Looking for some juicy, charred carne asada? How about some marinated al pastor? When it comes to Mexican food, Grand Rapids has some great eateries. You have to know where to look to find these gems. Luckily, we have completed some field research and will give you our picks for Grand Rapids’ best authentic Mexican food.
Our List of Great Mexican Food in GR
MAGGIE’S KITCHEN – 636 Bridge Street NW (West Side)
Located in the ever-popular Stockbridge Business District, you will be distracted by Maggie’s fluorescent and traditional Mexican decor. Don’t let the decor fool you. Maggie’s has been dishing out some of Grand Rapids’ best Mexican food since the 1980s. People rave about their breakfast, anything with their barbacoa meat, their heaping portion of tostadas and a wide range of tacos. Make sure and wash everything down with a Guava Jarritos and save room for one of the Mexican cookies afterwards.
TACOS EL CUNADO – 435 Ionia Avenue SW (Downtown Market), 1024 Bridge Street NW (West Side), 455 Burton Street SW (Burton Heights)
This place is definitely the ‘granddaddy’ of Grand Rapids Mexican restaurants. With three locations, Tacos El Cunado has become a staple for tacos al pastor, quesadillas, burritos, tortas and tostadas. Come here for a Mexican-style carne asada taco (two warm corn tortillas stuffed with fresh grilled cubes of marinated steak, topped with onions, cilantro and a lime). Trust us, it may be the most perfect taco you’ve ever eaten.
LA HUASTECA – 1811 Plainfield Avenue NE (Creston) https://www.lahuastecagr.com
Located in a strip of businesses near the old Creston High School, this restaurant is a neighborhood favorite for great-quality Mexican food with a smile.It is verified that they may have the best guacamole in the city – no lie! Those who frequent La Huasteca say they have the best homemade tamales, great gorditas, fresh salsa, awesome chile rellenos and a fine selection of tacos. Grab a basket of chips, an order of guacamole, two tamales and a bottled Mexican Coke and you are all set!
TAQUERIA SAN JOSE – 1338 Division Avenue S (Burton Heights)
Located in a teeny-tiny building with a bright-green, V-shaped awning, you will miss this restaurant if you are not paying attention while driving down South Division. Taqueria San Jose has earned its reputation as one of the best in Grand Rapids. Avoid lunchtime here, as there is a perennial line out the door (learn that this is a good thing). When you arrive, you are getting tacos. We love their barbacoa, asada and pollo tacos. All tacos come wrapped in two soft corn tortillas, and are topped with onions, cilantro and a lime wedge.
TACOS EL CAPORAL – 1260 Burton Street SW (Wyoming)
Located in the suburb of Wyoming, Tacos El Caporal has some of the best authentic Mexican food in the area. As you walk in, you see a giant counter and plenty of booths. It may be confusing at first, but seat yourself and staff will be with you ASAP. While you look at the menu, your server will bring out chips and two sauces (red and green) to top the chips. Again, we suggest the tacos here, and make sure you get the grilled onions. Pick from carne asada, al pastor, pollo and chorizo. For the more adventurous, you can try birria (goat) or tongue tacos. Make sure and wash it all down with horchata (a cinnamon rice milk drink).
Alas, we have reached the end of our favorite places to find Mexican food. Next time you are craving something spicy and flavorful, skip the heavily-processed Taco Bell and head to one of these five places. You will not be disappointed. Think we are missing a favorite of yours? Feel free to let us know!