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Are These Louisville's Buzziest Mexican Restaurants?

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Louisville's Latin flavors are broad and diverse, including everything from empanada shacks to the elegant explorations of Anthony Lamas' Seviche. And this diversity includes a dizzying number of Mexican restaurants, again ranging from fine dining to, frankly, Yum! Brands' Taco Bell. To cut through the confusion, Eater offers a map of Mexican places that Louisvillians seem to be talking about. Think some of these places seem too dull, or wonder why your group's current favorite isn't listed? Let us know in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. El Molcajete

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2932 South 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 638-0300
The house specialty at this much-talked-about Mexican place on South 4th is "The Molcajeteada"—skirt steak, grilled chicken breast, chorizo, cheese, grilled onions and jalapeno layered over nopal cactus strips in a stone mortar or "molcajete." The dish may look a bit like a Facehugger from "Alien," but Louisville loves it. [Photo: Yelp]

2. Santa Fe Grill

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3000 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 634-3722
This taqueria turns out tongue, barbecue and other topped tortillas admirably fast and reasonably fresh. Some carp about its quality, but the crowds (especially at lunch) seem to keep showing up.

3. Manny & Merle

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122 W. Main
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 290-8888
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Tony Palombino's salute to honkytonk music (Merle Haggard) and Mexican food ("Manny" was an early kitchen influence on Palombino) has become a hot spot for live music as well as nachos, tacos, queso and chips.

4. Wild Rita's Mexican & Tequila Bar

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445 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 584-7482
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This ready-for-franchise incarnation from Eggheadz LLC (the folks who brought you Wild Eggs) offers a Mex-American menu, hundreds of tequilas and some sort of legend involving a "were-jaguar," which may make more sense after sampling some tequila.

5. Taco Punk

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736 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 552-5478
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Gabe Sowder promises locally-raised chemical- and cage-free meat, sustainably wild-caught seafood and no antibiotics, steroids, additives, preservatives or flavor enhancers. He also sells some high quality Mexican food.

6. Mayan Café

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813 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 566-0651
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Bruce Ucan's food is possibly more Mayan than Mexican, though the ancient culture's influence is clearly seen in the country. More important is the delicate, delicious and modern touches Ucan brings to his Mayan/Mexican-inspired ideas.

7. El Taco Luchador

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938 Baxter Ave
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 583-0440
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This is multi-restauranted (Guaca-Mole, Mussel & Burger Bar, The Place Downstairs) Fernando Martinez' tiny taqueria, with a simple menu of chips with salsa and/or guacamole, tacos and tortas. Try the torta ahogada with crispy pork carnitas "drowned" in spicy sauce.

8. El Camino

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1314 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 454-5417
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Executive Chef Bryan Enyart was mentored by Mexican food guru Rick Bayless, but goes beyond classic Mexican to produce exceptional dishes that fit perfectly into El Camino's South-of-the-border surf punk vibe.

9. El Mundo

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2345 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 899-9930
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Folks along Frankfort Avenue seem to enjoy this laid-back, kind-of-hippie kind-of-Mexican restaurant "serving up delicious made from scratch Mexican food & drink since 1995!"

10. Hay!! Chi wa waA

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808 Lyndon Ln Ste 105
Louisville, KY 40222
(502) 883-1924
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This over-exclamatory Tex-Mex spot is acclaimed by East Enders for its friendly service and generous servings of tacos, enchiladas, burritos and more.

11. Guaca Mole

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9921 Ormsby Station Rd
Louisville, KY 40223
(502) 365-4822
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Restaurant-success-generator Fernando Martinez (Mussel & Burger Bar, El Taco Luchador, The Place Downstairs) does upmarket takes on traditional Mexican fare. The smoked fish taquitos are quite good, but the real standout seafood is the Dos Equis-battered fried cod taco.

1. El Molcajete

2932 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40208
The house specialty at this much-talked-about Mexican place on South 4th is "The Molcajeteada"—skirt steak, grilled chicken breast, chorizo, cheese, grilled onions and jalapeno layered over nopal cactus strips in a stone mortar or "molcajete." The dish may look a bit like a Facehugger from "Alien," but Louisville loves it. [Photo: Yelp]
2932 South 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40208

2. Santa Fe Grill

3000 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40208
This taqueria turns out tongue, barbecue and other topped tortillas admirably fast and reasonably fresh. Some carp about its quality, but the crowds (especially at lunch) seem to keep showing up.
3000 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40208

3. Manny & Merle

122 W. Main, Louisville, KY 40202
Tony Palombino's salute to honkytonk music (Merle Haggard) and Mexican food ("Manny" was an early kitchen influence on Palombino) has become a hot spot for live music as well as nachos, tacos, queso and chips.
122 W. Main
Louisville, KY 40202

4. Wild Rita's Mexican & Tequila Bar

445 East Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202
This ready-for-franchise incarnation from Eggheadz LLC (the folks who brought you Wild Eggs) offers a Mex-American menu, hundreds of tequilas and some sort of legend involving a "were-jaguar," which may make more sense after sampling some tequila.
445 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202

5. Taco Punk

736 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202
Gabe Sowder promises locally-raised chemical- and cage-free meat, sustainably wild-caught seafood and no antibiotics, steroids, additives, preservatives or flavor enhancers. He also sells some high quality Mexican food.
736 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40202

6. Mayan Café

813 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40206
Bruce Ucan's food is possibly more Mayan than Mexican, though the ancient culture's influence is clearly seen in the country. More important is the delicate, delicious and modern touches Ucan brings to his Mayan/Mexican-inspired ideas.
813 E Market St
Louisville, KY 40206

7. El Taco Luchador

938 Baxter Ave, Louisville, KY 40204
This is multi-restauranted (Guaca-Mole, Mussel & Burger Bar, The Place Downstairs) Fernando Martinez' tiny taqueria, with a simple menu of chips with salsa and/or guacamole, tacos and tortas. Try the torta ahogada with crispy pork carnitas "drowned" in spicy sauce.
938 Baxter Ave
Louisville, KY 40204

8. El Camino

1314 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204
Executive Chef Bryan Enyart was mentored by Mexican food guru Rick Bayless, but goes beyond classic Mexican to produce exceptional dishes that fit perfectly into El Camino's South-of-the-border surf punk vibe.
1314 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40204

9. El Mundo

2345 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206
Folks along Frankfort Avenue seem to enjoy this laid-back, kind-of-hippie kind-of-Mexican restaurant "serving up delicious made from scratch Mexican food & drink since 1995!"
2345 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206

10. Hay!! Chi wa waA

808 Lyndon Ln Ste 105, Louisville, KY 40222
This over-exclamatory Tex-Mex spot is acclaimed by East Enders for its friendly service and generous servings of tacos, enchiladas, burritos and more.
808 Lyndon Ln Ste 105
Louisville, KY 40222

11. Guaca Mole

9921 Ormsby Station Rd, Louisville, KY 40223
Restaurant-success-generator Fernando Martinez (Mussel & Burger Bar, El Taco Luchador, The Place Downstairs) does upmarket takes on traditional Mexican fare. The smoked fish taquitos are quite good, but the real standout seafood is the Dos Equis-battered fried cod taco.
9921 Ormsby Station Rd
Louisville, KY 40223