The Boston area has a lot of Mexican food on deck this year, with a bit of Salvadoran and Peruvian joining the mix as well. Here’s what’s on the way:

Ali Baba

If the name doesn’t exactly sound Latin American, that’s because it’s not: Ali Baba’s original South End location is focused on Turkish food (and some other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes) and located right next door to its Mexican and Salvadoran sibling, El Triunfo. The two will combine forces under the Ali Baba name for a new restaurant in Charlestown that features the cuisines of both restaurants (not fused together, just offered alongside each other). So: burritos, flautas, quesadillas, tacos, and the like, as well as kofte, doner kebab, ishkembe (a Turkish tripe soup), and more. See also: Not One But Two, Maybe Three, Turkish(ish) Restaurants section below. 100 Cambridge St., Charlestown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: “Soon.”


See Boozy Boston section above.

Chilacates Cantina

As local Mexican chain Chilacates continues to expand, founder Socrates Abreu is adding a little something different to the mix: He’s replacing his burger restaurant the Joint (which replaced Grass Fed) with a new full-service restaurant along the Chilacates lines but slightly different. Unlike the fast-casual restaurants, the so-called Chilacates Cantina will have booze (a beer, wine, and

cordials license that allows for some creative cocktails). Diners can expect new menu items, such as chimichangas and flautas — and whole-roasted pig on Sundays. And a bathroom built in an adjacent space, a definite improvement over the burger shop’s no-bathroom situation. Plus, the long-in-the-works Roslindale expansion of Chilacates will combine Chilacates and Chilacates Cantina, offering a fast-casual counter as well as a sit-down bar. 605 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston; 4253-4257 Washington St., Roslindale, Boston. Anticipated opening timelines: January 2020 in Jamaica Plain; late winter for the counter-service portion of the Roslindale location; later for the bar portion.


The team behind the Beehive in the South End and Beat Brew Hall in Harvard Square is on the verge of opening a Mexican restaurant in the South End. Cósmica will open inside the Revolution Hotel and will feature taco options such as duck carnitas with mole verde and fried plantains; chicken chorizo with cheesy ancho yucca mash; and cauliflower al pastor with chipotle pineapple yogurt. (There will be non-taco dishes as well.) Its beverage list will include boozy slushies, sangria, Mexican beers, mezcal, and seasonal agua frescas (both with and without alcohol). 40 Berkeley St., South End, BostonAnticipated opening timeline: Imminent.

El Tacuba

Medford is still eagerly waiting for this full-service restaurant and tequila bar from the brothers behind the popular group of fast-casual Tenoch restaurants, which are known for their tortas. When Alvaro and Andres Sandoval’s new restaurant finally opens, there will be dishes like pescado a la veracruzana and other dishes inspired by their home city of Veracruz, Mexico, alongside a wide range of tequila and mezcal options. 35 Salem St., MedfordAnticipated opening timeline: Not in 2018, like its website still says. Not in 2019, as the team has said as recently as late 2019. Perhaps 2020?

Tambo 22

Longtime North End chef Jose Duarte, who runs the Peruvian-Italian restaurant Taranta, is expanding his talents out to Chelsea with Tambo 22, featuring Peruvian-inspired bar food accompanied by natural and biodynamic wines and Peruvian beers. 22 Adams St., Chelsea. Anticipated opening timeline: Winter 2020.

Yellow Door Taqueria

Dorchester’s Yellow Door Taqueria’s South End sibling restaurant Lion’s Tail closed just before the new year began, but Yellow Door Taqueria plans to fill that void with another Yellow Door Taqueria. Diners can expect a vibe and interior that’s similar to the original location, along with tacos, crudos, and cocktails. There also may be space for DJs and live music. 354 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Possibly as soon as February 2020.