Boston’s Best Mexican Restaurants You Can Enjoy From Home
It’s margarita season.
Okay, so Boston is not California -- no one comes to visit us specifically for the Mexican food. But no one’s visiting us right now anyway, so we don’t have to deal with that particular West Coast snobbery. But skeptics are missing out. From little-advertised holes in the wall to glam dinner spots, our Mexican restaurants deserve mad respect. Case in point? Every last one of our favorite spots has quickly converted to a pickup and delivery model for the foreseeable. Here are your best order-in options for Mexican food in Boston.
South End/Back Bay
First he brought us frozen watermelon rosé margarita. Now he’s bringing us a special Cinco de Mayo menu that kicks off his full delivery and takeout service. On May 5, Jason Santos is debuting a one-day pickup and delivery menu of grilled street corn, empanadas, and a “fiesta box” of chips and guac, churros, and your choice of three tacos. About those margaritas: there are still four different mixes to go, which means your Cinco de Mayo is saved.
How to order: Call 833.324.8787 or order online for pickup and order delivery through DoorDash
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. Now three restaurants strong, the mini-chain’s 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.
How to order: Order online for pickup from all three locations; order South End delivery from Uber Eats
Some may balk at tossing around the term “authentic,” but El Pelón holds no such misgivings -- see, it’s right there in the signage. The original outpost suffered because of its proximity to wicked old Fenway Park, but El Pelón Taqueria is the perfect pit stop before or after any ballgame (some day, some day). 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.
How to order: Order online for pickup from both locations
Arlington and Beverly
You’re ordering from here to wolf down the most indulgent of drippy, fatty tacos from this teeny gem in Arlington Center. The menu is as straightforward as they come: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and tortas -- with fillings as adventurous as beef tongue and as safe as marinated chicken. The other selling point? Two tacos cost you a grand total of $6.50.
How to order: Call 978.969.2228 for pickup from Beverly, and order online for pickup from Arlington
Once upon a time, you first came for the coconut margaritas -- and thankfully, you can still order them in cocktail mix form. Otherwise, it’s time to tuck in for an extended at-home taco feast. These are experimental fillings: burnt ends, blackened swordfish, Buffalo chicken, and eggplant al pastor. Add in the sheet pan nachos and guacamole while you’re at it; one day soon you’ll return to eat your way through the raw bar selections.
How to order: Order online for pickup and order delivery from DoorDash and Caviar
Allston and East Cambridge
As punk as a taqueria gets, Lone Star earns as much acclaim for its Mexican street food as it does its mezcal and tequila-based cocktails. The original 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, and available to go. And while you don’t have the luxury of downing one too many Cadillac margaritas in-house, you do have the option of ordering a Lone Star margarita mix to go.
How to order: Order online for both Allston and Cambridge takeout
Olé to Go (born Olecito) is Inman Square’s hidden diamond, a former hole-in-the-wall joint now housed inside its sister restaurant Olé. Locals still say it's where you get the most authentic bang for your buck, including chips, tacos, tortas, and burritos swiftly and impeccably prepared.
How to order: Order online for pickup and order delivery from DoorDash
Expect to be gobsmacked by the legitimacy of the food. The tacos -- including the beef cheek and tongue varieties -- come simply dressed with chopped cilantro and onion and maybe a squirt of lime. Other staples here include the fried quesadillas and tamales. Sealing the deal are complimentary chips and three different kinds of homemade salsas.
How to order: Call 617.567.6367 for pickup
If you're here, you’re here for the tortas, period. For those unfamiliar, it’s a traditional pressed sandwich made with Telera bread and filled with meat, Oaxaca cheese, mayo, onions, avocado, and tomatoes. Rest assured that the requisite tacos, quesadilla, and burritos are all available from here too, along with Mexican sodas for the full authentic experience. Little wonder lines stretched out the door when the Davis Square outpost first opened at the end of 2015. There’s a pandemic silver lining for you: no more waiting outside for your fix.
How to order: Order online for pickup from all three locations
In days of yore, The Painted Burro offered crowds an energetic vibe (no doubt due to its proximity to Tufts) combined with an upscale, modern feel. But you can still order innovative creations such as its short rib tacos and pork carnitas enchiladas. And why not add in the steak fajitas to your order? Those homemade margaritas need something to soak them up.
How to order: Order online for pickup and order delivery through DoorDash and Caviar
Inside Powder House Square, Tu Y Yo is a family-run restaurant with dishes based on its own Veracruz recipes. And the spot has barely skipped a bit even in this time of upheaval. Be prepared to try old-country ingredients like cactus and chapulines (grasshoppers). Tu y Yo also does brunch from 10am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays if you're in the mood for chilaquiles toluquenos, served with sunny-side-up eggs, Mexican sausage, and refried beans.
How to order: Call 617.623.5411 for pickup and delivery
Stuck inside with a haughty Cali-based roommate who regularly denigrates Boston’s Mexican food scene? Momma King has your cure. Owner Nee Julie King earned underground local buzz when she began turning out tamales, flautas, and grilled burritos in a tiny kitchen inside a Beacon Hill gas station. Today, she has her own downtown storefront and is still going strong throughout the lockdown 00 offering takeout, limited deliveries inside Boston, and even packed meals for freezing and reheating. And if you count yourself among the Villa Mexico loyalists, considering sponsoring one of the staff until the restaurant can fully reopen.
How to order: Call 617.957.0725 for pickup and delivery
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