CoMo Mexican food

I’ll be on 102.3 BXR tomorrow for a few minutes at 8:45 a.m. We’ll be talking about the Mexican food scene in Columbia, which I’ve always thought was pretty solid after you get past the El Magueys and El Jimadors of the world (which can themselves be fine in a pinch if you order well). Still, I’d love to hear other thoughts and recommendations.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

4 thoughts

  1. Well I used to think Taqueria El Rodeo was the best we had in town, until I went there a few months ago and they served cheeze whiz as their cheese topping on a burrito. To say it was gross was an understatement.

    For me, right now my favorite spot it La Terazza. I love their Guacamole Mexican, which is large chunks of fresh avocado with pico, lots of cilantro and jalapenos and a fresh lemon finish. Another favorite is their sopes al pastor and the wonderful chile verde, slow roasted pork in a verde sauce.

  2. It’s not really Mexican, but a Native American shop recently opened up in Holts Summit across from the grade school. Angela and I went there and had the NDN Tacos (it took me a while to realize those were not initials, but meant to be sounded out). They were OK, but not outstanding. Rather than a tortilla, they were served on NDN flat bread which had a somewhat sweet taste, reminiscent of nutmeg. But I REALLY want to try their desserts (we were too full to try them after the huge taco). There were two based on the fry bread, one with honey and and something else and one with strawberries and whipped cream. And a HUGE piece of chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick that looked cold and refreshing. They had been doing concessions for several years and were encouraged to open up a place. It’s not very nice looking inside or out, there are two tables that were taken from a grade school with the plastic benches attached to the table, so it’s a fairly tight fit to sit down. There are some native american things for sale against the wall on the right as you walk between it and the tables. So it might be fun to visit for a unique experience in mid-Missouri.

  3. In Texas a distiniction was made between Tex-Mex places, Mexican resturants and taquerias. They were usually judged by people based on different criteria and on different scales because there was a different set of expectations depending on what sort of Mexican place it was. I wish the discussion was more like this in Columbia.

    Taqueria El Rodeo is a great example of why this would be useful. In Austin El Rodeo would have been considered a pretty good taqueria, but it is still just a taqueria. Nobody would have even dreamed of comparing it to Mexican or Tex-Mex places like Chuy’s, Polvo’s, Maudie’s, Guero’s etc.

  4. @A E Hansen, I agree. It seems as though folks in MidMo really don’t understand the difference. Something I feel is definitely worth discussing.

    In my opinion, there is not one place I can say I crave or really enjoy. I’m Hispanic. Both of my parents were born in Mexico and I grew up eating authentic Mexican cuisine. When I got married, my husband was introduced to all of this great food that he craves it almost every day. To be quite honest, every place we’ve tried in CoMo has been a disappointment. That’s including El Maguey, La Terrazza, El JImador, and even Taqueria El Rodeo. My judgements are based on the staples in Mexican food: rice, beans, and a very common dish, enchiladas.

    The rice is the easiest thing to prepare and to go to a restaurant and pay money for mediocre rice stinks. But if I were to compare the rice of all of the places in town, El Jimador has the best around.

    Beans. I love beans. Love them. To be quite honest, the beans I’ve had in most places are okay. This is about the only dish I can eat any of these places and not be too disappointed. My husband doesn’t like them so I only get to eat them when we go out.

    Now, to enchiladas. I love enchiladas, and so does my husband, and even my kids (ages 8 and 2). But, we won’t even touch them at Mexican restaurants. Why? They’re usually drowned in tomato-ish sauce and covered in cheese. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love things covered in cheese, but to even claim that the ‘red’ sauce is enchilada sauce would be like me saying that the grilled cheese I just served you from the toaster is a real grilled cheese sandwich.

    Finally, my biggest gripes about the Mexican food in town is that there’s no variation in menus. Every place serves the same thing. There are no seasonal menus and the food isn’t fresh which is what makes Mexican food great. I don’t have any professional training in restaurants or as a chef, but every time I eat at one of these places, I always think about how great it would be to have a Mexican restaurant that serves authentic Mexican cuisine. Not Tex-Mex, not watered down flavors, not food that’s drowned in sauces. Fresh food that’s cooked well.

    I apologize for the lengthy post but this is a topic that I’m just a little bit passionate about. A little bit. Cheers.

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