Escape on a Mexican holiday at these Vancouver restaurants

It seems as if, all of a sudden, Vancouver can’t get enough of Mexican food. Maybe, when the rain is pouring down and darkness blankets the city for days on end, it evokes fantasies of warm beaches, cool drinks and spicy snacks. Get your tropical fix at any of these outstanding Mexican restaurants.

The Mexican

1049 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L4

It doesn’t get much more authentic than this little hole in the wall on Granville Street downtown. Freshly made tortillas, a variety of fresh salsas and all the classics you love are rounded out by their house specials, traditional Mexican dishes not often seen in this city. Think: crispy fried cactus leaves and sweet soothing horchata. The level of service, the quality ingredients, the authenticity of the food and the incredible prices will make you think you’re in some small Mexican village.

La Mezcaleria

1622 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4

Quickly gaining accolades for its impressive selection of Mezcal, hip vibe and yummy food, La Mezcaleria was a welcome addition to previously Mexican-free Commercial Drive. Prepare yourself for all that agave-derived liquor with a stone pot of their popular Queso Fundido. Or try their excellent fish tacos; but there are 12 different kinds to choose from, so go wild here. Try to get in the door right at 5 to secure both a seat and a happy hour margarita.

La Casita Restaurants

101 Cordova St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E1

Come to La Casita when you’re craving a Mexican feast. Start with their complimentary (and addictive) tortilla chips with spicy green tomatillo salsa while you decide on gooey, piping hot enchiladas, a variety of tacos, burritos and more. With a little Tex-Mex influence, they also offer fajitas, Texas nachos (topped with ground beef) and black bean soup. Check out their daily specials. Reserve their lower floor, order a few pitchers of margaritas and break out the sombreros for a private party.

El Camino's

3250 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M5

Enjoy a free bowl of lime and pepper popcorn and, on Mondays, a $5 margarita while you peruse the menu at this popular Mount Pleasant hang out. Totally laid back and always playing great music, El Camino’s is another welcome addition to the recent explosion of Mexican beachside-style casual cantinas. These guys veer more to a pan-Latin flavour, but cheap, fresh and tasty tacos are a great bet here. And on weekends, head in for a South American-style brunch.

Kazan Enterprises

Dust off your rusty Spanish — you may need it at this Denman Street cantina, where servers speak to you and each other in their native tongue. Cozy and decorated with all the traditional trappings — blankets, colourful tiles, margarita glasses with cactus plant stems — Poncho’s is out to make you feel at home in their restaurant. You’ll find all the usual dishes — chile relleno, chimichanga and enchiladas — as well as a large selection of chicken dishes. Settle into a comfortable evening out.

Cuchillo Restaurant

261 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G3

On a somewhat abandoned strip of Powell near Oppenheimer Park, keep your eye out for the neon Day of the Dead skull. This is your cue to duck into this dark and moody modern Mexican restaurant for a rethink of this cuisine. Requisite tacos are on the menu and delicious, but try their more substantial main dishes, composed in the North American style of separate protein, vegetable and starch, sauced and spiced to perfection. Or any of their three ceviches. Muy excellente.

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