The talk over which spots to incorporate on our checklist of greatest Mexican eating places was as scorching as habaneros. Meals writers are passionate by default and doubly so when dashing to the protection of their favourite lengua tacos or most prized tamales. So we laid just a few floor guidelines to slender the choices: no Tex-Mex or hybrids of any kind (that doesn’t imply we don’t love you, Superica and Taqueria del Sol), no tacos-only joints, and no letting Buford Freeway hog all the highlight (although it might).
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Nonetheless, the checklist was robust to compile, and as a lot as we would enjoyment of letting the talk rage for, oh, the remainder of the yr, we figured you’re getting hungry.
P.S. Although it’s a hike, we propose you begin with our No. 1 choose. It was the simplest consensus we reached; our lower-ranked choices, as you may guess, had been hardly unanimous.
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10. Mi BarrioEarlier than you begin complaining concerning the bland guacamole or uninspired enchiladas, permit us to make the case for Mi Barrio. The meals isn’t distinctive, however the dive-bar vibe and chill AF (however nonetheless pleasant!) service is type of superb—particularly on fast-gentrifying Memorial Drive. Getting into this roadside shack is like stepping again in time to when this a part of city had severe edge. (R.I.P, Lenny’s.) Plus, the chips are scorching and recent, the housemade salsa has ample kick, the margaritas are monumental, and the pork tamales are honest-to-god good, with spicy hunks of meat properly tempered by candy masa. 571 Memorial Drive, 404-223-9279
9. Nuevo Laredo CantinaOne go to to Nuevo Laredo, and you already know whether or not you’re in or out. Lengthy waits (typically as much as two hours on weekends), pre-mixed margaritas, enormous plates of meals, and a raucous ambiance in a campy setting won’t attraction to purists. However its legions of followers will defend it to the demise. Attempt the signature brisket barbacoa, the divine Holy Tacos (full of mashed potatoes, white cheese, onion, and cabbage), and the sloppy and oh-so-fun lobster tacos. 1495 Chattahoochee Avenue, 404-352-9009.
8. Rreal TacosFormer fine-dining chef Adrian Villarreal jumped into the crowded casual-fare enviornment with this recent taqueria that pays homage to his Mexican roots. The tacos hit all the suitable notes, with impeccable substances (grilled fish, carnitas, beef barbacoa, al pastor seasoned with pineapple-smoked chiles) stuffed into three totally different sorts of tortillas. You can also’t go flawed with considerate sides like vegan guajillo bean soup and kale salad with chayote, or with the every day specials and housemade agua frescas. 100 Sixth Avenue, 404-458-5887
7. Taqueria CuernavacaThe intoxicating scent of carnitas is the very first thing that hits you as you stroll by the door of this tiny grocery store with its hidden, makeshift taqueria within the again. Along with a big selection of tacos (breakfast ones, too), you’ll discover tostadas heaped with a ceviche of candy, plump shrimp; a bowl of rooster soup with skinny however aromatic broth and a hunk of corn on the cob; and tender rooster tamales that just about all the time promote out. 5000-C Roswell Street, Sandy Springs, 404-236-0022
6. Tacos Linda VistaYou possibly can order (scrumptious) tacos at Tacos Linda Vista, in fact, however you don’t should. Not within the temper for handmade tortillas filled with tender shredded cabeza or tender lengua? Effectively, there are platters of mole poblano over rooster and pink enchiladas, a wide range of soups corresponding to caldo de res, Americanized dishes together with glorious nachos and large breakfast burritos, and, for the vegetarians, flautas full of beans as a substitute of meat. This Roswell spot is the type of place you’ll be able to take anybody. 10495 Alpharetta Freeway, Roswell, 678-352-0990
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5. Mariscos El VenenoLike a Mexican Crimson Lobster, solely spicier and quirkier, this humble seafood restaurant has a cult following. You’ll usually discover giant teams converging to devour large platters of fried snapper; bowls of soups brimming with shrimp, crab, and mussels; and fats goblets heaped with seafood and avocado cocteles. Mariachi present up at common intervals; the tumblers of micheladas contribute to the jollity; and other people from numerous backgrounds blow a ton of money on oysters on the half shell, fried shrimp, and stuffed crab claws. Watch out for the home habanero salsa (the “venom” within the restaurant’s identify) served with the complimentary marlin tostadas initially of the meal—and don’t depart earlier than shopping for some sweets from the ambulant churros man. 5082 Buford Freeway, Doraville, 770-986-9568
4. El Rey del TacoWhether or not you’re right here for a fast lunch or a late-night taco run, it is best to stick round for a bit and benefit from the festive vibe at this Buford Freeway mainstay, which is all the time adorned for no matter vacation of the season. El Rey del Taco, which implies “the king of tacos,” lives as much as its identify with an exhaustive checklist of choices, together with chivo (goat), cabeza (beef cheek), and carnitas (slow-cooked pork). However there are tons of different choices as effectively, from sizzled meats a la plancha to greater than three dozen seafood dishes. Professional-tip: Ask for the handmade tortillas (“tortillas hecho a mano”); they price a little bit additional, however they’re price it. 5288 Buford Freeway, Doraville, 770-986-0032
3. Tacos la VillaThis may be the third greatest Mexican restaurant within the metro space, however it’s undeniably the house of the easiest tacos. Tucked away subsequent to a Japanese restaurant in a nondescript strip mall in Smyrna, this taqueria is all the time full of people that’ve been tipped off to these inimitable tacos, from spicy lamb to crumbled chorizo. The richness of every filling makes for a stunning counter to an acidic salsa or pickled carrots from the salsa bar. Flautas, tamales, nachos for the youngsters, and platters together with every day specials spherical out the menu. However come on; you’re right here for the tacos. 2415 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, 770-951-0415
2. Taqueria San PanchoThe specialty at this Tucker taqueria is price a cross-town drive throughout rush hour: tacos al vapor, a hard-to-find model of steamed taco. The steam seals the sides of the tortilla, leading to a creation that appears a bit like a taco calzone. San Pancho’s fillings embody every thing from cow’s brains to beef cheek, however if you happen to aren’t feeling adventurous, they serve many different dishes together with a home made, fried-hard shell taco, tortas, burritos, and Mexican breakfast. 4880 Lawrenceville Freeway, Tucker, 770-493-9845
1. Taqueria La OaxaquenaYou possibly can struggle us on this if you happen to insist, however you received’t change our minds that that is the very best regional Mexican restaurant within the metro space—which makes it the very best, interval. Oaxaca is taken into account the culinary capital of Mexico, and the Oaxacan specialty that chowhounds have raved about for years at this Jonesboro hotspot is the tlayuda: a big grilled tortilla coated pizzalike with refritos, string cheese, avocado, lettuce, and your alternative of meat (pork sluiced in chile is tops). You’ll additionally uncover among the most interesting tacos on the town; handmade corn tortillas are folded round delicacies corresponding to stewed beef cheeks, tripe, and pork al pastor. Rooster tamales, flavored both with mole or salsa verde, have a surprisingly delicate texture. Huaraches, the sandal-shaped boats of masa dough, are elegant loaded with wealthy goat meat. Our favourite latest discovery: a burrito filled with carnitas that blasts the palate in all the suitable methods. It doesn’t matter what you order (and it is best to order all of it), you’ll be able to’t go flawed. 605 Mount Zion Street, Jonesboro, 770-960-3010
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