Best Bets: Mexican Restaurants

    Maya's Tostada De Camaron O Ceviche, chopped fish or shrimp cooked in lime juice with chopped onions, tomatoes, jalepeno pepper, cilantro and avocado.

Photo by Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal, Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal

Maya's Tostada De Camaron O Ceviche, chopped fish or shrimp cooked in lime juice with chopped onions, tomatoes, jalepeno pepper, cilantro and avocado.

A reader seeking homemade tortillas wrote me not long ago and started the e-mail with something like, "Since you are the authority on Mexican food..." Well, if eating at every taqueria I see makes me an authority, then go me! But here's the deal: You might find the best salsa at one place, the best taco at another. I went to the real expert, Whining & Dining bloggers, to find out the best overall Mexican restaurants.

    Maya's Tostada De Camaron O Ceviche, chopped fish or shrimp cooked in lime juice with chopped onions, tomatoes, jalepeno pepper, cilantro and avocado.

Photo by Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal

Maya's Tostada De Camaron O Ceviche, chopped fish or shrimp cooked in lime juice with chopped onions, tomatoes, jalepeno pepper, cilantro and avocado.

No surprise here: Everyone loves Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana (1215 S. Germantown Rd.; 751-1200). Marlene says: "For the real thing, Los Tortugas Deli Mexicana in Germantown. Hands down, the best. No Tex-Mex here." Todd even suggests a dish: "At Las Tortugas, try the corn on the cob with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and hot pepper flakes. Sounds gross, but it's fabulous."

Another no-brainer is La Guadalupana (multiple locations, but it seems the original at 4818 Summer is the one folks go to; 685-6857). "La Guadalupana is definitely my favorite. Every dish is yummy. My wife loves La Playita," writes Mark. (Note from me: You have to check out the michelada and the ceviche at La Playita, 6194 Macon; 377-0181).

Maya's scores big, too, (4308 Macon Rd; 763-3893) serving hands-down the best salsa in town. Ever have trouble finding the phone number? It's because the official name is Fuego Maya's, although no one, including the proprietors, use the full name. Now you know. Fredric Koeppel thinks it comes in second, though: "Las Delicias... the best! And then Maya." Somehow I've missed Las Delicias (3727 S. Mendenhall Rd; 542-0170), but I'll remedy that soon -- which brings us full circle. I'm sorry to the person who wrote wanting to know about tortillas, because I deleted your e-mail. I hope you're reading, though: You can buy freshly made corn tortillas and tortilla chips at Las Delicias. The store is just by the restaurant.

!Feliz Navidad!

--Jennifer Biggs: 529-5223

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Comments » 3

memphiscc#231229 writes:

Having lived in San Diego for 23 years you grow to love good Mexican food. Moving back home to Memphis in 1994 was a desperate time to find anything authentic. Fortunately there are numerous places today. Our recent favorite is Taqueria Garibaldi at Knight Arnold and Hickory Hill. Their tacos al pastor are like the street vendors of Tijuana. Their gorditas are thick masa pockets filled with your choice of meats. Don't expect the regular salsa with your chips. My youngest son enjoys their tortas (also like Mexico City made tortas). He also likes the tacos de lengua - "tongue tacos". El Gallo Giro on Lamar at Getwell seems to be a FedEx favorite at lunch time. They make me a special burrito similar to Alberto's in San Diego. Order the Carne Asada burrito this way, (solimente "only" - carne, pico de gallo, quacomole)-say Pastor Phil sent you. Their chips and salsa are good and their red and green salsas are spiced properly and not overpowering. You mention La Playita on Macon Road near Bass Pro Shop. They by far, have the best seafood offerings. Their varieties of Red Snapper are awesome. We will order the diablo as it features the whole fish deep fried, covered in red diablo sauce and served standing on it's side. It looks like it's swimming. The marichino cherry eyeballs are a nice touch. The best homemade tortillas are at El Taquito on Raliegh-Lagrange at Sycamore View. They are thick and by far the best in Memphis. Everything else is fair. I often give our members at Calvary Chapel Memphis a Mexican food update. Enjoy Memphis!

rdl writes:

Deli Mexicana is sooooooooooo enjoyable

ronansmithee writes:

Thanks for this article, I haven't had Maya's or Las Delicias yet but I'll get there soon enough.

It boggles my mind when places like El Porton get "Best Mexican" in local polls.

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