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Desperately seeking cheap Mexican *in* Boston...that's not Anna's etc.

Oh, dear. I am dining with two friends tomorrow night, one of whom is insisting on Mexican and will not pay more than $15-$20 tip and tax included for his meal. But he doesn't want a takeout place.
The other friend is staying in the Back Bay and doesn't want to stray too far from her hotel.
I am the unfortunate soul charged with feeding these folks. Ideas?

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  1. How authentic are we talking? The places that come to mind and would barely meet your budgetary requirements are Cottonwood, Rattlesnake, and Cactus Club. I think the food at Rattlesnake is the best out of the three. Get the nachos.

    1. You might consider La Verdad over by Fenway. Easy to spend more than $20, certainly, but also easy to eat cheap there.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BJK

        Actually, La Verdad wouldn't be too expensive at all tonight thanks to $1 tacos!

      2. Boca Grande in Kenmore Square. Not everyones favorite but they do have good ,cheap Mexican food and I happen to love their burritos.

        1. Picante in Central Square would satisfy the cheap guy, and it's a straight run up Mass Ave on the Route 1 bus for the homebody. It's not great, but it's not awful, and you're not gonna get great with such parameters.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            I agree, given the parameters. My tip is: stay away from their burritos unless you like starch bombs. Their tacos are okay, but very gringo with lettuce and tomato. Tuesday is tamale day at Picante, and their chicken tamales are really very tasty, especially with the salsa verde on top. The pork tamales would be okay except that they trim all the fat off the carnitas (oh the humanity!) so they're pretty dry.

            The other notable thing on their menu is the tortilla soup - it can be inconsistent, but when it's on, it's really very good.

            Other notes: When they cook their black beans enough, they're pretty good. Sometimes they're a little undercooked, which is sad. And the salsa bar is always helpful for adding taste. I believe they do serve beer, if that helps.

          2. not actually boston but if your able to travel, taqueria el amigo,196 Willow St Waltham, MA 02453
            is dirt cheap and quite authentic. its not far from russo's if you want to combine trips.

            1 Reply
            1. Hop on the blue line to Revere and go to Tacos Lupitas on Shilrey Avenue! $5 burritos, yum.

              3 Replies
              1. re: drewinmrblhd

                There is no more Tacos Lupita on Shirley Ave in Revere. I drove by and it appears to be another Central American restaurant. Mrs. Guapo and I have yet to try it.

                1. re: El Guapo

                  Hop on the red line and go to Tacos Lupita on Somerville Ave, just a short walk from Porter Square.

                2. re: drewinmrblhd

                  Tacos Lupita in Revere was taken over by new owners and is now King Tacos Mexican Restaurant. It's a mixed bag compared to Tacos Lupita. The burritos are no where near as good - rice is mushy and wet. Salsa is lackluster. But they have a bigger menu than Tacos Lupita including breakfast. Some of their offerings: chile relleno, pork adobada, beef tongue "en salsa", carnitas de cerdo, shrimp (in many ways), four types of soup (mariscada, meudo, birria, sopa de res). Prices - Burritos are $7.00, tacos are $2 each, entrees range from $8-12.

                3. Trujillo on East Berkeley near Harrison in the South End is cheap and cheerful and has seating but not a destination.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    I think you are talking about El Triunfo on East Berkley. Just wanted to clarify in case someone is trying to search for it online or smething.

                    1. re: MParente

                      I'll second the recc for El Triunfo. Burritos are really good, and they also do some darn tasty pupusas wtith a tangy slaw They just opened a little dining room recently

                  2. How about Sol Azteca in Boston on the Brookline border (first above ground stop on the C line).

                    I haven't been in years but I used to enjoy it when I lived in the neighborhood. Pleasant atmosphere.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: beetlebug

                      This sounds like exactly what you're looking for. You can see it from the St. Marys stop on the C Line.


                      1. re: TroyOLeary

                        Good idea - Sol Azteca is not exactly haute cuisine but it's a much more varied menu than the burrito joints offer. Plus they sell booze. And their higaditos Mexicanos (spicy chicken liver appetizer) is outstanding.

                        And it's only three quick stops on the C line outbound from Copley station.