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Barrio Costero – Asbury Park, NJ


Ortega Taco Dinners were my Italian-American childhood introduction to “Mexican” food. Since then, I’ve sampled the wide range of Mexican cuisine as it exists in Mexico, from Yucatan’s cohinita pibil (marinated pork slow roasted in banana leaves) to Puebla’s chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles in cream sauce), to Baja California’s fish tacos. I have learned that Mexican tacos are wrapped in soft, handmade corn tortillas, and can be filled with pork or lengua (beef tongue). The best chiles rellenos are coated in fried egg. Mexican hot chocolate, thick with a hint of chile, is not to be missed.

Our all-time favorite Jersey Mexican was a taquería in Hoboken on First Street. (Spectacular chiles rellenos, served with an intense red mole.) That place  has closed, but there are plenty of Mexican food options in New Jersey.

Torta @ Lupita’s – Orange, NJ

Authentic Mexican restaurants have sprouted all over the Garden State, from South Jersey to Passaic, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties. More than 200,000 New Jersey residents claimed Mexican ancestry in the 2010 Census, the second largest Hispanic ethnic group after Puerto Rican. There are so many Mexican-American communities in New Jersey, I’m sure the best taco is at a local spot we would never find on our own.

Tell me your favorites spots for Mexican food. I’ll add the most popular to the list, and to the map.


Blitzing Through New Jersey in Search of the State’s Best Mexican Food
Comida Mexicana Al Gusto
Good Mexican in Northern NJ?
Mexican home cooking making its way around South Jersey
Real Mexican Food in New Jersey
Search for Jersey’s best tacos takes Munchmobile from Montclair to New Brunswick


23 Responses to “Mexican”

  1. Ice says:

    Xochimilco in West New York – there are actually many good Mexican restaurants in WNY, NJ, but this is one I’ve eaten at plenty of times bc it is on my block, genuine Mexican fare but used to be a bit cheaper before the renovations (and “more genuine” – ‘la lengua’ used to be on the menu but I guess there weren’t too many takers), bakery next door isn’t bad either, same owner.

  2. Brendan B says:

    Mexican restaurants in Elizabeth, NJ:
    Taqueria Brenda Lee
    Taqueria Nealtican
    Los Compadres
    Taqueria Al Pastor
    La Cabana
    Taqueria Los Gueros
    Los Jarritos
    Mi Pequeno
    China Poblana
    Lupita’s Restaurant
    El Portal

  3. Anthony says:

    I am not a big fan of any of the chains, but Surf Taco seems to be a step above. For some real Mexican tacos, try La Valentina in Long Branch.

  4. UbdU says:

    I was super bored by food at Surf Taco. Not bad, just, “meh.” My favorite is Bubbakoo’s around TR/Brick, and Chipotle if mI’m north a bit more.

  5. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the tip – I’ll check it out.

  6. John says:

    You should check out riviera maya in bogota. Check them out on yelp. Great reviews and great authentic fresh food

  7. Anthony says:


    Appreciate the barber recommendation but let’s stay on topic – Jersey’s best ethnic food.


  8. Meade says:

    Check out Reds in Freehold. My Barber, Ray owns it. Southern style chicken & ribs with a Filipino twist.

  9. Meade says:

    A lot of people like Super Pollo Chicken in Brick in the Kennedy Plaza strip mall by Costcutters. Many people say it’s the best rotisserie chicken they’ve ever had. They have huge burritos and great tacos. Huge portions and dirt cheap. Real deal Mexican. They’re not afraid to kick it up if you like spicy.

  10. Anna says:

    Try costa chica in new Brunswick NJ. It’s really good!

  11. Rob says:

    Dude.. Grill Pablano in Rutherford. Tongue and Cactus tacos are to die for… everything is… its awesome.

  12. Anthony says:

    Looks good. Just added it to the map. Thanks for the tip!

  13. Angelica says:

    You have to try Costa Chica’s in new brunswick on handy st. it’s like being in Mexico! By far my personal favorite!

  14. Anthony says:

    Thanks – Definitely have to try El Meson. Do they serve tacos?

  15. Hollie says:

    El Meson in Freehold is a personal favorite. Weekend chef specials are consistently fabulous, fresh and flavorful. The service is never lacking and with the warmer weather you can enjoy patio dining. Locally, this little restaurant has a widespread reputation for excellence!

  16. Anthony says:

    There are Cuban places on the map. Use the drop down search box in the upper right-hand corner. Not enough for a “featured” category yet. We do need to find good Puerto Rican restaurants. Where’s the best mofongo in NJ?

  17. meade says:

    How come there’s no spot for Puerto Rican or Cuban food?

  18. meade says:

    I have to give a local shout out to Surf Taco in Toms River & Point Pleasant. Zagat rated & featured in NJ Monthly as the number one spot for best cheap eats. My personal favorite is the Jenk’s Wet, which is a burrito with beans, pico and sauce. The chicken soft tacos are excellent. For the brave, try the tsunami challenge.

  19. Anthony says:

    There are a bunch of authentic-looking Mexican places in downtown Plainfield, I just haven’t tried any yet. Two that get mentioned on the web: Tia Alicia (420 Watchung Ave.) and El Gitano (164 E. 2nd Street). If you try any, please report back!

  20. Jay F says:

    I grew up in Plainfield, and haven’t been there in decades. I took the Google Street View tour, and all I remember from it is all the Mexican restaurants. Have you tried any of them? I’d like to eat somewhere in downtown Plainfield and not have to drive up to the highway, but if there’s somewhere on Rt. 22, then okay.

  21. Anthony says:

    I’ll have to try MexicaliRose again – when we lived in Montclair (1996-97), it was just OK. Just added Charritos to “On My List to Try.” Thanks.

  22. Debbie R. says:

    Just tried Charritos in Weehawken. Pretty good food, lots of it. They make the guacamole at your table and let you choose how jalapeno-y you want it, and let you taste test it first.

  23. Catherine says:

    MexicaliRose in Montclair reopened with a new owner a few years back and it is great!