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Aug 14, 2009 01:55 PM

Where are the good Mexican restaurants in Tampa Bay area?

We'll be visiting the area soon and would welcome recommendations for good Mexican.

We're staying in Indian Shores but will have a car so driving further afield will be possible.

Thanks everyone

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  1. Aaah, you must try El Toro Negro, an unassuming place on 54th Ave in Kenneth City (St. Pete). The real deal, modest place with great food, including a homemade salsa bar and small grocery attached. Here's a review:

    Have a great visit, and don't forget the sunscreen!

    1 Reply
    1. re: joan

      No grocery any more. Plus I have been going to El Maguey at just south of 66th St. N and Park Blvd. I think their food is just a tad better than El Toro these days. Give it a try sometime, Joan, and let us know what you think.

      I do like the salsa bar at El Toro but I wish their chips were a little thinner.


    2. La Cabana del Tio is my personal fave (it also won Creative Loafing's best taco competition) in Clearwater.

      2 Replies
        1. re: RibDog

          Thanks everyone, all added to the list!

      1. Los Mexicanos...there are several locations...then their is a place near HArbor Island that is pretty good

        1. Although its considered more gourmet Southwest, we love RED MESA in St. Petersburg, on 4th St. N. It's survived lots of comers and goers and even the franchises, and it's always packed. Even a great Sunday brunch. The sangria and salsa are top notch (for me, sure fire, tell tale signs of good Mex food)... my wife always gets their cheese enchiladas and is never disappointed... and I like that they are always rotating their specials and using fresh ingredients... it's authentic, for sure. This place is the GOODS!

          1. Thanks to all for your recs.

            We managed to try two of your suggestions and loved them both:

            Red Mesa-more of a gourmet treat and it was packed but we got in before the rush. Very good food.

            El Toro Negro-loved this place and we would never have tried it without your recommendation. Very plain, no nonsense place but the food was true home cooking and seemed very authentic.

            Thanks again.

            9 Replies
            1. re: scooby99

              there is a long long thread out there somewhere with lots more suggestions.

              i've been going to Taqueria Monterrey on Fletcher in Tampa quite a bit lately.

              1. re: andy huse

                How would compare Taqueria Monterrey to the Taco Bus? I know they have the same ownership, but the online menus are quite different. We LOVE the Taco Bus--that horchata is like crack!

                1. re: Miss E

                  They had the horchata at TM also when I was there.

                  1. re: Miss E

                    The horchata is a standard on the Taqueria Monterrey rotation along with tamarindo (my favorite). The chicken has an addictive smoky flavor at TM while at the Taco Bus it is tossed in a mustard sauce. TM has a salsa bar with about 20 different sauces and toppings (including sliced radishes!) which is all freshly made. TM has housemade corn tortillas. They also just added some new desserts which The Bus doesn't offer. What brings the two together are Rene's attention to detail and his commitment to a quality product.

                    1. re: TampaAurora

                      I'm not knockin the taco bus. but don't forget handmade tortillas and the pastor grill at TM. good stuff.

                      and you're right TampaAurora, the tamarind rocks!

                  2. re: andy huse

                    I was there last week, Andy, and really liked it!

                    1. re: andy huse

                      Have you been to the Taco place across from El Puerto?

                      1. re: rhnault

                        I have been to the taco place across from El Puerto. It was nothing special. I would say it is reasonably well done americanized Mexican food. It's a nice location. Too bad it's not TN/TM quality. I gotta get to El Puerto.

                        1. re: CFishman

                          I'll stick with El Puerto then. You will love it.