Photo by Danilo Sierra
Over the past five years, handmade tortillas, fiery salsas and Sahne-free guacamole have been replacing the stale, generic Tex-Mex fare Berliners once called ‘Mexican’. Here are five great places to get the real thing.
Papalotl: Boasting a “100 percent Tex-Mex free” menu, Mauricio Acosta’s Prenzl’Berg restaurant couples a cosy environment with contemporary, gourmet dishes. His speciality: complex mole sauces served over high-quality meats, with prices to match. Rib-eye argentinian beef comes with deep, unique buttermole, a delicious chillibased ‘gravy’ (€17.20); a seabass fillet is slathered in pineapple- habanero butter and pomegranate seeds alongside French wild rice and green beans (€15).
Belforter Str. 22, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, Tue-Sun 18-1
Ta’Cabrón: In addition to reliably decent antojitos (we’re partial to the chicken tinga in crunchy fried corn quesadillas, €4.50), Paco Franco and Joaqín Robredo’s mini-franchise turns out specials like pozole (corn soup), ceviche and the occasional “Ta’CaBRUNCH” breakfast buffet. And don’t be surprised to find a cumbia or Mexican rock concert if you visit the Friedrichshain location on a weekend night…
Wühlischstr. 12, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostkreuz; Skalitzer Str. 60, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schlesisches Tor, Mon-Thu, Sun 13-23, Fri-Sat 13-3
Chaparro: Open just over a year, Raul Oliver’s no-frills joint serves real-deal tacos and burritos – your best bet is beef barbacoa (€5.20), cooked on a stovetop instead of traditionally buried in a pit but packing tremendous flavour thanks to a guajillo marinade. For the home version, pick up a package of Oliver’s homemade tortillas and a jar of habanero salsa on the way out.
Wiener Str. 15a, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Görlitzer Park, Mon-Sun 12-close
Taco Kween: Jorge Armando mans the comal at Bite Club and prepares more elaborate four-course meals once a month at gallery Team Titanic in Neukölln. If tender cochinita pibil (Yucatecan stewed pork) on tiny hecho a mano tortillas (3/€4.50) doesn’t set your mouth watering, try veggie specials like mushroom-zucchini tacos and piña al pastor (grilled, spiced pineapple with melted cheese).
Tortilla Atomica: Adan Narvaez' roving stand serves the Platonic ideal of tacos: greasy-in-a-goodway al pastor-style pork bound lime, cilantro, onion and mouth-scorching salsa roja in a tasty if thin homemade tortilla (ask for two!). Tempted? Your best bet is to have a taco or two for €2 each at Markthalle IX’s Street Food Thursdays, then head to neighbouring Maizkin for one of Velegui Saavedra’s all-bio corn tamales (€4).
Markthalle IX, Eisenbahnstr. 42/43, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, Thu 17-22