After 3-plus years in London, the Two Crabs have finally -- FINALLY -- found good, authentic Mexican food in London. The winner (drum roll, please.....):
This place is awesome! Located in a trendy residential neighborhood in a nondescript store front, Taqueria is a local's favorite restaurant. Taqueria is owned and operated by the same folks who brought us Cool Chili Company, the mail order and Borough Market stall that sells authentic Mexican ingredients and supplies. So it's no surprise that Taqueria is just as authentic.
We walked in and were immediately met by wonderful customer service. The friendly hostess accomdated our seating request and immediately brought out the beer and drink list, which includes a large selection of margaritas, tequillas and Mexican beers including our favorite, Negra Modelo.
We started our meal with quesadillas that were good, though a bit bland for Mr. Crab's tastes. But things quickly got better. For our main entree, we shared a plate of carne asada tacos (char grilled skirt steak with avocado mash, Salsa Mexicana on corn tortillas) and a plate of refried beans with cheese. The tacos come open-faced. The meat was perfectly marinated and juicy. The whole taco was an explosion of flavors with just the right amount of spices and veg without being overpowering or too spicy. The side sauces, especially the Salsa Mexicana, was wonderful. The beans were wonderful and smoky, just like my mom makes.
Other items on the menu include tostadas, tortas, tortilla soup, and about a dozen types of tacos including chorizo (Mexican spicy sausage), carnitas (shredded slow-cooked pork), shrimp (that's prawns for you Europeans), fish, chicken, vegeterian cheese and spinache and more. Extras include fried plaintains, corn on the cob, garlicky spinache and several types of beans including black and pinto.
The food at Taqueria is predominately from the flavors of central Mexico; Americans and Europeans accustomed to Tex-Mex may be in for a surprise, or even a disappointment. You won't find any fajitas, chalupas, Mexican pizzas, burritos or other Americanized items on the menu here.
For desert we had one order of the chocolate and mango ice cream & sorbet, and the fried cinamon churros with Mexican chocolate sauce.
The price is very reasonable. Appetizers are about £4.50, an order of tacos £4-6.50 and deserts £3.50.
Located about 15 minutes walk from Notting Hill station, it's a bit of a hike for those of us in North London, but well worth it. Many of the staff even speak Spanish, though based on the lisping accents I suspect they are actually from Spain, not Mexico.The interior of the restaurant is nothing special; it looks like a friendly neighborhood restaurant with soft music in the background. It's divided into two rooms; the main dining room and the reception area that has a bar, two small tables and a shelf of items from Cool Chile Co. line of Mexican products including the best store-made corn tortillas in London...and dare I say all of Europe!
THE TWO CRABS REVIEWS OF LONDON MEXICAN RESTAURANTS
Cafe Pacifico (Covent Garden): Better than average. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Chiquito (Soho): Average Tex-Mex chain restaurant. 2 out of 5 stars
Desperados (Angel Islington): Absolutely horrendous. 1 out of 5 stars
Mucho Mas (Angel Islington): Average. 2 out of 5 stars
Puerto Mexico (Syndenham): Average. 2 out of 5 stars
TAQUERIA (Notting Hill). EXCELLENT. 5 out of 5 stars. Best authentic Mexican food in London!
Texas Embassy (Trafalgar Square). Pretty good Tex-Mex restaurant. 3 out of 5 stars
Tortilla (Angel Islington): Rather quite good! Equivelent to Chipolte in USA. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Cool Chile Company (Borough Market) A market stall in London's famous foodie Borough Market that sells authentic ingredients including dried poblano chiles, tortillas, mole sauce and mole-making kits, Mexican chocolate, black beans, tomatillos and more.