Food & Drink

The 9 Best Mexican Restaurants in Boston

Published On 04/27/2015 Published On 04/27/2015
Christina Ng/Thrillist

Even the Hub's disastrously designed streets deserve to reap the benefits of Mexican street food. Whether it be traditional or avant-garde fast food, or an all-out dining experience, check out the top nine Mexican spots around Boston.

Christina Ng/Thrillist


Inman Square
What you're getting: Yucateca torta
Olecito is Inman Square’s hidden gem, literally a hole-in-the-wall across the street from sister restaurant, Olé. Locals say it's where you get the most bang for your buck. Expect to get amazing chips, tacos, tortas, and burritos swiftly in a familiarly decorated bright yellow, four-table space.

Christina Ng/Thrillist

The Painted Burro 

What you're getting: Crispy Baja-style fish
In the heart of Davis Square, The Painted Burro offers the crowd an energetic vibe (no doubt due to its proximity to Tufts) combined with an upscale, modern feel. In time for warmer weather, The Painted Burro has already started opening its giant storefront windows, turning indoor dining into one big outdoor fiesta flush with innovative creations such as its crab cake and calamari taco.


Lone Star Taco Bar 

What you're getting: Grilled street corn
Lone Star boasts as much acclaim with its Mexican street food as it does its mezcal and tequila-based cocktails. The cooly lit taco bar shares owners (and a kitchen) with the much lauded Deep Ellum, and offers up smoked chilies, chorizos, and masa corn tortillas -- all made in-house.

Dave Baldwin/Thrillist

El Pelon Taqueria 

What you're getting: El Guapo
Because of its proximity to wicked old Fenway Park, El Pelon Taqueria is the perfect pit stop before or after any ballgame. The authentic Mexican dive has a luchador esthetic with cool knick-knacks from sombreros to Mexican license plates. Choice favorites include fried plantains with fire-roasted salsa, braised pork tortas with spicy mayo and lime onions, and grilled steak Caramelos tacos topped with salsa fresca and melted jack.

El Centro

El Centro 

South End
What you're getting: Frijoladas Oaxaquenas, Campechanos tacos
Among the nation's top taquerias, chef and owner Allan Rodriguez opened El Centro in Boston’s South End to give the city a Mexican, Sonora-style restaurant with fresh ideas, and creative menu options. Menu highlights include a classic charcoal-grilled Arrachera A La Tampiquena steak with green sauce and the Campechanos tacos, combining carne asada and al pastor. In 2013, the restaurant opened its second location in Brookline with furnishings and art handpicked by the owner, and brought over from his native Mexico.

Besitos Mexican Restaurants


Burlington/Chestnut Hill
What you're getting: Guacamole
It’s not often you expect to find good Mexican from a shopping mall, but Besito offers just that along with a formal dining experience. Servers prepare guacamole right at the table to give that wow factor. Shoppers looking to get their mall-and-Mexican fix can visit Besito locations at the Burlington mall and Chestnut Hill mall.

Courtesy of Dorado

Dorado Tacos 

What you're getting: Ground pork chorizo cemitas
Although considered to be Mexican fast food, Dorado Tacos does not skimp on the quality. The restaurant’s cemitas are set up on toasted sesame seed egg buns with avocado, Oaxaca cheese, black beans, chipotle, and cilantro. The restaurant is value friendly and the perfect spot to grab a quick bite if Mexican is what you’re craving.

Rosa Mexicano Restaurants

Rosa Mexicano 

What you're getting: Tuna ceviche, marinated pork shank
Rosa Mexicano garners quite the crowd from its upscale waterfront location. After tableside guac and small bites like lump crab empanadas, pick out one of seven types of tacos (seared diver scallops and crisp Kurobuta pork belly with habanero salsa) or entrees like the crispy marinated pork shank with chipotle-creamed spinach and red bean-chorizo chili.

Christina Ng/Thrillist

Tu Y Yo 

What you're getting: Mole Colorado Tlaxcateca
Inside Somerville’s Powder House Square, Tu Y Yo is a family run restaurant with dishes based on its own Veracruz recipes. Be prepared to try old-country ingredients like cactus and chapulines (grasshoppers).

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1. Olecito 12 Springfield St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Inman Square)

Olecito is Inman Square’s hidden gem, literally a hole-in-the-wall across the street from sister restaurant, Olé. Locals say it's where you get the most bang for your buck. Expect to get amazing chips, tacos, tortas, and burritos swiftly in a familiarly decorated bright yellow, four-table space.

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2. The Painted Burro 219 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Davis)

Painted Burro's a 95-seat Mexican kitchen & tequileria described as a “farm chic hacienda” featuring a red-/white-walled dining room with weathered wood tables, plus a 14-seat hammered tin/ reclaimed beam bar lit by wire cage lamps and overlooked by a unicorn burro mural rocking a luchador mask and corncob horn.

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3. Lone Star Taco Bar 479 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Lone Star is the result of a collaboration between two dudes from Texas and Southern California, so you can feel pretty confident that they know their way around Mexican food. With a menu influenced by taquerias and markets in Austin, Dallas, and Mazatlan, Lone Star serves up a huge range of tacos, from carnitas and barbacoa to refried beans and huevos rancheros. They also do a killer breakfast menu (breakfast tacos! huevos rancheros!) and have an absolute ton of tequilas ready to pour.

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4. El Pelón Taqueria 2197 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA 02135 (Allston Brighton)

After not one, but two fires eventually destroyed their Peterborough St resto last year, the resilient owner of this Fenway taco joint has traded BU for BC and re-opened serving a similar menu of regional Mexican fare in a new brick-red/white 12-seat Comm

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5. El Centro 472 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Opening tomorrow in the SE's former Siraj Cafe, the latest addition to the Hub's upscale Mexican scene rocks an authentic (as in, from a Hermosillo-born chef/owner) lineup including red-sauced enchilada/skirt steak with guac.

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6. Besito Mexican 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803

Besito ("little kiss") Mexican is heating things up with traditional/authentic Mexican from Executive Chef Carlos Arellano in Burlington.

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7. Dorado Tacos & Cemitas 401 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446 (Coolidge Corner)

Three years in the making from the Cali-born former chef of JP's Café D, this Coolidge Corner taqueria boldly casts aside the ubiquitous burrito to serve up an eclectic selection of fish/traditional tacos, unique-to-Boston Mexican sandwiches (cemitas), and rotisserie chicken in a humble 19-seat space with brightly painted orange/blue/yellow walls, metal stools, a colorful chalkboard menu, and a giant framed cartoon poster that diagrams the anatomy of a Cemita (aka: the Vitruvian Sam').

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8. Rosa Mexicano 155 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210

Grab some shade behind the foliage of Rosa's Seaport Blvd patio whilst you take down their signature (since "When Doves Cry" topped the Billboard charts!!) frozen pomegranate margarita made with silver tequila and pomegranate juice.

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9. Tu y Yo 858 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144 (Somerville)

Tu y Yo is a vibrant Mexican restaurant in Powder House Square that is almost as colorful as it is authentic, and that’s saying something because the benches are violet and the walls are red and orange. Trust us and have the crispy Tacos de Chapulines to start, you’ll be surprised how great grasshoppers taste with chiles, but if critters aren’t your cup of tea the jalapeño poppers stuffed with sweet, spicy tinga chicken probably are. Choose your main by protein like the Pollo en Mole Blanco (chicken growing in a creamy sauce made with onions, pine nuts, and beer) or flavorful, slow-cooked Carnitas (pork) served with salsas and tortillas. For veggie lovers, the Indio Vestido (cactus stuffed with cheese and drizzled with tomatillo and mild pasilla sauce) is a must-try. Pro tip: everything tastes great with the house red or white sangria.