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Mexican in New Haven, Hartford, or Providence? or anywhere in-between?

We have a babysitter scheduled for tomorrow night and want to go out for good mexican. We live near Foxwoods and are willing to travel about an hour so that includes New Haven, Hartford, and Providence. Any recommendations? Dives are fine, but only dives that serve margaritas - a byo taco stand won't cut it. The last place we tried was Iguanas Ranas. It was shortly after they opened the new location and I think they were still ironing out the issues because it wasn't as good as reviews on this board have indicated, but that's my fallback if we don't find somewhere else to go.

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  1. We just came back from Iguanas Ranas for lunch, so I feel compelled to answer. I live in this town, but I sure wouldn't drive all the way up here from your neck of the woods.

    I haven't been to SolToro at Mohegan in a while. I enjoyed it when I went, however long ago. There must be good Mexican closer to home for you. How do you like SolToro?

    As to the Iguana, we had tacos, taquitos and a gordita for lunch...all seemingly slimmer on the meat side than I recall. I still stand by their $10 burritos--those are always stuffed. But the "snackier" small items seem to have gone on a diet since they first opened in their original location.

    Also think Besito in West Hartford Center would be more in line with what you're seeking. Again, haven't been in a while. Hopefully someone else has and can say whether it's as good as I thought it was previously.

    1. Bartaco in West Hartford is really cool


      1. Seem like a long way to go, but if you're willing to go that far west


        1. We liked Besito a lot. It's kind of upscale Mexican but the atmosphere is very festive and even romantic for a night out. If you go, be sure and order the guac. They make it right at your table. I've had better Mexican food but for a gourmet place I really liked it. The West Hartford location is not as fancy as it looks in these pics. The pics might be the NY location.

          I've heard that there's a good little Mexican place in Wallingford. I've never eaten there but it might be this place. Not sure. http://losmariachisgrill.com/

          Not sure how far this would be for you but if you wanted to drive to Enfield, there are TWO good places! Don't let the weird website and cheeseburgers on the menu put you off. The food at Hacienda Del Sol is great. I highly recommend the Chicken Fajitas or the Carnitas de Puerco. Excellent! Huge portions so go light on the appetizers if you go there.

          The other place in Enfield is Sarapes. Not sure they have a website but here's a CH post. Not sure of their hours either. Their place is very small. Kinda like eating in someone's kitchen. Hacienda Del Sol is much larger and has a more varied menu. I LOVE the Tacos Al Pastor at Sarapes.

          Here's a site that has Sarapes' address and some photos.

          PS - I don't recommend the Chile Rellenos at either of these Enfield places. Everything else I've had was great.

          1. Hey, candaceb--I haven't been, but it has been on my "gotta get there" list since it opened: Oaxaca Kitchen in New Haven. Posts to tell you more from regulars on the board here:

            2 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              We took my daughter and her room-mate to Oaxaca in late August and *really* enjoyed it. And the Margarita was delicious.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                We've been there twice. Quite good, if not perfect "refined" Mexican food. Well worth a visit if you're not looking for a taco joint.

              2. Milagro's in Stonington. TIny little place, great fresh food.... Conchita Pibil, Chicken Mole, chips and guacamole, if they have a taco special, get it!

                AMAZING drinks! House infused tequilas, all great! I prefer their "fresh" margaritas, put any margarita there is good. Also have a huge collection(60+) of top shelf sipping tequilas, if the owner, Martin is there he can give you quite the lesson!

                It is small though, 7 or so tables and a 8 seat bar, so get there early or be prepared to wait, if it is nice out they have a small outdoor seating area, but I like the vibe inside.

                1 Reply
                1. re: aareri

                  I visited Milagro's for lunch last year. Definitely much better than the Tex-Mex places that pass themselves off as Mexican.

                2. Thanks for all of the input. We were planning on going to Milagro, but decided we didn't want to have to wait outside in spitting rain - so we will try that another day when the weather is better. Oaxaca was the other one that sounded intriguing from the suggestions, but it was more than we wanted to spend. @kattyeyes - Sol Toro is good when someone else is paying. Otherwise, it seems like the tab is quite high for what you get. I was there for a reception this spring and the appetizers were fabulous.

                  So, after all that discussion, we ended up somewhere new - Mi Casa in Norwich. I found it through Yelp. I would not drive from the other end of the state for it, but the food was quite good, and service was friendly. Margaritas weren't great, but OK. It is the type of place we have been looking for since we moved here 4.5 years ago - "authentic" Mexican & not fancy.
                  I had the tacos, which were the real deal - complete with cactus. My husband had the enchiladas and they were really spicy. We shared guacamole and it was very good as were the chips, which appeared to be freshly made. Tab with guac, 2 entrees, & 2 margaritas was $38.

                  We went to Mohegan Sun after dinner, and I won $41 in a slot machine, so that capped off the evening nicely :)

                  @JunieB - I have to pick my mother-in-law up at BDL at noon in a couple of weeks, so I'm filing away the Enfield suggestions for lunch before we head home.