Mexican restaurants are not hard to find in these parts. Between my house and USM I can count four. But what sets these places apart? Most of the items on the menu are very similar. Lots of places offer variations of burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos. But what is it that you love about your favorite restaurant?
When it comes to Mexican restaurants, I tend to frequent places that have good chips and salsa, fresh ingredients, and great service. I’m always up to try a new place and let people know what I like or dislike. I have also recently found myself, more often lately, ordering items a la carte in order to mix things up a bit, especially when it comes to tacos.
A couple of places have really emerged in the last few years in Hattiesburg for offering delicious Mexican tacos. Authentic Mexican tacos are traditionally served with soft corn tortillas, a choice of protein and are usually offered with cilantro and onion. Lime wedges are also ordinarily provided to squeeze the juice onto the taco.
I know that with so many restaurants to choose from, it’s hard to single out one as having the best taco, but I want to showcase some of my favorites. Here are some of the taco spots I have grown fond of:
Compadre’s Taqueria & Mexican Grill (1131 Hardy St.)
So, there is a gallery on the internet of pictures of businesses and restaurants that have taken over old Pizza Huts, and Compadre’s definitely fits the mold. Located close to downtown Hattiesburg, Compadre’s has been my go-to taco spot for a couple of years now. This is the restaurant that turned me on to Mexican tacos, and I think that speaks volumes. When it comes to proteins, you have a good amount of choices. Compadre’s offers asada (steak), barbacoa (shredded beef), carnitas (pulled pork), chorizo (sausage), chicharron (pork skin), pastor (marinated pork), pollo (chicken), lengua (tongue), tripa (tripe), pescado (fish) and camaron (shrimp). I am a big fan of the carnitas at Compadre’s and usually order at least two when I go. They also bring out some sauces to enhance your dining experience, but be forewarned: the red sauce brings some serious heat. Use extreme caution when adding sauces.
La Mexicana (6333 U.S. Highway 49)
La Mexicana also boasts great tacos and is definitely worth a trip if you have never been. I had the pleasure of going with a group of friends, and Carlos Molina (one of the former owners), treated us right. Carlos recently told me he will be moving to Texas and that the restaurant is under new management. Carlos also assured me that the same people will be working there and that the food will be of the same high quality. La Mexicana has many varieties of meats that they buy locally from places like the Lil Butcher Shop. Carlos really built up La Mexicana’s Taco Tuesday which offers one dollar tacos and two dollar beers and margaritas on Tuesdays. It has become a big hit, so it can get pretty busy. I really enjoy the barbacoa at La Mexicana; it’s so good!
La Libertad #2 (701-799 Edward’s St.)
My friend David Gustafson recently took me to a taco spot I had never been to before. This location was a little different from other places I have been to. La Libertad is a Mexican grocery store located right next to Sullivan’s Grocery on Edward’s Street. We walked past the produce section and wall of drink coolers to work our way to the back of the store where a little grill is set up. There is also a nice little seating area if you would like to eat there. The store is absolutely worth checking out. I was amazed at the candle section and all of the products the store sells. La Libertad does not have a huge menu but does offer some variations of certain dishes. I tried the chorizo taco and the carnitas taco and was pleasantly surprised. We also had fresh guacamole and it was amazingly delicious. Although the meal didn’t come with chips and salsa, I really did enjoy the food and perusing the store.
Other notable places to grab a good taco: Casa Jalisco, Izote and Keg and Barrel.
These are just a few of my favorite places to grab a taco. If you think there is a place I should check out, send me a message on Instagram (massivej). I am always willing to try new places.