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Best Mexican?

Taken the trip many times to Dona Cata on Victoria. Don Guacamole on robson was also pretty decent. Tacos mexico rico is pretty great too. Salsa and Agave in Yaletown also good. La Taquiera on Hastings is exceptional. Anyone have any good Mexican recommendations in and around Vancouver? Or have I hit the motherload?

Salsa and Agave
1223 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6Z, CA

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  1. I think that's pretty much it for Vancouver. There are a couple more taquerias (some run by non-Mexican Latin Americans). But you can only go so far with a taqueria-menu.

    Are you willing to take a ferry to good Mexican? I have not been there yet, but I here good things about Hernandez (Mayan-Mexican) in Victoria: http://www.hernandezcocina.com/

      1. re: tangentdesign

        I've only tried it in its previous incarnation which was not salutary. A word of caution though: they are closed right now (I saw the sign a couple weeks back) so I just called and they plan to reopen next Wednesday. Hours will be 11-8 M-F and 1-9 Sat apparently.

      2. Primo's on W.12th has been there forever, not sure if that's a good or bad sign. I've never been. Are they good ?

        2 Replies
        1. re: LotusRapper

          I haven't been to Primo's in maybe 15(?) years. I think they are retiring? Their kids don't want to run a restaurant, from what I hear.

          1. re: LotusRapper

            Primo's is not good (at least in the sense of authentic Mexican) and has been for sale for awhile, no takers that I've heard of.

          2. I'm pretty picky about Mexican food. I enjoy some of the items at Bandidas on Commercial. It's all vegetarian, which I find counter-intuitive to Mexican food, but their tortilla soup is excellent and they do a great nachos plate. Also a great breakfast burrito in the morning. Others I've been with have really enjoyed their veggie tacos & burritos -- really interesting combos.

            11 Replies
            1. re: JEheartbreak

              That's funny, we were just talking at dinner [Pho Linh --very meaty!] about the idea of veg Mex being counterintuitive :-). I will order the tortilla soup if I go as that is a bit of a holy grail for me. I do love a tasty brekky burrito but have never seen such a beast south of the US border...

              A friend of mine was talking about a tiny Mexican place somewhere around Main and Broadway that was supposed to be worthwhile. With Zocalo gone, the only place I could think of was Budgie's. Oh wait, isn't there a place down around there that's only open at night and sometimes has a Mexican band? Oh how I love the Google: LA CASA DEL ARTISTA 150 East 3rd Ave ( corner of Main ) 604 338 4064 or 604 709-4300 (not sure which is correct) whose "house band" Mariachi Los Dorados appears all over the world (next concert is at the Chan in May) . I don't think there is a full menu there but I've heard that there are tacos in the house :-).

              I wonder if there are any Cinco de Mayo events coming up that are open to the public?

              1. re: grayelf

                Cool, Grayelf. You're just a treasure trove of info. You and Fmed. I must check out this La Casa del Artista !

                1. re: grayelf

                  I think that place is across the street from 12b and the Swiss bakery -- I remember hearing a Latin-sounding band when we were there for dinner...

                  1. re: JEheartbreak

                    Isn't that Nuba now? It was Pita Star then an African-Indian lunch place for while.

                    1. re: JEheartbreak

                      Doh ...... don't wanna give away the location of 12B now, do we ?

                      1. re: LotusRapper

                        I've sent the Chow Commandos to take him out. ;-)

                        1. re: fmed

                          I was just looking through my Places to Try list (it's too long!) and came across El Barrio on Hastings near Nanaimo. Has anyone been? The menu at elbarrio.ca looks interesting (they serve huitacloche albeit in a flauta). The chef is a salvadoreƱo who spent a year in Mexico.

                          El Barrio Restaurant
                          2270 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V4, CA

                          1. re: grayelf

                            I've been. Just when it first opened a couple of years ago. (Actually, I was there with tangentdesign I seem to recall). The huitlachoce dish was good. The next time I went wasn't so good - dry chicken, etc.

                            1. re: fmed

                              I have to agree with fmed. We were even given a tres leches cake that had either gone bad or was made with yoghurt. Decent place for drinks though and seems like they have live music / dj at times too.

                            2. re: grayelf

                              I went to El Barrio for dinner last night and was very pleased with the quality and freshness of the food. I asked the Chef to make us his two favorite meals.The mole chicken was wonderful and the chille rellenos were very good. Chef Louis makes his own sauces, salsas and mole..... all of which were very good (it is no easy task making a good Mole!). Apparently the flautas are a hit. I definitely will go back and try other dishes...... I hope that the quality of the food is consistent because it is a laid back, cozy place that has live music and an open mike.

                              El Barrio Restaurant
                              2270 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V4, CA

                            3. re: fmed

                              "I've sent the Chow Commandos to take him out. ;-)"

                              [laughs / snorts]

                    2. I don't think that there is any really great place for Mexican food in the entire city. Some places will do a bit of this and others a bit of that, but there isn't one with a great menu from top to bottom that makes you want to go back time and time again. As far as I'm concerned the two best sandwich cultures on the planet are Vietnamese and Mexican. The food should be incredibly fresh, with great bread, great ingredients and done on the cheap. The new place on Cambie is not bad, but not very authentic and a bit pricey.

                      Here's where you go. Head to the border crossing at 264th and then drive toward Bellingham on Guide Meridian Road. Just before you hit the city watch out for a Pro Golf Discount on your right hand side. In the parking lot between the golf store and the gas station is a Taco Trailer manned by a family turning out the best damn Mexican food you'll have this side of the Mexican border. In about 80 square feet they are pressing out fresh tortillas as you order, making fresh fillings and sauces. You eat at a picnic bench outside in the parking lot on a stained plastic tablecloth and try to keep your paper napkins from blowing away. Go hungry, the portions are great and the food is fantastic. I promise you one of the best meals you'll ever have. Bring US cash.

                      1. Tacos Mexico Rico is a good spot for lunch if you have the time. Service can be pretty slow. The Tortas are not bad, just a little smaller than I'd like, and I'm a bit peeved at the use of the microwave. Also you'll have to ask them to make you a Lengua Tortas as it is not on the menu. They have the tongue ready though for tacos, so it isn't a problem. One thing I really like about that place is that even though every table and every chair is from a different set, and even though the building is a bit seedy looking from the outside, not to mention the characters outside in the park, the inside is really really clean. They care about that. Now if I could get them to speed up service, throw out the microwave and hire another cook to help out it would be perfect.

                        Tacos Mexico Rico
                        309 Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6B1T3, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Tinfoilhat

                          Here's another place I'd forgotten about till I reread the entry on Chowtimes:


                          El Mariachi 2nd floor 3853 Hastings (604) 568-5833

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Another is "Vallarta" on Renfrew(?) or Rupert(?) and Broadway....I've never been as it didn't strike me as anything special just driving by.

                            1. re: fmed

                              I've been - it's very generic, a little overpriced, not worth the bother.

                        2. Primos i like but not really authentic mexican. up the street from dona cata,
                          the elcaracol (good pupusas) owners have a mexican place two doors over. anyone been?>
                          been on my to try list.

                          always wondered what happen to the taco shop that used to be on w hastings. kitty corner to the SFU building. kinda have to walk into the building to see the place as it wasnt directly off the side walk..

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: betterthanbourdain

                              hey i remember that place and the entrtance was kind of strange, i remember thinking that it was tacos ricos before a change of location but i don't think thats the case, anyone?

                              1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                I remember the place. It had two levels and was one of the first places I knew that had horchata and tres leches cake. Don't recall the name though.

                                1. re: el_lobo_solo

                                  - mr. salmon is correct; they moved around the corner and are now on pender @ hamilton. imo something happened to the quality of their cooking during the course of the transfer to the new digs.

                                  - the finest mexican meal of my life: a breakfast of soft tacos with a cold bottle of mexican beer. small, VERY ' basic ' family- run place in a mexican neighbourhood in san antonio, texas. sauces all home- made. fresh spices, seasonings, peppers, herbs. everything SIMPLE and fresh. nothing from a can. cooked with LARD- which i believe makes all the difference. i almost died those tacos were so exceptional; and they charged me dick for them. no mexican food i have tried ANYWHERE since that meal has come even remotely close.

                                  1. re: slugsunderfoot

                                    not fair to compare mexican food here to down south.. :-D
                                    that was what i thought. but something did happen cause the food isn't the same.
                                    elsololobo yup first time i had horchata in van too....

                              2. If you manage to make it out to Langley there is a very good Mexican restaurant called Viva Mexico. The owners are pretty passionate about bringing their authenticity to the food. You get big proportions for a small price, unlike Don Guacamole downtown.

                                Don Guacamole Restaurant
                                1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: abiaandrews

                                  Best being subjective, I enjoyed the tacos from Off the Wagon at the Winter Farmers' Market (Riley Park) last Saturday. Good that they are served with double tortillas (two per taco). I preferred the pork with chipotle which comes with a crunchy "slaw" to the chorizo which is tasty but a lot of meat -- in fact I would say they could spread the filling from two tacos over three tortillas and I would be happier, though technically that would add the cost of two tortillas to the mix I guess. They are $6.35 for an order of 2 (cheaper if you get the veg version which this day was roasted yams and cumin black beans). They also have a breakfast taco combo for a bit less.

                                  FYI the bright yellowy orange sauce is from a squeeze bottle on the counter. It didn't seem to have much bite or flavour so I would pass next time as the fillings are already moist enough.