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Apr 13, 2009 07:30 PM

Tex-mex in philly

I'm looking for a good tex-mex restaurant in Philadelphia. Mostly for a good chimichanga or cheese enchilada. I've tried a lot of the taquerias on 9th st (Taqueria la veracruzana, la lupe, etc) but they are a little too authentic for when I'm craving tex mex food. Any suggestions?

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  1. I could be a little jaded since I compare all tex-mex to Cactus Cantina in DC. Your best bets are El Vez, Pura Vida, or Plaza Garibaldi. There are plenty of taquerias but they tend to be more authentic. Good tex-mex in philly is hard to find.

    1 Reply
    1. re: juice

      you should probably check out el camino real too. the food is super hit or miss (each dish actually, depending on when you go), but it has the tex mex feel even though they say they keep the texas bit away from the northern mexican bit.

    2. it's not the best, and definitely not authentic anything, but you might want to give Mad 4 Mex a shot? never had an enchilada there but their burritos are HUGE and better than Qdoba at least. Warning it's a chain and sort of a college / beer chugging / tgi fridays atmosphere

      4 Replies
      1. re: silverbullet69

        A similar place (with a bigger menu, though) is Adobe Cafe. They have locations in Roxborough and South Philly. Both Mad4Mex and Adobe have low quality food IMO (tastes like out of a bag or freezer, questionable guac, veggie burrito mostly rice) but they might have some things on the menu that satisfy your craving. There is also Mexican Post with two locations in Center City. Similarly low quality again IMO but I don't have as much experience.

        Mad4Mex has a very good draft beer selection (I would skip their margaritas, they are premixed with the tequila) and Adobe has a good happy hour so maybe go to one of these spots to drink and try a couple things

        Sorry to be a hater :)..

        1. re: barryg

          Don't drink frozen if you want a decent margarita at Mad4Mex, but yeah, the margaritas at the nearby Chili's is better. The food is decent at Mad4 - not great but good for soaking up alcohol. :) For what it is (a drinking spot in a college student-filled area), I like it, and I like it better than Mexican Post.

          I stand by one thing at Mad4: they have the best waffle fries in the city. Odd, I know, but it's pretty amazing, perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

          1. re: Ali

            Mad4Mex (is there really a 4 in the name?) is just so-so from what I've eaten. If I am getting burritos, I tend to hit El Fuego (mostly the one on Chestnut near 22nd where the employees are nicer).

            1. re: bluehensfan

              It's really Mad Mex 4 (as in the 4th Mad Mex, as in the real name is just Mad Mex). Everyone seems to call it Mad 4 Mex or Mad4, though. And like I said, for what it is, I like it, but admittedly, I'm never going there for the food only (except for those fries).

              I do like El Fuego, though it seems to be a weird Tex/Cal-Mex fusion thing. But you're right in that the 22nd & Chestnut one seems to boast nicer employees, not that the 7th St. employees were mean or anything.

      2. I hear you. I love authentic, too, but definitely get my cravings for tex mex. Personally, I find El Vez to remind me of food I've had in Mexico, with the cactus salsa and lighter sauces... I like the restaurant a lot, but wouldn't go there when craving tex mex

        Mexican Post has the menu, but I find their food to be a little bland. I went to the Mad Mex in Pittsburgh and liked it, but can't speak for the Philly location. 12th St Cantina in the Reading Terminal makes decent enchiladas.

        Not sure where you live, or where you're willing to travel, but there's a sort-of chain in Christiana called Border Cafe with Cajun & Mexican food. Very good, very cheap, very consistant. Love their cheese enchilada, and it comes with black beans and rice for like $7. Hands down, it's where I go when my craving hits

        3 Replies
        1. re: jessicheese

          I go to the Border Cafe once or twice a month. It's cheap, they have all the homecooked tortilla chips and salsa you want for free, and great grilled salmon (really!) and chimichurri steak.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Thanks for all the replys! I've been to Mad 4 Mex and Mexican Post, and I've gotta say - the food was pretty bland. El Fuego's good when you're in the mood for a good burrito (but I agree - the employee's at the 22nd and Chestnut location are a lot nicer than the 7th and Walnut location).

            I haven't been to the Border Cafe in Cristiana, but I went to school in Boston (where there's another location)and the enchiladas definitely satisfied my tex-mex cravings. But I think it's a little too far for a craving (I live in Center city).

            I actually have found a new place that opened up in February. It's called Que Chula Es Puebla and it's on 2nd and Master in Fishtown (or Northern Liberties - I always confuse the areas). It replaced El Ranchito (which was also good). I tried the chicken chimichanga - and it was fantastic! I haven't tried the enchiladas yet, but hopefully they'll be great too. Anyone else eaten here?

          2. re: jessicheese

            I'll second 12th Street Cantina (also in the food court at the Bellevue). Love the taco platter