London and Mexican food may not seem synonymous. The British city does lots of things well, including culinary options from all over the world, but it has always struggled with good, authentic Mexican restaurants. Still, London has some that will take you south of the border, especially if you're partial to tacos. Here are London's best Mexican eateries.
DF Tacos has two locations in London, one on Tottenham Court Road and one near Brick Lane. The casual cantina, where you order at the counter before finding a seat, serves up delicious tacos, from crispy fish tacos to gooey steak and cheese tacos. It's an excellent place for groups or families, and they also have a variety of other dishes, from tortas to burritos to fries covered in cheese. Don't skip the hibiscus agua fresca, which includes bottomless refills.
Located in the Treehouse Hotel near Oxford Circus, the best part about Madera is its views. The food is based on organic, California-style Mexican, and it's a splurge (although the queso is especially worth it). The restaurant also serves up breakfast and brunch, with great options like breakfast enchiladas. Don't skip dessert, especially if the tarta de queso is on the menu. When making a reservation, ask for a table by the window.
El Pastor's Borough Market outpost is London's original taco spot. It has since expanded to Casa Pastor in King's Cross and Tortilleria EP in Bermondsey, and all three locations offer delicious tacos that hit the mark on spiciness. They also feature dishes like tostadas and quesadillas, and tequila and mezcal selections are on point. El Pastor doesn't take reservations, so it's recommended to show up early or head in for lunch on a weekday.
Located near London Bridge station, Santo Remedio is a modern take on Mexican fare. It launched in 2013 as a pop-up and has since established itself as one of London's best Mexican eateries. The chefs aren't afraid of authentic ingredients like grasshopper and serrano peppers, and the inspiration comes from areas like Mexico City, the Yucatan, and Oaxaca. The restaurant also features a tequila and mezcal bar upstairs. Reservations are available in advance, but Santo Remedio also holds tables for walk-in customers.
Located on a hip street in Notting Hill, Taqueria is a casual spot that offers tacos and Mexican street food. The taco selection is extensive, from soft shell crab tacos to jalapeño tacos, and there are plenty of choices for vegetarians. The menu includes a variety of margaritas, but you want to go for one of the refreshing agua frescas to accompany your meal. Book online in advance if you plan to dine during a busy time or on the weekend.
Benito's Hat is all about burritos. The causal restaurant focuses on fresh ingredients and fast service, and customers can garnish with 10 types of salsa from the salsa bar. The menu also features tacos, power bowls, salads and nachos, and there are delicious sides available like guacamole and black beans. The menu changes in the evening, making it a good option for groups or families who want to keep things simple any time of day. Go for brunch to enjoy bottomless tacos and margs.
Breddos Tacos, located in Clerkenwell, is a taqueria that serves up tacos and Mexican-inspired plates in a super hip setting. The restaurant also has pop-up taco stalls around town at various markets, but this is their permanent spot. Pick from tacos, burritos and rice bowls, or opt for one of the indulgent mains, like the pig's head chicharron, which features half a pig's head. There's also a healthy selection of tequila, as well as cocktails that take their cues from south of the border.
La Bodega Negra
If you prefer your fajitas to be dished up in what appears to be a sex shop, head to La Bodega Negra, a two-part restaurant in Soho. The upstairs is a more traditional cafe and restaurant, while the downstairs is lively and club-like. Enter through a door that looks like it leads into one of the neighborhood's many sex shops to find yourself in the restaurant. The menu is robust, with everything from tacos to lamb barbacoa to vegetable flautas, and the bar offers some of the city's best margaritas. Be sure to make a reservation, especially if you're planning to dine in the downstairs bit of the eatery.
Daddy Donkey started as a burrito mobile in London and grew into an actual shop in 2013, setting up near Farringdon. The menu focuses on burritos, with numerous options for fillings and styles (it's sort of like Chipotle, but way better). Add chips and guacamole to the side, or grab a cold Pacifico to wash it down. The restaurant is relatively small, and there can be long lines at lunch during the week, so plan your visit accordingly. Note that the shop is closed on weekends and bank holidays.
Grab a table at Corazón for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch with a Mexican flair. Tacos are on hand, but the menu also boasts inclusions like oxtail barbacoa and seabass Nayarit. Brunch takes on favorites like chilaquiles verde and huevos rancheros, and also offers a special brunch margarita flight with four different tasters. The bar menu is also extensive and includes good non-alcoholic options for those who don't drink margaritas. There's a second, more casual location called Tacos Corazón in the Shepherd's Bush Westfield mall.
A more upscale rendition of Mexican food can be found at Ella Canta, a Mayfair spot from chef Martha Ortiz. The menu offered is a set pre-theater option or a la carte for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and the dishes are more ornate than your average restaurant. Look for the red tuna appetizer and the grilled lamb ribs main course, both of which make this worth the splurge. The dishes are colorful and beautifully plated, and Ella Canta is an ideal choice for anyone celebrating a special occasion. Be sure to make a reservation.
Inside Borough Market, you'll discover Tacos Padre, a taco stand that has a roadside vibe. It's open daily, except on Sundays, when the market is shut, and you'll have to act quickly to grab one of the stools along the counter. Chef Nicholas Fitzgeralds was inspired by his time at Mexico City eatery Pujol, and the tacos are based on street food favorites. Look for the carne asada and churros con choco, which are perfect for dessert after you fill up on the other dishes.
La Chingada Mexican Food
It might not occur to you to venture out to Surrey Quays, but anyone looking for great Mexican fare should head to La Chingada Mexican Food. The dishes are simple but delicious, and the menu's highlights include tacos al pastor, crispy chicharrones con salsa, and molletes. Opt for one of the meal deals, which come for one person, a couple or a family, and feel free to over order as this spot is budget-friendly.
Cafe Pacifico, found in the heart of Covent Garden, is one of London's most lively Mexican restaurants. It's known for its tequila and mezcal list, and the bar is often packed with people. The food options are vast and include choices for those who are vegan and gluten-free. It's also got all the requisite dishes, from enchiladas to tacos to fajitas. You'll want a booking for this one, especially when heading in for dinner.