Celebrate Cinco de Mayo all year long

 Eat Mexican
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 12, 2013

stusurv_Mex_TacoEscobarr_ma
Taco Escobarr's colorful flavor
 

If there’s anything better than sharing a big plate of nachos with a big group of friends, we haven’t found it yet. Here, we round up all the Mexican eateries on the peninsula, along with a cheat sheet of where to go, and when. Whether you’re celebrating the completion of a challenging project or getting to know a new lover, there’s a South-of-the-Border establishment that fits the bill.

Amigo’s
9 Dana St, Portland | 207.772.0772
What it’s about Known more as a place to play pool or Big Buck Hunter than as an establishment for epicures, Amigo’s still makes a damn good margarita and serviceable nachos.
Best for Picking up a hot babe at 12:45 am

El Rayo
85 York St, Portland | 207.780.8466 | elrayotaqueria.com
What it’s about Flavorful, locally procured ingredients, served in a festive and colorful atmosphere. The fish tacos and Mexico City-style corn on the cob are perennial faves.
Best for Dining al fresco with a group of friends, or huevos rancheros on Saturdays and Sundays

Margaritas
242 St John St; 207.874.6444 and 11 Brown St; 207.774.9398, both in Portland | margs.com
What it’s about With more than 20 locations around New England, Margaritas is to Mexican food what Romano’s Macaroni Grill is to Italian cuisine. Which is to say, completely inauthentic yet still wildly popular.
Best for Sticking with what you know

Mesa Verde
618 Congress St, Portland | 207.774.6089 | mesaverdeportlandmaine.com
What it’s about Centrally located Americanized Mexican food on Congress Street.
Best for Thirsty Thursdays (when margarita pitchers are only $6)

Taco Escobarr
548 Congress St, Portland | 207.541.9097 | tacoescobarr.com
What it’s about With (borderline garish) décor that pays homage to Mexico’s lucha libre, the aesthetic of this Arts District eatery belies its subtle flavors and thoughtful menu items.
Best for Dinner before a night on the town

Tic Tac O
1 Free St, Portland | 207.773.8226
What it’s about A bright spot in the rather dystopian basement food court located at One City Center, Tic Tac O offers a limited and basic menu, served with a smile.
Best for A quick and economical lunch

Zapoteca
505 Fore St, Portland | 207.772.8242 | zapotecarestaurant.com
What it’s about High-end Mexican (entrees range from $16-29), with the largest selection of tequila and mezcal in the state of Maine.
Best for Date night

Off-peninsula Extra Credit: Taco Trio
119 Ocean St, South Portland | 207.767.9055 | taco-trio.com
What it’s about Two words — salsa bar. Try the goat meat or chorizo tacos, and top them with fresh and authentic Mexican sauces ranging from mild to super-spicy.
Best for An impromptu jaunt across the bridge — perhaps on your bicycle?

Related: No stove necessary, Turning on Turner, Easy meals for $15 or less for 2 people, More more >
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