I’ve been to most Mexican restaurants in the Capital Region, and I want to rank them based on their food, authenticity and atmosphere.
1. El Mexicano (Saratoga Springs, NY)
El Mexicano is by far the best Mexican restaurant in the Capital Region, offering many selections, free complementary appetizer and dessert. Servers are very friendly and there is Mexican music playing in the background.
These four restaurants are tie for 2nd place. They all have the similar menu and serve similar food. The food is more Tex-Mex and Mexican inspired, instead of real Mexican food.
6. El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant II (Albany, NY)
El Mariachi could be as good as La Fiesta, Pancho’s or Casa Real, especially with the Aztec sun wall decoration inside the restaurant. I’ve been there once and had Mole con Pollo, and found two problems with it:
- The mole is way too sweet for me. Most mole I’ve had has a a little bitter and spicy taste, and I like the kind of mole I had at my Mexican friend’s home. But at El Mariachi II, the mole is just pure sweet…
- They serve black beans by default, instead of pinto beans. I like black beans, but for Mexican food, it has to be pinto beans!
7. Salsa Latina (Albany, NY)
Very Americanized. I’ve only been there once and had Arroz con Pollo, it was tasteless and disappointing. I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone as a Mexican restaurant. They do have a full bar, if you want some Margaritas.
8. Cantina (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Wannabe contemporary Mexican food. This place is trendy, servers are nice too, but unfortunately they don’t serve Mexican food. (My Mexican friend call this “white people’s Mexican food,” meaning that is what people never had Mexican food thought Mexican food is like.)
9. Jose Malones (Troy, NY)
Jose Malones is not a Mexican restaurant, even though it says it is, and has a “Mexican” category on Yelp. Jose Malones is a bar that serves nachos. That’s it.