It's safe to say that, despite the diversity of the regional cuisines on offer in London, the British capital has been rather lacking in excellent Mexican eateries. Particularly when compared with our cousin across the Atlantic, which is heaving with authentic and inventive Mexican options. Luckily, the state of the Mexican food scene in London looks to be changing. The past few years have seen an increase in the quality and quantity of Mexican food available across the city. These days, you'll find everything from affordable on-the-go tacos to Michelin-starred fine dining experiences, all celebrating and showcasing the many facets of Mexican cuisine. Hungry? Scroll on for our pick of the best Mexican restaurants in London.
Best Mexican restaurants in London
KOL is a far cry from the casual taquerías of Mexico City, but don't be intimidated by its Michelin star or upmarket Marylebone location. This is fine dining at its most fun and inventive. Renowned chef Santiago Lastra combines influences from his Mexican heritage with the skills gained from a storied international career (including a stint at Noma under René Redzepi) to upend expectations of Mexican cuisine. A nine-course tasting menu showcases a variety of bold flavour profiles: highlights include the langoustine and smoked chilli tacos, as well as Enmoladas filled with purple carrot mole, pigeon and pennywort.
Now for something on the slightly less swish end of the scale. La Chingada is a cheap and cheerful spot in Surrey Quays, frequented predominantly by Mexicans craving a taste of home and hardcore foodies in the know. Its surroundings aren't the most glamorous, but make the journey and you'll be rewarded with a seriously fun time, featuring margaritas the size of your head, flavourful tacos and technicolour interiors.
Decimo is a far cry from your bog standard hotel restaurant. Located on the tenth floor of the achingly hip Standard Hotel in Kings Cross, its floor-to-ceiling windows showcase panoramic views of London's skyline. Soak them up whilst indulging in some of London's most inventive dishes from Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias. Born in Spain and raised in Bristol, Sanchez-Iglesias has long been fascinated with Mexican cuisine and marries Mexican and Spanish techniques and ingredients with aplomb.
Tequila enthusiasts will be well taken care of at Hacha, London's only Agaveria and home of the award-winning Mirror Margarita. As well as a creative cocktail menu and ever-changing list of 25 different agave spirits, it offers a selection of tacos, tostadas and sharing plates, provided by Tigre Tacos at Hacha's Dalston outpost and Nopalito at its Brixton location.
One of the first Mexican restaurants to prove to Londoners that Mexican cuisine is so much more than just foil-wrapped burritos and Coronas, El Pastor has become something of an institution. The original outpost is tucked unassumingly under the arches of Borough Market, with new locations in Soho and Coal Drops Yard. Don't miss its signature Tacos Al Pastor, with 24-hour marinated free-range pork shoulder, grilled pineapple and three salsas.
La Bodega Negra
Enter through what appears from the outside as a sex shop and descend the stairs to find a dimly-lit Hacienda-style cellar. This is Soho stalwart La Bodega Negra, where tequila flows freely and the tacos pack a punch: think prawn and pineapple pico de gallo, sweet and sour pork with chilli chipotle or portobello and oyster mushrooms with black bean and pecorino. The moody atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a sexy date night or fun night out with friends.