It isn’t a question of whether or not London has the type of food you are after, only a matter of where to go for it. From Vietnamese Pho to Ethiopian Injera, London is bursting at the seams when it comes to foods from different cultures. If you are partial to the odd dollop of guacamole or a crispy taco, then head to any of these sizzling Mexican restaurants for food that will transport you to the bustling streets of Rio, despite having been in the Paddington Spa moments before.
As with everything, it is important that you have a balance. When this applies to food, it can be anything from how much chilli you add to your curry, to the brow of the place. Getting a sweet spot between upmarket dining and chain restaurant can be difficult but Wahaca proves that it is possible. So, while there are quite a few of them around the city, this is by no means an indication that they are mass-producing anything but rather just doing good again, and again, and again in the same way. The chicken and avocado tortillas are a crowd pleaser, as are the duck croquettes. We would recommend ordering a range of small plates rather than one big main, because then you get the most variety (and have less to stress about when you realise how good the menu looks!) If you are more of a one-meal person, though, then no fret – the option is there. No matter what you order as a main, or rather how many you order, one thing is an absolute no-brainer: order some guacamole, salsa and chips to nibble on while you decide.
There are a wealth of Restaurants in Paddington London, one of which is the Mexican hotspot Taqueria. They are all about that small-plate vibe – a pretty common way to do Mexican food, because it is all about getting a variety of the naughty nibbles and tasty bits and bobs. Their deep fried oyster is a showstopper and really very good – it includes a panko crumb, chipotle mayonnaise and mojo de ajo, which is basically a garlic-y Mexican gravy. The story behind Taqueria makes it all the more appealing to visit – it started as a Cool Chile Co stall on Portobello Road, and was so adored that they needed to expand to the current Notting Hill location. Be sure to add their Margarita or Mescal to your order, it is the perfect accompaniment to a big, sizzling quesadilla.
Address: 141-145 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RS
This Mexican restaurant is located in King’s Cross’ iconic Coal Drops Yard, making for the most wonderful, lofty environment to enjoy your tacos and mezcals. Their drinks menu is pretty impressive, and the salsas are the perfect accompaniment to everything. It is traditional in Mexico to eat seafood raw, meaning that their oysters are very popular, and so are their seafood cocktails, one of which is the total crowd-pleaser: seabass (raw but marinated in lime juice), pico de gallo and serrano chilli. The menu is great at talking you through Mexican food, indicating which are signature dishes and the occasions they are traditionally made for, meaning you not only get a great taste for the cuisine but also a bit of cultural understanding.
Address: Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ
Mildred’s Vegetarian Restaurant
Mildred’s is a well-loved vegetarian restaurant with a few branches across London – Soho, Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston. Mildred’s is not strictly a Mexican restaurant, but there are a number of Mexican dishes on the menu that do the cuisine proud and are often everyone’s go-to when visiting, despite the menu being relatively international. Mexican cuisine is a smashing choice for vegetarians and vegans, because so much of the food revolves around the flavours, spices, beans as protein and of course the glories of the avocado, rather than meat. One of the top starters is the mole frijoles (refried beans), tomatillo salsa, greek style vegan ‘cheese’, and of course, some old faithful corn chips. Another winner of a meal is the Mexican black bean sweet potato burger, with jalapeno, sweetcorn relish, tomatillo coriander mayo, butter lettuce, and onion, served on an achiote brioche bun. Even their cocktails keep things Mexican, with the Maid in Mexico, which is made up of tequila, mint, cucumber, and lime. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy Mildred’s – it is for everyone, provided you love excellent Mexican flavours!
Address: 9 Jamestown Rd, Camden Town, London NW1 7BW
200 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JP
45 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AN
Thomas Tower, 1 Dalston Square, Dalston Lane,, London E8 3GU
Covent Garden’s Cafe Pacifico is one of London’s most delightful Mexican restaurants, with a great, festive, buzzing atmosphere and the flavors to match – Mexican culture is all about high energy and vibrancy. The kitchen is sending out some of the freshest, authentic dishes in the city, with plenty of options for people with dietary requirements like gluten-free, vegan and whatever else you may be intolerant to. Between the tangy chicken tinga chimichanga, the explosive jalapeno poppers and the fabulous fajitas, there is really something for every preference. Any of the meals on the chef’s recommendations are there for a reason – trust the chefs, they know what they’re doing! The spicy chocolate churro sauce is fiery – there really is nothing like it.
Address: 5 Langley St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JA
Now you have the list in front of you, there are only two things left to do: figure out which is most appealing in association with which is easiest to get to from your perch at The Devonshire Paddington, and try not to start salivating over the spicy salsa before you have even ordered it.