Best Mexican in Bangkok
Since its launching in 2009, La Monita has matured into a burgeoning Mexican food empire that now boasts four different locations around Bangkok. A visit to the original shophouse taqueria shows that, even halfway around the world from Baja California, success comes to those who can make damn good tacos and margaritas.
Set back down a side lane within steps of Phloen Chit BTS station, La Monita reaches out and grabs you with its hot orange facade. A couple of smoker-friendly tables are set up out front, with most of the picnic-table-style seating found in a pair of bright and clean air-con dining rooms that will transport you to San Diego or Santa Fe. Many tables are designed for groups, but solo diners and couples can pull up a stool at the bar-height tables up front.
The extensive “Mexican and Mission food” menu displays plentiful photos, solid explanations in English and Thai and a “build it yourself” section where you can choose between chorizo sausage, slow-roasted carnitas, grilled shrimp or jalapeno-laced pinto beans, among several others, served with any of four different tortillas. You’ll also find Cuban-style sizzling platters along with fajitas, chimichangas, tostadas, guacamole and several takes on the good old taco and burrito.
While we’ve enjoyed several of the options listed above, we daydream about the chicken enchilada platter that’s absolutely worth its 310 baht price tag. Two large corn tortillas are stuffed with shredded chicken, smothered in melted cheese and baked to a crisp along with hefty portions of refried beans and Mexican rice. With a healthy dollop of house-made habanero sauce, it rivals the enchiladas at some of our favourite Mexican joints in the States.
La Monita also does hearty breakfast burritos and some interesting desserts like arraz con leche (rice pudding) and Mexican espresso infused flan. We never have room left over for those, but a handmade margarita or cold San Miguel helps out with the habanero sauce. Most food items cost over 200 baht, but portions are huge and the food prepared to a very high standard.
The flagship outlet couldn’t be much easier to reach, but we’ve been known to fall victim to a sudden need for tacos upon sight of La Monita’s food truck on the ground floor of Siam Paragon, that glitzy mall in the Siam Square vicinity. The owners also run the Viva Mexicana stand on the sixth floor of the Central Chidlom department store, and in May 2015 they launched La Monita Urbana Cantina, a grill-heavy spot with an “all-Latin” cocktail list in the new EmQuartier mall next to Phrom Phong BTS station.
To find the original La Monita, catch the skytrain to Phloen Chit station, take the stairs down at Exit 2, turn briefly back east and then hang a right into the second side lane that runs alongside the Mahutan Plaza building. La Monita is a short stroll in on the left, just across from the main building. You’ll also find some good sandwich joints around here.
Address: 888/26 Mahatun Plaza, Ploen Chit Rd, Bangkok
T: (02) 650 9581
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º32'57.19" E, 13º44'31.9" N
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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.