There is truly a Mexican restaurant for everyone. There are the quiet ones that scream “authentic! authentic! authentic!” and then there are the more modern ones with the guac that is “hand-slapped” or “slapped to order.” Excuse me? Was it naww-ghty? Mex goes 50 Shades, I see. And if the recent lime shortage (I can’t think of lime-hijackings without giggling, sorry) has you in a tizzy and wondering just how the heck you and your margaritas are going to make it through the summer, just head to these places. Let them figure out the limes, you can figure out how many drinks and how much lime-infused guacamole to have.
Here's our list of the 16 Best Taco Restaurants & Trucks in Connecticut. Feel free to add your favorites to the list below.
Bodega (1700 Post Rd, Fairfield also 980 Post Rd, Darien) More than 80 tequilas at the bar, ingredients such as short ribs, homemade chorizo, yucca and serrano crema insure this isn’t your basic Mexican grub. Keep an eye out for their Taco Truck, too, which makes the rounds in FC (check the “Truck Finder” at http://bodegatacobar.com/tacotruck to stalk it).
Bartaco (20 Wilton Rd, Westport and 222 Summer St., Stamford) Offering tacos, “not tacos” and a wealth of sides such as a black bean ceviche and grilled corn with lime, cayenne and Cotija cheese. Check out the tequila-flights, numerous creative cocktails and their party packs. Psst...they have Mexican Coca-Cola. http://www.bartaco.com
Tacos Mexico (82 Fort Point St., Norwalk) Enchiladas, grilled specialities, lots of shrimp dishes, chipotle chicken tacos and the hot sauce is HOT-consider yourself warned, so you made need an Orange-Ginger Mojito (muy bueno). Plain from the outside, but pleasant inside, and very reasonably priced. Parking can be tricky. http://tacosmexicollc.com
Tequila Mockingbird (6 Forest St. New Canaan) It has been around for ages, and there is a reason. Good Mexican food (if a bit pricey), completely kid-friendly without feeling like you are there more for the kids than the adults, and lots and lots of tequilas. Everyone will like the over-the-top decor. Try the Hearts of Palm salad which has a refreshing tart lime dressing. Tarty-good. http://tequilamockingbirdnc.com
Oaxaca Kitchen (228 College St.,New Haven) A taste of Mexico brought to you by the owner/chef of much enjoyed Thali Indian restaurants. Lush surroundings (a la Thali) with patio seating in the summer and new twists on Mexican standards. They get inventive and infuse their Mexican with a touch of Indian. http://www.oaxacakitchen.com
Monte Alban (531 Farmington, Ave., Hartford) Relaxed, modest restaurant complete with outdoor dining in the West End of Hartford. Breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. Side corn cakes, mole, pozole, tamales, chiles rellenos...you name it. Try the Chilaquiles Rajos o Verdes...hard to find these authentic (there’s that word) slices of tortilla dipped in red or green sauce around here...
Casa Villa (866 East Main St., Stamford) Take the kids because, even though it’s not a “kid’s restaurant,” as they offer all of the Mexican standards that everyone will understand and enjoy. Note: They have two locations in the same town. East Main is the restaurant/full bar and West Main is mostly take-out/self-serve. http://www.casavillarestaurant.com
Look past the plain appearances...
Los Molcajetes (211 Liberty Square, Norwalk) A variety of salsas accompany homemade (authentic-there it is again!) chips. Huge menu, extremely inexpensive, some items served in Molcajetes, the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. Points for not serving on a boring ol’ plate. http://losmolcajetesmx.com
Rincon Taqueria (493 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk) From the owners of Bistro du Soleil in SoNo comes a menu that includes Huevas Rancheros, Burritos, Chilaquiles, Tacos, Empanadas, Tamales and a Chicken Quesadilla. All of their dishes pack great flavors. Mix and match the tacos, from Baja fish to pork, empanadas, generous portions. Fresh ingredients and complimentary yellow rice and beans. Pretty small deli-like space and BYOB.
Mexicali Rose (71 S. Main St., Newtown and 68 Stony Hill Rd., Bethel) If you are looking for homemade, down-home mexican food, this is your place. The chips alone are worth the trip and try one of their house specialities, like the Enchiladas Espinaca...tortillas with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms with a cream sauce. Visit their facebook page here.
Tortilleria La Michoacana (656 Grand Ave., New Haven) Handmade, fresh tortillas made every day! Folks go just to buy those and stock up-they are sold by the bag. Be sure to also go for the tacos and carnitas (roast beef) which elicit rave reviews.
El Sarape (931 Broad St., Hartford) Generous portions (huge burritos), good fresh guacamole, and mole are some of the stars at this family run business in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford. Tacos with grilled spiced pork, beef tongue or...steamed beef lips. I kid you not. They even do Margaritas to-go. How’s that for summer fun?
Los Portales (49 Fort Point St., Norwalk) A teeny place at the back of a Mexican grocery (bodega). Some counter seats, paper plates, no alcohol, but lots of good eats such as their giant burritos and (small-ish) salsa bar. Total hole-in-the-wall-hey-look-what-I-stumbled-on place. Note: Parking can be tricky. http://www.losportalesretaurant.com/index.htm
Follow that Truck...
Agave Canteen (Hartford) A pretty swanky, state-of-the-art truck churning out blue corn tacos, quesadillas with “Mexican Buttery Cheddar” (such lovely words), Sante Fe salad, empanadas, churro-tots with caramel sauce...yummm. Go to www.agavecanteen.com to follow the truck.
Tacos El Azteca (94 Main St., Norwalk) Visit this truck on the corner of Main treet and Route 1 for tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas and even ceviche. Lots to enjoy, small sizes so you can try a few. Seal the deal with a bottle of Jarrito to round out the flavor experience. Inexpensive, quick and delish. Visit their facebook page here.
El Charrito (201 Richmond Hill, Stamford) Spicy, creamy, grilled...all so good and so inexpensive. Enjoy tacos, burritos, fajitas, tortas, sincronizadas, enchiladas, empanadas, quesadillas, alambres, taco salads, nachos, soups, and huaraches on its huge menu. Even hardcore items like-cow tongue, pig ear, cow head. Want a sit-down version...go to their restaurant at 7 Apache Place in Riverside. http://www.elcharritollc.com/
And of course, there are the Long Wharf Mexican trucks in New Haven. If you don’t mind a view of water and tankers and cars on 95 whizzing by behind you, you are golden. And since you took the exit, you might as well mosey to the Flag Man (does anyone really stop to buy a flag? Why not? Get crazy.) and hit IKEA afterwards. Nexcalli, Ixtapa and La Patrona all offer their versions of tacos, chalupas, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos-quick and good. They are small, so load up your plate with a few, and they are inexpensive, as any good food truck should be. It sure beats the heck out of stopping at a rest-stop (shiver) for food. And one can only eat so many cinnamon buns from IKEA.