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Mexican in Atlanta?


maf
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OK, where can I get "real" Mexican in Atlanta (and don't just say Buford Highway, which is the answer to all ethnic restaurant questions)? My perception of "real" (I've never set foot in Mexico) is mole or pipian sauces, but I'm not authentic enough to eat tripe. I also speak no Spanish (save, perhaps, cerveza, if I'm even spelling that correctly), but I'm willing to go by smile and point if they're willing to serve it that way.

I just returned from a trip out west, where I assumed I would expreience the real stuff. Sad to say, my efforts in both California and Arizona produced food quite similar to what I've encountered in Georgia- Taco Bell on a white ("don't touch hot") plate.

How can I attempt to make mole when the only example I've tasted came from a jar at Kroger?

"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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Sala, Sabor de Mexico may be just what you are looking for, authenticity-wise ... menus are here when you click, and it is in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood, not Buford Highway ...

Sala, which in Spanish refers to a parlor, hall or large room in which people gather for celebration, has been recognized for bringing the true "Sabor de Mexico " (taste of Mexico) to Atlanta. Located in the Virginia Highland neighborhood, the restaurant is a casual, lively neighborhood spot which serves authentic, fresh from scratch regional Mexican specialties as well as standard Mexican favorites for dinner nightly.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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In my opinion, there are three kinds of Mexican restaurants. The first group is the Taco Bell type places. Second are the places which appeal to Anglos (non-Mexicans - a term we used a lot in New Mexico, where I grew up). The third group are the Mexican places run by Mexicans for Mexicans.

You asked about Atlanta and I live in Cobb County, so my answers and familiarity may be of little interest to you. Just the same, in the third group, I have found several tacquerias which are quite good to excellent. These are all places which specialize in tortas (sandwiches), burritos and tacos (and not the kind they serve at Taco Bell, either). If it is convenient for you, my personal favorite is in the Supermercado Jalisco in the Jonquil Plaza Shopping Center on Atlanta Road at Spring Road in Smyrna. One block east on Spring Road at Jonquil Drive you will find Restaurante La Placita, which is more of a traditional restaurant than any of the other places I am mentioning. In Roswell, on Alpharetta Hwy just south of Holcomb Bridge Road/Crossville Road is El Azteca Grocera on the west side of the road and Taco Mas and Taco Prisa on the east side. My preferences are indicated by the order in which they are listed. Another worthwhile stop is on Holcomb Bridge Road just west of GA 400. Carniceria San Miguel is at 1085 Holcomb Bridge Road on the south side of the road in a small shopping center. From the second group, I would recommend Nuevo Laredo on Chattahoochee Avenue, a mile or so west of Howell Mill.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Nuevo laredo on Chattahoochee is still my favorite.

If you want to try some intriguing latin food that's not Mexican (argentinian) i suggest Alameda at the corner of Atlanta Road and Paces Ferry in Smyrna.

Another good place I've been is Acapulco on Peachtree (i think?) in midtown. i really liked their fajitas.

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Maf - do you just not want to go to Buford Highway?  That's where you'll find the most authentic Mexican food. Cheap and delicious.

I have nothing against Buford Highway; what I meant to say was don't just tell me "go to Buford Highway and pick a place- you can't go wrong."

"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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Nuevo Laredo is not real mexican, more like really good cali- tex- mex. Very good, but it ain't the real thing. Some off the best mex I have had here lately is being served in parking lots out of the back off old catering vans and trucks. They are popping up everywhere you look with my fav at Hwy 29 and Pleasant Hill rd in Lilburn. As far as sit down style Sala is worth a visit, but it is run by Gringos and a local rest group, just for the guaco made tableside. yum.

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Tres Hermanos in Sandy Springs. Off Hammond drive? Can't remember. Anyway it's a grocery store (worth a visit on its own merits) with a small very informal restaurant. I've never been disappointed there. That's not strong enough. I'll put it this way. When my wife and I visit Atlanta to see her family, she always demands a stop at Tres Hermanos on the way in from the airport. Even if her dad's made dinner.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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  • 1 month later...
Tres Hermanos in Sandy Springs.  Off Hammond drive?  Can't remember.  Anyway it's a grocery store (worth a visit on its own merits) with a small very informal restaurant.  I've never been disappointed there.  That's not strong enough.  I'll put it this way.  When my wife and I visit Atlanta to see her family, she always demands a stop at Tres Hermanos on the way in from the airport.  Even if her dad's made dinner.

Have to second Ned on Tres Hermanos. Took some of my friends from Dallas there recently and it blew them away. It helps if you understand a bit of Spanish, though even if you don't you won't leave hungry. You will need to be able to decipher a written (white board) menu. Mexican idiom. No matter how you spell it though, its really, really good and as down home Mexican as it gets. In a strip mall off Sandy Springs Circle just short of Roswell Road, north side of street.

Jay

You are what you eat.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay - I don't even think this place has a name and I've never had a proper "dining experience" there because I go through the drive through - yup - the drive through.

From Lenox, if you go out the Buford Highway, you will eventually see a taco bell on the right. Just acrosss the street on the left, is a very run down looking mexican restaurant - and they have a drive through. They speak no english so you kind of have to wing it if you don't know spanish. But they have the most fabulous pork tacos there and they put pinapple in them - beef ones are good too. Now, whether this is authentic or not, I can't tell you, but for less than 5 bucks, you can put together a pretty hardy and tasty meal.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, I feel I should add my 2 cents to this discussion since I am a former chef and someone of Mexican descent. There are not many authentic places here. Most have been Americanized (e.g. Nuevo Laredo) or are just dumbed-down versions (e.g. Sala) of what true Mexican food is about. It depends on what you want to eat. El Pastor for Al Pastor. Las Tortas Locas for tortas. Silvia's (yes, they are still open) for when I want to feel like my aunties are cooking for me. I have not found a decent place for carnitas. Nobody takes the time to do them right. They make them in crockpots. No golden woks to be found anywhere. And, we are lacking as far as haute cusine goes. I am awaiting the arrival of Rosa Mexicano but fear it will close within a year just like Oh Maria did. Well, I guess I will just keep my fingers crossed.

Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)
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There are not many authentic places here.

close within a year just like Oh Maria did.

I couldn't agree with you more, Blissful ..a city of the size of Atlanta should produce more varieties of Mexican cuisine, and from all areas of Mexico, actually.

I, too, was quite displeased when one of the most authentic and gourmet Mexican restaurants, Oh Maria! closed its doors in Buckhead ... at that time, Bill Addison of Creative Loafing concluded:

Oh Maria! and the first Zocalo in Midtown, was to introduce Atlanta to more authentic, sophisticated tastes of Mexican cuisine.  But the dining public never fully embraced the vision. The tender, intricately spiced corn patties and snapper with huitlacoche went largely unappreciated. Folks around here still want chips and salsa and fajitas at their Mexican restaurants, and that's that.
CL article here :sad:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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  • 2 years later...

I'm giving this a bump to check on the current state of this cuisine in the metro area.

A friend and I had lunch at Nuevo Laredo yesterday. To call it disappointing would be too strong, if it weren't for all the "Best of Atlanta" plaques on the wall. A place that's garnered so much praise really ought to offer more than good salsa and okay food. I'm just not sure whether I'm disgruntled over the restaurant or Creative Loafing readers and Atlanta magazine editors who seem to equate "huge portions" with "great food." It's not the food was bad -- it was fine, and if I was in the neighborhood and hungry for "Mexican," I wouldn't hesitate to pull the car in. But it's not worth driving across town for.

Likewise Taqueria del Sol, though I've only eaten there at a Christmas party. The food was fine, if oddly seasoned, and barely recognizable as "Mexican." Maybe that's their catering menu, and I should give it another try?

Any updates? Authentic Mexican would be great, but Tex-Mex and Cali-Mex -- if they're good -- are fine, too.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I would agree with the Blissful Glutton, as a chef I am all about authentic! Taco Veloz on Buford Highway is a great quick place- Drive trough only for Taco's. Across the street in the strip mall next to a Latino wedding dress store is a restaurant with excellent Taco's al Pastor( probably the bext in the city) and great fish soup and many other straight from the border varieties to get you satisfied.

The catch is that on Buford Highway you need to Habla! The best Mexican places are those without the gringo's. However, Latino's are welcoming and generally willing to translate and help out.

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I would agree with the Blissful Glutton, as a chef I am all about authentic! Taco Veloz on Buford Highway is a great quick place- Drive trough only for Taco's. Across the street in the strip mall next to a Latino wedding dress store is a restaurant with excellent Taco's al Pastor( probably the bext in the city) and great fish soup and many other straight from the border varieties to get you satisfied.

The catch is that on Buford Highway you need to Habla! The best Mexican places are those without the gringo's. However, Latino's are welcoming and generally willing to translate and help out.

I second or third this emotion, go to Buford Hwy. Taco Veloz is good, I actually had better tacos at El Rey del Taco earlier this year, awesome salsas, fresh tortillas. Tasted suadero for the first time, great stuff. And I don't Habla! Just be humble and do a lot of pointing, you'll be fine.

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http://www.puretaqueria.com/

http://www.cuernorestaurant.com/

(possibly Spanish ..)

http://www.eclipsediluna.com/

(Spanish rather than Mexican, if I recall from eating there)

La Oaxaquena Taqueria

6738 Tara Blvd.

Jonesboro, GA

http://www.limetaqueria.com/

These are on the AJC new dining recommendations for fall ...

Anyone tried them?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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