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

El burrito.jpeg

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

La chaya.jpeg

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

boca chica x550.jpg
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

barrio.jpeg
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

la loma.jpeg
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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48 comments
jason.dorweiler
jason.dorweiler topcommenter

Pretty sure Barrio is the only one that uses microwaves.

peencheMike
peencheMike

@VisitLakeStreet Los ocampo & ala salsa bar in midtown market are my fav!

markdewes
markdewes

@JohnnaV taking one for the team... I like how you think! #Top10Mexican @Citypages

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 Ericka would bitch about the lack of authenticity on half of those. Btw- I just bought her food network mag Thanksgiving edition

LHYC
LHYC

@ExperienceSW @citypages Love LaChaya! Couldn't agree more. Always surprising and delicious.

USTOffCampus
USTOffCampus

@bianca101 not sure how, but this is a program that needs to happen

Melissa Summers
Melissa Summers

Funny! I came back to the office after picking up a chicken gordita at Los Ocampos, and read the article as I ate.

bianca101
bianca101

@Logan_Weapon_X obviously you don't pay attention to my twitter feed because i obviouslyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy already saw dat. LETS GO

Matt Hoiland
Matt Hoiland

Chrissy has never been to Las Teresitas, clearly.

meesh427
meesh427

They didn't mention the Boca Chica taco house across the street from the sit down restaurant.  Best Mexican fast food.....stay away from Taco Bell and go there instead!

John Kilbride
John Kilbride

Our fave is the one in Rogers. Just looking through this makes me crave Mexican!

Chrissy Burgell
Chrissy Burgell

You guys really don't have any good Mexican food. The only place there that even has decent tacos al pastor is La Cabana in St. Paul. Most of the taquerias in MPLS are awful.

corellcleef
corellcleef

Pretty good list but Pineda is sadly missing.

Alias_BigAl
Alias_BigAl

@LizAnn61 glad you took the first step in admitting you have a problem

oZ__
oZ__

I do not understand how Salsa a la Salsa is on here, but Pancho Villa is not. Opinions are opinions, I guess.

doeyjavis
doeyjavis

@LizAnn61 was just looking at that, and was thinking, "well, now i have to go eat at every single one of these. thanks, @citypages."

Keith Morioka
Keith Morioka

Good list, but I would have included Andale in that list...

texaszeller
texaszeller

@sarah_wolfe was actually in the middle of reading this

VisitLakeStreet
VisitLakeStreet

@peencheMike Those ARE awesome. I'm frankly surprised they didn't fill all 10 slots with Lake Street restaurants. ;)

JohnnaV
JohnnaV

@markdewes @citypages I do what I can :)

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington is Aaron Sanchez feature in that magazine? If so I might need to purchase dat real quick

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington uh I'm gonna complain about the authenticity of ericka.. She went to go see some band with Jared Leto

bianca101
bianca101

@USTOffCampus OH DONT WORRY IM ON IT BOSS

Logan_Weapon_X
Logan_Weapon_X

@bianca101 obviously I don't because you complain about not having more than 400 followers.....

LizAnn61
LizAnn61

@Alias_BigAl I've already moved on to the acceptance stage (grief/addiction?). Wanna grab a taco sometime soon?

LizAnn61
LizAnn61

@doeyjavis @citypages Terrible isn't it? Fortunately I've knocked off most of these, being an addict and all.

sarah_wolfe
sarah_wolfe

@texaszeller Perhaps we were conjoined twins in another life.

peencheMike
peencheMike

@VisitLakeStreet well maybe cus Ppl does not know much about them, minnesotans are like "just want taco bell" ha thats not even Mexican Food

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 haha I don't think so, but that's funny because Ericka loves him too. We've seen every episode of heat seekers twice.

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 I've always said she's whiter than I am. But when it comes to Mex food- nothing but her mom's cooking or West Side rest. is good

bianca101
bianca101

@Logan_Weapon_X OKAY THAT WAS ONCE GIVE ME A BREAK

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington That one is literally the worst. The guac always kills me, so gross. but I refuse to go to panera soooo

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 you have no idea-The VH one is 97% Asian. And they undercook the rice! Trying to defeat stereotypes by fucking with my burrito...

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington They need to hire back the Mexicans real. White dudes be actin like their hand hurts when they scooping my chicken

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 Anything foodie. Like to a nice restaurant, Williams Sonoma, crokus hill, etc... Or to her favorite Mexican restaurant- Chipotle.

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington btw I need to buy her a gift card or something for her bday I HOPE SHE DOESN'T CHECK THIS any recommendations?

BenRemington
BenRemington

@bianca101 we went to an authentic Mexican place in Milwaukee- they burnt Ericka's chorizo. She was pissed. Might try a few on that list tho

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington especially the one in the gas station.. That I think was #1

bianca101
bianca101

@BenRemington at least they included boca chica on the list. The super sketchy restaurants in MPLS on the list are super legit though

bianca101
bianca101

@Logan_Weapon_X lol imma fill u in on a secret I'm a bot

Logan_Weapon_X
Logan_Weapon_X

@bianca101 man I have 94 and 93.5 are probably porn bots.

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