One reason it's so fun to travel west from Boston to San Diego and nearby North County time and time again is because it can be really tough to get enough of the food at the traditional Mexican restaurants out there. Places such as Fidel's in Solana Beach and Bahia Don Bravo in La Jolla serve incredibly tasty meals that Boston and, for that matter, most of the rest of New England really never gets to try, but if you look hard enough, the region does have some very good Mexican restaurants, including some authentic dining spots that can be found in the suburbs of Boston.
One such restaurant that excels in Mexican fare--El Sarape--is located south of the city in a mostly working-class neighborhood on the Braintree/Weymouth line that is known as Weymouth Landing. The exterior of the place is plain and unassuming like many businesses in the block, but once inside the spot, one finds a couple of warmly-colored rooms (including a bar in the front room) with a good number of comfortable tables and a noise level that is mostly moderate.
The menu at El Sarape includes traditional entrees as well as more familiar fare, with combination plates offered if you want to try a little bit of everything. A few standouts include the slightly chunky and creamy guacamole that has little in the way of onions; a very savory tortilla soup; crunchy house-made nachos with a salsa that has a slight kick to it; soft and cheesy enchiladas with a rich-tasting mole sauce; and the outstanding guisado con chile ancho, which includes beef (or chicken), potatoes, and onions in a hearty red chile sauce, with the mixture being combined with rice and beans and placed into soft tortillas. Drinks include a variety of margaritas that run the gamut from decent to outstanding--and have quite a punch to them.
The Weymouth Landing neighborhood of Braintree isn't exactly known as a dining destination, but with El Sarape serving such top-quality fare, you may want to head over and get a taste of some great food at a truly authentic Mexican restaurant. It's not all that far from Boston--and it is surely a helluva lot closer than Southern California.
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