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What Makes an Authentic Mexican Restaurant?

authentic mexican food

Mexican food has become popularized all across America, but the authenticity of the food isn’t always up to par. Recipes are passed down and changed, chain restaurants are opened, and before you know it it’s challenging to find an authentic Mexican restaurant! Authentic Mexican cuisine goes far beyond tacos and burritos! If you’re trying to determine if a Mexican restaurant is authentic, look out for these key items on the menu.

Fresh Salsa and Guacamole

Mexican food isn’t authentic if it’s not served with the option of fresh salsa or guacamole! Salsa comes in many forms ranging from a basic pico de gallo to a green tomatillo-based salsa. Guacamole is made using ripened avocados and can be used in place of, or in addition to, other salsas. An authentic Mexican restaurant will use fresh ingredients to make its own salsa and guacamole. The fresher the ingredients, the better it will taste! Many Mexican restaurants even serve fresh salsa or guacamole along with fresh tortilla chips while you wait for the main course to be prepared.

Carne Asada

Carne asada is a type of thin-cut steak that’s marinated before being grilled. The marinade features fresh lime that gives the steak a bold flavor and brightens up any dish. Carne asada is commonly served in tacos, burritos, and fajitas. If the menu says “steak” instead of “carne asada”, the food likely isn’t authentic. Carne asada is a commonly overlooked star in Mexican cuisine! If you like steak or just want to try something new, this vibrant grilled meat is the perfect thing to order.

Traditional Mole

Mole is a long-time Mexican tradition. It’s a sauce made using a chili base, with other ingredients added in depending on the type of mole being made. Some recipes even include chocolate! Mole recipes are notoriously complex to prepare, so an unauthentic Mexican restaurant rarely puts in the effort to serve good mole. Mole can be enjoyed with just about any Mexican dish you love, so you can branch out without trying something totally new!


Tostados are a type of corn tortilla that’s kept flat and heated until crisp. Once the tortilla is ready, just about anything can be added on top to create a Tostado. Tostados are a Mexican staple because they’re easy and a fan favorite! The crisp tortilla creates great texture with every bite. Any authentic Mexican restaurant should have a variety of Tostado options to choose from!

Try Authentic Mexican Cuisine at Casa Cana in Boston

If you want to try all of these authentic Mexican dishes and many more, visit Casa Cana today! As an authentic Mexican restaurant, we’re proud to serve Boston with traditional Mexican flavors. Book a reservation with us today.