Ixchel

Features

Jason Allen 07/05/24


The Best Mexican Restaurants in London

40 years ago, there were no Mexican restaurants in London.

Crazy, we know.

We live in a different city now, though. For starters: London has Mexican restaurants and even better… they’re actually good, because not only can you get some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, but the fact is that many of these restaurants would compete inside of Mexico, too. And for anyone that might disagree, we’ve suffered through the hard labour (you know, like eating a whole grilled octopus with bone marrow from the old head chef at Noma Mexico and spending an afternoon in Borough Market loading up on 24-hour marinated al pastor tacos) to prove that this is indeed, a fact. 

For convenience (and the purposes of potentially mapping out a taco tour), this list has been divided into different parts of town – so if you live in Clerkenwell you can sleep easy knowing that although Kol is a journey (worth taking), somewhere like Breddos Tacos is just down the road. In addition, whatever intentions you may have planned for your visit – schooling yourself on the many kinds of agave, scouting out fun places for birthday drinks – you can put money on any of these Mexican restaurants catering to it, as they’re all extremely versatile venues…


JUMP TO: EAST | SOUTH | WEST | NORTH



THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN CENTRAL LONDON

Mexa | Tottenham Court Road

mexa tacos london

The first Central London outpost from the team behind the legendary Sonora Taquería is without a doubt a destination spot for tacos in London. You’ll find them serving in Arcade, the casually upmarket food hall that houses equally big hitters like Plaza Khao Gaeng and Sushi Kamon. Mexa’s house-made tortillas combine flour with a little lard, giving their bases a moreish, slightly chewy texture. Try the beef suadero, a classic Mexico City taco made with confit beef brisket and salsa rojo.

Details: 103-105 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DB | No bookings

El Pastor | London Bridge, Soho, King’s Cross, Battersea

El Pastor needs little introduction these days. But if you need a brief reminder as to why this growing family comprises at least four of the best Mexican restaurants in London… El Pastor has everything from smaller bites (tacos and tostadas, made freshly in-house) to larger sharing platters (like grass-fed Angus short rib braised for 12 hours in a chipotle-muscovado-coriander seed rub), all topped with fresh, house-made salsas and washed down by nine different margaritas, as well as 15 different mezcals and 21 tequilas. And if that puts you in the mood for dancing – or at least sitting down in a very dark place – you should head downstairs at El Pastor Soho to Mezcaleria Colmillo, a nod to the owners’ legendary Mexico City nightclub of ten years.

Details: Book here

Club Mexicana | Kingly Court, Brixton Market, Shoreditch

Club Mexicana Shoreditch

Nic Crilly-Hargrave

Club Mexicana stands out from London’s other Mexican restaurants by putting a meat-free spin on classic dishes. Their vegan takes on tacos and burritos replace baja fish with battered tofu, and pulled pork with fleshy barbecued jackfruit, to create some of the most filling of fillings. And on Tuesday evenings, you can test the limits of your belly with all-you-can-eat tacos for £20 a pop.

Details: Kingly Court, W1B 5PW | Book here

La Bodega Negra | Soho

la bodega negra mexican restaurant

La Bodega Negra: everyone’s favourite Mexican restaurant hidden behind a seedy looking sex shop. Find your way past the silicone toys and into the restaurant itself, and you’ll be presented with a candlelit cavern with a killer tequila list and some seriously strong date-night game. The food stretches from crispy squid tostadas, to soft shell crab and chipotle tacos, scallop & hibiscus ceviche, to slow-roasted lamb barbecoa and crispy pork belly. And it’s lovely.

Details9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF | Book here

Temper | Soho, Covent Garden, The City, Shoreditch, Paddington

temper cheeseburger tacos

Temper started out as three restaurants, one serving Indian food, one serving pizza, and one serving Mexican food. And now it’s four restaurants serving Mexican food. Tacos appear as precursors to the hefty portions of barbecued meaty mains, and come with wildly untraditional but delicious toppings like smoked goat, burnt ends and even aged cheeseburger. Then, beef brisket carnitas, jalapeño-laced burrata and steak with chipotle sour cream to follow. temper Covent Garden even runs Taco Tuesdays every week from 5pm, with £5 tacos and £5 margaritas – tough to beat.

Details: Find out more, and book, here

 

THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN EAST LONDON

Corrochio’s | Dalston

corrochios mexican restaurant

Corrochio’s is such a hit, it’s recently expanded. By 400%. And sure, that’s not difficult given that it started out as a casual pop-up in the basement of Ruby’s. But Daniel Corrochio and his team have finally taken over a space that befits their popularity, slinging regional specialities from huaraches to enchiladas verdes in an artfully dilapidated space dotted with tapestries, antlers, and religious iconography. With the move has also come an expansive new terrace, which comes into its own on weekends for sun-drenched brunches.

Details: 70-74 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB | Book here

Homies on Donkeys | Leytonstone

homies on donkeys mexican restaurant

Tacos and hip hop: a kick-ass combination. And that’s what you’ll find at this graffiti-plastered taqueria in Leytonstone, run by a duo from Tijuana. Tacos arrive in pairs, laden with the likes of medium-rare bavette steak with jalapeño relish; charred broccoli with refried beans; and hunks of slow-cooked chicken thigh with roasted tomato salsa. And you’re going to want to order as many as you can physically handle.

Details: 686 High Rd Leytonstone, London E11 3AA Book here

Bad Manners | Hackney

bad manners mexican kiosk

Caitlin Isola

Eating burritos in a graveyard? Sounds like Bad Manners. Punters come religiously to this little kiosk in the grounds of Hackney Church for mouthwatering ox tongue tacos, chilorio burritos, and specials like the vegan pot mole (with unexpected but delicious appearances from kombu dashi broth and fresh rhubarb). They’re open for breakfast and lunch only, and while you can grab & go it’s highly recommended to pull up a chair and drink in the caff’s beautiful, unconventional setting.

Details: St John at Hackney, Lower Clapton Road, London, E5 0PD | No bookings, closed Mondays

Zapote | Shoreditch

Zapote

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. And while, yes, the sign outside this Mexican restaurant in Shoreditch is a type of fruit called a sapote rather than an acorn, it too marks the start of something mighty. Zapote comes to you from a real power team: chef Yahir Gonzalez and hospitality veteran Tony Geary, who draw on their experiences at Aqua Nueva and Sketch to deliver a polished dining experience with traditional roots, stemming from Gonzalez’s upbringing in central Mexico.

Details: 70 Leonard St, London EC2A 4QX Book here

Tigre Tacos at The Gunmakers | Clerkenwell

Tigre Tacos

Despite the name, Tigre Tacos don’t serve meat. They’re an all-fish & veggie outfit that take their inspiration from the laid back beach vibes of ’70s Southern California, then pack it all into hyper-fresh and creative tacos. Currently you can track them down at Borough bar Nine Lives and Clerkenwell pub The Gunmakers which, despite being 300 years old, manages to remain cutting-edge in its choice of kitchen residencies. Prepare for beer-battered Baja fish, butterflied prawns in citrussy aguachile, and a whole damn octopus served up with a heap of tostadas & trimmings, all in the pub’s gorgeous secret garden.

Nine Lives8 Holyrood Street, SE1 2EL

The Gunmakers: 13 Eyre Street Hill, EC1R 5ET

Del 74 | Dalston

The Best Mexican Restaurants In London: Del 74

Del 74 – which is run by two chef buddies, Enrique Vivas & Jorge Felizardo – is a lively den of Mexican goodness in the middle of Dalston. The music is loud, the decor extravagantly kitsch, and the menu is laden with tacos, which themselves are laden with house-made salsas, slow-cooked meats and hearty chunks of sweet potato.

Details: 129 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB | Book here

Breddos Tacos | Clerkenwell

Breddos, Mexican in London

For Breddos Tacos, the daily grind is carried out at their Mexican volcanic stone mill, where they produce their tortillas by hand using age-old techniques. The fillings, however, are far from traditional: expect hits of pepper-punched kung pao pork belly and shredded Brixham crab with just enough Mexican flourishes to remember what you’re eating. Luminous guacamole, queso fundido and elote (BBQ’d corn) bolster the offering, while an impressive line-up of mezcals and agave-based cocktails make up the drinks.

Details82 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DB | Book here

 

THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN SOUTH LONDON

Santo Remedio | London Bridge & Shoreditch

santo remedio london bridge

Nick Hopper

Santo Remedio translates to ‘holy remedy’, and the food at this vibrantly colourful spot will cure whatever ails you, thanks to tacos stuffed with the likes of soft shell crab, pork belly, or 8-hour braised beef. If you fancy going larger, then you can get a whole lamb shank sided by a host of sauces. And it’s all delicious with a helping of their signature guacamole, topped with grasshoppers. Plural.

Details: 152 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU | 55 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HP | Book here

Tacos Padre | London Bridge 

Tacos Padre

This grab-and-go taqueria in Borough Market expands in the summer months to become a leafy, al fresco restaurant that feels just that little bit closer to Mexico. As well as tacos, you can feast on a whole load of other small and large Mexican sharing plates – everything from grilled lamb chops with salsa boracaha and cucumber salad to 300g of Carne asada rib-eye, with burnt spring onions and beef adobo, as well as house-made tortillas and a seriously delicious selection of salsas. As for the booze, think margaritas and mezcal, there to be sipped or thrown back with fervour, depending on where the rest of the night is set to take you.

Details: Borough Market Kitchen, Winchester Walk, Jubilee Place, London Bridge, SE1 9AG | Book here

 

THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN WEST LONDON

Cavita | Marylebone

cavita mexican restaurant

Since opening in May 2022, Cavita has swiftly risen to become quite possibly the best Mexican restaurant in London. It’s the debut solo spot from Adriana Cavita, who’s spent years working in some of the world’s top kitchens, including El Bulli (three Michelin Stars), Pujol (currently 12th on the World’s 50 Best list), and Aska (two Michelin Stars). So we can count ourselves lucky that she chose London for her own restaurant (and secret cocktail den, El Bar de Cavita), which encourages feasting over sharing dishes like wood-grilled chicken and whole sea bream cooked inside banana leaves.

Details: 60 Wigmore Street, Marylebone, W1U 2RZBook here

Kol | Marylebone

The Best Mexican Restaurants In London: Kol

KOL founder Santiago Lastra decided to open his own place after running Noma Mexico (and blowing everyone’s socks off doing it). Now, you may think that this would set expectations for his debut restaurant unreasonably high, and you’d be right. But then, Santiago Lastra is unreasonably talented. Kol is beautiful. It’s welcoming. It’s got an extraordinary menu, stuffed with dishes like lobster & smoked chilli tacos, whole grilled octopus with bone marrow, and chalk stream trout tostada with berries and black garlic. You can also enjoy those as part of the Kol chef’s table experience, and there’s a separate mezcaleria for all manner of smoky cocktails…

Details: 9 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 5BT | Book here

Ixchel | Chelsea

Ixchel

Ixchel comes to us from Mexican-born head chef Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez who, apart from stints in Mexico City itself, has also manned the pans in places like the Michelin Starred Brat. And as debut restaurants go, this one’s an absolute beauty, with lime-white walls recessed with shelves of figurines, vibrantly patterned fabrics, and gorgeous alcove booths. On her menu, you’ll find mineral-rich lean tuna sashimi that’s been given a soaking in chilli-laced ponzu soy & topped with crisp Granny Smith apple slices; some tender heritage beetroot sat in a bowl of avocado & chilli foam with orange dressing; and a gigantic short rib that falls off the bone in spectacular style, and is draped in smoky adobo with pineapple salsa & tortillas to wrap it all up. Oh, and definitely get the spicy margarita.

Details: 33H King’s Rd, London SW3 4LX | Book here

THE BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN NORTH LONDON

Sonora Taqueria | Stoke Newington

sonora taqueria

Paola Vivas Photography

Sonora Taqueria started out as a stall in Netil Market that frequently drew queues around the block, and now their in-n-out taqueria is doing the same in Stoke Newington. Come here for inventive breakfast burritos with scrambled egg and machaca (dried beef) or fresh tortillas topped with grilled and slow-cooked fillings, served rough and ready on paper plates. There are spots to perch up at the counters, but you can always take them for a walk in Abney Park just across the road.

Details: 208 Stoke Newington High St, London N16 7HU | No bookings, open Thurs-Sun 12-4pm

Mestizo | Euston

mestizo mexican restaurant london

Finally, we come to one of London’s longest-standing, and most beloved, Mexican restaurants: Mestizo. Founded by a group of friends who wanted to bring an authentic taste of Mexico to London, it’s been treating punters to classics like jaladas, mole poblano and pollo al tequila since 2005. Mestizo’s always a winner for groups – go for the taco tray to make your own at the table, with your choice of four fillings alongside all the trimmings (pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, etc). And on Thursdays, make your way downstairs to find Europe’s biggest mezcal bar, with over 200 bottles to explore and dancing till late.

Details: 103 Hampstead Rd, London NW1 3EL Book here

Decimo | King’s Cross

The Best Mexican Restaurants In London: Decimo

Decimo comes courtesy of two-Michelin Star chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, and you’ll find it on the top floor of The Standard Hotel in King’s Cross. Head into the bright red elevator that skims across the building’s facade, and you’ll be welcomed into a retro-rustic space with a striking view out across the capital. So far, so good. But it’s the menu that’ll really marks it out as one of the best Mexican restaurants in London – the kitchen is built around the huge grill, which is scorching the likes of turbot, scallops, XL-sized langoustines, hulking ribs of beef, suckling pig shoulder, lobsters, and quails with mole glaze, and that’s just the start of it…

Details: The Standard London, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG | Book here

 


Looking For Mexican Bars In London?

You’ve feasted on tacos. You’ve finished the grasshopper guacamole. You’ve ticked off every single Mexican restaurant in London, and now you need (deserve) a nightcap. Luckily, all these excellent tequila bars are here to lavish you with the national spirits of tequila and mezcal, in the form of both highly educational tasting flights, and highly delicious cocktails…