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If you think all there is to Mexican food is burritos and tequila shots, think again. Mexican cuisine is picking up steam in the UK, with Brits cottoning on to the glory of enchiladas, mole chicken and tequila so good, putting lime and salt anywhere near it is a crime. We’ve sourced the 10 best Mexican restaurants in London for a proper sit-down meal.
Worth going to if just to say you’ve breathed the same air as Kate Moss, La Bodega Negra lurks under the streets of Soho. To find it, you’ll need to find the sleazy sex shop it’s hidden in, and ask to be shown downstairs (make sure you’re in the right place or this could have dire consequences). Despite the out of the way location, this Mexican joint is immensely popular so booking is essential. People flock there for the incredible buzzing ambiance, which feels like a nightclub, but with more tables and quesadillas. FYI, if you know of a nightclub that actually serves quesadillas, please let us know.
The UK’s oldest Mexican restaurant, Café Pacifico is a whopping 33 years old. Set up by Tomas Estes, the International Tequila Ambassador for the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry (a.k.a the best job title we’ve ever heard), the food is great but it’s the tequila that’s truly special. Laid out like a cantina, the setting is informal and energetic, with a huge wooden bar on one side of the room. Housing an incredible selection of tequila, many of which are Tomas’ own brand, Ocho, you need to make sure you ask for a tequila tasting alongside your quesadillas. There’s no salt and lime to mask the taste, and you’ll want to sip these high-quality spirits rather than shot them. By the time you’ve made it to a finishing glass of sangrita (imagine a Mexican bloody mary), you’ll have experienced a full tequila paradigm shift.
Arguably the branch that made Mexican street food mainstream, Wahaca comes from former Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers. These days, you can’t think ‘Mexican food’ without Wahaca coming to mind, with branches popping up all over London. The key to its success lies in a combination of shareable tapas plates, cheerful décor that manages to not feel too much like eating in a chain, and an easy-going, friendly atmosphere. Dishes often have a slight British twist, making this Mexican food for even those who don’t eat Mexican. Rather than a negative, Wahaca’s chain status means that if you ever fancy Mexican, you’re now likely within distance of one of their easy, high-quality, Mexican restaurants.