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Good Mexican in Madison, WI?

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Hello Chowhounds,

I've been impressed with some of the Mexican food I've found in Madison, but I'm definitely lacking options is the "cheap lunch" category. Any suggestions on good, authentic Mexican at any price point in Madison, WI?

A visit to Cilantro (on the West side) sparked this thread. The food is really interesting, combinations that seem unusual but really work, and tastes great. I had the chicken enchiladas in mole, but the specials had combinations I had never heard of before. It was a bit pricey--$50 for two with drinks for dinner. I think lunch may be more reasonable.

La Mestiza is fantastic, and seems authentic to me. Again, it's price-ier than I would have expected. But the guacamole is great.

Is there a good taco trunk around? Or a local place, that's filled at lunch because of their cheap but good food?

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La Mestiza
6644 Odana Rd, Madison, WI 53719

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  1. Sadly, the taco truck (El Norteno) from last summer that parked at Warner Park seems to have not reappeared this summer. The tamales at the small Mexican grocery (Juarez Mercado Store) near the park (near Culver's and Jung's, on Northport Drive) are an excellent substitute, though.

    Cheap, authentic, good Mexican is all over town, really. A little bit of Spanish seems to help in most of these places:

    La Concha, in a strip mall in Fitchburg, sells a torta sandwich that feeds you and a guest for the day, for something like $7.

    On Park Street, Taqueria Guadalajara and El Pastor are both good options - El Pastor a little more gringo-friendly (or accustomed-to, perhaps)

    The hole in the wall Taqueria Guanajuato is next to a similarly-named grocery, which makes it convenient for one-stop shopping.

    Pan & Pan is supposed to be great, but I haven't been there yet.

    Taqueria Guadalajara
    1033 Park St. Madison, WI
    608-441-9536

    La Concha
    3054 Fish Hatchery Rd.
    Fitchburg, WI
    608-276-9263

    Taqueria El Pastor
    2010 S. Park St.
    Madison, WI
    608-280-8898

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    Taqueria Guanajuato
    1318 S Midvale Blvd, Madison, WI 53711

    Pan & pan
    3737 Milwaukee St, Madison, WI 53714

    1 Reply
    1. re: itsbubbles

      >> Cheap, authentic, good Mexican is all over town, really.

      On our last trip to Madison, we went to Pedro's Mexican Restaurant. We thought the food was just okay, but the prices were low and the portions were huge; it was easy to see why it was doing such a huge business.

    2. Guadalajara is the only thing that comes to mind for cheap lunch fare arguably worth eating. To be honest, though, I am monumentally underwhelmed by the Mexican food here in Madison. Cilantro has some promise, but there are widely reported issues with inconsistent food and service there at the moment. That's the only place I can imagine anyone accurately calling a "good mexican restaurant" around here. La Mestiza is good for chips and margaritas, not much else (too bland). But, that green salsa is very good there. Good service too. I like a couple of dishes at Las Cazuelas, which was subject to a recent groupon (maybe today even? Can't recall). It, too, is rather inconsistent.

      La Concha has big tortas. B I G. Flavorful enough, but kind of off-putting, really, when you stop and look at what you are eating. It is largely pressed deli meat and less-than-spectacular produce. Still, it's worth trying more than once because it's interesting and cheap.

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      La Mestiza
      6644 Odana Rd, Madison, WI 53719

      1 Reply
      1. re: TAsunder

        Brief interjection on the lunch issue.

        We have had pretty darn good lunches at:
        Taqueria Guanajuato
        1318 South Midvale Boulevard, Madison, WI 53711-2848
        (608) 271-7204 ()

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        Taqueria Guanajuato
        1318 S Midvale Blvd, Madison, WI 53711