Des Moines authentic Mexican food guide

Sometimes it can be hard to find authentic restaurants near you.

Google Maps can only do so much to tell you what restaurants are good, but most of the time it sends you to places that are not at all authentic.

Not to worry, I have compiled a list of real, authentic Mexican places that are sure to bring some culture into your life.

La Tapatia

La Tapatia

1440 Des Moines St.
Des Moines, IA 50316

This is one of the most popular Mexican grocery stores in Des Moines.

Over the years they have expanded to four locations all over town. They carry all the ingredients you might need to make any dish and more.

Not only do they have fresh produce, but also plenty of other goods that can be useful for adding some extra flavor into your kitchen. Even if you don’t like to cook there are some hot meals that are ready to take home as well as some great snacks to take home.

Recommendation: Any of the candy!

This store carries some of the most famous traditional candy that you cannot find at any American grocery store. The best are any of the tamarind candies.

Paleteria La Michoacána

Paleteria La Michoacána

1552 E Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50316

This small location is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Des Moines. They are known for their ice cream and traditional Mexican delights. They are super popular throughout the entire year and you will always find it packed with people on the weekends. The best part is they also serve traditional Mexican food.

Whether you are feeling like eating a meal or just coming in for a snack they are the place to go. If you thought that Dairy Queen or Coldstone had a great variety of flavors , la Michoacána has some flavors that you simply cannot get anywhere else. From strawberry with cheese to eggnog, they have it all. They also have paletas which are essentially ice cream popsicles, but they have the option of juice-based or ice cream-based flavors.

Recommendation: Mangonada, a cup filled with mango ice cream, real mangos covered in chamoy, a Mexican sweet sauce and a stick with tamarind candy on it. It is a must have treat!

Fondita la Victoria

Fondita la Victoria

1832 Hubbell Ave.
Des Moines , IA 50316

This small Mexican restaurant is brand-new to Des Moines. Not even on Google maps will you find this gem. With some great food to fill your stomach , this restaurant has great traditional Mexican food as well as dishes of the day. They are very friendly and right when you walk in you are greeted with a big smile by the staff making you feel right at home.

The decorations assure you that if you are looking for an authentic restaurant this is the place to be. The walls are covered in different colored paper mâché with figures all over.

Recommendations : Torta de Carne Asada; you can never go wrong with ordering a torta from a Mexican restaurant. It’s similar to a sandwich, but Mexican style. Made with a special bread spread with a little mayonnaise , avocado, and your choice of meat and cheese. If you are feeling brave , they have a spicy sauce that will add some flavor to your meal.

La Mona Bakery

La Mona Bakery

1534 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, 50316

This bakery has some of the best bread for the lowest prices — I’m not talking about your regular white or wheat bread — I’m talking about yummy dessert bread made in a traditional Mexican style. They make what is called Pan Dulce, which is a Mexican dessert. It goes really well with some warm milk or hot chocolate.

They are known for their special, which is a dozen pan dulce for just $7.50, and with all the different kinds that they have, the problem won’t be getting to a dozen but trying to keep to only 12.

The best part is that all the bread is freshly made in store. If you are looking for something cool to bring for any of the holidays this treat is definitely something you should consider.

Oreja from La Mona Bakery

Recommendations: Oreja and Maranitas.

These two are some of the greatest desserts ever. An Oreja is a bread that is shaped like an ear and is essentially a puff pastry cookie covered in sugar.

A Maranita is a gingerbread in the shape of a pig. They look cute on your plate, and they taste delicious. They are perfect to bring on Thanksgiving day to spice things up and surprise your friends.




Mini super La Victoria

Mini super La Victoria

1638 E University Ave.
Des Moines , IA 50316

Having the same owner as la Fondita la Victoria, this small grocery store is just getting started. It may be small, but it carries a lot of Mexican delights. If you are looking to make a salsa, they sell many different spices and chiles that can give it that kick. It’s very important to support your local businesses, so why not buy all your groceries here to try out a Mexican recipe for dinner.

Recommendation: Beans! They have a pretty great variety, and you can’t get more Mexican than beans. It’s really easy to cook them, and they make for a delicious side dish. It is very common for a Mexican household to have some type of beans in their house, because of how easy they are to cook.

Pasteleria Raquel

Location: 1521 E Grand Ave. #3512
Des Moines, IA 50316

If you are looking for a cake for any event, this is the place you need to go to. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. They have top-notch cakes that will make everyone very happy. Even if you do not have an event, you can still come and enjoy their delicious food. It is not common that a cake shop is also a restaurant, but this is no ordinary cake shop. They have some delicious food that will make your mouth water and your stomach rumble.

El Azteca

Located on 2727 Stange Rd.
Ames, IA 50010 and
1520 S Dayton Pl.
Ames, IA 50010

Starting as a small location on Stange road, this restaurant has come a long way since then. When they began to get more business, they expanded the building and then opened up a second location, which many residents of Ames have come to love. Something that separates this restaurant from the rest is that it is run by a very tight-knit family that makes it feel like walking into a home.

They are a favorite among the residents of Ames, as well as the Iowa State students. I must warn you that if you are thinking of going to eat for dinner there on a Friday or Saturday night, get there early. They are so popular, that on a typical weekend night, a 45 to 60-minute wait is pretty common, but the food is well worth the wait. They serve many traditional dishes and their queso is to die for.

Recommendation: Pollo al Chipotle; Grilled chicken covered in a chipotle sauce that is so delicious it will warm up your stomach. Served with rice, a little pico de gallo, and some guac, this meal will fill you up and have you wanting to come back for more.

El Original Mexico Lindo

1301 Watrous Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50315

This small restaurant is a only a few years old. Starting as a small store with their kitchen in a trailer, they have definitely grown since their humble beginning. They have recently remodeled and expanded their location to a building with an actual kitchen, so if you are uneasy about a taco truck or food prepared in vehicles, don’t worry.

An interesting thing to note is that they do not have a website or any social media presence to promote their business. They have grown solely by the recommendations of their loyal customers which says a lot about their service.

Recommendation: Gorditas de Carne Asada; All mexican restaurants have your basic traditional tacos, rice, and beans — but this restaurant offers something that is hard to find anywhere else. The gorditas are similar to a hand-made tortilla, except they are filled with the meat of your choice, and cheese if preferred. It also comes with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado, and they are very delicious.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *