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Mexican restaurants in Tokyo

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  • mleco Dec 11, 2012 09:40 PM
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What are some good Mexican restaurants in Tokyo? I’ve been to La Jolla and Junkadelic, and while Junkadelic I found was better, the portions were incredibly stingy for their price. The last good Mexican food I had was in Fukuoka at El Borracho (and its sister shop La Borracha), but my two ‘meh’ experiences in Tokyo have made me a bit hesitant about seeking out more Mexican places here (maybe I shouldn’t trust rave reviews from a Brit? ;) ).

This is excluding standalone burrito stores like Libre and Frijoles (although if anyone has good recs, I’d love to hear them too!).

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  1. Tough one. The standard used to be La Fonda de la Madrugada, but it is expensive and can be a bit precious with the annoying mariachi music and so on. More of a bubble era remnant that hangs in there. La Jolla stinks to high heaven, and Junkadelic is, well, junk.

    I've heard of some place out in the Western Boonies, don't remember the name or the location, but I heard that's were the Mexican Embassy gets its catering, so that's probably worth a shot.

    Unfortunately, Tokyo is a bit of a wasteland for Mexican food. Surprisingly, Hong Kong does a better job at that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Uncle Yabai

      Quick question, Uncle Yabai - is it true that most Mexican restaurants in Tokyo served shredded cabbage (like those served in tonkatsu restaurants) instead of lettuce as a garnish for burritos, etc?

      1. re: klyeoh

        I don't know, never eaten at a Mexican restaurant in Tokyo that even served burritos. But wouldn't surprise me, and that would be just daft.

    2. Take a look at El Quixico in Nishi Ogikubo. A bit small, but worth checking out if you find yourself in the area.

      http://el-quixico.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: schmoejoe

        That stuff looks disgusting. Wouldn't trek around the corner from my own home in Aoyama for that.

        1. re: Uncle Yabai

          I think we all know it's slim pickings in Tokyo. Just throwing out an option. I've been to La Jolla and Salsita. i think El Quixico is slightly better. Heard there's a new place above Agave in Roppongi (La Cocina Gabriela Mexicana). Anyone been yet?

      2. I also thought that Junkadelic and La Jolla, were just so-so. La Fonda de la Madrugada's food is better, but way too pricey and those mariachi boys suck any joy I have out of my evening. At least it's not quite as grating as the forced customer participation at El Rincon de Sam, where dinners are subjected to a torturous flamenco performance and assaulted with flying sombreros. Hacienda Del Cielo is big on style but thin on substance... but I suppose that's to be expected given its Daikanyama address. El Quixico was actually recommended to me by a Mexican friend, but I didn't think it was worth the hike out west for.
        My best Mexican to date was at Salsita in Hiroo. Decent food, reasonable prices and a good tequila list. http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...

        1 Reply
        1. re: wekabeka

          I've passed by Salsita many times, or looked at it, sitting there, all forlorn (the restaurant, not me), while I have a coffee at the Segafreddo across the street. Never bothered to try it, though.

          Speaking of the Segafreddo, if the Tokyo police wanted to round up assorted foreign criminals, overstayers, and off-duty Roppongi Nigerians, could do no worse than to raid the Segafreddo on a weekend afternoon. Probably land enough immigration violators to keep them busy all week.

        2. I would also recommend El Quixico and Salsita. I guess we won't be running into Uncle Yabai in either one of them though.

          I'm from New York so I don't know from burritos, but a San Francisco friend assures me that the branch of Eat in Hikarie makes pretty good ones. I've tried them and I like Libre just a little better, but again, what do I know....

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robb S

            Ah, I also saw the burritos at Eat in Hikarie but couldn't tell if they would be any good, although they looked really tempting. Nice to hear they're not so bad, will have to check them out next time!

          2. There's a new place in Roppongi right above Agave (my fav Tequila bar) called LA COCINA GABRIELA MEXICANA :
            http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...

            It's run by some ex-Ruths-Chris guys so the foods quite good but I heard there's a strange "1 main meat dish per person" requirement so best to go hungry. There's been enough complaints about this so hopefully they'll get rid of this soon.

            1. Bumping up this thread -- just ate at Hacienda del Cielo last weekend. I'm a bigger fan of the atmosphere and the open terrace than the food. The portions were a bit small, but the food is passable. Their guac is actually pretty fantastic (made fresh to order).

              5 Replies
              1. re: mleco

                Guac? What the hell is guac? A "guacara" in Mexico is a platform pizza.

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Guac as in guacamole.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guacamole

                  1. re: od_sf

                    Good luck getting the terrace at Cielo and the food is not great, not great at all. Two months in advance for that terrace if you want it on the weekend. #gapinthemarket

                    1. re: Markintokyo

                      Hmm, I've never had trouble getting on the terrace -- both times I've called to make reservations, and they've offered terrace seating. Luck of the draw?

                      1. re: mleco

                        Admittedly this is based on the testimony of a friend of mine who was referring to getting the terrace seating on a Saturday evening. Other evenings sound easier and it is a nice terrace, just that the food is mediocre at best and that I am afraid is how Mexican food in Tokyo is..

              2. There is nowhere, do not waste your time. I have had countless conversations about this and your assessment is right - small portions, high prices, lack of authenticity.

                1. What the hell is an "enchilada burrito"? Is that like a "sashimi sushI", or a "ramen udon"?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                    Isn't that like a chimichanga?