. re: dannyrogue

                                          Anna's serves refried beans. The sister came from SF, opened Boca Grande, and brought her brother in to manage the restaurant. They split in a well documented feud and he opened Anna's.

                                          1. re: tallullah

                                            I concede on the re-fried. I think I confused w/ Gordo's that doesn't serve re-fried. Interesting info on the Anna's origins. Thanks for the clarification . . .

                                          2. re: dannyrogue

                                            That location is good. Also good is Felipe's Taqueria in Harvard Sq. same owner as Flat Patties.

                                            1. re: robertlf

                                              actually i would say felipes is slightly better because they have more meat options and your own topping bar, can't get enough of those that onion/cilantro/jalapeno dressing

                                          3. How about Jose's in Cambridge? Had a good meal there a few weeks back?

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ethnicchick

                                              The food at Jose's is mediocre at best. Tried it 2 or 3 times now... not fantastic. HOwever, they serve Correleo Tequila which is very hard to find and very yummy. SO sometimes we just get a margarita or 2 and get the hell out of there.

                                              1. re: Stellar D

                                                Some would say Jose's was better when the burritos were stuffed with ricotta cheese! It was more Joey's than Jose's but the place had character and the best staff.

                                              2. re: ethnicchick

                                                Went to Jose's with my wife yesterday, and we were very pleased. The chicken enchiladas with 3 moles were very good. My wife liked her carne asada, and they made it rare, the way she wanted. Tasty tamales, but not enough meat filling. The drinks were expensive, and just OK. We like the atmosphere there: roadhouse feel.

                                              3. In search of something like this today because of the post, I headed into Allston/Brighton, on my way to Carrizal (first time). I saw a "grand opening" sign along the way at Habanero Grill and thought I'd try a pupusa and a taco just for comparison, taking one for the team you know.

                                                Well, I'd skip it with Carrizal so close, though it did seem popular with regulars (how long has it been open anyway?). A little hole in the wall which I like, but for example my beef taco, which would not stay together, was topped with shredded "Mexican" cheese mix, looked like it came from a bag from Shaws or something. The pupusa was ok, it was my first and I was wondering if this was worth it....

                                                Carrizal on the other hand was great. Firstly a complimentary order of tortilla chips and salsa, very nice. I had the Combinacion Salvadonena, consisting of a pupusa (blew the one at Habanero away, crispy exterior, delish interior with melted cheese and pork, yummm), a tamal, bascially a masa cake with some peppers, and an oh-so tasty empanada de carne molido, with real cheese on top, tasty chopped grilled chicken, lettuce and cour cream, and sauce.. $7, and after my $5 or so at Habanero I'm ready for a nap.

                                                Anyway, Carrizal is my first (well, second...) taste of Salvadoran food as far as I know, and I really enjoyed it. Pleasant space and nice staff as well. They also have lots of Tex-Mex type items on the menu and probably do them fairly well I'd guess from what I saw today.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Zatan

                                                  I had no idea where this was, so looked for a place link and voila!

                                                  Taqueria El Carrizal
                                                  254 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                  1. re: Zatan

                                                    Actually, the Mexican stuff at El Carrizal is awful: stick to the Salvadorean side of the menu.

                                                  2. My favorite is Taqueria El Amigo on willow street in Waltham. I've always had a good meal there.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: yummieeee

                                                      Handwritten sign on the door today reads "Closed for Renovation" (in two languages).

                                                      Below that is a "Stop Work" notice, courtesy of the City of Waltham.

                                                      And I was hungry....

                                                      Taqueria El Amigo
                                                      196 Willow St, Waltham, MA 02453

                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                          Anyone been there recently? Did it reopen, or gone for good?

                                                          1. re: Ora Moose

                                                            I've been there twice since August. Pretty sure they are still there.
                                                            Their phone is (781) 642-7410

                                                    2. Having lived in CA for a few years in the 80's, I've long bemoaned "East Coast Mexican." My favorite around here is easily El Sarape on Rt 53 in Weymouth. I also enjoy Taqueria Mexico in Waltham, and although I haven't been for a while, Cafe Azteca in Lawrence. Anna's is a darn good burrito, but I don't really think of what they serve as true Mexican. I've not enjoyed Jose's in Cambridge the last couple times I tried. At some point I do want to try Angela's, having read many good reviews of them on this board.

                                                      1. I was born/bred in Cali and I echo everyone on here who bemoans East Coast Mexican. One time in Providence at Tortilla Flats, my friend asked for "mild" salsa and they brought marinara. Anyhow my two favorite Mexican places are Acapulcos (closest to Boston is in Newton) and Andale (downtown). You won't be disappointed!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: dirk

                                                          Can't speak to Andale, but the one time I went to Acapulco's in Newton, I thought it was a sorry excuse for Tex-Mex (let alone Mexican).

                                                          1. re: Blumie

                                                            Agree with Acapulco's in Newton. I have had better Tex/Mex at a cafeteria. I have found that there is usually a correlation between the overall quality of a tex/mex restaurant and the quality of its guacamole. Fresh, chunky, bright green guac usually means a decent meal whereas the processed, smooth, darkish green guac (what I was served at Acapulco's) is usually a huge red flag.

                                                        2. Casa Romero in Back Bay. A little pricey, but not formal.

                                                          For moderately priced food, La Paloma in Quincy and Zocalo in Brighton and Arlington (the same people run Andale by South Station).

                                                          1. I can't believe no one has mentioned Ole in Inman Square - a little upscale and ranging from good to excellent. Olecito is pretty good too (though the tortas at Tacos Lupitas are much better).

                                                            Also Forest Cafe in Porter, while not as good as it was 10 years ago (where it was the only decent Mexican in the area) its still up there.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: aranthe

                                                              The food at Ole has gotten fairly frequent mediocre reviews on this board. Forest is not bad for what it is.

                                                            2. What about Zocala on Comm Ave in Brighton? Anyone been there?

                                                              1. Try Mi Pueblito Restaurant on Border St in East Boston. Excellent Mexican/El Salvadorian place. It's not Tex Mex, but feels authentically Mexican.

                                                                1. Sometimes CHs really surprise me. How can no one mention La Verdad's tacos?????Ken Oringer, who is many things incuding a very talented chef, created the dishes; the chefs are mexican and have been there since the beginning; and the emphasis on freshness is fanatic. Given all that, there are three varieties of tacos(out of many more) that I find totally delicious
                                                                  and authentic: pescado(fish); carne asado, and chiles rellenos. Most of the others, incl. my fav, pastor(excellent at Anna's) I did not care for, when I tried all of them last year. Mostly too sweet as I recall. But those 3 tacos and the refried beans -have us going weekly for our fix, topping them off w/ the best coffee citrus flan in Boston. Others CHs have been big fans of their Torta Milanese; I haven't had it. While it's right next to Fenway Park, if you go for late lunch or weekend (off season, obviously), it's pretty good for parking. BTW, the tortillas themselves are an amazing experience, thick and toothsome and made there.

                                                                  1. Yelp is my best resource for Mexican. Taqueria el Amigo I like the chicken tacos the best Can get small soft tacos with onion and cilantro. Good salsa. The best chips in town are the XOCHITL brand in white and blue. Whole foods is copying the packaging but their chip is not the same so be sure to let them know you want the real thing and not their copy as they often copy and try to replace popular products with an inferior copy.

                                                                    We do have Chipotle Grill here now for a hit of Mexican. I absolutely love their salad drressing. I wish I know how to make it. It's the best. Try the salad and at home you can eat it with some of the Guacamole and XOCHITL chips!

                                                                    For a frozen margarita the best I know is to take a small can of limeade and put in a blender with (I think I remember) 2 measures of water and one of tequila, then maybe 1/2 measure of triple sec add ice and blend, squeeze in some fresh lime.

                                                                    You can buy all the fixins at Anna's Taqueria and let friends assemble their own tacos at home. Their price for the ingredients is very reasonable. Then you can heat your own tortillas on a hot griddle nice and fresh.

                                                                    Not sure about the water quantity, maybe skip the water and lots of ice. It must be time to make them again so I don't forget.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Chiotgourmand

                                                                        As much as I love Yelp, I have to wonder if "Yelp is my best resource for Mexican" followed by what are mostly dubious suggestions (chipotle, frozen margaritas, anna's), I have to wonder if this is a plant to make Yelp look bad

                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                          Sounds like a typical Yelper to me.