Food & Drink

Best Restaurants in Mexicantown Detroit

A quick lunch trip to some lesser-known restaurants in Mexicantown Detroit that includes a stop at Taqueria Lupita’s and some post-lunch goodies at the glorious La Gloria Bakery.

My company recently moved to downtown Detroit, and my coworkers and I have been having a great time sampling nearby lunch spots. Detroit’s Mexicantown, a very short drive away, has a lot to offer, but I just want to offer a quintessential gastronomical adventure: lunch and dessert in under an hour.

This trek focuses on the most touristy area of Mexicantown – that little three-block section of Bagley between Grand Blvd and I75/I96 as it heads into/out of Canada. Does anyone besides me find it funny that Mexicantown is within view of the Bridge to Canada?

I’d like to point out that all of Southwest Detroit has a wealth of authentic, affordable Central American eateries and that Mexicantown is so much more than the restaurants catering to suburbanites in this little stretch. I chose Lupita’s to review here because I feel it’s more indicative of what the rest of Southwest Detroit has to offer and probably the best food in this otherwise bending-to-the-masses collection of eateries.

If you’d rather stray off the beaten path, try heading west on Vernor for the spots locals prefer (La Tapatía and Los Altos on Vernor, Los Gallos on Dix, and Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño on Livernois). Keep an eye out for taco trucks!

Taqueria Lupita’s

  • Location: 3443 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216
  • Open Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Special Menu: Al Pastor Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas

On my first trip to Lupita’s about a year ago, my party was the only one dining, but perhaps the word has gotten out – as dozens of Yelp reviews would suggest – because Lupita’s is always humming at near-capacity around the lunch hour.

Of course, their lunchtime success could be because of the $3 lunch special, served up in minutes so you can still make it to the bakery and back to work in under an hour! Yes, that is not a misprint: for $2.99, you can get two taco-truck-esque tacos, with a choice between 6 different fillings (Al Pastor pork being my fave), sprinkled with cilantro and onion, and accompanied by a large helping of rice and beans (not refried, to my delight). Absolutely scrumptious as well as being an irresistible bargain. If there’s one thing I love more than delicious, authentic ethnic food, it’s delicious, authentic, dirt-cheap ethnic food.

Lunchtime in Taqueria Lupita’s

With this nearly perfect lunch, you’ll also get a very generous sampling of salsas with your obligatory pre-meal tortilla chips (house-made). Their menu certainly extends beyond tacos – I can vouch for their tamales and enchiladas – but you really can’t go wrong with the tacos at lunch.

They also have Jarritos – the Mexican soda pop that comes in a variety of exotic flavors like guava and mango, and Horchata – a milky sweet drink that, in Mexico, is made from rice, vanilla, nuts, and cinnamon.

If you’ve yet to venture to Detroit’s Mexicantown and are looking for a restaurant to sample, Taqueria Lupita’s is a great way to break in. Of the restaurants in this touristy stretch, it’s one of the more authentic. The only drawback – to my mind – is that there is no beer or wine (which sadly means no sangria).

El Rancho

  • Location: 5900 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
  • Open Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Special Menu: Mole Poblano, Carne Asada, Chile Rellenos

El Rancho is a cornerstone of Mexicantown’s culinary scene. This family-owned restaurant has been serving delicious Mexican food for years. As you step inside, you’re greeted with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The vibrant colors and traditional decor make you feel like you’re in Mexico. But it’s the food that keeps people coming back.

EL Rancho Mexican Restaurant

El Rancho is known for its generous portions and authentic flavors. The menu offers a wide range of options, from classic tacos and burritos to more elaborate dishes like carne asada and chile rellenos. Each dish is made with fresh ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations. The flavors are bold, and the spices are perfectly balanced, making every bite a delight.

One of the standout dishes at El Rancho is their mole. This rich and complex sauce is made with a blend of spices, chocolate, and chili peppers. It’s poured over tender chicken and served with rice and beans. The combination of flavors is truly something special. If you’re new to mole, El Rancho is the perfect place to try it.

El Rancho also offers a great selection of margaritas and other cocktails. Their drinks menu complements the food perfectly, providing a refreshing balance to the bold flavors. Whether you’re having a casual dinner or celebrating a special occasion, El Rancho is a great choice for an authentic Mexican dining experience.

Los Galanes

  • Location: 3362 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216
  • Open Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Special Menu: Fajitas, Ceviche, Shrimp Cocktails

Los Galanes is another gem in Mexicantown that you won’t want to miss. This restaurant offers a blend of traditional Mexican dishes and contemporary creations. The result is a menu that is both familiar and exciting. The atmosphere at Los Galanes is lively and festive, making it a great place to gather with friends and family.

One of the signature dishes at Los Galanes is their fajitas. Served sizzling hot, the fajitas are a feast for the senses. You can choose from a variety of proteins, including steak, chicken, shrimp, or a combination. The meat is cooked to perfection and served with grilled vegetables, warm tortillas, and an array of toppings. It’s a fun and interactive meal that everyone can enjoy.

Los Galanes also offers an extensive seafood menu. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll love their ceviche and shrimp cocktails. The ceviche is made with fresh fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. It’s light, refreshing, and full of flavor. The shrimp cocktails are equally delicious, with a tangy sauce that perfectly complements the sweet shrimp.

For dessert, don’t miss their flan. This creamy caramel custard is the perfect way to end your meal. It’s rich and indulgent, with a smooth texture that melts in your mouth. Paired with a cup of coffee or a shot of tequila, it’s a delightful treat that will leave you satisfied.

Xochimilco Restaurant

  • Location: 3409 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216
  • Open Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Special Menu: Enchiladas, Tacos, Mariachi Band Performances

Last but not least, we have Xochimilco Restaurant. This iconic restaurant has been a staple in Mexicantown for years. Known for its friendly service and delicious food, Xochimilco is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making it a great place to relax and enjoy a meal.

The menu at Xochimilco is extensive, offering a wide range of traditional Mexican dishes. One of the highlights is their enchiladas. These rolled tortillas are filled with your choice of meat, cheese, or beans and covered in a rich and flavorful sauce. They’re served with rice and beans, making for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Xochimilco is also known for their tacos. You can choose from a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, pork, and fish. Each taco is topped with fresh ingredients and served with a side of salsa. The flavors are bold and authentic, making each bite a delight.

One of the unique features of Xochimilco is their mariachi band. On weekends, you can enjoy live music while you dine. The lively tunes add to the festive atmosphere, making your dining experience even more enjoyable. It’s a great place to celebrate special occasions or simply enjoy a fun night out.

La Gloria Bakery

The best part about this unpretentious little bakery, within sight of the highway and just a short walk from Lupita’s, is gazing upon all the many enticing creations in their old-fashioned wooden pastry cases, all vying for your sweet tooth’s attention. Each pastry at La Gloria Bakery is more seductive than the last. Tarts, empanadas, scores of cookies, classic churros, breads, tortillas, and chuckle-inducing concoctions, like brownie rats.

Brownie Rats in La Gloria Bakery
Brownie Rats in La Gloria Bakery

Once again, I can’t say enough about the value of La Gloria Bakery. While admittedly, the shortening component of many of the sweet items renders them less flavorful than the baked goods I’m more accustomed to (made with butter), you can’t beat a giant cookie for fifty or seventy-five cents, and their churros are indisputably perfect. And though I haven’t had them myself, many people swear by the unbeatable quality of their flour tortillas.

There are other impressive bakeries in Detroit’s Mexicantown, but none offer the old-school ambiance afforded by La Gloria Bakery’s huge wooden pastry cases, brimming with eye-catching goodies. Pick up a churro for a truly authentic treat, the perfect conclusion to your indulgent Mexican food foray.

  • Location: 3345 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216
  • Open Hours: Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Special Menu: Conchas, Empanadas, Tamales

Mexicantown, also known as Southwest Detroit, is located just west of downtown Detroit, Michigan. The area is bordered by Vernor Highway to the north, I-75 to the east, Livernois Avenue to the west, and the Detroit River to the south. There are many great restaurants, taco trucks, and cultural attractions to explore in this vibrant and diverse neighborhood.

These are just a few of the many great restaurants in Detroit’s Mexicantown. You can also explore the area and discover your own hidden gems!

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About the author
Growing up in Detroit, Lindsey is a Michigan State University alumnus. She feels incredibly lucky to live in Detroit, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Detroit area as a travel destination.