Ypsilanti, has a real plethora of great Mexican food, and none of it comes from a chain or franchise restaurant. The old stalwart is of course La Fiesta Mexicana on W. Cross St. Michelle Roman and Guillermo Aleman (Memo) have been running their little establishment across from the EMU campus since 1990. On most evenings it is quite busy and they are also open for lunch. Jules and I and the kids have been going there for many years and always love the food. They specialize in traditional Mexican dishes primarily from central Mexico. The enchiladas verde covered in a tomatillo salsa have always been one of my favorites along with the tamales which are available with several different fillings. The fresh tortillas especially the corn are also extremely tasty. I could just sit and eat the corn tortillas for a meal. The carne dishes are fabulous too and the pollo con molle is a special treat as a are the Fajitas. Make sure you get some guacamole and a carafe of the limonada to drink. You won’t be sorry. Now Michelle and Memo have opened an offshoot called Taqueria La Fiesta on Packard at Carpenter Rd next to the Hollywood Video store. We’ve been there a couple of times now and it is great. The Taqueria is different, mostly takeout with a few tables. The menu is also very different from the original restaurant, with tacos, gorditas and Mexican sandwiches, none of which are available at the original. The lengue tacos are particularly good and a new favorite of Max. This place is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for some quick food on the go.
Another recent addition is Taqueria LaLoma on W. Michigan Ave. The location has been home to several different establishments in the last few years but it looks like La Loma is going to stick around for a while. The food is great, and the service is really fast. The chimichangas are very tasty and the various tacos and burritos are great too. They also make great Mexican sandwiches. Depending on what you are looking for each of these restaurants has great choices to offer, with their own unique menus.
On the other hand any “Mexican” restaurant that doesn’t know what cilantro is must be avoided at all costs. In that vein make sure you stay away from Tios. This place started in downtown Ann Arbor and has had a second location in Ypsilanti for a few years now. The appeal completely escapes me. We’ve tried it a couple of times and been completely underwhelmed each time. Throwing some jalapenos and hot sauce on your dishes does not make Mexican food. The hot sauces seem to be the sole appeal of Tios, and if you take those away the food is bland and uninspired, reminiscent of Taco Bell.