https://prescottmediacenter.org/ – London’s ever-growing Mexican food scene offers far more than platefuls of tortilla chips heaped with salsa, guacamole and jalapeños and smothered in gooey cheese. You’ll get incredible nachos if you want them, but there’s also quality quesadillas, tip-top tostadas and exemplary enchiladas on offer across town. You’ll find all these and more at London’s very best Mexican restaurants.
A seasonal Mexican restaurant and the first permanent venture from ‘Nomadic chef’ Santiago Lastra, Kol was the highest placed UK joint in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2023 list. Not bad going. Inside this modern Marylebone restaurant you’ll find super seasonal British produce and ‘wild food’. You will, of course, have to book pretty far in advance to secure a hallowed table.
Photo: Breddos Tacos
2. Breddos Tacos
Breddos keep things casual to suit what is ultimately still street food. A custom-made wood grill adds rustic charm. Tacos remain its strong suit, but try the seafood tostadas too, which team the crunch of tortilla shells with punchy cross-continental flavours.
Growing up between Mexico City and a small village in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, chef Adriana Cavita is at the helm, bringing with her an impressive resumé that includes stints at Mexico City’s much-lauded Pujol, often called the best restaurant in the city, and Spain’s mythical El Bulli by superstar chef Ferran Adrià. At Cavita, the vibe is decidedly more laidback. There’s more focus on winning over a local crowd with a damn good time than winning over critics and scoring Michelin stars, but the dishes are anything but simple.
4. El Pastor
If you need cheering up, head down to this Mexican hideaway beneath the arches by Borough Market. Owned by the Hart brothers (of Barrafina fame), Pastor is a taco joint with pedigree and a rollicking fiesta vibe. Order the mighty Pastor pork taco, the DIY short rib or the gringa quesadillas with fresh salsas and a blast of loud Latin music.
5. Casa Pastor
If tacos are your thing, look no further than Casa P, the newest addition to the El Pastor family. Punters can expect fresh tortillas made in house daily, plated up alongside a bevy of aguachiles and tostadas. You’ll find a selection of fillings to pile into your shells, from chipotle chicken (our fave) to baja fish (battered goujons, slaw and salsa) and veggie options.
6. Club Mexicana, Spitalfields
Fun, lively and totally vegan, this branch of Club Mexicana is the biggest yet. Enjoy chef and founder Meriel Armitage’s unique plant-based take on tacos, nachos and burritos – as well as a giant mirror ball and iconic frozen margs. Read our review of the Kingly Court location here.
Zapote serves punchy meat and elegant seafood dishes from the mind of chef Yahir Gonzalez. It’s something he does extremely well, serving up duck quesadillas with a gooey smoked chipotle jelly, scallop ceviche, beef tartare taco with roasted bone marrow and charred octopus. The ‘save room for dessert’ trope is total a cliche, but at Zapote you would be a fool not to, especially if the pistachio doughnut with morello cherry jam is on.
8. Daddy Donkey
Billed as a ‘kick-ass Mexican grill’, one-time street stall Daddy Donkey has morphed into a permanent behemoth among Leather Lane’s cheap handbags, shoes and CDs. Try a naked burrito (sans tortilla) or the signature Daddy D with a choice of five fillings.
Del74’s Dalston outpost prides itself on its no-fuss Mexican fare that ‘keeps it simple, keeps it real’. It sports kitschy ’70s-inspired decor and the menu’s modest but appealing. Go for the tangy guacamole, which comes with a hearty helping of homemade tortilla chips, or try the cochinita pibil, a braised leg of pork topped with fresh avo and red pickled onions that’s a fiesta in your mouth.
10. DF Tacos
DF stands for Mexico City’s Distrito Federal, but this affordable, mass-market pleaser couldn’t be more London – and fashion-conscious with it. All the trademarks are here: strikingly modern design, cheery staff and Mexican fast food with a hipster spin. Open tacos hit the spot, as do the pork pibil tortas – a trendy Mex riff on the burger.
11. Santo Remedio
Simply brilliant. Low-lit, inviting and spread over two floors, it seduces punters with easy-listening Latin grooves, flickering tea lights, and some inspired food – guacamole sprinkled with tiny grasshoppers, hibiscus flower quesadillas and enchiladas and 12-hour slow-cooked smoky beef tacos. There are punishing shots of mezcal too.
Taqueria has a charming indie feel with its bare wood floors, film posters, Latin soundtrack and unfussy food. Quesadillas are the big hits (try the version with home-cured chorizo), but there are also a few tostadas (including one with a classic ceviche twist) and the usual suspects on the side. Drink Mexican beer, mezcal and tequila, or stay sober with a cooling aguas frescas.