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Jun 30, 2012 11:08 AM

Seeking relatively quiet, table service Mexican restaurant in Twin Cities.

Want to treat friend to Mexican for his birthday. Table service, good meats especially not really seafood people.
Would like to stay on the southern end of the Twin Cities,

Thank you!

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  1. I quite like La Cucaracha on Dale at Grand in Saint Paul. It's a little pricey, but their carnitas and chicken enchiladas are really good, and I'd say their meat is the thing they do the best. It's fairly quiet, as long as you don't sit in the bar.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gildeddawn

      Another vote for La Cucaracha. Especially the Ole Mole.

      1. re: gildeddawn

        There are only a few places in the restaurant world where I have experienced food that I did not want to finish after only one bite, and that I did not want the kitchen to try for a fresher/better executed second attempt. I suppose it was an off night, but then there was the fact that the place needed cleaning and paint. Could have been an off night? I'll try again if a few people chime in that the food and cleanliness have improved.

        1. re: keg

          When did you go and what did you have, Keg? I've never felt like it needed cleaning, and haven't noticed any problems with the upkeep. They do sometimes have an off night, and there are a few menu items that aren't the best, so that might have been the issue.

          1. re: gildeddawn

            Roughly six months. Carnitas that tasted like recycled pork fat and had an old flavor. Chipped paint from chair backs and a ring of dirt. Wear and tear is understood. This was worn and torn. Carpet looked ill kept. We were in the vicinity of a restroom as well, which is never a good seat, to the extent that the area should be used for art or potted plants. The pork might have been from the bottom of a hotel pan, but properly cooked even that's not a problem. The braised meats at Brasa are an example of well prepared, defatted, well seasoned, etc..

            1. re: keg

              I have to say I've always had great carnitas there, so I've got no explanation for that other than an off night or something of the kind. Sitting by the bathroom is often less than ideal, and I agree that those table shouldn't be there, but I've always been accommodated when asking for a better table. As for worn carpet, I've never noticed, so maybe it's just a difference in standards, there. I wouldn't exactly call the atmosphere swanky, but it's always seemed pleasant enough. Then again, I know how much one bad experience can make you never want to go back to a place - since I can't bring myself to go back to Meritage after mediocre food and service, despite raves from all corners.

      2. I'm recommend Los Ocampo (the Suburban Ave. location in St. Paul). Really tasty meats and quiet (for a Mexican restaurant) with table service. They also have a full bar, in case that matters to you.

        1. How about Los Ocampo? It's just south of I-94 by White Bear Avenue in St. Paul so it's *kind of* southern TC. Or maybe El Loro in Eagan, if you pick a non-typically-busy dinner time (or weekend lunch).

          1. You could try Homi at University and Victoria in St. Paul. With the construction currently going on I doubt they're ever very busy. I'e only been there once--for catering--but the food then was great and its gotten great reviews from friends who love Mexican food! They have a website so you can see a sample of their menu items and read about the couple who owns it.

            La Cucaracha is also very good.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ajackso3

              La Hacienda on West Seventh in Sieger Square is excellent. In addition to Mexican they also offer menus items from Honduras, Puerto Rico and Peru. Excellent Banana Leaf Tamales.

              1. re: Fudist

                Fudist, would that be *Sibley* Square (near West 7th & Davern)?

                1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                  Sorry yes that is Sibley Square. Seeger Square is on Robert St.

              2. re: ajackso3

                The food at Homi is really excellent, but I wouldn't describe it as a "celebration" restaurant. It's pretty rough around the edges. And whatever you do, make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom while you're there.

              3. Can anyone say anything about Dominguez Family Restaurant near Nokomis? I tried to go once, but it was closed for Mother's Day weekend (on a Friday!). I get the impression that it's not exactly chow-ish, but seems like it might be tasty, if not particularly innovative, Mexican?

                3 Replies
                1. re: baa

                  I've been to Dominguez a few times, with mixed reviews. I wish I could be more specific, but my trips have been spread out over the past 3 or so years. I remember the fish tacos being pretty good. Last time I went (~2 months ago), I got chimichangas. They were good, not great.

                  1. re: baa

                    I really like Dominguez, I think their fish tacos and shrimp tacos are great, and also love the enchiladas. I think it's a nice, sit-down, neighborhood restaurant.

                    I also like Las Teresitas, further south down 34th, but it has less ambiance for a sit-down place. But the food is great and they have an awesome salsa bar.

                    In both places, the owners and staff could not be nicer and more accommodating.

                    1. re: baa

                      I'm not sure what "chow-ish" is, but I've always had a good experience at Dominguez. Solid tacos, very good burrito. I'll +1 drew13000's comments below, both Dominguez and Las Teresitas offer good solid food with a great staff. Dominguez is a little more polished in the ambiance category.