There’s really only one place to be in Detroit on Cinco de Mayo, and that’s Mexicantown. It's really a fine place to be the rest of the year, too. And although it’s not easy to decide precisely which of the taco-producing, burrito-bearing, tequila-pouring joints you want to help you stuff your face, we’ve narrowed them down to 10 favorites for you.
Taqueria Lupita’s (info and address)
Outside of Taqueria Lupita’s, the awning reads: "House of the Original Mexican Taco." There may be some places in Mexico that dispute this but... inside, the claim FEELS true. The Lupita’s lineup includes truly authentic tacos, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and plenty of other goodness -- but at heart, this is a taqueria. Quite frankly, Mexicantown’s BEST taqueria. So get the tacos. They will cost you a grand total of $1.75 apiece. Al pastor, pollo, carnitas, tripas, whatever you want. All cheap, all satisfying, and all authentic.
Taqueria Nuestra Familia (info and address)
If you’re truly stumped on where to go for food in Mexicantown, it’s not a bad idea to ask someone who lives there. If you do, chances are (if they don’t direct you to Lupita’s) they’ll direct you here. Nuestra Familia has a fully loaded breakfast menu, a full bar, and tacos that will set you back a comically inexpensive $1.25 each. The recipes here have been handed down from generation to generation, and for the past 11 years they’ve been a prime place to set up shop for the Cinco de Mayo Parade.
Taqueria Mi Pueblo (info and address)
Taqueria Mi Pueblo has more than a few things going for it. From their chicharrones to their much-loved botanas to their positively stacked lineup of margaritas and tequilas, Mi Pueblo's much more than your average taqueria. Come Cinco de Mayo, everyone is guaranteed to be clamoring for a $3.50 margarita. You should be, too.
Los Galanes (info and address)
Their thick, doughy (like you!) flour tortillas are some of the best in the city -- the perfect vessel to transport tastefully marinated chicken, pork, and steak into your mouth. They’ve also got a dozen tequilas on the menu, 11 Mexican beers, and a respectable lineup of fruit-infused margaritas.
Xochimilco (info and address)
Oh, Xochi’s. It’s dark, windowless, and a little run down, but if you’re coming here for fine Mexican dining, you’re in the wrong place anyway. Xochi’s is the place to be when you need a lot of food for a lot of people. It’s one of the most popular places on the Bagley strip on Cinco de Mayo (or any other day of the year, for that matter), and for good reason. The enchiladas are cheesy, the burritos are loaded, and the sangria is sweet.
Mexican Village (info and address)
Claiming the title of Detroit’s oldest Mexican restaurant, Mexican Village has long been a Cinco de Mayo staple for its margaritas (which one can enjoy in their upstairs bar), desserts (which include French-fried ice cream), and the Caldo Can-Cun (which is loaded with cheese, rice, chicken, and avocado). It’s also a soup, which might be too hot for Cinco, but the way this Spring is going, who knows?
Evie’s Tamales (info and address)
Evie’s is quick and cheap, and -- yes, you guessed it -- makes some mean tamales. All year round, people come from near and far to grab a bagful of their 60-cent tamales, and if they’re not on your Cinco menu already, they ought to be. Also worth your attention: the 99-cent breakfast burritos and the crowd-pleasing chilaquiles.
Armando’s (info and address)
Armando’s knows how to party. By day, their lunch buffet satisfies patrons with generous botanas, bean burritos, and cheese enchiladas, and by night… like until-4am night… their party patio is the place to be for margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and sangria. They also have fritas -- a Cuban street food burger with a mix of ground beef and chorizo topped with shoestring potatoes -- if you're looking to expand your Latin cuisine repertoire.
Mexicantown Bakery (info and address)
Perhaps it’s not fair to include just one Mexican sweet shop on this list, but Mexicantown Bakery is the best of the bunch when it comes to loading up on some churros, conchas, or just about anything that’s freshly baked, waiting to be devoured behind those glass doors. The selection of candies and drinks throughout the rest of the store add a little more variety in case all the pasteles weren’t enough already.
El Asador Steakhouse (info and address)
El Asador is the new kid on the Mexicantown block, but they’ve been getting some serious attention and support for their unique takes on Mexicantown classics and (surprise) their top-of-the-line steaks with guajillo, ancho, and chipotle butter sauces. Their seafood lineup is extensive, and the guacamole is made fresh tableside.
1. Taqueria Lupita's3443 Bagley St, Detroit
2. Taqueria Nuestra Familia7620 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit
3. Taqueria Mi Pueblo7278 Dix St, Detroit
4. Los Galanes3362 Bagley St, Detroit
5. Xochimilco3409 Bagley St, Detroit
6. Mexican Village2600 Bagley St, Detroit
7. Evie's Tamales3454 Bagley St, Detroit
8. Armando's4242 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit
9. El Asador Steakhouse1312 Springwells St, Detroit
10. Mexicantown Bakery4300 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit
Get your taco fix with this reputed "House of the Original Mexican Taco". Pony up and throw down your cash (only) for a quick in-and-out (pro tip: ask for extra spices), or sit back and get ready to gorge on their various sauces with the expectedly warm chips.
Punch up your taco experience by opting for the lomo (shredded pork loin) or steamed beef tripe, beef heart, or beef tongue varieties at this Mexicantown spot. Spritz on the provided limes for a welcome accent.
Mexican beer -- or tequila, as this taqueria's bar is well stocked -- will square off perfectly with botana (chips with chorizo, fried beans, melted cheese, and basically a garden of toppings) and any three tacos for a cheap and filling dinner.
While you could take the easy way out and go with a few tacos wrapped in doughy flour tortillas, take our advice and order the wet burrito, which comes grilled instead of baked and doused in mole. One (or many) of the 11 Mexican beers and the dozen tequilas on the menu will keep you company through the night.
Xochimilco is a great spot for a late night taco and a margarita. It's open until 2a, so after a night at the bar you can make a game out of trying to pronounce the name (so-she-mil-co).
As the oldest Mexican restaurant in Mexicantown -- and according to them, the oldest in Detroit -- this 50+ year old institution is a behemoth, with six dining rooms and an upstairs bar. Try their Caldo Can-Cun (spicy chicken and rice soup topped with avocado and cheese), which hails back to the motherland (even more so if you hold the cheese).
Although you can find really good chilaquiles and huevos rancheros at this unassuming Mexican eatery, their claim to fame are the 99 cent breakfast burritos. Load one or 15 up with chorizo, ham, potatoes, and anything else you like. Other cheap eats include half a dozen tamales -- for under $5!
Armando’s has a lunch buffet featuring botanas, bean burritos, and cheese enchiladas, and also keeps their party patio open until 4am, serving margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and sangria.
El Asador proves that finding authentic Mexican food is as simple as heading to southwest Detroit. El Asador serves an array of approachable Mexican dishes, like crispy quesadillas overflowing with melted cheese and shredded chicken; three-cheese enchiladas dipped in house-made sauce; and soft shell tacos filled with fried or grilled mahi mahi. However, you'd be remiss not to order one of the speciality steaks, like the immaculately char-grilled filet mignon with three-chile butter sauce or the New York steak topped with homemade ranchero sauce. Don't forget to bring along a six-pack of your favorite cerveza, as El Asador is BYOB.
Empanadas, cornbread muffins, and cannoli make this bakery a must-visit on any trip to Mexicantown -- morning, noon, or night. Sugary pastries, cheesecakes, and even savory Mexican staples (like beans and rice) are easily found here.