August 22, 2013

The Ten Best Mexican Restaurants in St. Louis

Within the last few years, St. Louis has been lucky enough to experience an explosion of Mexican cuisine, with new restaurants popping up offering both authentic and modern options. Cherokee Street in particular has gained a well-deserved reputation for serving as the epicenter, but our collective craving for chips and salsa, taqueria fare and top-shelf margaritas has spread out across the city -- by the time you read this, a new taco shop will have probably opened up. In fact there are so many worthy contenders for Best Mexican, we had tough time selecting our ten favorites. Nevertheless, here's a helpful list of places to start. -- Zach Garrison

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Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)
Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Jennifer Silverberg
Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)

Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)
Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Jennifer Silverberg
Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)

Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)
Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Jennifer Silverberg
Mission Taco (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430)

Don't let the name confuse you. Mission is far more than just a "taco joint." Focusing on all facets of Mexican street fare, the tacos are served taqueria-style on corn tortillas with the traditional garnishes of chopped onion and cilantro as well as lime to squeeze to taste on the side. One of the more intriguing tacos might be the one made with nopal: strips of roasted cactus flesh with poblano chile, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a roasted-jalapeño salsa. And then of course you also have tortas, burritos and freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole or queso spiked with chorizo, cerveza and serrano chiles. The standout meat at Mission is the brisket, available in a taco or the "Cowboy" burrito. The meat is luscious, beefy and, thanks to an arbol-chile salsa, smoky and spicy. To top it all off, Mission serves one dessert: freshly fried churros with chocolate sauce for dipping -- it's the only dessert you'll ever want.
Nachomama's
(9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)
Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Madelaine Azar
Nachomama's (9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)

Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Nachomama's
(9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)
Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Madelaine Azar
Nachomama's (9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)

Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Nachomama's
(9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)
Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Madelaine Azar
Nachomama's (9643 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-961-9110)

Welcome to the best independent Tex-Mex fast-food joint in St. Louis. Enjoy the tricolor tortilla chips served in flower pots to go along with guacamole that ranks among the area's best, and the salsas (especially the hottest version) that require a cold bottled beer. The kitchen specializes in burritos, quesadillas and the so-much-more-than-a-side-dish beans. But what you really need to do is order the nacho grande -- choose either steak, chicken, veggie or shrimp with guacamole, sour cream and pico. If you're in need of a quick fix, Nachomama's is speedy and handles pick-up-orders in a flash.
Taqueria El Bronco
(2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)
When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
Madelaine Azar
Taqueria El Bronco (2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)

When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
Taqueria El Bronco
(2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)
When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
Madelaine Azar
Taqueria El Bronco (2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)

When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
Taqueria El Bronco
(2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)
When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
Madelaine Azar
Taqueria El Bronco (2817 Cherokee Street; 314-762-0691)

When you walk into Taqueria El Bronco, two TVs playing telenovelas will greet you, so prepare for some drama to go along with your amazing meal. Start with a bowl of chunky guacamole to accompany the basket of complimentary tortilla chips. The menu features standard taqueria food, though a few larger entrées are available. It needs to be said and emphasized that the tacos are very, very good, especially with a dash of red or green salsa. Of course, burritos, tortas and quesadillas are all satisfying and go well with the plot twists going down on the TVs.
La Tejana Taqueria
(3149 North Lindbergh Boulevard, Maryland Heights; 314-291-8500)
If you've ever dreamed of a liquor store that serves tacos, you're in luck. The menu at Le Tejana is handwritten and taped to the wall: tacos, tortas and a few platters with meat, rice and refried beans, all made to perfection. Try the tacos campechanos, a mixture of steak and chorizo, or the simple but classic tacos al pastor. On the weekends, La Tejana prepares heavenly carnitas: crisp on the outside, tender inside and outrageously flavorful. Goat soup is another staple -- the flavor is rich and unmistakably, well, goaty as well as spicy, even a spoonful of the broth, minus any of the tender meat that swims in it, has quite the punch. Plus, as mentioned, you're in a liquor store...doesn't get much more convenient than that.
Madelaine Azar
La Tejana Taqueria (3149 North Lindbergh Boulevard, Maryland Heights; 314-291-8500)

If you've ever dreamed of a liquor store that serves tacos, you're in luck. The menu at Le Tejana is handwritten and taped to the wall: tacos, tortas and a few platters with meat, rice and refried beans, all made to perfection. Try the tacos campechanos, a mixture of steak and chorizo, or the simple but classic tacos al pastor. On the weekends, La Tejana prepares heavenly carnitas: crisp on the outside, tender inside and outrageously flavorful. Goat soup is another staple -- the flavor is rich and unmistakably, well, goaty as well as spicy, even a spoonful of the broth, minus any of the tender meat that swims in it, has quite the punch. Plus, as mentioned, you're in a liquor store...doesn't get much more convenient than that.