Best Mexican: El Vaquero

From the March 29, 2012 edition

One of the great advantages of living in Columbus: You’re never far from El Vaquero. The chain keeps growing and growing (eight Columbus area locations and counting) because it strikes a delicate balance — and a difficult one, or else more restaurants would replicate it. The feat in question? Serving up Mexican food so authentic that you’d think Azteca Stadium must be nearby, and doing it in a setting that feels friendly and familiar to your average American eater.

Runners-up: La Fogata, Cuco’s Taqueria

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