On a recent trip to Isla Mujeres (Island of Women), located in the Gulf of Mexico, I spent weeks indulging in the cuisine. It was paradise. I had chicken falutas from food carts in back alleys, al pastor from street vendors, and ceviche at a hut on the beach with my chair planted directly in the sand. I made it my quest to return to Columbus and locate authentic Mexican restaurants to relive my culinary travels.
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•La Michoacan Mexican Market, found in a small shopping plaza at Bethel and Sawmill, is a grocery store and a veritable wonderland of Mexican specialty items. La Michoacan carries a vast assortment of dried peppers, Mexican canned goods, house-made chicharrones, pre-seasoned and marinated meats, hand-pressed tortillas—I could go on for days. The restaurant, accessed through a small doorway past the abundant produce section, gifts every table multiple salsas served with lightly salted, thick tortilla chips. La Michoacan offers a vast menu of tortas, fajitas, tacos, and seafood and steak entrees. Everything is distinctive, although a bit spicy!
•Taqueria Guadalajara was a recent and addicting find located near 270 and Cleveland Ave. My go-to dish is the Mojarra (deep-fried whole Tilapia) served with house-made refried beans and Mexican rice. Other favorites are the Mulitas on thick corn tortillas, carne asada, camarones el mojo, and tostadas. You know you have found an authentic Mexican restaurant when Menudo has made the menu!
•La Super Torta transports my husband to his Abuelita’s kitchen in Durango, Mexico. I am mesmerized by the women working the line and always pick up any cooking secrets they willingly share. The menu is not overwhelming, so you can conquer it all within a few trips. The chicken flautas are crisp and loaded with crema, queso fresco, shredded lettuce, and avocado—and taste exactly like the ones from Isla Mujeres. I recommend ordering multiple types of tacos, especially the pastor, asada, and chicharron, all served with the traditional onion and cilantro. The barbacoa quesadilla is incredible (that cheese pull!), and every dish is brightened by the house-made tomatillo salsa that you will beg to take home.
I implore you to spend your weekend trying one of these genuinely authentic restaurants and order something that may push you out of your comfort zone. I can tell you with authority, every menu item I have tried has been remarkable, even the ones I ordered with hesitancy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be adventurous!
If you like this, read: The Weekender: Three places to score a smash burger