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Oct 7, 2010 02:34 PM

Mexico City-style Mexican food in East county

I've heard there is a popular restaurant in the La Mesa/College/East SD area. Does anyone know what it is called?

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  1. Rana's. Next to the Fresh and Easy on Campo Road at Kenwood...Spring Valley.

    1. Can you define Mexico City-style food, because, truly, there is really nothing in San Diego anywhere - East County, North County, South Bay, La Mesa, CV, National City, San Ysidro or the College Area, that even comes remotely close to the food served in D.F. What is your expectation of Mexico City-style food?

      That said, Rana's on Campo Rd. in Casa de Oro sort of bills itself as Mexico City-style food. Rana's is not bad at all, in fact, it's actually pretty good, but it's not Mexico City-style food.

      4 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        They serve a few things that are commonly found in D.F. for example "Pambazos".

        Rana's is quite good. Not much to look at but decent food.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          YEs, they do bill themselves as Mexico City cuisine and if you speak with any member of the lovely family that owns the restaurant, they will tell you that they are from Mexico City and the dishes are the mother's/family's. So maybe not strictly MC-style food, but the food of a MC family. Close enough for me. It's not like you walk in expecting an authentic Mexico City gourmet experience, what with the neon colors and the frogs.

          That said, I love this place. The Dolce Tacos (named for the mother) are the best rolled tacos in SD bar none. The al pastor is wonderful, the cochinita pibil is great. They always have a couple of moles (at least on the weekends as specials) that they are justifiably proud of. I've eaten a lot of the menu and enjoyed much of it very much.

          1. re: Divamac

            I did NOT say I didn't like them, and I didn't say they weren't nice people. I've only asked people to define what they are terming "Mexico City-style" Mexican food. If someone is asking for a specific regional food, they're either familiar with that style of food or they have a reasonably good idea of what it is they're looking for. Street food in Mexico City is pretty amazing, but it's a whole different game than the contemporary food offered, or the regional, international or cafe food. With 22 million people it's one of the largest cities in the world and you can literally find just about anything you want in it, legal or not. So if someone says they want D.F.-style food...what style? I'm not trying to be difficult, but the city has a lot of people and covers a lot of ground, what part of it does the poster want? Street food? Puestos? Casual? Wine bar? Seafood? Veracruzano? Yucatecan? Contemporary? Traditional? Ex-hacienda? Argentinian steakhouse? Basque? Comida corrida?

            I've eaten at Ranas many times. I don't think their food is amazing, I do think it is decent to good, especially for San Diego. Their cochinita pibil is, however, the strangest rendition of the dish I've ever seen and the most disappointing dish there that I've eaten. It is not typically served in chunks with a lot of sauce like mole. Their Enchiladas Suisa - which did originate in D.F. - are very good, probably the best rendition I've had in SD, but it's also not a particulalry hard dish to execute.

            Ranas is a nice decent to good, fairly priced neighborhood restaurant. Is it Mexico City-style food? I think that depends upon how one defines and interprets the food of D.F. It kind of reminds me of Sanborns.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              Good info. Love the lack of the apostrophe!


        2. Rana's is one of the few places in San Diego with pretty relevant Mexico City food. Yes, the pambazo is awesome. They're sopes and huaraches are just as good. And they stock huitlacoche (corn smut is Mexico's foie gras!).

          2 Replies
          1. re: gbrl

            Please define the food of Mexico City. Sopes, huaraches and pambzos are found in most areas of Mexico, not just Mexico City.

            Huitlacoche is available in SD from Specialty Produce during corn season.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              While it's true that sopes are ubiquitous, huaraches are indigenous to Mexico City and the Pambazo to Veracruz. I have many relatives from parts of Mexico, from Guadalajara to Mexico who are only vaguely familiar with the dishes. Those dishes, and huitlacoche are not widely enjoyed as regular part of the cuisine in most of Mexico. And that's more especially so in San Diego.

              Options here are limited to places like Rana's in Spring Valley and La Querencia in Chula Vista.

              Of course, D.F. cuisine isn't going to be a complete re-write from the rest of Mexico, it's more a matter of style - i.e. Al Pastor tacos are always served with bits of pineapple, the salsas are usually darker and spicier, the pozole served with tostadas and lettuce instead of cabbage, etc...