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Good Mexican Food?

Have lived in Western Mass for a few years and have not found really good Mexican food or even really good Tex Mex. Have tried Mi Tierra in Hadley, Mesa Verde in Greenfield, Armadillo in Keene NH, and all the so-called Mexican places in Northampton. Also tried a small family owned place near Foxwoods which was okay but had a limited menu. We bought an exercise bike down near Manchester CT and a salesman recommended a place near there but I don't remember the name or the town!

If anyone can recommend REALLY good Mexican or Tex Mex food in New England please let me know. Would prefer something on par with what you can get in LA or San Antonio. Maybe asking for too much?!

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  1. yes, you are asking for quite a lot.
    that said, Angela's in South Boston is a Boston Board Fave.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      BTW: Angel's is in East Boston.....

      1. re: Gio

        i don't know why i keep mixing up Eastie and Sounthie.

        1. re: ScubaSteve

          Well don't feel so bad..... I typed Angel's instead of Angela's.....(>.<)

    2. Two for the price of one: On Millbury Street in Worcester you will find Tacos Parilla Mexicana and Baja Grill Neo-Mexican. Search this board for more info on these places.

      Both are Mexican, not Tex-Mex. Baja has a website: http://www.bajagrillneo-mexicancuisin... Tacos Parilla is more of a take-out place, but great, great stuff.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rick_V

        Thanks. I looked at the Baja Grill menu and it looks great. If it's as good as it looks the drive to Worcester would be worth it. I'm on my way!

      2. Milagro in Stonington Borough, CT its a small blue house on Water st. The owner, Martin, is from mexico city. This is his second restaurant. He knows everything about MEXICAN fair and the nectar from you know who... Tequila! Not a Tex Mex place but has a few options to appease us New Englanders. Great fresh salsa. Inventive yet traditional Mexican. Enjoy!

        1. If you make a day trip out of it, stop at Taqueria Mexico in Wallingford for tortas on the way down 91, visit some of our fine museums, cafes and shops in New Haven for the afternoon, then eat at Guadalupe Poblanita for dinner. Just remember that you're not in Western Mass anymore so stay alert while visiting our fine urban neighborhoods and watch where you park.

          4 Replies
          1. re: newhavener07

            Mezcal is also good here, so why don't you come down here for the weekend? We welcome refugees from the land of Birkenstocks and intertextuality. Stay at the swanky new Study hotel.

            1. re: newhavener07

              Taqueria Mexico is phenomenal, I personally highly recommend the chorizo burrito...

              1. re: newhavener07

                Los Mariachis Bar and Grill is a nice place just up the street. I ate at the Taqueria Mexicana #2, in West Haven, but not the one in Wallingford, you are referring to. I would say Los Mariachis is very good but some of the food is more Tex-Mexish.

                1. re: newhavener07

                  Has New haven gone downhill THAT much???

                  1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                    I have not been personally, but know at least three trusted Chowhounds who back you on that one, cowgirl! OP: they're in Hartford, too.


                    In Middletown, CT, a new Mexican joint opened last year--Iguanas Ranas Taqueria. And I say "joint" because it's a little Mom & Pop shop downtown in the North End (read: not fancy whatsoever). But their tacos are a very tasty bargain at $2 a pop. I love their chorizo (made on premises), and now that I've tried their barbacoa, I love THAT even more. Here are some reviews (not just mine!):

                    , CT

                    El Sarape
                    931 Broad St Ste 1, Hartford, CT 06106

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Sarape's in Enfield should be the same good food as in Hartford at El Sarape. Same family. I intend to try this location the first chance I get.

                      917 Enfield St, Enfield, CT 06082

                      1. re: Scargod

                        Scargod, with the new menu selections at Aunt Chiladas in Hamden, there's no reason to drive all the way to Enfield for Mexican food, unless you have a loved one in the prison there.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          How did you know? She was sent up for assaulting a Aunt Chilada cook....after too many margaritas.
                          Seriously, when did they get a "new" menu? Does their site talk about this?

                          And, I would only go to Enfield if I needed to go to the airport or buy hardwoods from a distributor near there.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Cute name; Aunt Chiladas. Where in Hamden are they?

                            Aunt Chilada's Restaurant
                            3931 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06518

                      2. re: cowgirlinthesand

                        El Sarape in Hartford is good.. its a store front in the Park St Neighborhood... good food. Cayote Flaco on New Britain Ave in Hartford is excellent as is Monte Alban on Farmington Aveune are also excellent and are better places to sit. If you think Chilies is good Mexican don't bother with these, you won't like them. The moles at Monte Alban are particularly good. Agave in downtown Hartford has some bright spots, the simple corn tortilla (score points right there) enchillada's are very good as is the seviche. Other than a few items not really authentic but good. Guacamole is made tableside from fresh ingredients. You won't find mounds of cheese at any of these.

                        1. re: jimn01

                          For fun, how would you rank the restaurants you mentioned? We seem to be on the same page in terms of good Mexican in the Hartford area, so am curious if El Sarape leads the list for you, or if you find Coyote Flaco or Monte Alban to be better. I do like Agave, too, but of the restaurants mentioned, I don't think they beat Monte Alban...I haven't been to El Sarape yet, but would like to go.

                        2. re: cowgirlinthesand

                          Thanks CowGirl and others, I will confirm that here in 2012 Sarape in Enfield CT is still an excellent hole-in-the-wall, family run, quality Mexican eatery. Tacos al carbon were awesome. No one left hungry, I can tell you that.

                        3. Another alternative (besides the fried clams):
                          Buy one of Rick Bayless' books (my favorite is Mexican Everyday) and cook it yourself. I even learned, out of desperation, how to make tortillas; but have found not-too-bad substitutes in Maria and Ricardo's corn tortillas, available at Whole Foods in Hadley/Amherst. (Fresh is still better, but these are easier and okay.)
                          Buena suerte!

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                            Hmm... I don't suppose then that there's a decent option in Western MA for big, steaming bowls of menudo/mondongo (even if only on the weekends). As a recently transplanted Californian, that's one of the biggest things I miss here in Northampton!

                            1. re: caravan70

                              They make a mighty pungent bowl of menudo at the Taqueria Mexico in Wallingford, Ct. I'm not a fan, but my friend who is says it's outstanding.

                              1. re: newhavener07

                                Thanks for the tip... I'll have to wander down that way one of these days! :)

                            2. re: BerkshireTsarina

                              I too am a fan of Maria & Ricardo tortillas; they were my tortillas of choice for quite a while. To be honest, despite (or maybe due to) a long stint of living in Texas, I'm more a fan of flour tortillas, and have switched to whole wheat ones. Guidos (especially the GB one) and Wild Oats in Williamstown both carry the M&R flour tortillas, but I never checked for corn.
                              If you're doing the Hadley shopping trip, try Trader Joe's; I've recently switched to their ww tortillas and love them, am guessing the corn would be good too.
                              Of course the best corn tortillas I've had since back in New England were at Mi Tierra.
                              Am wondering if the Richmond Bakery on Waconah St in Pittsfield (the puposa place) could be talked into making/selling fresh corn tortillas.

                              1. re: mjoyous

                                The flour tortillas just don't do it for me, Joyous. (Then again, I go more than slightly nuts for corn in any form: on the cob, corn pudding, corn chowders of many kinds, grits, polenta, pozole, and naturally, tortillas; if you came up with some other preparation, I'd probably adore it too.) GB Guido's sometimes has the M&R corn tortillas, but sometimes not. The Puposa Place (what a great name that would make) has been tantalizing for us; it always seems to be closed, so I'm afraid my idea of "early in the morning" is rather later than their idea.

                                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                  I, too, love corn tortillas. I now make my own. I like flour, too, but corn is so different from flatbreads.
                                  beso mi mazorca de maíz!

                                  1. re: Scargod

                                    I don't know about besos ---- but I certainly eat it lovingly!
                                    Come to think of it, I even tried making corn the way they sold it in El Jardìn in San Miguel de Allende. I don't do street food ;-( but I'd watch longingly, and back home here decided I'd give it a try. I sprinkled the fresh boiled corn on the cob with lime juice and some melted butter, gave it some shakes of chili powder and sprinkled on the closest thing I could find to cotija cheese, and it was muy rico. I think it's called esquites.
                                    I get hungry just thinking of it --- and I just finished dinner!

                                  2. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                    Lol! The "Puposa Place' is open 3 or 4 days until 12 noon. I think Sunday - Thursday. Simon is a doll and maybe can make tortillas to sell if you placed an order.
                                    I'd take at least 50 if he'd agree!

                                    1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                                      Will check this out after Easter, cowgirl. Quien sabe? Maybe we'll end up with a tortilla supply in the Berkshires yet ----
                                      Meanwhile my peruana bean supply is getting low, and I don't think the Brazilian grocery is willing to take another shipment from Goya. He told me I was his only customer for them! But they are the best beans ---- also called canarios. I just read that they're a favorite in central Mexico, which is where I first had them. Maybe some Berkshireite Mexican food aficionados would want to share an order??????? Another quien sabe! LOL

                                  3. re: mjoyous

                                    Mi Tierra in Hadley has fantastic fresh tortillas. In particular, their sopes are outstanding.

                                2. El Camino in Brunswick, Maine. Hands down the best I've had in New England. (BTW,I lived in the Southwest for 18 years.) Great drinks, too, and funky atmosphere. Love it.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Shooley

                                    I wish I could agree on El Camino- they're right down the road from me, great atmosphere, great ingredients... but never my choice for Mexican. I do like them, but the emphasis on local, organic (which I love! don't get me wrong) seems to trump other factors. Like the limited menu- there are only tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and salad on the regular menu. And specials, like sweet potato tacos, are a far cry from what I expect from a Mexican restaurant. When I want Mexican, I wait for Loco Coco's in Kittery.

                                  2. my ex is a full blooded Mexican, raised by non-English speaking/Mexican cooking grandparents and he absolutely loved Hermano's in Concord, NH (we went to many in New England when we were together). I still love Hermano's (still my favorite) but also have found one in Lawrence Ma that is excellent - Cafe Azteca:

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: lexpatti

                                      Seriously? You must have been there on a good night. My wife and I have been there twice. The first time was only "so-so" ... but acceptable ... so I gave them a second chance. The second time we went, we decided to take our children. It was a disaster. The service was slow (if not non-existent), the food was bland and unimaginative ... and I'm being VERY kind (hey, anybody can BOIL chicken breast ... but who would want to??) ... and the drinks were the worst I think I've ever had. I mean, how can a Mexican restaurant screw up a Margarita?? I usually give a restaurant a couple of chances before I pan them ... but this place was SO bad the second time that I won't give them a chance at a strike three. Do yourselves a favor and go to La Carretta's in Manchester ... because Hermano's is not worth the risk, your time, or your money.

                                      1. re: Ira_M_Weiser

                                        really?? bummer!!! We do like La Carretta's but I still prefer hermano's or cafe Azteca. Hermano's has this special garlic sauce on many of their dishes that I just can't find and am addicted to. I just find their dishes more different than any other mexican joints (which seem to all have a typical menu). but to each his own. Consuelo's in Manchester is a nice step above La Carreta's as well.

                                    2. Casa Mariachi in Putnam CT is shaping up to be a hidden gem. I've been twice in the last month or so. I had basic taco entrees both times, but they were good. Bottomless chips and salsa is also a crowd pleaser. It has a deep menu selection and my friends who've been to Mexico say the food holds up to authentic. It was crowded both times we went, though Putnam doesn't have much to choose from, so anything different from the norm gets some attention. We were even lucky enough to get free tequila shots on one visit. The only downside I saw from my visits is the service. On my first visit, it took over 15 minutes for the waiter to take our drink orders after being seated. More of a fluke, as once they started attending to us, they didn't slip up.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: TrollKing

                                        'Cancun' on Rte 44 in Johnston RI (close to the North Providence line, off Rte 295) is excellent. Generous portions, very fresh ingredients, affordable prices, pleasant atmosphere - this is a wonderful restaurant. I've been going each week for the past few months, and it has been busier and busier each week.

                                        1. re: mrcallhn

                                          Would love to hear a few opinions on La Casita Azteca. Spoke with a friend who lives right down the road who said the food & service were OK on their one visit, but his SO is a vegan and apparently they didn't get the difference of vegan vs. vegetarian, so this couple hasn't returned.

                                          1. re: mjoyous

                                            I'm very pleased with La Casita Azteca. I haven't seen sopapillas on a menu since I lived in Texas. Unfortunately, they did not have them both times I visited. However, the dishes I did try were flavorful and well-prepared and presented. I can't remember what I had on my first visit, but I've since had the Tinga Poblana (shredded pork sautéed with garlic, onion, chipotle, and tomato and served with rice and beans), which was quite tasty.

                                            The owner is extremely nice and I actually like the way they've fixed up the little structure they're in, although they could do a lot more with the courtyard area. It is Oaxacan cuisine, not Tex-Mex.

                                          2. re: mrcallhn

                                            We have eaten at La Casita Azteca a few times and it is pretty good. The atmosphere is not great and while the food is pretty good, they don't always have all the things on their menu. I think the style of food is Northern Mexico. I do hope they make it though. If they do maybe they can move to a better space.

                                            1. re: fillyfilet

                                              We just went to La Casita Azteca for lunch today, filly. I was pleasantly surprised, thought the place was cute the way they fixed it up with all the Oaxacan straw holders, posters, art, etc. The colors were brilliant Mexican, and it was spotlessly clean. Alberto is from Oaxaca, and the food reflects it. He is very pleasant, and I actually got horchata. The food was tasty, but could have been hotter (temp, not necessarily spice). And they have pozole on the menu! He told me it's red pozole, Oaxacan style, which I've never had. I make a mean pozole myself but it's white, as I learned in San Miguel de Allende. We will certainly go back and give it another try. Maybe not gourmet food, but down home, and felt like Mexico. (BTW we are not big fans of Xicoh, but a lot of people like it.)

                                              1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                Guess I'll have to try this next valley visit! Any specific recs?

                                                1. re: mjoyous

                                                  We both just had chicken empanadas. They were tasty, but as I said, needed to be a lot hotter on the temp. He gave us additional green salsa, which was nice to add. We're not huge REALLY HOT spicy people, so it was fine. On such a limited trial, it was really the atmosphere I was responding to; like i said, it felt like being back in Mexico, where plenty of food was okay, no more, but hey, it's Mexico! That was how this was, complete with primary color plastic lacy flags out front! Nostalgic visit. They have sopes, and enchiladas, and lots of other stuff. Verdict on food: still out, but we plan to go and try it again. At the moment recommendation--- if you're in the neighborhood; don't know if it's worth a special trip. If you do go, Joyous, let us know your experience.

                                                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                    Have some friends who live right down the road, so I'll report in after I try!

                                            1. re: Lenox637

                                              Thanks so much! A friend in New York had mentioned a Mexican restaurant in the Berkshires to me, but I had forgotten the name. Can't wait to try this place next time we are there.

                                            2. I feel your pain. Besides getting on a planeand flying home to Texas, Acapulco's in Framingham Mass is pretty good. The people who own it are from Jalisco, Mexicao and they have a nice menu, good food, and their prices aren't bad. They're on route 9 .

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. My favorite is Sol Azteca in Newton, MA. By the way, I have a related question. Does anyone know anything about Coyote Flaco which may or may not be in Williamstown, but if not, is right outside the town. I pass it whenever I am out that way and since I love Mexican food, I've always wondered if it is any good. I am planning one more trip out there before my son graduates from college, so I'd really appreciate any info anyone has on this place!

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: Brouillard

                                                  They have seven locations (NY, CT, MA), and comments here are usually positive. Only the one in Massachusetts... http://www.mycoyoteflaco.com/home.html

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    I've been to Coyote Flaco in Hartford. It IS good. I like Monte Alban (they're from Oaxaca) even better, probably, but it's been a while. We used to go more frequently when we lived closer. My favorite at Monte Alban is the burrito y enchilada combo. They serve it with sweet corn cakes, though I am spoiled and like my own sweet corn cakes even better--but theirs are quite tasty. Also agree with jimn01 that their moles are very good.

                                                    I still need to try El Sarape in Hartford or Sarape's in Enfield...and a few other new places to me on this thread.

                                                  2. re: Brouillard

                                                    I've been to Coyote Flaco (it is in Williamstown, on Rt. 7) twice, with mixed results both times. I've also heard form a lot of co-workers who have eaten there. The results always seem mixed. Have had fairly decent, americanized Mexican there, with horrendous service. And also had great service one night with the food taking beyond forever, and not much worth the wait.
                                                    Our first experience there we decided to try all the appetizers, and asked them to bring them out 2 at a time per our specific request. We asked the server multiple times if the kitchen could do that, or were they too busy. Were told it would be no problem.
                                                    Our food arrived haphazardly, now and then, with sometimes a kitchen person just bringing it out and slapping it down on the table.
                                                    Work with someone who also has had the misfortune of have awful service and food on the same occasion...so I can't say much for them.
                                                    There really aren't any full menu mexican restuarants in the Berkshires, but my go to of choice is Pancho's on North St (RT. 7) in downtown Pittsfield. The food is decent, some meals taste pretty traditional. and the price is right. There's no ambiance, and no liquor license, so just beer and a paltry wine choice.

                                                    1. re: mjoyous

                                                      Have you been to the one that Lenox637 mentioned above...in Great Barrington..... Xicohtencatl? I was thinking of trying that one soon, but if you have tried it, let me know what you think. They have a pretty interesting menu, but I haven't seen a detailed review.

                                                      1. re: fillyfilet

                                                        I think I might be in the minority on that one, and I'm basing my opinion on only one dining experience (though we tried a number of dishes.) The atmosphere is delightful, with a more upscale presentation.
                                                        It's hard for me to be fair when I felt we were paying way to much for what we got, plus I have this prejudice against what you might call "tweezer food"-- for example, I want my tamales plain and delicious, not cut and arranged.
                                                        The latter could be great (Arizona 207 in NYC did a good job on those), but I'm more a lover of mexican home/street food cooking. And Xicohtencatl's food was acceptable but never spectacular.
                                                        That said, I was very disappointed in Xicohtencatl, and have not been back.

                                                        1. re: mjoyous

                                                          I don't think you're in the minority with your opinion of Xicoh. I second everything you (and Berkshire Tsar!) have said about them.
                                                          My opinion - it's overpriced and frou frou when I'd just rather have down and delicious!
                                                          I also agree with you on Panchos I do think Jesus is a great cook when you get him on a good night!

                                                          1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                                                            Hi Cowgirl; haven't seen too many posts from you recently. Well said about Panchos : "I also agree with you on Panchos I do think Jesus is a great cook when you get him on a good night!"
                                                            I ate there one third Thursday last summer when the place was overwhelmed and my usual stewed pork in nice hot spicy red sauce (forget the name of the dish) ended up being the great sauce but with paper thin grilled porkchop thrown in 'cause they must have run outy of the meat part of the dish.
                                                            They handled it beautifully, offered to take the full cost off but as I ate the dish anyway, we settled on half price.

                                                            1. re: mjoyous

                                                              I'm thinking you are referring to the carnitas, which is what I get when i go there (unless I think ahead and call to ask for chile rellenos with just cheese which he is happy to make !)
                                                              I love his carnitas usually, but a couple of times they've been dry and seeming left-over.

                                                              1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                                                                Wow! I never knew he'd make cheese filled chile rellenos if you asked in advance. Have had the meat stuffed ones, since the place was back in Lenox.
                                                                Thanks for the info. Wasn't sure if he called the dish carnitas or not.

                                                  3. I searched for one good Mexican restaurant in Noho-area since i moved here 1 1/2 years ago, and La Casita Azteca is the winner in my opinion. They have really tasty food, made with quality ingredients. I LOVE their vegetarian selection. I often have trouble finding good vegetarian options at most Mexican joints, and this place has some very nice veggie dishes that even my more carnivorous friends are happy with. They also have some really good desert selection and Mexican drinks (non-alcoholic, mostly, but their "beer bloody mary" are also quite intriguing and good). Plus, I really like the people who run the cafe: very warm and nice folks.

                                                    1. Filly, I'm curious. Was there anything you specifically disliked about Mi Tierra? I found it to be delicious and authentic, and properly spiced.

                                                      Mi Tierra
                                                      206 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035

                                                      1. Went to Tacos Mexico last night. The owner had closed the place at 6, but when he saw us pull up, he unlocked the door, re-started the grill and restocked his work area. We had chicken, beef and el pastor tacos... and they were the best I have had in Massachusetts. The burritos were the best I haver tried... maybe anywhere. The place is a bit of a hole in the wall, in the way that makes it all the more appealing once you realize that this is the EXACT sort of hidden gem you come across once in a great great while. The owner, Sergio, could not be nicer. He starts his day at 5am and usually isn't finished until 8 or 9. The guy works his butt off and his committment to his food and his customers is unparalleled. $1.50 per taco, $5.00 for a burrito. You cannot beat the prices or the product.
                                                        This is one amazing little taco stand.

                                                        Tacos Mexico
                                                        82 Fort Point St, Norwalk, CT 06855

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: KazamaSmokers

                                                          I've been going to TM for years. I'm very upset that I got laid off from my last job, and while I should be more upset about losing my source of livelihood, I'm almost equally upset to not be near TM anymore, which I would go to every Thursday.

                                                          Whenever I meet my buddies from my former job, Tacos Mexico is the place we go.

                                                          They used to be just that one little area where the cashier and soda machines are; but a few years ago they expanded and took over what used to be a laundromat next door, and installed all the new tables, the bar, etc.

                                                          I can't say enough about how friendly the people are there, and how great the food is, especially considering the prices.

                                                          Tacos Mexico
                                                          82 Fort Point St, Norwalk, CT 06855