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Aug 4, 2010 12:26 PM

Where Can I Get Crappy Fake Mexican Food?

This might sound weird, but I am looking for the cheap, far from authentic Mexcian food that I grew up with.

Down where I live in the South, EVERY Mexcian restaurant has the same menu. You basically either order by combination number, lunch special, or a la carte.

The food is the same in every place. They have quesadillas, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and a few other slightly more authentic dishes. You can order anything with rice and refried beans.

Right when you sit down, they bring chips and salsa to the table. The decor is tacky, and almost nothing costs over 12 dollars. Lunch is 6 dollars max.

I can't find a single place in Philly that is like this. All the Mexican or TexMex food here is either fancy and authentic or "fresh" and fast like Chipotle. These both are super tasty, but I don't want authentic or fresh or good quality. I want cheese dip and a chicken quesadilla that tastes SO much better than it should.

Is there any place I can find this??

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    1. Is El Azteca on Chestnut still open? That place was like that.

      Mad4Mex in West Philly fits the bill. I think it's seriously bad; the ingredients are shit, the dips taste like they were made a week ago, and the margaritas are pre-mixed (with the tequila, even). But I guess that is what you are looking for? Somehow they manage to keep an excellent beer list, though.

      Also you should try Las Bugambilias on South Street. It is a bit better and more authentic than what you are describing, but has a lot of overlap with those kind of menu items and is very affordable. The enchiladas are great.

      5 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        Mad Mex is still around? I agree, it's bad. I thought they closed.

        1. re: Buckethead

          Still around. I was just there this past Saturday! They make good waffle fries, and my margaritas have rarely been premixed (I tend to order mine straight up). Also, the beer list, as mentioned, is respectable, and the tequila selection is surprisingly not crappy.

          mzhao - I know exactly the kind of mexican place you're talking about! They're all over the midwest where I'm from, too. Totally crappy mom-and-pop type shops but awesome nonetheless. Unfortunately, I've never seen anything like that around here (but I'm mostly stuck within the regions of wherever SEPTA takes me). El Azteca is probably as close as you're going to get.

          1. re: Ali

            Maybe only the frozen margaritas are premixed. I've gone there with someone who doesn't drink and when he asked for a virgin margarita they couldn't make it.

        2. re: barryg

          i think el azteca is still there and is probably the best bet. las bugambilias is way too authentic for this me thinks....

          1. re: mazza3

            Is the El Azteca on Chestnut related to the El Azteca in Mt Laurel, NJ? That's our tried-and-true, hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant and would totally fit the OP's criteria. We've seen the city location on some trips to Jones and always wondered if they were siblings, cousins, or just random strangers with the same name...

        3. I like Mad for Mex. It's not gourmet, but doesn't pretend to be.

          I like el fuego more - smaller menu, though - it's basically a burrito place.

          i lived in the Bay Area for a few years. Burrito places like that are all over the place. The food at El Fuego would have been fine for a neighborhood place. Not something to rave about, but fine.
          The prices, otoh... I do miss the big burrito at $3.75.

          1. Some other bad Mexican restaurants in CC: Mission Grill, Mexican Post (two locations).

            2 Replies
            1. re: barryg

              I'm from the south, and I know the places you mean. Fantastic, in a totally crap-food way.

              El Azteca & Mexican post are definitely the closest I've seen here, although they don't quite fit the bill.

              1. re: PhillyA

                What about Mexican Post? Really sounds like the on the border or chi chis chain food you are looking for.

            2. Mexican Post, for sure! The one at Second and Chestnut will likely also have the ambiance of the places you remember.

              Mexican Post
              3100 Naamans Rd Ste 14, Wilmington, DE 19810

              1 Reply
              1. re: LPhila

                Are you in Center City or in the burbs? If so, where?