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A torta stuffed with meat, guacamole, jalapeños, and other ingredients on a piece of parchment paper on a plate with a plate of rice, beans, and avocado and tomatoes
A torta from Mi Pueblo in Southwest Detroit
Michelle Gerard

20 Great Independent Mexican Restaurants in Metro Detroit

From quesabirria and mariscos to tamales, and more

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A torta from Mi Pueblo in Southwest Detroit
| Michelle Gerard

There’s always a good excuse to eat Mexican food. Detroit and Downriver are home to some of the best Mexican restaurants in the state, and diners have been gravitating there for years in pursuit of their favorite taquerias, cantarito makers, and margarita slingers. From birria spots to havens of mariscos, here are some of metro Detroit’s finest independent Mexican restaurants to support on May 5, Taco Tuesday, or any other day of the year.

A number of metro Detroit restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still many safety concerns and the state is advising that people avoid indoor dining, particularly those who are not vaccinated. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the state of Michigan’s coronavirus tracker.

Where’s your favorite spot for Mexican food in Metro Detroit? Let us know at detroit@eater.com.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Galindo's A Taste of Mexico

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13754 Fort St
Southgate, MI 48195
(734) 324-1141
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Downriver arguably has some of the state’s best Mexican food, thanks to the steady migration of Mexican Americans from Southwest Detroit to the suburbs. Chef Galindo serves up a specialty of his hometown of Mexico City: the torta. Served in big, flaky bolillo, the monstrous tortas are prepared in a dozen different varieties, including El Chapo — which comes with breaded chicken, pork, American cheese, queso Oaxaca, and pineapple. Other Mexican classics like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas are also available.

2. M Cantina

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13214 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 399-9117
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Chef-owner Junior Merino brought this refined Nuevo Latino street food restaurant to Dearborn in 2017, and it became a sleeper hit. M Cantina serves a variety of tacos and tortas with fillings like duck carnitas and braised short rib alongside snacks like grilled elotes. The menu is halal and showcases a variety of fresh juices. Merino also happens to be a celebrated mixologist and recently the restaurant obtained a liquor license, allowing his team to flex their bartending skills.

3. Mangonadas Del Barrio

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1210 Lawndale St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 724-6074
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A mangonada, the treat that the shop is named after, is a chilled fruit drink comprising of mangos, chamoy, chile powder, and lime juice, but the shop also offers ice creams, aguas frescas, and Mexican street foods like Dorilocos. If you like sweet and decadent, take out the Gloria mangonada, which contains eggnog and sweetened milk. The fruit in the cup is as fresh as it gets. The sweet, spicy, and salty Mangonada Queen and Elote contains mangos, chile powder, lime and chamoy, with crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos.

mangonada with chilled mango and what looks like chili powder and lime juice Courtesy of Mangonadas

4. El Asador Steakhouse

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1312 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 297-2360
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This Southwest Detroit gem is great to splurge on a steak flavored with poblano pepper or savor a plate of grilled fish tacos. Reservations are not required, but highly recommended for indoor dining or for seating — parties of four or more — in one of the all-season, enclosed outdoor luminarias. Trays to go at this all-halal spot are perfect for large parties.

Plates of rice, steak fajitas, and three bowls of soup with crisp tortilla curls on top sit at the window at El Asador steakhouse
El Asador serves rice, steak fajitas, and soup with crisp tortillas.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

5. Loncheria El Parian

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4802 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

El Parian has a fleet of do-not-miss taco trucks in six locations throughout the neighborhood. For a sit-down meal and a full bar offering margaritas, pop by La Palapa del Parian, its brick-and-mortar spot, for four-for-$7 Taco Tuesdays, live mariachi performers every Sunday, and an expanded cocktail menu.

The trailer for Loncheria El Parian on a sunny day on West Vernor.
One of the trailers for Loncheria El Parian on West Vernor.
Brenna Houck

6. Mariscos El Salpicon

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8600 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 914-2214

For a seafood paradise with nightclub vibes, Mariscos El Salpicon is the jam. The menu is inspired by the Mexican coastal Nayarit region, with specialties like the molcajete de mariscos that’s literally overflowing with citrusy shellfish, tostadas available with a variety of seafood toppings, spicy shrimp a la diabla, and equally huge cocktails and micheladas.

7. La Terraza

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8445 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 843-1433
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For fine Mexican dining or a special occasion, head to La Terraza, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. La Terraza is known for its seafood, like tostadas topped with ceviche or shrimp, and its molcajete de mariscos filled with a mix of octopus, shellfish, and cucumber, all in a chile-lime marinade. The West Vernor Highway establishment is also popular for its birria as well as a full bar, and a stage that regularly hosts regional Mexican musical performances.

8. Taqueria y Cenaduria Triángulo Dorado

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8065 w Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 652-5247
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This restaurant specializes in the cuisine of the northern Mexican states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua — a departure from the many combo-platter destinations or Jalisco-focused menus that dominate the local scene. Among the many specialties is Sinaloa-style sushi, like the mar y tierra — a California roll made with imitation crab meat, avocado, cooked steak and shrimp, cream cheese, eel sauce, and a Sriracha-infused mayo. The spot’s slender burros are wrapped in pillowy, house-made flour tortillas, and the tacos have distinct regional flair with an emphasis on marinated carne asada.

9. Los Altos Restaurant

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7056 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 841-3109
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Named after the highlands region of Jalisco, Los Altos offers a variety of shareable appetizers like queso flameado, guacamole, asada fries, as well tacos, tortas, gorditas, fajitas — all with diners’ choice of meats — seafood platters, and soothing caldos like birria and caldo de res. A full bar features cantaritos, micheladas, interesting takes on margaritas, and Mexican beers.

10. Sheila’s Bakery

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2142 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 841-8480

The pastry institution is a destination for a quick breakfast snack and a coffee, or a special occasion. Load up on all manner of fresh pan dulces — seasonal pan de muerto available around Dia de los Muertos, chocolate-dipped orejas, gingerbread cochinitos, and more. 

11. Taqueria El Nacimiento

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7400 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 554-1790
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This family-owned establishment is a Southwest neighborhood mainstay, not the least because it stays open late on weekends. True to the town of El Nacimiento, for which it’s named, the restaurant serves Mexican food in a family-friendly atmosphere. Strong cocktails, including enormous micheladas, also are served alongside options like ceviche-stuffed oysters, traditional breakfast specials, and whole fried fish.

12. Mi Pueblo

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7278 Dix St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 841-3315
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Mi Pueblo, a Detroit stalwart, started off years ago as an informal weekends-only taqueria in a house but has become a destination for its vast menu, friendly atmosphere, and colorful decor. Staples include weekend-only birria, pozole, and menudo, bountiful tortas, and house-made chicharrones served with red salsa.

13. La Michoacana

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4336 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 438-6341
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This Southwest Detroit dessert parlor that faces Clark Park is exceptionally popular on sunny days as families and kids stop in for scoops of ice cream, fruta loca cups loaded with choice of fruit and garnished with chile powder, chamoy, and a tamarind straw, and cream or water-based paletas made daily in house. Neveria La Michoacana also offers Mexican street food snacks like Dorilocos, refreshing aguas frescas, and strawberries and cream.

Three people holding up red, yellow and green colorful fruit popsicles
The parlor is popular on warm days, a perfect time for a fruit popsicle.
Courtesy of La Michoacana

14. La Jalisciense Supermercado Y Taqueria

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3923 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 551-0522
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It’s a supermarket with a bountiful butcher’s counter and house-made chicharrones. But La Jalisciense has also made a name for itself as a dining destination. The restaurant features standbys like tacos, quesadillas, and tortas, along with a decent breakfast menu with Mexican favorites like huevos rancheros, birria de chivo (goat), and a full-service bar.

15. Tamaleria Nuevo Leon

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2669 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-8066
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Mexicantown carryout restaurant Tamaleria Nuevo Leon has been serving tamales to Detroiters since the 1950s. The restaurant keeps the menu simple with fast, friendly service. During the week of Cinco de Mayo, all varies of tamales are available. Expect fillings like pork and chicken alongside rotating specials such as cheese-jalapeno. This spot is cash-only.

A girl in a white shirt and black jeans is shown mid-air jumping to hit a purple piñata in front of the white and red Tamaleria Nuevo Leon restaurant.
A girl breaks a piñata in front of Tamaleria Nuevo Leon.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

16. Antojitos Southwest

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2100 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 854-5239
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Detroit has been a leader in the Midwest birria game for generations, but last year Antojitos Southwest landed what is likely the city’s first birria-centric food truck at the intersection of Sharon and Bagley. Open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the operators focus on birria de res dishes, including quesabirria (with consomé for $1 extra, for dipping) and birria ramen, which combines the best of both worlds — a cup of noodles with consomé and birria meat. Carne asada fries and drinks are also available. Be sure to bundle up as the truck often has a long line of fans.

17. El Barzon

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3710 Junction St
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 894-2070
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Chef Norberto Garita is just as adept at making mushroom and ricotta ravioli as he is with mole poblano, which makes for a one-of-a-kind experience at El Barzon Restaurante. This fine dining institution pays homage to the cuisines of Italy and Puebla, Mexico, in an upscale atmosphere that includes an expansive wine list, great cocktails, and a lovely brick patio.

18. Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen

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201 E 9 Mile Rd
Ferndale, MI 48220
(248) 268-3915
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The long-awaited Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen quietly opened its doors in Ferndale in March, ushering in a much-needed boost to Oakland County’s Mexican food world. The bar features 30 different types of agave spirits, while the menu includes an impressive lineup of tacos, including birria, fish, campechano (a blend of chorizo and carne asada), and alambre — with bacon, chorizo, melted cheese, and choice of chicken or steak.

19. O.W.L.

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27302 Woodward Ave #0927
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 808-6244
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This 24/7 Royal Oak diner puts a creative spin on Mexican American comfort food. Think chorizo sausage and cheese sandwich, eggs with cilantro potatoes and Texas toast, and choco flan for dessert.

20. Tienda Mexicana

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John R Square, 31642 John R Rd
Madison Heights, MI 48071
(248) 801-9279
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One of metro Detroit’s best-kept taqueria secrets is tucked inside a Mexican market in a strip mall off John R. Road. While most patrons go for the corn tacos that are served with the standard cilantro, onion, and lime accoutrements, the restaurant’s enormous tortas are some of the best sandwiches in town.

1. Galindo's A Taste of Mexico

13754 Fort St, Southgate, MI 48195

Downriver arguably has some of the state’s best Mexican food, thanks to the steady migration of Mexican Americans from Southwest Detroit to the suburbs. Chef Galindo serves up a specialty of his hometown of Mexico City: the torta. Served in big, flaky bolillo, the monstrous tortas are prepared in a dozen different varieties, including El Chapo — which comes with breaded chicken, pork, American cheese, queso Oaxaca, and pineapple. Other Mexican classics like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas are also available.

13754 Fort St
Southgate, MI 48195

2. M Cantina

13214 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

Chef-owner Junior Merino brought this refined Nuevo Latino street food restaurant to Dearborn in 2017, and it became a sleeper hit. M Cantina serves a variety of tacos and tortas with fillings like duck carnitas and braised short rib alongside snacks like grilled elotes. The menu is halal and showcases a variety of fresh juices. Merino also happens to be a celebrated mixologist and recently the restaurant obtained a liquor license, allowing his team to flex their bartending skills.

13214 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126

3. Mangonadas Del Barrio

1210 Lawndale St, Detroit, MI 48209
mangonada with chilled mango and what looks like chili powder and lime juice Courtesy of Mangonadas

A mangonada, the treat that the shop is named after, is a chilled fruit drink comprising of mangos, chamoy, chile powder, and lime juice, but the shop also offers ice creams, aguas frescas, and Mexican street foods like Dorilocos. If you like sweet and decadent, take out the Gloria mangonada, which contains eggnog and sweetened milk. The fruit in the cup is as fresh as it gets. The sweet, spicy, and salty Mangonada Queen and Elote contains mangos, chile powder, lime and chamoy, with crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos.

1210 Lawndale St
Detroit, MI 48209

4. El Asador Steakhouse

1312 Springwells St, Detroit, MI 48209
Plates of rice, steak fajitas, and three bowls of soup with crisp tortilla curls on top sit at the window at El Asador steakhouse
El Asador serves rice, steak fajitas, and soup with crisp tortillas.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

This Southwest Detroit gem is great to splurge on a steak flavored with poblano pepper or savor a plate of grilled fish tacos. Reservations are not required, but highly recommended for indoor dining or for seating — parties of four or more — in one of the all-season, enclosed outdoor luminarias. Trays to go at this all-halal spot are perfect for large parties.

1312 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209

5. Loncheria El Parian

4802 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
The trailer for Loncheria El Parian on a sunny day on West Vernor.
One of the trailers for Loncheria El Parian on West Vernor.
Brenna Houck

El Parian has a fleet of do-not-miss taco trucks in six locations throughout the neighborhood. For a sit-down meal and a full bar offering margaritas, pop by La Palapa del Parian, its brick-and-mortar spot, for four-for-$7 Taco Tuesdays, live mariachi performers every Sunday, and an expanded cocktail menu.

4802 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

6. Mariscos El Salpicon

8600 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

For a seafood paradise with nightclub vibes, Mariscos El Salpicon is the jam. The menu is inspired by the Mexican coastal Nayarit region, with specialties like the molcajete de mariscos that’s literally overflowing with citrusy shellfish, tostadas available with a variety of seafood toppings, spicy shrimp a la diabla, and equally huge cocktails and micheladas.

8600 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

7. La Terraza

8445 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

For fine Mexican dining or a special occasion, head to La Terraza, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. La Terraza is known for its seafood, like tostadas topped with ceviche or shrimp, and its molcajete de mariscos filled with a mix of octopus, shellfish, and cucumber, all in a chile-lime marinade. The West Vernor Highway establishment is also popular for its birria as well as a full bar, and a stage that regularly hosts regional Mexican musical performances.

8445 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

8. Taqueria y Cenaduria Triángulo Dorado

8065 w Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

This restaurant specializes in the cuisine of the northern Mexican states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua — a departure from the many combo-platter destinations or Jalisco-focused menus that dominate the local scene. Among the many specialties is Sinaloa-style sushi, like the mar y tierra — a California roll made with imitation crab meat, avocado, cooked steak and shrimp, cream cheese, eel sauce, and a Sriracha-infused mayo. The spot’s slender burros are wrapped in pillowy, house-made flour tortillas, and the tacos have distinct regional flair with an emphasis on marinated carne asada.

8065 w Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

9. Los Altos Restaurant

7056 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

Named after the highlands region of Jalisco, Los Altos offers a variety of shareable appetizers like queso flameado, guacamole, asada fries, as well tacos, tortas, gorditas, fajitas — all with diners’ choice of meats — seafood platters, and soothing caldos like birria and caldo de res. A full bar features cantaritos, micheladas, interesting takes on margaritas, and Mexican beers.

7056 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

10. Sheila’s Bakery

2142 Springwells St, Detroit, MI 48209

The pastry institution is a destination for a quick breakfast snack and a coffee, or a special occasion. Load up on all manner of fresh pan dulces — seasonal pan de muerto available around Dia de los Muertos, chocolate-dipped orejas, gingerbread cochinitos, and more. 

2142 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209

11. Taqueria El Nacimiento

7400 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

This family-owned establishment is a Southwest neighborhood mainstay, not the least because it stays open late on weekends. True to the town of El Nacimiento, for which it’s named, the restaurant serves Mexican food in a family-friendly atmosphere. Strong cocktails, including enormous micheladas, also are served alongside options like ceviche-stuffed oysters, traditional breakfast specials, and whole fried fish.

7400 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

12. Mi Pueblo

7278 Dix St, Detroit, MI 48209

Mi Pueblo, a Detroit stalwart, started off years ago as an informal weekends-only taqueria in a house but has become a destination for its vast menu, friendly atmosphere, and colorful decor. Staples include weekend-only birria, pozole, and menudo, bountiful tortas, and house-made chicharrones served with red salsa.

7278 Dix St
Detroit, MI 48209

13. La Michoacana

4336 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
Three people holding up red, yellow and green colorful fruit popsicles
The parlor is popular on warm days, a perfect time for a fruit popsicle.
Courtesy of La Michoacana

This Southwest Detroit dessert parlor that faces Clark Park is exceptionally popular on sunny days as families and kids stop in for scoops of ice cream, fruta loca cups loaded with choice of fruit and garnished with chile powder, chamoy, and a tamarind straw, and cream or water-based paletas made daily in house. Neveria La Michoacana also offers Mexican street food snacks like Dorilocos, refreshing aguas frescas, and strawberries and cream.

4336 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

14. La Jalisciense Supermercado Y Taqueria

3923 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216

It’s a supermarket with a bountiful butcher’s counter and house-made chicharrones. But La Jalisciense has also made a name for itself as a dining destination. The restaurant features standbys like tacos, quesadillas, and tortas, along with a decent breakfast menu with Mexican favorites like huevos rancheros, birria de chivo (goat), and a full-service bar.

3923 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216

15. Tamaleria Nuevo Leon

2669 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216
A girl in a white shirt and black jeans is shown mid-air jumping to hit a purple piñata in front of the white and red Tamaleria Nuevo Leon restaurant.
A girl breaks a piñata in front of Tamaleria Nuevo Leon.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

Mexicantown carryout restaurant Tamaleria Nuevo Leon has been serving tamales to Detroiters since the 1950s. The restaurant keeps the menu simple with fast, friendly service. During the week of Cinco de Mayo, all varies of tamales are available. Expect fillings like pork and chicken alongside rotating specials such as cheese-jalapeno. This spot is cash-only.

2669 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216

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16. Antojitos Southwest

2100 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216

Detroit has been a leader in the Midwest birria game for generations, but last year Antojitos Southwest landed what is likely the city’s first birria-centric food truck at the intersection of Sharon and Bagley. Open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the operators focus on birria de res dishes, including quesabirria (with consomé for $1 extra, for dipping) and birria ramen, which combines the best of both worlds — a cup of noodles with consomé and birria meat. Carne asada fries and drinks are also available. Be sure to bundle up as the truck often has a long line of fans.

2100 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216

17. El Barzon

3710 Junction St, Detroit, MI 48210

Chef Norberto Garita is just as adept at making mushroom and ricotta ravioli as he is with mole poblano, which makes for a one-of-a-kind experience at El Barzon Restaurante. This fine dining institution pays homage to the cuisines of Italy and Puebla, Mexico, in an upscale atmosphere that includes an expansive wine list, great cocktails, and a lovely brick patio.

3710 Junction St
Detroit, MI 48210

18. Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen

201 E 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220

The long-awaited Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen quietly opened its doors in Ferndale in March, ushering in a much-needed boost to Oakland County’s Mexican food world. The bar features 30 different types of agave spirits, while the menu includes an impressive lineup of tacos, including birria, fish, campechano (a blend of chorizo and carne asada), and alambre — with bacon, chorizo, melted cheese, and choice of chicken or steak.

201 E 9 Mile Rd
Ferndale, MI 48220

19. O.W.L.

27302 Woodward Ave #0927, Royal Oak, MI 48067

This 24/7 Royal Oak diner puts a creative spin on Mexican American comfort food. Think chorizo sausage and cheese sandwich, eggs with cilantro potatoes and Texas toast, and choco flan for dessert.

27302 Woodward Ave #0927
Royal Oak, MI 48067

20. Tienda Mexicana

John R Square, 31642 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

One of metro Detroit’s best-kept taqueria secrets is tucked inside a Mexican market in a strip mall off John R. Road. While most patrons go for the corn tacos that are served with the standard cilantro, onion, and lime accoutrements, the restaurant’s enormous tortas are some of the best sandwiches in town.

John R Square, 31642 John R Rd
Madison Heights, MI 48071

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