When you imagine visiting Paris I’m guessing images of baguettes and croissants come to mind, right? When you’re an expat living across the street from a French boulangerie you dream of visiting Paris and eating more exotic cuisine than what’s in your neighborhood. Lamb curry. Tuna sashimi. Carnitas tacos.
Tacos, tacos, tacos.
I have found myself Googling “authentic margaritas + Mykonos” or “best guacamole + Prague” when I probably should have been looking up more local fare. Like many things since moving abroad, I did not realize how much I love Mexican cuisine until I did not have access to it. Hence, my short list of the best I’ve tried.
777 in Dublin. Of all the Mexican restaurants in Europe, this one reminds me the most of an eatery you might find in southern California; and therefore, it’s my favorite. The interior is part irreverent cholo, part retro diner and their menu is equally playful. For example: Tuna ceviche with roasted pineapple and fried garlic. They are serious about their tequila, so you won’t see a frozen margarita machine spinning something pink. Go for Sunday brunch when all dishes are 7.77 euros. Read more on my Two Days in Dublin.
Candelaria in Paris. This place receives a lot of press and for good reason: It is both unassumingly casual and ultra-cool. From one entrance, Candelaria is a tiny, no-frills 10-seat bar serving a variety of street tacos that evoke memories of a teenage summer I spent in Monterrey. Go through the side door and you are in one of Paris’ hottest cocktail lounges. I’d recommend going in warm weather since you’ll likely be eating a taco on the sidewalk while you wait to be seated. Read more on Paris’ Cafe Culture.
Las Adelitas in Prague. This is the first Mexican meal I had after moving abroad, so I went twice in one weekend! Tucked down a small staircase in Prague’s Old Town you’ll find this inviting spot with truly authentic dishes. The native Mexican owners have done a great job of sticking to the classics, such as enchiladas and flautas. No Czech-Mexican fusion dishes or dumbed down flavors here. Read more on my First Impressions of Prague.
El Cantrín in Geneva. Nearly two years after moving to Geneva, a Swiss restaurateur finally opened a Mexican restaurant worth writing about. The menu specializes in Oaxacan street food — All tacos are served in tortillas made from Mexican corn and the dried chilis have to be specially imported. The Geneva-born chef/owner Tareq says he “was quick to realize after a trip to California that Geneva’s Mexican food scene just couldn’t compare.” Monsieur, I could not agree more. Read more on My Life in Switzerland.