Top 10 Mexican restaurants in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10

barrio truck.jpeg
City Pages photos
American love Mexican food, and that affair has only deepened as more and more authentic restaurants opened to showcase the real flavors of our southern neighbor. The Twin Cities are no different, especially as the food often comes at a price that fits our frugal nature. Of course, not all restaurants are created equal, but here is a list of some of the best Mexican and Mexican-influenced spots in the area.

See also:
Top 10 margaritas in the Twin Cities

Top 10 craft cocktail bars in the Twin Cities

Top 10 sandwiches in the Twin Cities


10. El Burrito Mercado

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A consistent winner of Best Of awards over the last decade -- including a best Mexican restaurant nod -- El Burrito Mecado earns its accolades with tasty, authentic dishes, both at its original St. Paul location and a satellite at the Midtown Global Market. There's nothing like being able to pick up some sweet Mexican breads, to-go tamales, stalks of sugar cane about as tall as you are, or a piñata or two on your way out the door after dinner. First order of business is the eats, though. Burrito Mercado has a sprawling menu of items in its cafeteria-style "Café Express" --i ncluding a section for masa-only entrées -- that translates into a 100 percent likelihood of a sprawling meal. After you grab your massive breakfast burrito, heaving torta, or rich blanket of carnitas, don't forget to belly up to the salsa bar, and definitely don't forget to weigh your plate down even more with the house Mexican-style escabeche--a pickled assortment of cauliflower, carrot, onion, and jalapeño. Then grab a chair in any one of the ringside seats. One of the best parts of eating at Burrito Mercado is just sitting back, being in the bustle. (175 Cesar Chavez St., St. . Paul; 651.227.2192)


9. La Chaya Bistro

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La Chaya has the dual influence of a Mexican chef who spent several years in the Mediterranean, and it provides its unique menu is a distinctly relaxed atmosphere for watching the world go by in south Minneapolis. Chef and owner Juan Juarez Garcia has spent more than two decades in the trade but brings a lifetime of passion for cooking and food, especially that of his native Mexico. The unique twist comes from his time in Italy, bringing a distinct mix to the dishes. That means you might find halibut with pumpkin seed sauce and poblano peppers alongside house-made cannelloni. Or for lunch there is a carne asada sandwich served on freshly made focaccia. Pizzas are part of the menu Tuesdays, while Wednesdays brings a Mexican-inspired menu. (4537 Nicollet Ave. S. Minneapolis; 612.827.2254)


8. Boca Chica

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Mark Kartarik
The Cities' longest-lived Mexican restaurant is also one of its most beloved, not so much because the standard American-Mexican menu is that radically different from others in town -- though the spicy guisado chipotle, a pork stew with nopalitos (sliced cactus), is a treat -- but because the all-around level of atmosphere, service, and food is so high. The family-owned West Side institution, just across the river from downtown St. Paul, exudes an immediate warmth and familiarity. The menu is extensive and covers all the classics, from flautas and enchiladas to chile rellenos and carne asada. Boca Chica even has a Mexican buffet during the work week and a Sunday brunch that can cure any Saturday night indulgence. Speaking of which, this place pours a stellar margarita. The classic La Senora may be the best in town. (11 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul; 651.222.8499)


7. Barrio Tequila Bar

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You may be thinking drinks with a visit to Barrio Tequila -- there are more than 100 varieties of the titular liquor, so drink up! -- but it's the food that has made the restaurant (and food trucks) such a popular attraction. In the four years since it opened, this restaurant has become a favorite of lovers of not just Mexican dishes but good food in general. The menu features refined versions of street foods from Mexico and Central and South America: Tecate-battered fried mahi-mahi tacos, red chile enchilada with fried egg and chorizo, and barbecued pork sopes. It also serves some fancier fare, dishes like tequila-cured salmon, ahi tuna with quinoa, and diver scallop ceviche. Just make sure to save room for the churros. (925 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.333.9953. 235 E. Sixth St., St. Paul; 651.222.3250. Cocina del Barrio, 5036 France Ave. S., Minneapolis;
952.920.1860)


6. La Loma Tamales

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The specialty of the house is right there in the name for these eateries and caterers. The best tamales in Minneapolis are right here too. Weekdays, try chicken-green-chile tamale, a tube of lush, quivering corn meal batter with a heart of brisk tomatillos and stringent chiles. Or a red pork tamale, the corn meal turned a voluptuous maroon with smoky, potent chipotles, the filling as hot and dusky as a sun seen setting through a dust storm. Weekends, go for the lush and overabundant plantain-leaf tamales, which are so stuffed with meats and cheeses they're like a dinnertime piñata. At only a few pesos per treat, La Loma manages to hit all three of the magical triumvirate: Not just fast, cheap, and good, but fast, cheap and all-out fantastic. (Various locations; 612.728.5430)

Location Info

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant

5748 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria Los Ocampo

920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

El Taco Riendo

2416 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Salsa A La Salsa Mexican Grill

1420 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Masa

1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

La Loma Tamales

920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Barrio Tequila Bar & Cafe

925 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Boca Chica Restaurante

11 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

La Chaya Bistro - CLOSED

4537 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

El Burrito Mercado

175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant


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