Little Tijuana

Twin Cities, Minnesota


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I'm not a big fan of this joint. They don't have many healthy options and mostly I'd say the one thing they have going for them is that they're always open.

And the chips w/guacamole are usually worthwhile, but other than that I'd say enter at your own risk.

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Minneapolis has many Mexican restaurants but very few of them are truly veg*n-friendly. The general trend seems to be that most Mexican places have beans cooked in lard and rice cooked in chicken broth and there's a pervasive misunderstanding about the meaning of "vegetarian" (to say nothing of "vegan").

So I appreciate Little Tijuana for not using either of those common, hidden ingredients, and for explicitly stating so on the menu. It certainly set me at ease.

At most Mexican restaurants, even if you speak Spanish, explaining veganism is difficult (which makes sense if lard and chicken broth are considered "vegetarian" in Latin America).

I thought the service was friendly and prompt. My food arrived quickly.

I had a guacamole taco without cheese ($3.50) which was pretty decent, but would have been much better if they made it with mock duck or soy protein (it seems so obvious; I don't understand why more Mexican restaurants don't embrace faux meats).

Fearing the taco wouldn't be enough to fill me up, I also ordered a black bean burger which was, in actuality, a Morningstar vegan patty on a bun ($7.25). No black beans there. It came with fries on the side. This portion of the meal was a disappointment.

I was also disappointed that Little Tijuana charges you for chips and salsa ($2.25) which are normally free at most Mexican restaurants. Their deep-fried chips were okay, but their salsa choices were almost all mediocre. The only one with any quality was the pico de gallo; I recommend avoiding their tomatillo or normal red salsas which didn't taste fresh at all.

My other major gripe is that this place nickel and dimes you for everything. You want lettuce and tomato with your veggie burger? An extra $0.50. You want a three ounce side of guacamole? $2.50. Also, they automatically gave me a larger and pricier glass of Coke, even though a smaller and cheaper size was available (which they didn't tell me about). I didn't like this at all, even if it was only an extra $0.55.

All told, Little Tijuana is not the best place for food, but their pico de gallo with chips is solid, as is their guacamole taco. I like their extra-late hours.

Most critically, this is the only Mexican place that I've been to in the Twin Cities which doesn't use lard or chicken broth, which in itself is a huge plus point in its favor. Little Tijuana keeps my trust whereas most other Mexican restaurants do not.

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I am rarely impressed by the food at Little T's though the back bean burger is decent. It's really only good to eat at if it's really late and no where else is open. The staff and service is hit or miss. Sometimes we have excellent service, other times it's nearly walk-out terrible.

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fun place to get a bite to eat - the burritos are giant & the veggie burrito has brocoli, califlower & carrots in it - most anything can be req. as vegan & many items are vegetarian.

open until 3am or so & yummy food.

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I remember this place when I lived in Mpls., and it was beyond horrible -- well before I went vegan. I can't even imagine eating there now as a vegan.

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I used to really go here for the giant malts, but since going vegan there really isn't any reason to go here.

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i don't envision a time when i would ever find myself back at this place. i've been there a few times, and each time the experience has been lackluster.

the vegetables in the enchiladas, for example, clearly originated from a bag of frozen chopped vegetables. this is not unlike many so-called authentic mexican restaurants (e.g, Chiapas, Taco Morelos, El Mexicano) that take the "green giant frozen vegetable medley" approach to vegan/vegetarian food. a noteworthy exception is Viva Mexico in northeast, whose vegetarian burrito, for example, is stuffed with fresh-grilled zucchini, peppers, onions and spinach.

true, little t's has character, as well as crayons. i really want to like them, but i can't. if they want to cultivate their main strengths, they should just stick with the coloring business.

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I've always thought of little t's as being punk rock mexican. They got the late night thing going, they got the crayons and the table paper, they got the tacky decor, and they got the art school kids. It's a Minneapolis landmark, but their prices have gotten bigger over the last few years while the portions have gotten smaller. Still where you going to go, drunk at 2:30am?

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in response to it being not vegan friendly: of the mexican food, i think the only things that can't be made vegan are the burritos & quesadillas, (because of the flour shell). anything with hard or soft corn shells are fine. this at least includes tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, nachos & taco salads. things can be made with beans or veggies (broccoli, cauliflower & carrots). i have no trouble filling myself up. it's not the most amazing mexican food, but a great late night option. plus they have crayons & paper table cloths to color on.

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i didn't think this place was vegan-friendly at all. I remmeber thinking that if i asked for anything without cheese there wouldn't be much left.

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