DECEMBER 2019: We've added three more marvellous Mexican spots, including Breddos Tacos' bricks and mortar site in Clerkenwell, with its banging seafood tostadas; Casa Pastor in Coal Drops Yard, where fresh tortillas are pumped out daily; and Del74 Dalston, known for its cracking £2 tacos happy hour.
Londoners may have witnessed a taco takeover in recent years, but there’s so much more to the capital’s ever-growing Mexican food scene. From badass burritos to tip-top tostadas and exemplary enchiladas, we’ve rounded up the restaurants around the city that put the ‘fun’ in fundido.
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It’s all about the burritos at Benito’s Hat – a vibrant Tex-Mex joint dreamed up by a former City lawyer. The interior might look like something out of central casting, but the fast-moving counter churns out some the best floury filled tortillas in town, backed by a 10-strong line-up of fresh salsas. Tacos, salads and antojitos also go well with Benito’s merciless margaritas.
Despite the demise of its Soho branch, the Breddos crew is back, and all the better for it. Its new digs keep things casual with informal, communal seating options to suit what is ultimately still street food. A custom-made wood grill adds rustic charm. Tacos remain its strong suit, but try the seafood tostadas too, which team the crunch of tortilla shells with punchy cross-continental flavours.
Don’t be fooled by the sex-shop-style frontage – there’s nothing sleazy about this dark, loud basement rendezvous. La Bodega is dressed to thrill and its homely take on Mexican cuisine always looks pretty – check out the beautifully presented tacos, ceviches, tostadas and hot plates such as chargrilled chicken with pinto beans, chorizo birria and salsa verde. Despite small portions and two-hour table limits, this is a must-try.
Bargain prices suit the setting at this family-run Mexican eatery in Brixton’s foodie market complex. The menu’s brief, but there’s bags of choice, flavours are big and the colours bold: we recommend the taco appetisers, the tortas (served with crunchy corn tortillas, chipotle mayo and jalapeno), the zingy chocolate cake laced with árbol chilli and – of course – the potent cocktails. Be warned: service can be market-trader curt.
If tacos are your thing, look no further than Casa P, the newest addition to the El Pastor family. As with its other branches in Borough and Bermondsey, punters can expect fresh tortillas made in house daily, plated up alongside a bevy of aguachiles and tostadas. You’ll find a selection of fillings to pile into your shells, from chipotle chicken (our fave) to baja fish (battered goujons, slaw and salsa) and veggie options.
Generous tacos served with lashings of old-school hospitality is the deal at Corazón – an unassuming, cosy and sincere taqueria custom-built for Soho’s hungry hordes. Head to the bar and counter for cocktails and nibbles; sit in the main space for a full-on nosh – perhaps beef tartare tostadas followed by a fillet of sea bream bathed in recado rojo and grilled with orange, olives and capers. Gentle prices, genial service.
Venue says Join us for 'Lunch Rapido': two tacos, tortilla chips, salsas and guacamole for £10, Mon-Fri. Give us 30 minutes, we'll give you Mexico 🇲🇽
Billed as a ‘kick-ass Mexican grill’, one-time street stall Daddy Donkey has morphed into a permanent behemoth among Leather Lane’s cheap handbags, shoes and CDs. That old takeaway feel is still there, but the quality’s consistent – try a ‘naked burrito’ (sans tortilla) or the signature Daddy D with a choice of five fillings. The combinations are endless – and so are the queues.
Del74’s new Dalston outpost prides itself on its no-fuss Mexican fare that ‘keeps it simple, keep it real’. It sports kitschy ’70s-inspired décor and the menu’s modest but appealing. Go for the tangy guacamole, which comes with a hearty helping of homemade tortilla chips, or try the cochinita pibil, a braised leg of pork topped with fresh avo and red pickled onions that’s a fiesta in your mouth.
DF stands for Mexico City’s Distrito Federal, but this affordable, mass-market offshoot of the Wahaca chain couldn’t be more London – and fashion-conscious with it. All the trademarks are here: strikingly modern design, cheery staff and Mexican fast food with a hipster spin. Open tacos hit the spot, as do the pork pibil tortas – a trendy Mex riff on the burger.
If you need cheering up, head down to this Mexican hideaway beneath the arches by Borough Market. Owned by the Hart brothers (of Barrafina fame), Pastor is a taco joint with pedigree and a rollicking fiesta vibe. Order the mighty al pastor pork taco, the DIY short rib or the gringa quesadillas with fresh salsas and a blast of loud Latin music. But be warned: this joint doesn’t take bookings.
Crowdfunding does it again. Having wobbled in Shoreditch, the new incarnation of Santo Remedio near London Bridge is simply brilliant. Low-lit, inviting and spread over two floors, it seduces punters with easy-listening Latin grooves, flickering tea lights, and some inspired food – guacamole sprinkled with tiny grasshoppers, hibiscus flower quesadillas and enchiladas and 12-hour slow-cooked smoky beef tacos. There are punishing shots of mezcal too.
Venue says A vibrant Mexican restaurant with an upstairs tequila and mezcal bar, serving authentic regional Mexican cuisine and cocktails.
Despite a clipboard-toting greeter, Taqueria has a charming indie feel with its bare wood floors, film posters, Latin soundtrack and unfussy food. Quesadillas are the big hits (try the version with home-cured chorizo), but there are also a few tostadas (including one with a classic ceviche twist) and the usual suspects on the side. Drink Mexican beer, mezcal and tequila, or stay sober with a cooling aguas frescas.