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Miami's 10 best spots for Mexican eats, from taquerias to gourmet treats



Do you love Mexican food? We do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy Mexican cuisine in Miami. We've diligently scouted out the top eateries, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of their favorite Mexican restaurants and compiled this list of lo mejor de lo mejor (that's the best of the best) to share with you all.

In this round-up, we share the places that get great buzz, like Wynwood's trendy Bakan, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like Taqueria El Mexicano, a Little Havana favorite that will instantly cause you to forget all the Cuban food that surrounds you.

Also on our list are places with late-night, cult-like followings, like the infamous Ernesto's Taco Shop, whose California Fries are the stuff of legend for some residents of the Magic City.

We also ventured into the top neighborhood to find authentic Mexican fare, all the way down south in Homestead, where taquerias are a dime a dozen. We picked out all-out winners like La Cruzada, which is known for its ambiance (including serenading mariachis), and La Quebradita, the only authentic Mexican joint that offers the convenience of a drive-thru window. That's all just a sample of what's to be found on our mouthwatering selection of Mexican favorites. 


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Bodega South Beach


Bodega is South Beach's newest taqueria bringing cheap eats and stiff drinks to locals and tourists alike. Its vibrant interior makes you hungry for those delicious pork belly tacos everyone's raving about. But it isn't just tacos. Try their Queso Frito con Salsa Ranchero for starters--it's their take on mozzarella sticks with a kick. Opt for a BBQ Carnitas Torta or maybe an Hongos Torta if you're vegetarian--torta being a Mexican-style sandwich that is hearty and delicious always. Check out their daily specials, ranging from Mahi Ceviche to Huevos Rancheros Tacos. Oh, and if you get thirsty, step through the blue door and find yourself inside the speakeasy for plenty of tequila-infused cocktails and good times!

Recommended for Mexican because: For a place that's actually a happening bar, Bodega has some pretty phenomenal eats.

Priscilla's expert tip: Go to Bodega on a Saturday night if you're looking to party after your tacos (be prepared for the crowds, though), but if you're strictly hankering for tacos, go by on a different night.

Read more about Bodega South Beach →


Taqueria Viva Mexico


When you're craving a good taco without the frills, Taqueria Viva Mexico is where you want to be. Like a true taqueria, this place serves a variety of soft tortilla tacos, straight up meats sans toppings. Most of the options are some form of pork, including lengua (tongue), oreja (ear), buche (stomach), cuerito (skin), maciza (leg), plus bistek (steak) and Pollo (chicken) and a few other random specials. Tacos here are just $2 a pop and make sure to bring cash to make your transaction swift (since otherwise you'll get turned away). Hit their salsa and toppings bar once you've got your tacos in hand to complete the deliciousness. They've also got fresh and delicious guacamole for $5, which is pretty standard, but they're served with chicharrones (pork rinds) rather than tortilla chips, so vegetarians will really want to eat elsewhere.

Recommended for Mexican because: It's the perfect place for barebones, traditional Mexican-style tacos.

Priscilla's expert tip: Quesadillas aside, vegetarians don't really have options here as the tacos are heavily pork- and beef-based. Vegans will want to sit this one out entirely.

Read more about Taqueria Viva Mexico →


8
Homestead


Authentic Mexican food can be difficult to find in Miami. But in Homestead, Mexican restaurants are a dime a dozen, and few compare to La Quebradita. The main attraction to La Quebradita is, of course, their drive-thru window. Nowhere else in Miami can you get fast service and delicious, high-quality Mexican cuisine while in the comfort of your car. But that shouldn't stop you from going in and enjoying the ambiance, which is equally fantastic. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you'll find all that you're looking for on their extensive menu. Sample items include chilaquiles, posole, burritos, plus tacos with fillings that range from carnitas and barbacoa to pollo and chorizo, for just $2.25 a pop. There's a reason they've been in business for 20 years and don't appear to be going anywhere.

Recommended for Mexican because: Hello, drive-thru! But really, we'd still love their finger-licking good food even if we couldn't get it from the comfort of our cars.

Priscilla's expert tip: The Nachos a la Quebradita (a high pile of chorizo, beans, gooey nacho cheese, pico, and sour cream) are a must and can be complemented by their selection of Mexican beers (Dos Equis, Tecate, Modello). Note: the small nachos are beyond plenty for two people.

Read more about La Quebradita →


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El Rancho Grande


This tasteful Mexican cafe in West Kendall foregoes the typical trappings of Mexican eateries, such as bright colors and sombreros, and instead takes a more contemporary, toned-down approach. Pastel colors, interesting art and coveted outdoor patio seats make this a perfect choice for a casually upscale lunch. Classic dishes include well-spiced black bean soup, zesty chili verde, and cheesy enchilada con queso in green sauce. This is a favorite among friendly locals as well as big names like Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. Though the ambiance is relaxed during lunch, the lively bar heats things up in the evening. Happy Hour here is especially fantastic.

Recommended for Mexican because: You won't find a better Mexican restaurant this side of the Palmetto. Excellent service with food and prices to match.

Priscilla's expert tip: Order the watermelon water, an absolutely refreshing blend of watermelon, water, lime juice, and the tiniest bit of sweetener that's perfect for Miami's climate.

Read more about El Rancho Grande →


Ernesto's Mexican Taco Shop


If you're searching for a Mexican restaurant offering incredibly flexible hours, affordable prices and terrific on-the-go options, drop by Ernesto's. Located in the heart of Kendall (with an additional location in Country Walk), this fantastic Mexican spot features authentic dishes like carne assada and of course all the classics including chimichangas, burritos, and taquitos. It's the perfect place to satisfy late-night cravings or dine alfresco at a sidewalk table on a beautiful Miami afternoon. Many a drunken night have started and ended well at Ernesto's. The next time you're considering a quick trip to the Taco Bell drive-thru, do yourself a favor and choose Ernesto's instead.

Recommended for Mexican because: As anyone West of the Palmetto will tell you, Ernesto's is incredible. A lengthy (and yummy) menu, swift service, even ample parking.

Priscilla's expert tip: Locals always rave about the California fries. Think nachos, but with french fries instead of tortilla chips, covered in generous amounts of carne asada (or beans for vegetarians, if you ask), plus cheese, pico, and sour cream.

Read more about Ernesto's Mexican Taco Shop →


Taqueria Morelia


Miamians know that all the best Mexican food is in Homestead, and among the top choices down south is a little place called Taqueria Morelia. This taqueria serves up some of the tastiest tacos and quite possibly the best burrito al pastor in all Miami-Dade. The service is excellent, the restaurant is neat and festive, and the menu options plentiful. Come for breakfast and order a plate of Huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, and jalapeno) or jump into lunch with a torta (Mexican-style sandwich--think burrito but instead it comes on extra-fluffy bread). Vegetarians will want to order the chile relleno (a cheese-stuffed poblano pepper with rice and beans on the side) or the enchiladas (but don't expect stringy cheese, as they use cotija cheese here exclusively). Order a horchata or a michelada if there's a soccer (er-futbol) game on the TV and you're good to go.

Recommended for Mexican because: Taqueria Morelia has an excellent salsa bar with fixings you don't often find elsewhere. Their satisfying dishes leave little to be desired.

Priscilla's expert tip: Morelia has a second location on Palm Drive hidden within a gas station, but we think their more spacious Campbell Drive location is better.

Read more about Taqueria Morelia →




Located within the unrelentingly popular Shore Club, Diez y Seiz is where to go for fresh Mex with a side of beautiful people. At the helm is Argentinean Chef Jose Icardi–"the impressive talent behind Leynia, and formerly of Katsuya. At Diez y Seis, Icardi's menu features Mexican classics like sopes, guacamole, and enchiladas suizas. But there are other Latin American twists throughout, like the Cuban Tacos (with mojo pork and chicharron), and the Ceviche Campechano and Lobster Aguachile (to the delight of Peruvian patrons, the latter of which even had Leche de Tigre). Wash it down with one of their signature mezcal cocktails and then hang by the pool (because you're at the Shore Club, after all), and you'll see why folks are flocking here.

Recommended for Mexican because: Chef Icardi finds a way to bring the influence of Miami's multicultural food scene gently into a mostly Mexican menu and it works superbly.

Priscilla's expert tip: Everyone's talking about their brunch for a reason. It's amazing and features everything from omelette stations to chilaquiles, empanadas and enchiladas, a taco cart AND a guacamole cart, a raw bar, bottomless mimosas (for an added fee) and more. And let's not forget about the live music and here-for-a-good-time general ambiance. Do not miss out.

Read more about Diez y Seis →


Taqueria El Mexicano


This Mexican restaurant combines traditional, tasty favorites with innovative dishes, and it's all served up in a fun environment that is ideal for celebrations, families or festive crowds. The decor isn't fussy or upscale but provides just the right measure of colorful points of interest, including toys and posters from Mexico. Lots of locals from Mexico come here to feast on excellent guacamole and flavorful quesadillas that put more common Americanized versions to shame. The menu is extensive, with dishes ranging from burritos to pork chops, and everything is fresh and generously spiced â€" though mild versions are available upon request.

Recommended for Mexican because: Toppings served right at your table for no-hassle customization, attentive service, excellent prices, and rich flavors. What more could you need?

Priscilla's expert tip: Save your cash. Free parking available out back!

Read more about Taqueria El Mexicano →


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Homestead
La Cruzada


When you find yourself wandering around Homestead in search of authentic Mexican fare, you'd be foolish not eat at La Cruzada. Walk inside and you'll find one area with hot, prepared foods, or else one of the servers (all women, all dressed in traditional Mexican clothing) will gladly seat you (inside or outside). The walls are decorated with bright paintings of Mexican life, maps of Mexico, acoustic guitars and straw hats, while each table is lined with beautiful Mexican serapes, providing a colorful backdrop for your meal. The food here is incredible, with everything from tortas to tacos, enchiladas to sopes. A variety of salsas are served with every meal, and you want to order yourself a horchata if you don't do well with spicy foods--delicious cinnamon rice milk to sooth any heat. Or order a michelada to wind down for the day.

Recommended for Mexican because: La Cruzada is everything you could possibly want of a Mexican restaurant: filling and flavorful dishes; lively entertainment; prompt service; delightful ambiance; and excellent drinks!

Priscilla's expert tip: Margaritas here are excellent, with a 2 for 1 happy hour happening every Saturday from 5-11pm along with live mariachi music.

Read more about La Cruzada →


1
Wynwood


Those who know Miami's food scene know about the infamous Jaguar Hospitality Group (who own the Grove's Jaguar Ceviche). Now let's get to know Bakan, their latest venture into the world of Mexican cuisine. At Bakan, you'll find hand-made tortillas made from imported nixtamal (that is, partially cooked corn), meats and seafood cooked on a wood fire grill, and one of the longest lists of regional Mezcals you'll probably ever encounter in South Florida. Patrons will enjoy digging into some queso fundido or munching on tostadas topped with octopus and nopales (cactus pads). The more adventurous in the bunch will be happy to see more unique offerings like gusanos de maguey (pan-fried agave worms that are more typical across the Gulf). Add to this how aesthetically pleasing Bakan is (and must be, since it's located in the heart of artsy Wynwood), and you get the full enchilada.

Recommended for Mexican because: We love the extra steps Bakan takes to add authenticity and regional specificity to their flavorful dishes. The ambiance is just a plus.

Priscilla's expert tip: Please bring your vegetarian friends here, they have an entire menu section devoted to them.

Read more about Bakan →


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Meet Priscilla Blossom

Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.

She spent the bulk...  More About Priscilla

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