5 best Mexican restaurants in Tokyo
Let's be honest: Tokyo is hardly a hot spot for Mexican cuisine. Most if not all seem to be run by Japanese who got a 'fever for the flavor' on a visit abroad, rather than from growing up with it. So most so-called 'Mexican' restaurants here taste like Japanese food with a little Tabasco splashed on top.
But there are a few diamonds in the rough out there. Here's our list of the best Mexican Tokyo has to offer.
1. La Jolla
A bright and festive, if straightforward eatery, La Jolla is the closest to a mainstream American-style Mexican restaurant experience in Tokyo (think plenty of sombreros and piñatas). La Jolla is popular with families, and thanks to a handful of vegetable dishes, also a favorite with the vegetarian crowd.
La Jolla: Koyasu Bldg. 2F, Hiroo 5-16-3, Shibuya-ku, tel. 03 3442 1865, 11:30am-2pm (weekdays), 11:30am-3pm (weekends/holidays), 5-11pm (dinner)
Located under the train tracks, ten minutes walking from Naka-Meguro station, JunkAdelic has quietly built a reputation amongst the hipster elite for authentic Tex-Mex grub and booze. The dark interior and the owner's penchant for projecting Lucha Libre wrestling movies on the walls give the place an underground feel.
JunkAdelic also has two small private rooms for a quieter group experience. Best to call ahead before visiting, as the restaurant is often booked for private parties.
JunkAdelic: Kami-Meguro 4-10-4, Meguro-ku, tel. 03 5725 5020, 6pm-2am, closed Tuesdays , cash Only
3. El Quixico
Treasured like a rare gem by local residents, Nishi-Ogikubo's El Quixico is the only Tex-Mex joint of note on the west side of the city. The small kitchen can get a bit overwhelmed at peak periods, but it's worth the wait.
El Quixico: Takanashi Bldg 2F, 3-15-14 Nishiogi Minami, Suginami-ku, tel. 03 3332 7590, 6pm-1am, closed Mon and every 3rd Tue, cash only
4. Ambe Cuatro
Ambe Cuatro is hidden in the basement, in what looks to be the former premises of a hostess club, and run by an elderly couple. Despite these odd circumstances, the chicken chili over rice and freshly-grilled pork tacos would make a mean lunch, no matter if Tokyo or Houston.
On most Thursday and Friday nights, Ambe Cuatro offers live performances of Latin music.
Ambe Cuatro: Pearly Akasaka B1, 2-15-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, tel. 03 3585 0065
5. La Casita
La Casita takes Mexican to more upscale directions. Located in the dainty and trendy neighborhood of Daikanyama, the eatery's extensive dinners can set you back a full ¥4500. But the super-fresh dishes are prepared to standards normally seen in Japanese haute cuisine.
La Casita: Selusa Daikanyama 2F, Daikanyamacho 13-4, Shibuya-ku, tel. 03 3496 1850