Photograph by Jeremy Kramer
Tucked into a strip mall straddling Madisonville and Oakley are some of the most authentic Oaxacan flavors around. Since opening in 2012, Josh Wamsley and his small-but-mighty team at Mazunte have been maddeningly consistent, rivaling many celebrity chef–driven joints with three times the staff and budget. But let’s not confuse reliability with complacency. Mazunte runs a culinary full court press, switching up specials to keep both regulars and staff engaged, and Wamsley regularly returns to Mexico for fresh inspiration. His tamales arrive swaddled in a banana leaf, the shredded pork filling steeped in a sauce fiery with guajillo and ancho chilies yet foiled by the calming sweetness of raisins. The fried mahi-mahi tacos are finished with a citrusy red and white cabbage slaw that complements the accompanying mango-habañero salsa. With this level of authentic yet fast-paced execution, a slightly greasy pozole can be easily forgiven. Don’t miss the Mexican Coke and self-serve sangria (try the blanco), or the cans of Rhinegeist and MadTree on ice. Wamsley and crew nail it once again this year, proving that a top restaurant can also be an affable and inexpensive one.
5207 Madison Rd., Madisonville, (513) 785-0000, mazuntetacos.com