As far as I’m concerned, every week is Mexican Restaurant Week in Philadelphia, where the Mexican community has become one of the city’s greatest culinary assets. This week, the Mexican Cultural Center has officially put its stamp on the dining fiesta with a restaurant week event running through May 6, with 19 restaurants from South Philly to Camden participating.
I’ve enjoyed most of these independently-owned restaurants over the years. Here’s a list of some exceptional dishes to look for at some of my favorites:
Mole poblano, enchiladas suizas, tinga de pollo, and weekend tamales at Mole Poblano (1144 S. 9th St., 215-465-1616; ordermolepoblano.com).
Chorizo huaraches, pozole, pambazo, tamales, pancita soup, and gorditas at Tamalex ( 1163 S. 7th St., 215-668-2820; on Facebook).
Tortilla soup, pescado Veracruz, camarones diablas, and molcajete at Las Bugambilias (15 S. 3rd St., 267-239-5673; lasbugambiliasphilly.com).
The El Mariachi surf-’n-turf platter of steak and shrimp with a tostada and chile relleno at San Lucas Mexican Restaurant (2600 Federal St., Camden, 856-966-3556; on Facebook).
Everything on the house-nixtamalized corn tortillas, especially the pork pibil tacos, peanut chicken, and pozole rojo at Casa México (1134 S. 9th St.; 267-470-1464; casamexicophl.com).
The chilaquiles en salsa roja with a cup of hot chocolate (¡Por supuesto!) at Café y Chocolate (532 Snyder Ave., 267-639-4506; cafeychocolatepa.com).
The fabulous mezcalitas and spicy margaritas, ceviches, duck confit with tatemada salsa, tamarind-marinated steak, and Negro Modelo-battered fish tacos at Port Richmond’s Nemi (2636 Ann St., 267-519-0713; nemirestaurant.com).
The tacos birriadillas made with lamb, caldo tlapeño, and churrasco steak at La Mula Terca (2053 S. Beechwood St.; 267-761-5194; lamulaterca.com).
The tacos al pastor, fresh-pressed quesadillas with tinga de pollo, and weekend birria at Philly Tacos (2011 Reed St., 267-596-6352 until May 5, after which they’ll be at Spruce Street Harbor Park for the summer; phillytacos.com).
The ceviches, seafood birria, and grilled branzino at Alma del Mar (1027 S. 9th St., 301-442-0095; almadelmar.net).
The pepita tostada shrimp aguachile, La Montada steak huarache, and al pastor pizza from El Mezcal Cantina (1260 Point Breeze Ave., 215-782-0251; elmezcalph.com).
The chile en nogada cocktail, mole wings, tacos al pastor, and Oaxacan tlayuda with chicken tinga at La Llorona Cantina (1551 W. Passyunk Ave., 215-515-3276; lalloronaphilly.com).