Avocados Mexican Restaurant

As a little neighborhood shop catering to Cheviot on Cincinnati’s West Side, Avocados is a hotspot for margaritas at night and during the day is a pretty well regarded local Mexican shop. It offers a mix on its menu, some of which feel distinctly more like real Mexican food, while other things are more geared to American tastes. It’s a real credit to the place that the menu is so well rounded, without it being overly long or broad. All told it’s a really friendly experience.

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Crave Cantina

While on the outset many will describe this place as a prototypical taco bar, Crave Cantina has a wider mission statement, to be “Globally Inspired.” Yes, that extensive list of tacos on the menu features many kinds that are dressed very uniquely for cuisines that come from around the world. This is anything but a run-of-the-mill shop, and to see it set up in Cuyahoga Falls between Cleveland and Akron, where so few other restaurants of these varieties tend to tread, offers a chance to try some very different things.

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Taqueria St. Marks Place

St. Mark’s in Manhattan is home to probably some of the best concentrations of ethnic food in the city and so a lot of people like to come here to try something new. When you step into the Taqueria, there are a few expectations: this is not a Tex-Mex place that uses Americanized ingredients. It goes for something more genuine, and the front of the menu makes it clear. There are no nachos, no seven layer dips, no fajitas, and they say it three times so you’re clear. There are no “cute clay or adobe plates.” There are no “adorable red, white and green uniforms.”

This place is about representing a genuine culture. And it’s delicious.

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La Mexicana Restaurant & Grocer

Newport, Kentucky is dominated by the huge developments along the river, but this town is much more than that. The historic stretch of town to the south is home to plenty of great little restaurants, dive bars and small businesses. Amid the bevy of interesting food to try, you can find little storefronts like La Mexicana, a taco stand and shop with big-time tasty Mexican dishes and preparation styles for Tex-Mex favorites and more authentic dishes alike. It almost feels over the top, but this spot is all deliciousness.

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La Michoacana

748 Troy Street Dayton Ohio 45404 937.220.9600 websiteLa Michoacana is a small chain of Latin American grocery stores focused mostly in Columbus, with a Dayton location as well. While the overwhelming majority of each location is mostly devoted to ingredients and cultural trinkets for the Latin populations, there is a small little restaurant inside the … Continue reading

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Bakersfield

A hot, rising chain of taco bars with locations in several cities, Bakersfield is a trendy bar that finds itself in the hippest part of town. Bakersfield OTR in Cincinnati, is a centerpiece of Over-The-Rhine’s active nightlife scene. The taco bar has plenty to offer with its particular brand of cuisine, whether you want familiar toppings or some of the more exotic stuff rarely found elsewhere in Cincinnati, you’ll find it here. You’re almost certain to have a significant wait to dine at Bakersfield, but the food, I think is worth a try.

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Salar Restaurant & Lounge

A new restaurant anchoring the west end of Dayton’s Oregon District, Salar has a menu that it a little hard to describe as any one genre. With ravioli, empanadas, duck, pizza, burgers and quinoa, you’ll also find many of the dishes blur the traditional lines between the classic ethnic recipes. Whether it’s pork belly and sweet potato, pizza topped with chorizo, or quinoa topped with pine nuts and cilantro lime dressing, this is the kind of place you’d want to drop by if you had a hankering for something you’ve never tried before. Lunch or dinner, cocktails or a feast, I have been impressed every time I have come back.

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Sammy’s El Pueblo

An apparent mash-up of two different restaurant concepts, the full name of this Springboro eatery is Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers and Beer El Pueblo Mexican Restaurant. Those two restaurants exist separately in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash, but seem to have come together for a joint excursion here. The mixing of a traditional family-style Mexican food restaurant and a livelier full service bar seems to have created something entirely different. But all told, I think the restaurant has successfully created a menu and an atmosphere that brings out the best of both concepts.

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Mexica (CLOSED)

Editor’s Note: As of 2014 Mexica is closed. 199 East Broad Street Columbus, OH 43215 614.228.1256 Facebook page While many American restaurants rely on tried-and-true pseudo-ethnic food to appease American appetites, Mexica restaurant bucks this trend. Unlike many of its competitors, Mexica serves authentic Mexican dishes. Americanized Hispanic food, usually called Tex-mex, relies heavily on … Continue reading

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