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Apr 6, 2012 06:26 PM

Looking for the best Mexican in North/Central Jersey (NJ)

Looking for the best Mexican in North/Central Jersey. We're not interested in chains or typical Jersey Mexican dives that cater to people that never had good food. Fancy is unimportant, authenticity and great ingredients are.

Essentially, we want to find something gastronomically nice like you would discover in Manhattan, at a reasonable price. The best so far has been Tortugas in Princeton, but we need something more northerly (if it exists).


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  1. How about Selenita's in Pompton Lakes? It's really authentic and isn't a chain. In my mind, they're the best in North Jersey.

    Closer to Princeton, try La Costenita, a grocery/lunch counter in Hillsborough.

    Both seem a whole order better than what you're describing. This only scratches the surface though. There are some really good, authentic Mexican restaurants in this state. Just not a lot of them.

    1. bergen county is awful for true mexican food. last saturday i went to maravillas del tulcingo in englewood based on some reviews from this board. rt. 4 east to grand ave then north to the main street. make a left and go over the train tracks. so this is the other side of the tracks! just go past the blue moon with it's nachos and you will find this place. i had the goat special, cabrito tulcingo which was very good. nice sauce made with different chiles. the goat was a little tough and a little sparse but a good dish. they also had chivo barbacoa, goat, and consomme but only on the weekend. so had the skirt steak with nopales, cactus. excellent. they have a salsa verde and salsa rojo which were both tasty. and lots of rice and beans. also ordered the sopes with chorizo which were terrific. made from fresh masa with real crema and queso. too much food but i wanted leftovers for the next night. home made tortillas too. and i had a agua de tamarindo which was very good and so had a juice of carrot/beet and orange. fresh fruit/ veggie juices and both tamarind and horchata available. huge menu and good food. glad i found this place and i'll be back. they also have 2 places in passaic if that's closer to you.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dock

        Casa Maya in Gillette on Meyersville Road is anything but a chain - famiy owned and operated - teh food is good, not exceptional but solid and bringing your own cervazas is always welcome here!

        1. re: dock

          I really like Maravillas del Tulcingo, too- glad you had an enjoyable meal there. They've been there less than a year and I hope they catch on.

          1. re: TongoRad

            Taqueria in Jersey City is pretty divey but very authentic (Oaxacan)

        2. If you want authentic and delicious, you have to go to Mi Pueblito on Kearny Ave. in Kearny, NJ. By far, it is the best Mexican food around. Everyone that I have told about or taken to this restaurant loves the place. It is small, with only 6 or 7 tables. The prices are amazing. My daughterinlaw, who is from Puebla, is very picky about her Mexican food. She loves this place and ordered from them often, when she lived in the area.
          You would never believe you would find such great food in little old Kearny, but believe me, there are some real good places on Kearny Ave.

          1. I think French Street in New Brunswick is the mecca of authentic, delicious and cheap Mexican (especially Oaxacan) food in NJ. Hubby (born and raised in Oaxaca) and I have eaten at almost every Mexican restaurat in New Brunswick (no small feat). I would recommend Costa Chica on Handy Street, Cinco de Mayo on French Street (their table salsas are amazing) and Punto y Coma on French Street (they are known for their tamales- they started selling tamales underground from their kitchen and were so incredibly popular they've been able to open their own store front). El Oaxaqueno and Noa Noa are also quite good though I didn't eat there as frequently. You also might want to check out Gaby's Bakery to bring home some Mexican baked goods. They also make great tortas to go.

            You could also try Crazy Burrito on Plainfield Ave b/w Route 1 and 27 in Edison. The food is consistently good, authentic and cheap.

            If you don't speak Spanish, I would highly recommend going with someone who does although I think most places have at least one waitress who speaks some English.