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Good Tex Mex or Mexican in Metro Detroit area

jayceon Dec 16, 2009 02:30 PM

Just moved here from Houston and am craving real fajitas and enchiladas, a tamal or two would be good too. Where do y'all get your Mex on??? I'm not opposed to driving for the real deal!

  1. jjspw Sep 19, 2010 01:18 AM

    My favorite "real deal" Mexican spots are the taco trucks in SW Detroit. There are maybe 8-10 of them, each with very similar menus. I'd never heard of the one in East Lansing someone else mentioned, but I'd venture to say that the ones in SW Detroit are equally good. The best taco trucks are cheap, quick, and offer far better food than I've had at any of the brick-and-mortar places in Mexicantown (e.g. Lupita, Los Altos, Camino Real, Nuestra Familia).

    The most reliable of the taco trucks is El Taquito, always parked in the strip mall at Livernois & W Vernor in Mexicantown (strip mall has PNC Bank). They're year-round, cash only, open late. The al pastor, carnitas, and chorizo tacos are standouts. Pollo quesadilla is divine. Pollo on anything else, though, can be a bit too dry. Skip the ceviche tostada--unless you like mayo and ketchup on your ceviche.

    But if you're looking for brick-and-mortar, I've got to agree with the Taqueria Alameda suggestion. Excellent food, very diverse protein options, lots of hard-to-find mexican food like huitlacoche!

    And, I just recently tried El Michoacano, and was very impressed with their tacos and tamales. They have a special running for 3 tacos and a can of soda for $5. Great deal--chorizo, cabeza, and carnitas are outstanding. Their guacamole is the best I've ever had.

    Taqueira El Michoacano
    64075 Van Dyke Rd
    Washington, MI 48095
    (586) 752-5224

    3 Replies
    1. re: jjspw
      JanPrimus Sep 19, 2010 03:29 PM

      It was I that mentioned the East Lansing truck. I have as far as I know been to every Taco Truck in the state and that is still my favorite. The Cabeza there was legendary. Taste like best roast I ever had cut into bits...Succulent!

      I agree that the Taco trucks are better than the brick and mortar places....Well some of them. My favorite Detroit truck is the one on Michigan Ave. across the street from the Telway. I also like the Ceviche that they offer as long as they do not add Ketchup.

      Also don't make the mistake that Rainsux and I did and get the 20 ounce cup of Ceviche. Way to much....

      1. re: JanPrimus
        jjspw Sep 19, 2010 04:56 PM

        I've been known to drive 45 minutes for food, but East Lansing is a bit far... however, I'm sure I'll be up that way later this fall for a hockey game with my husband, so I'll look for it then. JP, do you know if they're year-round?

        Some of the trucks in SW Detroit are real flops (e.g. Loncheria Arandas). But generally, they do quite a good job. I think that one you mentioned on Michigan Ave across Telway is El Toro -- have never tried that one. For ceviche, my favorite is Los Dos Amigos, on Parkinson at Waldo (very odd location in that it isn't a high-traffic area).

        Here's a map I did of the Detroit trucks: http://tinyurl.com/l59n9v

        1. re: jjspw
          JanPrimus Sep 20, 2010 08:56 AM

          According to my dad who lives in Williamston...It is open all year. They also have a location in a gas station/Party Store located off of 96 and Cedar. I know it is North of 96 on the west side of the road.


          How can you argue with reviews like this....

    2. b
      boagman Sep 18, 2010 09:29 PM

      I can vouch for Carnival being really, really good, too. Not sure I can say that it's better than any place in Mexicantown, but they do some pretty good Mexican food at the counter, and while the dining area can often be quite dirty from all the customers, the food itself is quite good, indeed.

      1. x
        xman887 Sep 4, 2010 09:34 AM

        i grew up in fraser and have a soft spot in my heart for el charro's http://www.elcharrousa.com/home.shtml

        still get there once or twice a year. love the puffy taco's.

        1. JanPrimus Sep 1, 2010 01:44 PM

          New Place I want to add to the list :)

          La Casita Taqueria in Wixom.
          49070 Pontiac Trail

          They have Cabeza, Barbacoa, Tinga, Cochinita, Lengua, Puerco con Rajas and Chicharron Prensado along with the usual suspects. I had some Quesadilla's for lunch and they were absolutely fantastic. Another plus for me is how damn cute those young ladies that served me were. I will be going back many times.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JanPrimus
            Jim M Sep 1, 2010 04:23 PM

            Wonder if this is connected to the La Casita in Ypsilanti, which is also good. It's a common enough name for a Mexican place, but the menu sounds similar. 2866 Washtenaw, between Golfside and Hewitt.

            1. re: Jim M
              JanPrimus Sep 1, 2010 05:59 PM

              It is....they also are in Westland but I like this locations food more than the Westland location.

          2. m
            MiMexTex Feb 8, 2010 12:55 PM

            Taqueria Mi Pueblo
            7278 Dix St
            Detroit, MI 48209
            (313) 841-3315

            This place is a bit outside the "Mexican Town" corridor area but definitely worth it!

            My favorite is the Tinga (spicy chicken) tacos, but everything I've had there is good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MiMexTex
              Jim M Feb 8, 2010 04:57 PM

              It's also the only place I've found around here that serves the "vampiro"--a beet juice smoothie, natch.

              1. re: MiMexTex
                vtombrown Feb 8, 2010 06:07 PM

                I "third" Mi Pueblo. They went for years with no liquor license, but now they've got the food AND the booze. Even though this place caters to Mexicans and Mexican Americans, they and their customers always have been very welcoming to me. With all due respect for the fun that can be had in Mexicantown, I much prefer the extra drive out into the 'hoods to eat at Mi Pueblo. Nice ceviche gets things started, and just might lead to a cabeza or lengua taco.

                1. re: vtombrown
                  Oakland Gal Feb 22, 2010 09:32 AM

                  Check out Mi Zarape in the north Woodward corridor at Square Lake and Opdyke. It's in a former Applebee's location hidden from site by the Centerpointe Marriott hotel in Pontiac (www.ii-1.com/mizarape_home). Wonderfully fresh and reasonable. Sometimes, you just don't want to make the drive down to SW Detroit!

              2. k
                KathleenT Jan 24, 2010 08:22 PM

                I suggest El Rancho's it is in Mexican town, Southwest Detroit on Vernor. It is very good, the service there is excellent. I have never tried their tamales since none will ever be as good as my grandma's in my eyes. But they have good enchilada's, fresh chips and salsa!

                Next door to El Rancho is E&L Supermercado where you can buy some good ole ingredients for cooking. Further down Vernor towards the train station, (I think it's bagley) you can go to La Gloria Bakery, they have fresh bolillos daily (rolls), cookies and pastries all for good prices and on the weekends they have Barbacoa, if you haven't had it, it's beef I believe and is pulled apart and cooked, it is delicious!!! However it is like $8-12 for a container but really the best I've had so far. Have fun exploring!

                1 Reply
                1. re: KathleenT
                  JanPrimus Jan 25, 2010 03:56 AM

                  Barbacoa can range from one place to the next. Most places I have had it in Detroit say it is goat, but I have seen beef, beef head and sheep all called Barbacoa. It is more of a style of cooking than a specific dish. It is kind of how we treat the same word Barbecue.

                  From Wikipedia....

                  Barbacoa originates in Mexico and generally refers to meats or a whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with maguey leaves, although the interpretation is loose, and in the present day and in some cases may refer to meat steamed until tender.

                  In the U.S., barbacoa is often prepared with parts from the head of a cow, such as the cheeks. In northern Mexico, barbacoa is also sometimes made with the head of a cow, but more often it is prepared with goat meat or cabrito. In central Mexico the meat of choice is lamb, and in the Yucatan their traditional version, Cochinita pibil (pit-style pork) is prepared with pork.

                2. firestalker Jan 10, 2010 09:28 AM


                  1. d
                    donbui82 Dec 20, 2009 08:20 AM

                    I come from LA, so I can completely empathize with your discerning Mexican cravings.

                    Besides el Barzon, you have to try a place called Senor Lopez. Its not directly IN Mexicantown. Small, hole in the wall place on Michigan Ave. Still very clean and respectable though. Their food is phenomenal. The menu is a "real" mexican menu with greats like menudo. Last I went there, had some lengua tacos and a shredded pork in green sauce. the Lengua was thick, and very flavorful, rivaling of the better street vendors in Cali. the pork was extremely tasty as well.

                    Check it out and report back!


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: donbui82
                      aea6574 Sep 4, 2010 06:54 AM

                      Howdy: I hope you are well.

                      Do you know of Senor Lopez is still open? I called the Ann Arbor number and it was disconnected, I then called the Detroit number and got no answer. It would be a shame as I loved the Pibil.

                      Best regards, tony

                      1. re: aea6574
                        jjspw Sep 19, 2010 12:53 AM

                        I have seen on other boards that Senor Lopez in Ann Arbor is closed. But the Detroit location *is* still open but has very very strange hours, something like 8:30am-4:30pm.

                    2. tokyo Dec 17, 2009 04:41 AM

                      For fajitas and enchiladas (and margaritas) in Mexicantown, I suggest Los Galanes. Also, in the next block there is Evie's Tamales. I can't speak for anything in the 'burbs. Whenever we're craving good Mexican, we just make the trip to Detroit.

                      Los Galanes
                      3362 Bagley Street
                      Detroit, MI 48216-1632
                      (313) 554-4444

                      3454 Bagley Street

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tokyo
                        coney with everything Dec 17, 2009 05:43 AM

                        Hearty second to Los Galanes. Less of the cheesy/refrieds/rice mass quantity plate philosophy than El Zocalo/Xochomilco/Mexican Village.

                        While you're in the 'hood, check out La Colmena Market for your ingredients. And welcome to Michigan! It will get warmer...eventually!

                        1. re: coney with everything
                          JanPrimus Jan 24, 2010 12:52 PM

                          I and a few others ended up going to Los Galanes before a Red Wings game and we ended up having sadly a typical as you say cheesy/refried/rice mass quantity plate experience.

                          I know for a fact that Mexico has more than just two side dishes (but you would not know that from 95% of our Mexican establishments)...this is the biggest weakness of most Mexican places I visit. There is not even that much difference between the rice and the beans place to place.

                          Please give us more Esquites, Pinto beans, Camote, Pickled Peppers and veggies, Candied Pumpkin.....etc etc...

                          I am gonna go back and try to order more of the apps and soups (which did look good)...it was just the typical entrees that we got that ended up being average.

                          1. re: JanPrimus
                            tokyo Jan 24, 2010 02:35 PM

                            I don't think of Los Galanes as 'authentic' Mexican cuisine -it is more of the tex-mex variety-, but since the OP asked for fajitas and enchiladas, I do feel that Los Galanes does these better than most. It depends on what you are in the mood for. That being said, I would like to hear if the OP has found what he is looking for...

                      2. JanPrimus Dec 16, 2009 07:11 PM

                        Vernor in Southwest Detroit is the hub of Detroit's Mexican community. The most common place that people visit down in that area is Xochimilco Restaurant, but in my opinion it is just that..."Common". Just a few steps down the street is your best bet for the low budget. Now do not let the words low budget scare you...this is good stuff.

                        Taqueria Lupitas
                        3443 Bagley St
                        Detroit, MI

                        Moving on up to the middle range of cost would be...Excellent Mole

                        El Barzón
                        3710 Junction Rd. Detroit, Michigan 48210
               <---oddly that is the address Google gave me.

                        For higher end Mexican you need to get your driving gloves on...
                        Cinco Lagos
                        424 North Main Street
                        Milford, MI 48381

                        Also I have been visiting a new little Taqueria that makes the best damn taco's I have had in a long time...

                        Taqueria Alameda
                        906 S Wayne Rd
                        Westland, MI 48186

                        As for the Best Taco truck in the state...Lansing

                        El Oasis
                        2501 E Michigan Ave
                        Lansing, MI 48933

                        Best in the Detroit area would be the El Toro Truck on Michigan Ave.

                        Also keep a eye open for the Acapulco trucks...they serve up Ceviche that is tasty with Limes, Hot Sauce and Chips. Some of the Taco trucks will just Ketchup on the fish and this is just a crime.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JanPrimus
                          Jim M Jan 10, 2010 03:41 PM

                          Just went to Taquería Alameda. Tinga de pollo ... yes, yes, yes! Can't wait to go back.

                          1. re: Jim M
                            JanPrimus Jan 10, 2010 06:10 PM

                            Glad to share....nice little hole in the wall joint. Tell me when you go next and we can get a table to fill with it all!

                            1. re: Jim M
                              JanPrimus Jan 24, 2010 12:38 PM

                              Jim I ended up trying the Tinga de Pollo and it is a very nice way they do chicken. I was thinking it would have much more of a kick, but I would not be afraid to serve that to my kids. I am slowly working my way threw all of the meats there and have yet to find one that is a loser. Matter of fact I am having a hard time finding a clear winner...not due to the fact that they are all average...but most of them are just that damn good.

                            2. re: JanPrimus
                              berkleybabe Sep 18, 2010 06:28 PM

                              And Evie's Tamales in SW Detroit for great ...uh..tamales. The Honey Bee grocery story is also a big find... their tamale take outs are great, best guac you can buy, all kinds of resources for great Mexican cooking.

                              Evie's Tamales
                              3454 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216

                            3. w
                              wrongo Dec 16, 2009 06:52 PM

                              Haven't been there in a while but a bunch of great restaurants on Clark Avenue in "Mex Town" west of I-75.

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