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Photograph: Courtesy Lone Star/Jennifer TrebinoLone Star

The best Mexican restaurants in Boston you've got to try

Looking for the ultimate Mexican restaurants around? Here’s where to dig into the tastiest tacos, best burritos and more

Olivia Vanni
Edited by
Olivia Vanni
Contributor
Eric Grossman
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Boston may be quite a bit north of the border, but you can still get your fill of outstanding Mexican food—if you just know where to find it. There are several standout restaurants in Cambridge serving fresh and modern Mexican fare, while the North End is home to a casual eatery famous for its tortas. If you have a serious hankering for tortilla-centric street food, some of these spots offer the best tacos in Boston—alongside a slew of other specialties like grilled burritos, menudo and margaritas. Honestly, the city’s best Mexican options offer something for everyone.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best Mexican restaurants in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Somerville

Paola Ibarra and Yhadira Guzmán bring the brightness of their beloved Mexico City to Somerville’s Union Square with Barra. This eatery may be small on space, but it’s big on acid and is sure to leave patrons’ taste buds tingling—whether it’s with its guacamole piled onto freshly fried chicharrón, its cactus salad or its aguachile. Alongside a selection of top-notch tacos and seasonal tamales, diners can sip on flights of the finest mezcal, refreshing pints of michelada and margaritas rimmed with chapulines for a truly Mexican touch.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • price 2 of 4

This Arlington spot—which also boasts outposts in Belmont and Beverly—is celebrated amongst serious Mexican food enthusiasts for its use of top-notch ingredients and family recipes. Its claim to fame lies with its flavorful, juicy, slow-cooked meats—including traditional Mexican chorizo, al pastor and beef tongue—that are then stuffed in tacos, tortas and burritos, and scattered atop platos of authentic rice and beans. While everything on the menu is a knock-out, the standout here is the surtido taco, a tortilla packed with every tasty part of the pig—even the fatty bits and skin. Savor this meaty, spicy, drippy, delicious specialty and you'll be a total La Victoria convert. 

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Tacos Lupita may not have the pizzaz of other places throughout the city, but it makes up for its lack of fanfare (and margaritas) with some of the most legit Mexican food around. Its simple, straightforward menu includes authentic burritos and tacos, which are filled with savory meats ranging from chicken and pork al pastor, to chorizo and beef tongue. On the weekends, it even upholds the Mexican tradition of serving mondongo, a labor-intensive tripe soup that’s believed to be the ultimate hangover cure. With a bare-bones interior and counter service, it’s not exactly a lively sit-down establishment, so just plan on taking all of your delectable dishes—and maybe a horchata or Jarritos—to go.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 1 of 4

El Pelón Taqueria has been a Fenway food staple for years. The small, cheerful space gets jam-packed with people before Red Sox games, as fans eagerly pile in to grab a quick bite to eat before the opening pitch—or snag a to-go order to take into the park (yes, you can bring your own). Loyal customers tend to stick to the basics like fried plantains and the house tacos, which come in pairs and are filled with outstanding proteins like crispy, spicy cornmeal-crusted fish.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Boston
  • price 1 of 4

This tiny, family-owned space in Eastie’s Day Square is both authentic and inexpensive, which is the mark of a true taqueria for most Mexican street food enthusiasts. Soft corn tortillas are stuffed with spectacular, slow-cooked proteins like shredded beef, chicken, adobo pork, beef tongue or cheek. Fans of the currently ultra-trendy specialty birria can rejoice: This place also sells these extra-cheesy tacos and customary side of rich broth for dipping. Homemade salsa and refreshing aguas frescas round out Taqueria Jalisco's solid menu of traditional, affordable fare.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 1 of 4

Be prepared to wait in line, as Felipe’s is almost always packed, and for good reason. This Mexican eatery believes in the importance of authentic recipes and fresh ingredients. Everything in house is made from scratch throughout the day to ensure prime freshness. When the weather is warm enough, folks flock to Felipe's roof deck—the perfect place to split some nachos amongst friends and sip on one (or two) of the bar's prickly pear margaritas. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • North End
  • price 1 of 4

While tacos typically serve as the bar for most Mexican joints, this local chain stands out mainly because of its incredible tortas. Tenoch is known for dishing out tasty, traditional Mexican pressed sandwiches made with Telera (similar to a French roll). A torta from Tenoch—which has locations in Medford, Somerville, Melrose and Boston's North End—is stacked with your choice of savory meat or veg, before being topped with a generous amount of Oaxaca cheese, chipotle mayo, onions, avocado and tomatoes. Sandwiches aside, you'll still find those tacos, quesadillas and burritos here, too, along with Mexican sodas for the full experience.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Boston
  • price 2 of 4

This popular Cal-Mex hangout in Dorchester’s Lower Mills neighborhood—and its second location in the South End—gets packed with young residents from around the area. The menu is focused on slightly elevated tacos, which range from the familiar (carne asada and confit pork carnitas) to the creative (fried scallop and chili tofu with fresh peaches). Refreshing cocktails are a must here, and the bar offers a lengthy list of margarita flavors, including hibiscus, coconut, and lime leaf and ginger.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Downtown
  • price 1 of 4

Some of the city’s best Mexican food was once served out of a Beacon Hill gas station. Julie King gained a huge cult following for her tamales, flautas and grilled burritos, and, after the gas station closed in 2013, she secured a new space near the waterfront. Devotees still flock to this downtown joint, where only the classics are served—all prepared in traditional Mexican fashion and made to order.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

The Painted Burro definitely doesn't stick tradition, but its menu of Mexican-inspired fare is still delicious. This stylish Davis Square eatery serves classic dishes—just not in the way your abuelita would. Tacos are a favorite amongst the collegiate and yuppy populations frequenting this hot spot, with tortillas stuffed with modern takes on traditional fillings (i.e. swordfish al pastor). Other staples include chips and guacamole topped with chunks of pork belly and cherry tomatoes, as well as the street cart roasted half-chicken marinated in achiote and fresh citrus, served with kale and fried plantains, creamy poblano rice and tamarind butter.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Lolita Cocina offers tasty Mexican-inspired cuisine—with a side of nightlife. This Back Bay hot spot (and its sister joint in Fort Point) is popular amongst young professionals with a taste for tequila. The menu features Mexican-fusion bites like Maine lobster-topped guacamole, spicy mushroom empanadas and street corn cauliflower tacos. The late-night menu is surprisingly robust, best enjoyed with your third marg and bumping music courtesy of a live DJ.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Allston/Brighton
  • price 2 of 4

Lone Star caters to the young and hip crowds of Allston and Cambridge, with a cool vibe and plenty of cheap (but still super tasty) eats. Grilled street corn, refried bean tostadas and habanero-spiced chicken wings are popular offerings. On the taco front, the kitchen's hand-made masa harina corn tortillas stuffed with slow-cooked pork carnitas or mesquite-smoked beef barbacoa make for an incredible bite. The upscale bar gets bonus points for the solid tequila and mezcal lists. Also worth noting: This place serves frito pie straight from the bag, as well as highly dippable birria.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Central Sq
  • price 2 of 4

This spirited Central Square spot puts its own spin on Mexican favorites, including tortas and tostadas. Its selection of tacos are all made using corn tortillas that are ground and pressed in house, with fillings spanning from smoked tofu to pulled pork. Its sides are just as diverse, ranging from the creative (like the lobster bacon street corn) to the pretty customary (such as its fried yuca and chicharron). Come summertime, the 100-seat patio right on Mass Ave is the place to be.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This Back Bay mainstay is a dinner date favorite, thanks to its bright but cozy brownstone space filled with bold-colored walls and tiled tables. The tacos here are never a bad idea, and its signature plates (like the puerco adobado en chipotle y naranja—pork tenderloin marinated in oranges, tamarind and smoked chipotle peppers) are bursting with flavor and just begging to be paired with a strong margarita. In the summer, Casa Romero's serene back patio, adorned with hanging plants, is an intimate retreat beloved by all.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • South End
  • price 2 of 4

El Centro pulls double-duty as a higher-end sit-down spot that also happens to be a great takeout joint. Its cozy, exposed brick space in the South End is lively and bright, letting you indulge in eavesdropping and a few well-made margaritas. The food is straightforward and crowd-pleasing, with favorites including freshly made guac (topped with chorizo, if you so desire), chimichangas, chicken mole and no fewer than 10 different tacos. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • South Boston
  • price 3 of 4

Tacos and raw oysters on the same menu? Yep, this Southie spot makes it work. The kitchen cranks out tacos with a modern and relatively Americanized spin, filling tortillas with the likes of blackened tuna, chipotle cauliflower and pesto chicken. Purists may balk at dishes like its Maine mussels bathed in a ghost pepper tequila broth, but it’s nothing a few coconut margaritas can’t fix.

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Sol Azteca
Photograph: Courtesy Sol Azteca

17. Sol Azteca

One of Boston's original Mexican restaurants, Sol Azteca (914 Beacon St) sits right on the Brookline-Boston border, near the St. Mary's T stop. Friendly servers patrol the colorful environs, and when the weather permits, patrons spill out onto the sidewalk. Traditional dishes (camarones tampiquenos or the puerco en adobo) jockey for attention with a number of vegetarian options, award-winning sangria, fruit-flavored margs and more.

More fiery flavors in Boston

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