High 5: Best Mexican food spots in Santa Monica

Personal preferences in food are as varying and wide-ranging as we are. Some like spicy, some like tangy and mild; but when it comto Mexican food, almost everyone can agree on one thing: we just can’t get enough of it. So, in no particular order, here are the five best Mexican food restaurants in and around Santa Monica. ==>Here's a map of the High 5.

Lares - Opened in 1968, this Pico classic isn’t the cheapest destination for authentic Mexican food, but it just may be the best. Highlights include breakfast items such as migas and pork chops with eggs, enchiladas and their to-die-for carnitas. Lares is open 365 days a year from 8am to 1am so whether it’s early or it’s late, they’ve got you covered.

El Cholo - Located at Wilshire Boulevard and 11th Street, this grand, Spanish-style building, with an open patio, is as warm and inviting as its employees. With a good happy hour and dangerously tasty margaritas, you almost forget how fabulous the food really is. The enchilada suiza is a can’t miss and if you ask nicely for the Enchiladas Santa Barbara, and they’ll bring you an off-the-menu concoction of chicken and shrimp that is truly a treat.

Tacos Por Favor - Yes, please! This casual and inexpensive, but not necessarily cheap, joint at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and 14th Street will satisfy any craving for Mexican food. It’s fast, it’s easy, and the food is fantastic. At just under $6, the breakfast burrito is killer, and you won’t be disappointed with the carne asada tacos, either.

La Cabana - Just off Lincoln Boulevard, on Rose Avenue, this spot is on the outskirts of Santa Monica. The food is great and the ambiance is just what you want in a Mexican restaurant: dark and cozy. You can sip from one of their many flavored margaritas (mango, coconut, etc.) and grub on everything from seafood (mariscos) to quesadillas. La Cabana is open until 3am nightly, so what’s stopping you from stopping by?

Don Antonio’s - Located on Pico Boulevard between Bundy Drive and Barrington Avenue, Don Antonio’s is a Mexican food hotspot that shouldn’t be missed. Don Antonio’s is also dark and cave-like, but the food and margaritas set it apart. The queso fundido is out of this world, and their taco shells are baked to the absolute perfect crispness. Just because an episode of “the Hills” was filmed here is no reason to avoid this gem of a restaurant.

==>Here's a map of all the High 5 Mexican restaurants.

Did we forget your favorite Mexican place? Let us know in the comments!