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Of tacos and nachos: The city’s best Mexican

Shanghai Daily’s international cuisine series continues with a Mexican fare, which is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking with Spanish elements. Zhang Yang and Yoyo He have selected six Mexican restaurants in Shanghai that are worth a visit.


Handmade tortillas at El Luchador

To understand El Luchador, you need to know that Lucha Libre means wresting, a popular sport among Mexicans. Luchadors (wrestlers) can be seen everywhere — on television, in newspapers and in graffiti on the walls of restaurants.

It is a Mexican restaurant in Shanghai with a vibrant atmosphere and white-and-blue Lucha Libre masks painted on the walls. The restaurant serves authentic Mexican food prepared by Mexican chefs. It also serves 100 percent agave tequila without salt and lime.

The ultimate sophistication is simplicity. A taco, for example, looks simple but is not easy to make. Tortillas are handmade and meats are slowly cooked for hours, and yet it takes customers just a few bites to finish a taco.

The soul of the restaurant is Chef Eduardo, who believes in tradition and uses only the freshest materials in cooking. At El Luchador, diners can enjoy genuine Mexican food.


Tacos offer more than just Mexican food

Tacos restaurant doesn’t just serve Mexican food. It offers a wide array of dishes, incorporating a variety of family recipes and innovative techniques with fresh local ingredients. Tacos serves seafood fried spaghetti, beef steak with prawns and shepherd’s pie.

The set meal for two includes a lamb chop, grilled beef, chicken tacos, smoked chicken wings and a dessert.


The new kid on the Mexican food block

Located on Yongkang Road, Mexican eatery Moderation opened last month, making it the new kid on the block.

It offers a selection of Mexican snacks and appetizers like chili bean nachos and tortilla chips topped with melted mozzarella, fried beans, sour cream, guacamole, sliced jalapeno and black olives.

The quesadilla is must-try snack. It is served with pico de gallo and sour cream and you can choose mozzarella cheese, beef or chicken as an add-on.

As for main course, burritos are their specialty. Toppings can be chosen according to your taste and include shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, and cilantro.


Great drinks and bar-top dancing

As one of Shanghai’s most popular party bars, this two-story cantina has a well-earned reputation for providing great food and drinks.

There are regular parties and events at Zapata’s and its Wednesday ladies’ nights are legendary for bar-top dancing. Crowds can groove to popular rock, pop, and hip-hop hits at the party bar, or relax in the large outdoor area. The Tex-Mex menu in its upstairs Hacienda restaurant rounds out the bar’s theme.


Top-notch tequila and fusion tacos

Pistolera is a popular restaurant that opened in 2010 in Jinqiao and has opened three more outlets since due to demand from expatriates and Chinese.

With fresh seafood, fusion tacos, many signature dishes, and a long list of cocktails, Pistolera’s dishes are all prepared by chef-cum-manager Fernando Corona-Burch. Pescadillas crispy fried corn empanadas are served with fish stew and is among the most popular dishes.

Pistolera’s drink menu features creative cocktails made with Mexico’s national spirit, tequila, which comes from Casa Jose Cuervo, one of the world’s top Tequila distilleries, and is made from 100 percent agave.


Home-style Mexican that has won awards

Dedicated to reflect the finer aspects of Mexican and Californian food culture, Maya offers Shanghai a dose of healthy, hearty, home-style Mexican cuisine. The chef and his professional team have won several awards for their healthy, creative Mexican dishes and cocktails. Besides a fabulous array of tempting dishes, Maya features a relaxed lounge area with a good selection of fresh, high-quality Latino and classic cocktails as well as an extensive tequila, rum and whisky list on offer.

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