I have a group of girlfriends that do a regular girls’ night out. Because of our different schedules, tastes, and neighborhoods, it can be a challenge to get together. But, we usually seem to agree on Mexican cuisine. I think it has something to do with the tortilla chips and dip, margaritas and other assorted drink selections. Here’s my list of the best Pittsburgh Mexican restaurants, and I’ve tried to include one in every neighborhood.
*This list was made on October 12, 2016, with prices advertised on website menus.
- täkō 214 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, 412-471-8256. Located in the heart of the Cultural District, this trendy Southern California surf-bohemian styled restaurant is small, but it does take reservations. The first couple times I saw this restaurant, I thought it was merely a permanent street vendor with a few bar stools on Sixth, but it does have seating inside and is worth the wait to get a table.
The handmade tacos have an Asian persuasion and I personally love any restaurant that makes made-to-order guacamole to share. It’s crowded, young, and eclectic, like most of the Cultural District spots. From theater goers to hipsters, dining at täkō is an experience you can’t miss.
Sample Menu item: POLLO ASADO $12 (for 2 tacos) grilled chicken / avocado / white onion / salsa verde / queso fresco / crema / serrano / cilantro
Bakersfield serves authentic Mexican street fare, with a selection of over 100 tequilas and America whiskeys.
They don’t take reservations, so call ahead to get on their list, and they have plenty to drink while you wait.
The best thing about Bakersfield, is the ability to order a small amount of a bunch of different things. This makes sharing easy if you’re with a group, and you get to try a variety of meats and flavors. So, if you order a fish taco, you are getting one taco for $4. FISH crispy mahi, tabasco lime sauce, citrus slaw, cilantro
- Mon-Thurs 11AM to 12AM
- Fri-Sat 11AM to 2AM
- Sun 11AM to 10PM
3. Round Corner Cantina, Lawrenceville, 3720 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, 412-904-2279 •LUNCH• W-F @ 11 AM
M-T: 4PM-12, KITCHEN TIL 11
WEDS: 11AM-MIDNIGHT. KITCHEN TIL 11
THURS-FRIDAY: 11AM-2AM, KITCHEN TILL MIDNIGHT
SAT: 11AM-2AM, BRUNCH 11-2PM. KITCHEN TIL MIDNIGHT
SUN: 11-MIDNIGHT, BRUNCH 11-3. KITCHEN TIL 11PM
Everyone wants to go out in trendy Lawrenceville these days, and Round Corner Cantina is Butler Street’s best Mexican cuisine. Its clientele are as assorted as the Lawrenceville residents. A small, intimate place that doesn’t take reservations, but again, there’s plenty of margaritas to drink while you wait. Sample menu: California Burrito $11: carne asada, fries, guacamole, pico, Chihuahua cheese
Every time my brother visits from out of town, we must do a lunch or drink at The Steel Cactus on Walnut, which is Shady Side’s premier hot spot.
I can’t say it better than they do on their website: “The Steel Cactus Restaurante and Cantina is located on the popular shopping and dining strip of Walnut Street in Shady Side. We serve authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine and drinks on both the second and third floors that encompass the restaurant. A fun open-air retractable rooftop makes for a fantastic spot for outdoor eating and late night drinking.”
Fajitas Served on a sizzling hot skillet with a side of lettuce, pico de gallo, mixed cheese, salsa, sour cream, & guacamole Grilled chicken | 13 Tofu | 13 Carnitas | 14 Steak | 16.50 Chick n Steak | 18
5. Azul (Azul Bar-y-Cantina), 122 Broad Street, Leetsdale, PA 15056, 724-266-6362 (Sewickley area)
I have friends from New York City that swear that this is the best Mexican cuisine anywhere in Pittsburgh and travel all the way from the South Hills to dine regularly in this neighborhood cantina. I do agree – it is worth the drive. They do take reservations for parties of six of more. Also, great for lunch.
Enchiladas: All served with sour cream, onion-cilantro, queso fresco, rice and choice of beans, and covered with choice of salsa roja, salsa verde or mole; Tinga ($12): shredded chicken, monterey jack, cheddar
Great for lunch, dinner or happy hour, Emilianos is a date night or GNO favorite, but they don’t take reservations. The guacamole made at your table and the queso fundido hold a special place in my heart. Yum, I’m officially getting hungry writing this piece.
HOLY GUACAMOLE: Made fresh to order at your table with two whole avocados, jalapeños, tomatoes, cilantro, red onions, lime juice and signature spices. 9.99
QUESO FUNDIDO: Distinctively flavorful chorizo sausage blended with melted cheese and tomatillo sauce garnished with red onion and served piping hot. Served at your table in a sizzling skillet. Delicious! 9.99
South – I’m back from a chips and salsa break to finish up in my current neighborhood
7. Mad Mex, McMurray, 200 Lakeside Drive North, Canonsburg, PA 15317, 724-416-7471
I love this new location because of its size and the covered patio, which includes a game area for the kiddos, big and small. So great for ladies, date night, and happy hour.
LA CHIMI | $10.75 | Marinated chicken breast, red peppers, portobello, Spanish onions, a secret sauce and Monterey Jack rolled in a tortilla and quickly deep fried. Topped with a mildly-spiced red pepper sauce, and served with Mexican rice and black beans. I may look lonely, but I have tons of friends on the internet.
8. Totopo, Mt. Lebanon, 660 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228, 412-668-0773 (in the heart of downtown Mt. Lebanon)
This is a new restaurant for this location (formerly Walnut Grille), and, of course, since it’s one of my favorites, it has the table-side guacamole feature, in addition to a skinny margarita and skinny lettuce leaf tacos. It doesn’t take reservations, but it has a large bar and seating section.
Chipotle Chicken: Grilled chicken, bell peppers, peas, onions, and asparagus sautéed in a spicy chipotle sauce. Served over cilantro rice and topped with tortilla strips $13 Also available with shrimp $15
I think I’ve really worked myself up for a margarita. Anyone want to join me?