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with shrimp, scallops and octopus; banderillas, a colorful beef brochette; and chuleta sabrosa, a Durango-style grilled steak. $$ L D pf EL TORO CANTINA & GRILL 10602 Shelbyville Rd., 489-3839. One of the top Mexican restaurants in the metro, El Toro earns our recommendation for food, service and environment. Tex-Mex dishes are fine, but save room for the authentic Mexican seafood specialties. $ L D pf FIESTA TIME AMIGOS 8133 Bardstown Rd., 231-2444. $ LDp FIESTA TIME MEXICAN GRILL 11320 Maple Brook Dr., 425-9144. $ L D p GUACA MOLE 9921 Ormsby Station Rd., 365-4823. When Fernando Martinez returned to Louisville, he started his remarkable new restaurant blitz with this East End “creative Mexican” restaurant. As the name emphasizes, the menu explores different moles, and the creativity comes with modern twists on classic Mexican dishes. Fans quickly warmed to the food and the up-tothe-minute cocktail program designed by Martinez’s wife Christina. $$ Br L D pe

LA BAMBA 1237 Bardstown Rd., 451-1418. La Bamba boasts of its “burritos as big as your head.” It may be Louisville’s most startling case of an eatery that is more than it appears to be, and that goes for both quality and quantity. Franchised and fast-foodish, it pleasantly surprises with genuine Mexican fare and Latino flair. $ L D h

Mexican cuisine has become a viable option in Louisville, thanks to a growing immigrant community. With fresh bar and blender offerings, creative appetizers and comfortable seating, Los Aztecas is one of the best, with tasty Mexican dishes good enough to lure us back again and again. $ L D pf

LA HACIENDA GUADALAJARA 4132 Outer Loop, 3846427. $$ B L D

MANGO’S BAR & GRILL 4632 Hendrik Dr., 671-5291, 1921 Bishop Ln., 749-5300, 6201 Dutchmans Ln., 7496651. The 3 local outlets of this chain of MexicanAmerican restaurants serve a Latin lunch buffet seven days a week as well as a full dinner menu. You will find burritos, tacos and tamales, but also several steak dishes and Mexican-style desserts. $$ L D

LA POPULAR 2521 Seventh St Rd., 636-3688.$LD p LA RIVIERA MAYA 8104 National Turnpike, 361-3566. This South End Mexican restaurant is popular with local Latinos, which is always a good sign. Look for gorditas and carne asada, as well as familiar fare like enchiladas. Word is that the horchata is rich and spiced just right. $ L D p LA ROSITA TAQUERIA 8730 Westport Rd., 618-4588, 5059 Preston Hwy., 618-2883. For those who crave genuine Mexican tacos, you want them convenient when the urge to scarf one down strikes. These little places will certainly satisfy those cravings. $ L D LA SIERRA RESTAURANT AND TAQUERIA 6501 Shepherdsville Rd., 969-7938. $

GUSTAVO’S 6402 Westwind Way, Crestwood, 2436950; 1226 Market St., La Grange, 222-4050, 6051 Timber Ridge Dr., 434-7266. Three East End outlets offer “bold Mexican flavors.” Everything you would expect — fajitas, burritos, tacos — but also vegetarian options, house specialties like enchiladas verdes, chimichangas, shrimp tacos and pollo feliz (grilled chicken with chorizo and pineapple). $$ L D pf

LAS GORDITAS 4756 Bardstown Rd., 492-0112. As Louisville’s small but thriving Latino community grows, it’s now possible to enjoy an authentic Mexico City-style dining experience at this taco and gordita wagon that rolls up in the Eastland Shopping Center Thursdays through Sundays only. Family owners and chefs Pat and Esperanza Costas and Ofelia Ortiz are completely bilingual, and as friendly as can be. $ D hf

ISRAEL’S DELICIAS DE MEXICO GOURMET 1515 E. Market St., New Albany IN, 725-9139. Israel Landon introduced Kentuckiana to his Mexican home-style cooking at La Rosita a few years ago. Now he is back at his original location serving street tacos and Mayan quesadillas. Weekly specials highlight cuisine from various regions of Mexico, including seafood dishes and new desserts. $ L D f

LOLITA’S TACOS 4222 Poplar Level Rd., 459-4356. This tiny place may look like a fast-food joint, but the food is about as genuine Mexican as you’ll find. Crisp or soft tacos and burritos the size of paper-towel rolls turn a meal here into a real bargain. $ L D f LOS AZTECAS 530 W. Main St., 561-8535, 1107 Herr Ln., 426-3994, 9207 U.S. Hwy. 42, 228-2450. Genuine

MAYAN CAFÉ 813 E. Market St., 566-0651. Chef Bruce Ucán arguably kicked off the restaurant renaissance along East Market Street, in the area now known as Nulu. His stylish bistro serves distinctive cuisine from Ucán’s native Yucatan Peninsula. $$ L D MEXA TACOS 3701 Lexington Rd., 290-1334. This fastcasual restaurant features a list of signature steak tacos customizable with house-made salsas, guacamole, peppers and other toppings, such as the special house queso made with poblano peppers. Owner Lorena Casas-Ostos is a steak taco purist, so don’t look for chicken or ground meat options here. $$ L D p MEXICAN FIESTA 4507 Bardstown Rd., 491-2922 $ L D

hp

MI COCINA ON FOURTH 520 S. Fourth St., 315-0666. Enthusiastic fans report that though the menu of this restaurant in the space just south of the Seelbach lists standard Mexican fare, the execution of those dishes is excellent. Quick service for lunch, a commitment to fresh ingredients and a tasty Happy Hour margarita have earned it good word of mouth. $$ L D hpf MIGO 2222 Dundee Rd., 882-3279. Tacos, imaginatively conceived by Adam Burress and Chase Mucerino are the focus of the restaurant that replaces Loop 22. The space has been renovated, the ambience is laid- back casual, and the flavor influences come from Brazil, Argentina and even Korea. $$ D hpfe NEW WAVE BURRITOS 3311 Preston Hwy., 963-2727. The late-night burrito delivery service that has been operating out of borrowed kitchen spaces since late 2014 has moved into its own space — the former Grind Burger location — for the first time. In addition to their five signature burritos new items include tacos, tortas and chicharrones. $$ D h PINA FIESTA REAL MEXICAN GRILL 7895 Dixie Hwy., 995-6775. Fans of Mexican food have another place to try, out along the wide, wide highway. You won’t find anything new here, but they say it will be real. $ L D p PUERTO VALLARTA 4214 Charlestown Rd., New Albany IN, 945-3588, 125 Quartermaster Ct., Jeffersonville IN, 288-2022, 7814 Beulah Church Rd., 239-4646. $$ L D p QDOBA MEXICAN GRILL (17 locations). This chain operation extends from Louisville to Frankfort and Lexington. Fast-foodish in style, Qdoba edges out its competitors on variety and interesting salsas, plus sizable portions at a price you can afford. $ L D f RAMIRO’S CANTINA 2350 Frankfort Ave., 895-3333. Ramiro Gandara’s Mexican restaurant in the heart of Crescent Hill’s restaurant row has his mom, Tina Ruton Escajeda, in control in the kitchen. Together they deliver some unique menu items, such as enchiladas verdes, lobster quesadilla, guacamole burger, and shrimp fajitas. And don’t forget Tina’s specialty: scratch-made tamales. Vegetarian choices too, and a full bar. $ L D hpf ROSTICERIA LUNA 5213 Preston Hwy., 962-8898. Tiny and cluttered and very friendly, this little spot on Preston looks like another tacqueria but the specialty, Mexican-style roasted chicken, takes it to another level, juicy and succulent and roasted golden brown. Chicken simply doesn’t get any better than this. $ L D hp SANTA FE GRILL 3000 S. Third St., 634-3722. This tiny eatery in a century-old South End storefront near

78 Winter 2016 www.foodanddine.com

RED = Advertiser B = Breakfast Br = Brunch L = Lunch D = Dinner

Winter 2016 (Vol. 54)  

Nov - Dec - Jan 2016/17