Man Eats World is in search of… KC’s best Mexican Restaurants!
Urbanspoon lists 277 Mexican Restaurants in Kansas City at the time I am writing this, making Mexican Restaurants the 3rd most prolific in town, representing 9.5% of the total number, making it a tie for 3rd place between them and pizza joints after American cuisine (503) and sandwich shops (395). Of those that I have tried, the following really stand out for me. I am going to list the Mexican Restaurants that I like in alphabetical order and the reasons that I like them. If you are reading this, let me know if you agree or disagree, tell me someplace I haven’t listed and what I should try when I go there. Help me and other readers find the best Mexican Restaurants in Kansas City.
I don’t understand the significance of the name, or even if I have translated it correctly. I’d love for someone to explain it. Anyway, this place serves my standard Ameri-Mex favorites with a few twists; they serve their beans whole, not mashed and refried; they’re seasoned nicely and have a really good flavor. They also serve their dishes sprinkled with white cheese, not yellow (always a plus with me). I also believe their horchata (a sweet rice milk drink flavored with vanilla and cinnamon) is the best in town, although El Patron serves a pretty good one as well. Lastly, I like their version of churros, theirs are crunchy instead of soft and served with a scoop of ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup and honey. Nice.
El Camino Real (Translation: The Royal Road)
The Tacos al Pastor are really good here. The seasoned pork is heated on a grill at the front with some pineapple. I’ve eaten Tacos al Pastor that I’ve purchased from street vendors in Tijuana and Cozumel that I really enjoyed, making me long for them here, these are every bit as good, and the best I’ve had in town. I’ve also tried the enchiladas and tamales here which I didn’t care for. The Tacos al Pastor are the reason to come to El Camino Real. Oh, they also serve bottles of “Mexican” soda. I like to drink a pineapple soda with my tacos al pastor.
El Patron (Translation: The Protector?)
I’ve tried most things here and I usually now order the combination platter, the Los Tres Grandes. It is one taco al pastor (pork), one taco de carne asada (beef) and one taco marinero (fish taco). It is lightly breaded tilapia with shredded cabbage, a slice of avocado and pico de gallo, served with a mango salsa. Wow, those flavors were very interesting together. I don’t know if I like these fish tacos best, or the ones made by the folks at Teocali. The beef taco contained little chunks of marinated steak, not ground or stringy beef with pico de gallo. It had a good flavor as well. The taco al pastor, although good, is my least favorite of the three tacos. I’ve already stated that the ones at El Camino Real are my favorite. For the tequila connoisseur there are many options here, for me, it’s fun to try different ones. El Patron also has the hippest, most modern atmosphere of any restaurant on my list and is the only one that I know of with a rooftop seating area.
Miguel’s Catering and Carry-Out
My spouse works with a young guy who is painfully shy and nearly never speaks, knowing that we like to try new places, one day he walked up and said, “Have you ever tried the Chicken Mole at Miguel’s Catering and Carry-Out? It’s the best I’ve ever eaten.”, and then promptly walked away. Stunned by this uncharacteristic outburst, we decided that we really had to try it… he was right. Just a little store front in an old strip mall on Lamar, there are only a couple of tables, so we do as the name suggests and carry ours out. They put your order in a tri-sectioned styrofoam container which is not pretty, but keeps it warm on the ride home. The chicken mole consists of a large portion of cubed chicken smothered in mole. The chicken is very tender and the mole is the best I’ve had in Kansas City. Some places sweeten theirs, Miguel does not. I like my mole unsweetened. It is served with standard industry fare refried beans and Spanish rice, not impressive, but you’re taking it home so you can eat it with something else. Oh, beware, they only serve chicken mole on Friday and Saturday nights. (I found this out the hard way.)
For me, the only reason to go to Rudy’s is for the Potato and Chorizo Enchiladas, (and it’s a very good reason). Rudy’s was the first place in KC that I ever saw this item on a menu. I actually have not seen it on anyone else’s menu. Anyway, these I really like and these keep me coming back, time after time, year after year. (Does anybody know what the heck a Tenampa is? I had nine years of Spanish plus I spent a year in Spain and I don't know what that word means, I can't find an online dictionary that knows either.)
It seems rather off the beaten track on a one way street. I like their Tacos Puerto Vallarta (2 fish tacos), the waitress said that they (along with the shrimp tacos) were the house specialty; the menu says that they were voted "Best in Kansas City", I agree that they are good, but it is a toss-up between these and the ones served by the folks at El Patron for the best in class category. The Tilapia is lightly breaded and seasoned. It was moist and flakey, very well prepared. They are served with a cup of whole pinto beans and Spanish rice.
These are my favorites and what I like to order while there, do you agree, disagree? What else have I been missing?