10 Great Places for Mexican Food in Manila

From street-side joints to tequila bars!

(SPOT.ph) Admit it: Your mind conjures images of tacos and margaritas at the mere mention of Mexican food. This tasty south-of-the-(U.S.)-border cuisine features a mix of Native American and Spanish influences, and it highlights the use of their local ingredients like corn, beans, herbs, and of course, the ubiquitous chili peppers. In the Metro, you can take your pick from not just the traditional Mexican, but other fusion cuisines as well. Anybody up for some Korean-Mex or Fil-Mex? Savor the flavors of this hot cuisine at these delicious dining destinations around the city.

Also read:
10 Places for Great Taiwanese Food in Manila
10 Great Restaurants for Indian Food in Manila
10 Great Spanish Restaurants in Manila
10 Great Vietnamese Restaurants in Manila
10 Places for Great Thai Food in Manila
10 Great Places for Mediterranean Food in Manila

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Lo de Alberto

It’s a bold move for a restaurant to claim to be “The only authentic taqueria in the Philippines,” but it just goes to show that Lo de Alberto is that confident in their food—not that we have any problems with that! It’s also probably the next best thing to flying to Mexico; no need to go far just to feast on enchiladas and quesadillas. Zoom in on Lo de Alberto’s signature dishes such as the Agua Chile (P80), a chili-spiked ceviche; the Albondigas (P270), or a meatball burrito drenched in their savory special sauce; and Ensenada (P185), or Baja-style crispy tilapia tacos. Wash these down with their freshly made agua frescas: Sandia (watermelon), Tamarindo (tamarind), or Horchata (cinnamon-infused rice-water drink).

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Lo de Alberto has branches at City Golf Plaza, Dona Julia Vargas Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City and Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa Street corner Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Spot.ph Archives

El Chupacabra

We haven't been able to get enough of El Chupacabra’s street tacos ever since they opened in 2013. Go for the bestsellers like the Carne Asada (P115) taco with grilled steak, or the San Francisco-Style Pork Sisig (P140). All of their street tacos are served on freshly made soft tortilla that’s made from corn masa. The place can get pretty packed, so avoid the dinner rush. It’s best to go for after-dinner drinks so you can pair your American-Mexican tacos, anticuchos, or Latin burgers and hot dogs with some local beer or the restaurant’s signature libations.

El Chupacabra is at 5782 JVR Building, Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

PHOTO BY La Chinesca Facebook page

La Chinesca

La Chinesca’s reputation precedes it, probably because this little neighborhood spot in BF Homes is another one of Chef Bruce Ricketts' no-fail concepts like Sensei Sushi, Ooma, and Mecha Uma. If you’ve been here, you’d know that the cramped space is worth squeezing into just to get a taste of their crazy taco creations. Make sure to grab the Wagyu (P175), which has beef cheeks in their homemade birria sauce, and Tuna Tostada (P180), topped with chunks of raw tuna and a zesty lime-mayo dressing. What’s particularly great about dining at La Chinesca is you can add sauces like salsa roja, salsa verde, or the extra-hot habanero, according to your preference. Pair these with any of the bebidas—the Paloma (P190) mixes grapefruit, lime, tequila, and soda water into one refreshing concoction. And if you’re too lazy to drive down south, La Chinesca just opened a new outpost at Rockwell’s The Grid food hall.

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La Chinesca has branches at 248 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City; and The Grid, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.

PHOTO BY A'Toda Madre Facebook page

A’Toda Madre

You absolutely can’t leave A’Toda Madre without having any of their tequilas—it’s a tequila bar after all, and the most extensive in the country at that. They’ve got a vast array of 100%-agave tequila so make sure you squeeze in a shot or two, or maybe even a glass of margarita when you go there for late-night drinks. Don’t skip the bar chow, like the Elotes Callejeros (P120), or grilled buttered corn with Chipotle mayo, feta cheese, and secret Mexican spices. The Taco Platter (P400/any combination; P450/with steak or lengua) has three protein options you can choose from along with homemade corn tortillas, which are good for sharing.

A’Toda Madre is at G/F Sunette Tower, Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.

PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

Drive-By Taco Shop

This hole-in-the-wall in BF Homes is still holding their ground despite being surrounded by bigger and more popular restos on the eat street that is Aguirre Avenue. Grab a bite while your car is at the next-door carwash and sample Drive-By Taco Shop’s homemade corn tortillas in either the soft taco or fried tostada version. One of the unique and best-selling dishes here is the Marv’s Goat (P140), a rich goat-meat stew cooked with tomatoes, apples, and cardamom. The Chicharones (P125) would please pork fans as well, especially since the pork belly is boiled, air-dried, and then fried to a crisp. Aside from tacos, other delicious offerings include burritos, quesadillas, nacho plates, and Mexican -silog meals.

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Drive-By Taco Shop has branches at 167 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City; and 2/F Jee Complex, Gloria Diaz Street, Talon, Las Piñas City.

PHOTO BY Hans Fausto

Vatos Urban Tacos

Come here if you’re an adventurous diner because Vatos Urban Tacos is all about Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine. Fairly new in the local restaurant scene, this international brand has been making waves with their original creations such as the Kimchi Carnitas Fries (P390), or seasoned French fries topped with braised pork carnitas and sautéed kimchi with melted cheese and sour cream. The Korean Pork Belly Taco (P320/two pieces), on the other hand, has pork marinated with their signature Korean soy paste and ssamjang aioli. Both dishes are a good match for any of the Vatos’ Ritas, a potent combo of flavored margarita and an upside-down bottle of alcohol. Kick off your night with the Sexy Sanchez (P480), a cool blend of strawberry margarita and Magners Berry Cider.

Vatos Urban Tacos is at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Taqueria Seta

Right in the heart of Poblacion is a vibrant, mural-covered two-storey restaurant designed as a house. Taqueria Seta is going to be your next favorite hangout, not just because of their chill atmosphere, but also for their worthwhile food. It's a good place for dinner and drinks—get your Mexican fix with the Dynamite Sticks (P250) or crunchy wrapped peppers; Lechon Taco (P130), which has pork belly, roasted pineapple, and avocado; and Queso Fundido (P350), a melted-cheese dip with jalapeño and tortilla. Pro tip: Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in case you want to take advantage of their crazy deals on drinks.

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Taqueria Seta is at 4988 P. Guanzon Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

Su Casa

Anyone would feel welcome and at home at this Mexican-inspired restaurant located south of the Metro. The restaurant’s red brick walls and wooden furnishings create a comfortable space for you to try their specialties such as the Barbacoa Burrito (P200), where perfectly seasoned beef is accompanied by house-made pico de gallo. Though the restaurant is Mexican at heart, they’ve got other dishes like Buffalo wings, ribs, and burgers—there’s something for everyone here!

Su Casa is at Aguirre Compound, Multinational Avenue, Multinational Village, Moonwalk, Parañaque City.

PHOTO BY Chris Clemente

Buen Comer

If you’ve heard of the famed Kare-Kare Burrito (P178) in Quezon City, chances are, it’s from Buen Comer, a no-frills Fil-Mex eatery in Teachers Village. People flock here just to treat their taste buds to this dish with a uniquely Pinoy twist. Picture veggies and crunchy chunks of lechon kawali mixed with peanut sauce-flavored rice enveloped in a massive tortilla wrap, offering a convenient way to eat your favorite Filipino dish. Other one-of-a-kind eats here are the Taco Spring Roll (P138) and the Longganisa Soft Taco with Mango Salsa (P138), which have become popular both on social media and with hardcore foodies. Take note that they’re only open from Wednesdays to Saturdays, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., so try to curb your cravings until then.

Buen Comer is at Mapagkawanggawa corner Mahabagin Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City.

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PHOTO BY Ian Santos

Vengo

We’re sure no one would judge you if you have a cup of joe along with your tacos. Anything is possible at this neighborhood café-slash-Mexican-inspired restaurant. While at Vengo, you can experiment and pair your meals with any of their signature drinks. The light and earthy Shiitake Mushroom Tostada (P165) is a great combo with their creamy Horchata Café (P190), a beverage that combines the traditional Central American drink with espresso and cinnamon. They’ve got the usual suspects—nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and even Mexican rice plates. They also have different food and drink promos (Taco Tuesdays, anyone?) so better be in the know before you go!

Vengo is at Jose Cojuangco & Sons Building, 119 Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

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