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Viva Mexico!

Our friends south of border have their Mexican Independence Day on Monday, Sept. 16. We think that’s as perfect an occasion as any to check out the menus at the city’s top Mexican restaurants.

Quesadillas from Talavera

City for Display: 

At this Gables favorite, owner Lalo Durazo and Executive Chef Oscar del Rivero are throwing a spirited fiesta with live music, handcrafted margaritas and the traditional ceremony of El Grito, honoring the heroes of the Mexican Revolution. The party lasts until Sept. 30. 2299 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 305.444.2955,

Huahua’s Taqueria
Fried chicken in a taco topped with jalapeño cornbread, cabbage and ancho ranch? That’s definitely not your typical Mexican bite and chef Todd Erickson knows it. At Huahua’s, the menu is all about taking the spicy flavors we know and turning them on their heads via new preparations with the Erickson touch. May we suggest the carnitas topped with charred tomatillo salsa, radish, cilantro and Mexican cojita cheese? 1211 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305.534.8226,

TeQuiztlan Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar
From the folks behind the dearly departed El Rancho Grande off Lincoln Road, TeQuiztlan offers all the staples its predecessor was so good at (plus new surprises) with a stellar selection of tequilas behind the bar. Our suggestion: enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. 1884 Bay Road, Miami Beach, 305.397.8442,

This chain gives Mexican an upscale twist with dishes like stuffed poblano with shrimp, octopus and various cheeses. As for the various versions of guacamole? Strange but delicioso. And don’t leave without sampling one of the beer cocktails. 3252 NE First Ave., Miami, 786.369.0430,

Paquito’s Mexican Restaurant
With ponchos as tablecloths and warm wall colors inspired by the streets of Mexico City, Paquito’s vibe is half the fun. The menu is based on the owners’ family recipes and everything from the mole to the chips and salsa are made from scratch. 16265 Biscayne Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach, 305.947.5027,