I used to think that American cuisine was identified by hot dogs, macaroni & cheese and apple pie or some version of that. It wasn’t until I’d been an expat for some years that I realized, at least for me and my family, that Mexican food was what we identified as our native cuisine. It is probably the one thing we miss most and are constantly trying to reproduce at home. In fact, our #1 request for items sent or brought over are for Mexican food ingredients.
Having spent quite a bit of time in Mexico during our younger years and for many holidays, we came to adore the cuisine. It was readily available throughout southern California and we certainly took it for granted. We even found it without too much effort in other states outside the southwest region.
Moving forward a few decades and now we’re living in Luxembourg longing for this ethnic cuisine of days gone by. We’ve tried Mexican places here and they just haven’t been quite “it” for us or they had no options for those with Celiac. The best description we’ve heard and tend to agree with is that it all tastes industrial and from a can, not fresh. In fact, one of these Mexican places closed down recently and I’m not sure if anyone really noticed. We’ve been so desperate for authentic Mexican food that we seek it out every time we travel.
So, you can imagine that we were a bit hesitant when we heard about another Mexican restaurant. There were mixed reviews from friends. Some said it wasn’t even close to American-Mexican and they didn’t like it. Other’s raved and said it was as if they were transported right back to Mexico. We were a bit baffled by the extremes in experiences.
My husband and I finally decided to try Mamacita’s Restaurant, in City Centre, for a recent lunch date to see and taste for ourselves. I was a bit uncertain, as was my husband who has gluten sensitivity, because we had no idea what to expect from a food allergy perspective. We checked the menu before being seated to see if we could even make it work. To our delight and surprise stamped clearly on one of the pages was “gluten free/sans gluten” as seen in the photo. This is not a very common thing to see and with such prominence too.
Since it was a beautifully sunny day and a wee bit warm we sat outside. My only issue with the outdoor seating is the proximity to a very busy bus stop. The traffic noise was a bit distracting. All that aside, the rest of the experience was pleasant. The server was terrific, kind and patient and shared that all the corn tortillas (not flour) were gluten free which made the taco options gluten free; yippee! The chipotle mayo is also gluten free so no worries there either. She was really helpful to point out things we should avoid too. This left us with about half of the menu items to choose from. For all of you friends with food allergies, I’m positive you can fully appreciate our excitement when almost half of the choices on a menu are safe to choose from because this almost never happens!
We were overwhelmed to have so much to choose from that we couldn’t choose just one thing so we decided to do a bit of a tasting this first time so we ordered several different things to share. After the first few bites it became increasingly clear about why we had heard mixed reviews. For our friends that love American-Mexican food, this certainly was not the same as what they would expect back home. For our friends who love authentic, south-of-the-border Mexican food, this was clearly exactly the same. We’ve had Tex-Mex, American-Mexican and authentic Mexican and we definitely appreciate the authentic cuisine the most but I guess it’s all truly a matter of personal preference in the end.
Biting into each of the tacos was like a walk down memory lane transporting us back in time to some amazing memories of our times spent in Tijuana, Rosarita Beach, Cozumel, Progresso or Playa del Carmen, sitting on the beach or in family restaurant, devouring fish tacos, enchiladas, carne asada, salsa fresca and margaritas! This was the flavor we have been longing and searching for. Mamacitas is hands down the best reflection and reproduction of the flavors of Mexico we’ve experienced here in Luxembourg! We enjoyed the food so much I even ordered a second entrée; yup that really happened!
If for some odd reason you are still hungry or want to munch, the tortilla chips are gluten free. The chips and salsa or guacmole make a filling snack alongside an after work drink with friends.
We both recommend Mamacita’s Restaurant for those who long for some authentic Mexican food and especially for those looking for the gluten free experience. It might be helpful for English speaking friends to look at their menu online and translate it ahead of time if reading French is a bit challenging since they don’t have English menu’s (yet). If you prefer to eat outside City Centre then try their second location in Differdange. We’re sure you’ll end up with plates that look like ours by the end of your meal. Buen apetito!