Photo Cred - Limon
Believe it or not, in terms of tasty Mexican food, there’s more out there than just your generic, kitschy, 3 Amigos and Carlos & Peppe’s restaurants. It’s not to say these popular brands aren’t good, just that you can do better...much better. We already know where to get the best guacamole in Montreal, but figured you were probably still hungry.
Limon’s inviting ambiance and tasty food has managed to compete on an already coveted strip of Notre Dame Street in St-Henri. A proper sit-down restaurant means that it can become pricey if you are really hungry, but the charming rear terrace, free beer or margarita if you’re going to a show at Theatre Corona next door, and ladies-night special of 2 margaritas with choice of tacos for $20, more than make up for it.
Tequila Taco House
You might miss this cozy, hole-in-the-wall spot on the corner of St-Laurent and Sherbrooke Streets if it wasn't for the pimp neon sign hanging out front. Big illustrated menus will get you salivating for tacos, and you'll appreciate the big portions, cold beer, and great lunch specials.
Run by a ridiculously sweet couple from Mexico City, this NDG gem is about as authentic as it gets. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but with everything made from scratch, no pretentious décor, and classic Mexican cuisine, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your abuela’s (or at least somebody’s) kitchen.
El Zaziumm is technically more Tex-Mex, but the amazing quality and trendy, laid-back vibe is not to be missed. For 20 years, El Zaziummm has prided itself on its flavourful food offerings and jovial atmosphere. Great place to meet up with friends for happy hour, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try their monstrous food challenge that earns you a free t-shirt.
El Rey del Taco
More of a counter than a restaurant, this joint is actually found in a Mexican grocery store at Marché Jean-Talon, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Insanely reasonable prices, a nice mix of traditional and more contemporary dishes, and they even offer drive-through. Don’t worry if you don't have a car though, there are a few tables and table-service as well.
Everybody knows, and loves, the Grumman ’78 taco truck by now, and it’s thanks to them that the city of Montreal enjoys street food on the regular. If you thought their street tacos were delicious, you owe it to yourself to check out their kick-ass sit-down restaurant located in a converted cavalry garage in St-Henry. Killer home-made drinks, tasty fusion-tacos, and a truly unique environment make Grumman ’78 a bonafide Montreal institution.
Photo cred - @castro_ede
Le Petit Coin du Mexique
We’ve mentioned these guys before, but LPCM (as no one calls them) is true Mexican cuisine. Authentic and humble dishes like tortillas soup, cochanita pibil, and fish ceviche will definitely make you wonder how you’ve never eaten here before and will surely have you coming back for more.
Run by some serious Montreal Foodies, MAÏS’ menu is short and sweet and gets right the point. The décor is cool, they locally-source as much as possible, and they have a formidable selection of tequilas.
M4 Burritos is nothing fancy, but we like it. It’s kinda like a Mexican Dagwood’s where you order at the counter, chose your meal, and then dress it exactly the way you want it. The burritos are fat and tasty, they make their own cerveza, and you won’t break the bank getting your munch on.
Casa de Mateo
This Old Montreal restaurant has been around for years and for good reason. The food is as authentic as it gets, as is the setting, and on top of that, you get your guacamole made table-side and live mariachi music every night! Dinner and a show!
La Matraca is one of those Mexican restaurants that feels legit. Colourful, friendly, and delicious, this taqueria offers plenty of authentic dishes that will make you feel as though you were actually in Mexico (ok maybe not) but I bet you can’t eat just one of their tacos.
Photo cred - La Tamalera
La Tamalera, as the name suggests, is all about tamales. The traditional dish made of corn-based dough, steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper is hard to get right, and this place does a pretty-damn good job. Their handmade tortillas, excellent tacos and more than reasonable prices have earned their way on to this list.
A little more upscale than your average taqueria, the drinks and ambiance of this place are definitely above average. I wouldn’t equate the food here as “authentic” necessarily, but Mesa 14 is a great place for meeting friends, enjoying a cocktail and getting your taco/burrito on.
1678, boul Saint-Joseph (Lachine)
A little further out of the city, but El Meson’s charming terasse and waterfront location are definitely worth mentioning. Probably more Tex-Mex than some would prefer, west-islanders love this little gem and the mole here is off the hook.
Alright, so Chateauguay is not technically Montreal to the purists out there, but El Cactus does deliver on taste. It can be a little pricey, as you will no doubt have one too many cucumber-jalapeño margaritas, but the vibe and delicious food here cannot be ignored.
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