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BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2000 -

334 E. Lake St.

Minneapolis, MN 55407

612-822-2715

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Readers' Choice: La Cucaracha

Any year now there's going to be the Mexican restaurant we've been waiting for, the one that combines the drinks and fresh preparations of Bar Abilene, the carne asada of El Mariachi, and the sweetheart service of Boca Chica. For now, what we've got are some great upscale fusion-Mexican places (you know who you are), some overrated but beloved old gringo-friendly family restaurants (you too) and--and this is what's new--some thoroughly undercapitalized, authentic little holes-in-the-wall where the food just sings. The greatest collection of such holes can be found in the sturdy walls of Mercado Central, a collection of independently owned businesses that share a large building on the southwest corner of Bloomington Avenue and East Lake Street. Go to Taqueria la Hacienda for the best tacos in town, Manny's Tortas for an excellent Cubano sandwich, Reyna de los Jugos for fresh shakes and licuados, and Otra Cocina for extraordinary soups and seafood. As far as waiters and margaritas go, you'll have to bring your own.

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