Sunny Sexy South
Why life is more fun closer to the equator

Eating Madrid #6: South of the Border

For some time, I’ve been meaning to rave about a Mexican hole-in-the-wall taco joint called Mi Ciudad that my dear friend R., who is Spanish-Mexican, introduced me to a couple of years ago. The original site at Calle Fuentes 11 expanded to Calle Hileras 7; both are just south of Ópera. To me, the best taquitos are tinga and mole, but they have the usual pastor and even nopales. Their cebollita (onion marinade topping) is fabulous.

Then last year I happened upon the D.F. Bar near Antón Martín on Calle León 31. It’s just north of the Filmoteca (Cine Doré), making it the perfect place for an after-film snack. It´s supposedly known for its tortas (something I´ve never found that interesting, as they are too close to American sandwiches served on hamburger buns.  To me its tacos are not as good as Mi Cuidad, but this is compensated by the fact that have a very, very nice green tomatillo sauce which Mi Ciudad does not offer.

Another taquería opened last year at Calle Cabestreras 4, just across from Baobab Senegalese restaurant (which I reviewed here). It´s a bit more expensive than the others, but provides some consolation if the Senegalese is closed, which is frequently as it closely follows usual Spanish dining hours. Watch out for the disgusting taquitos de camarones, as someone has had the insane idea of adding little pieces of super low-quality pork (pesco-vegetarians be especially warned). When I first bit into one, expecting the pleasant smooth texture of shrimp I had the extremely unpleasant experience of ending up with a piece of gristle in my mouth. It was quite disgusting. Despite this, I am willing to recommend the place with some qualifications. The tinga is just as good as that of Mi Ciudad. The mole is perhaps above average – only a small hint of sweetness but strong flavors of chocolate and chile. Note that most of the tacos cost 2 euros instead of the standard 1.50, as do quesadillas (several types are available).

Aside from taquerías, every Mexican restaurant I’ve tried in Madrid is just tourist crap, rather like the sort of Tex-Mex cuisine that ruins it in the United States. Beware especially of insanely electric color combinations and so many Mexican artesanías that you can hardly turn around. But with these three taquerías you are guaranteed good-tasting, reasonably authentic and very reasonably priced food.

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