February 4, 2012
450 Amwell Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
  • Cost: $
  • Alcohol: None
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Take Out: Yes

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February 4, 2012



New Jersey has plenty of Italian delis with hot food behind the counter. La Costeñita is the Mexican version, serving up authentic tacos, tamales and moles, instead of sausage and peppers, veal parm and Sunday sauce.

Chicken Mole

Tucked in a shopping plaza just off Route 206 in Hillsborough, La Costeñita looks like a small grocery store. Shelves along the wall hold a variety of imported Mexican goods, from canned chipotles to cookies and candies. There’s a deli-style counter with soft cheeses and meats. The vegetable bins are filled with jalapeños and tomatillos.

To find the hardy Mexican fare, walk past the few tables in front, all the way to the tile counter in the back.  Sit on one of the four stools where you can see the day’s special bubbling away and watch the corn masa tortillas prepared fresh. Daily specials are posted, in Spanish. Ask some questions and the woman at the counter is happy to translate. There’s also a bilingual paper menu that includes various tortas (sandwiches), tacos (beef, spicy pork, chorizo, chicken tongue), sopes (thick tortilla ‘boats’), tamales, burritos and enchiladas. Weekend specials include Sopa de Mariscos (shellfish soup) and Panzita de Res (beef tripe soup).

Fresh Masa

The aromas are tantalizing. We ordered a few items to go. The Mole de Pollo (Chicken Mole) is served with an earthy and complex mole that packs a smoky punch. Decadent pork tamales with meat on the bone and spicy red chile sauce are excellent. The tacos are served in two soft homemade corn tortillas. Of the food we tried, only the torta, or sandwich, was disappointing. The bread is too thick, with skimpy fillings for my taste.

La Costeñita is worth a visit for cheap and hardy fare that reminds you of your Mexican abuela.


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