Who doesn’t like Mexican food? Even Latino-despising Donald Trump is on board! Whether you prefer spicy or mild; crunchy or soft shell; beef, steak, or chicken, Mexican fare is delicious, filling, and often affordable.
Las Vegas isn’t known for Mexican like it is for buffets (or even Italian or steakhouses), but there are plenty of Spanish speakers that call Sin City home, and you can find authentic Mexican if you look for it … or if you keep reading. (I’ll let you decide which is easier.)
For those that prefer words to wandering, here are some of my favorite spots for burritos, tacos, tamales, and more.
Elegant Mexican restaurants do exist. But this isn’t one of them. Tacos El Gordo is an inexpensive, no-nonsense street taco counter in the Tijuana taqueria style. Open until 4:00 AM on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 AM the rest of the week, it makes a great lunch and an even better late-night snack. While Gordo offers tostadas and quesadillas, the tacos – with their perfect texture and your choice of meat – are what is it all about.
A truly Las Vegas experience, El Dorado Cantina is an upscale Mexican restaurant located next to a strip club. They are careful to select quality local ingredients, have as good a bar as any Mexican restaurant I’ve ever seen, and have done a nice job creating an intimate environment. Paco’s Mole Sample let’s you try three different types of chicken mole sauces in one meal. The Siegel Plate – chicken and steak with award-winning cilantro rice – is another hit. Save room for the deep-fried ice cream and flan.
Long night, ugly morning: it’s a Vegas tale as old as the city itself. There is no better place to get over a hangover than El Cordobes. Open at 10:00 AM on weekdays and 9:00 AM on weekends, it is family-owned and truly authentic. (They even stock Mexican Coke in a bottle!) It’s your quintessential hole-in-the-wall, and everything they make is fantastic. Most people don’t think soup when they’re craving Mexican, but El Cordobes’ is a jewel. The essentials (burritos, tacos) are excellent too.
The work of Food Network and Bravo chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (pictured above), this new take on Mexican is located at the Mandalay Bay. Thanks to its gorgeous patio and outdoor bar, Border Grill is a great spot for a meal or a liquid lunch of margaritas. Try one of their ceviches or more eccentric entrees (save the tacos for one of the other options on the list). The “Border Brunch” with its unlimited small plates ($35) and bottomless mimosas ($10) can turn just-another-lunch into a meal to remember.
(Photo credit: Neon Tommy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)
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