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It wasn’t so long ago when “Mexican” food was best represented stateside by a heaping platter of rice and refried beans along with gloopy enchiladas covered in melted cheese, with maybe a couple hard-shell tacos on the side. Thankfully we’ve come a long way, and now the cuisine of just about every region of Mexico is now well-represented in the American culinary landscape. Today, most people realize that the standard menu of burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, and the like are in fact more Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican, and that once you head south of the border there’s a whole world of flavorful (and non-cheesy) possibilities to explore. Additionally, while authenticity is prized, some of the country’s most highly regarded chefs, like former pastry chef Alex Stupak and Oklahoma-born Rick Bayless, have also turned their attention and creativity to Mexican, which has become somewhat of a cuisine célèbre.
To assemble our ranking of America’s 50 Best Mexican Restaurants, we analyzed results from surveys we sent out to some of America’s leading culinary authorities, writers, and critics, used to assemble our rankings of America’s 50 Best Casual Restaurants and the 101 Best Restaurants in America. We supplemented those with best-of lists both in print and online, and rounded it out with our personal favorites from around the country. We also made sure to include restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican fare; while some Tex-Mex classics on the menu are acceptable if done really well, the main focus had to be on true Mexican cuisine. We found that from a high-end restaurant in Chicago specializing in ribeye carne asada to a modest taqueria in Mountain View, Calif. serving some of the finest carnitas you’ll ever encounter, America has no shortage of great Mexican restaurants—and as it turns out, one resides in Minneapolis.
Having built and sold four successful locations of his first Mexican foray in the City of Lakes, Taco Morelos, Gaspar Perez has retaken the title of the area’s best Mexican with Las Teresitas. In a strip mall in a residential part of South Minneapolis, just north of Highway 62, Perez’s Las Teresitas is named for his two Teresas (his mother and daughter) and delivers fantastic Mexican food at prices that seem too good to be true. Luckily, they’re not. The burritos are huge, the Enchiladas Teresas with green salsa, ranchera, or Mexican mole win raves, and the nine salsas are the stuff of local legend. They’re so good, the restaurant scored the #43 spot on our compilation, and since it’s the only one from either Minneapolis or Saint Paul to make the list, according to our panel of experts, Las Teresitas is the best Mexican restaurant in the Twin Cities.