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Cielito Lindo 

                      Photo by Anthony Tieuli

There’s an edge of sophistication in the food at Cielito Lindo in Beverly, which elevates traditional Mexican fare from the typical tacos and tortillas smothered in cheese into food that’s layered with flavor and color. For instance, spicy-sour pickled onions and jalapenos contrast beautifully with Mayan-style pork in the Tacos de Cochinita Pibil. The cocoa-infused mole poblano sauce that tops dishes like Enchiladas de Mole is smoky, spicy, and complex. Cielito Lindo also perfects the standbys. Its margaritas are bright with lime juice. The guacamole is smooth and creamy, served in a black stone molcajete. The fried plantains are sweet and topped with cream. And the atmosphere at Cielito Lindo is perfect, too: That of an intimate and authentic Mexican cocina.

150 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-922-4657,



Agave Mexican Bistro

“This is easily some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. I had the flautas as an appetizer and my brother had the carnitas. I also ordered the Cocido de Pollo soup. ?Everything had amazing flavor—not salty like in many Mexican restaurants.? The flautas were fat, unlike typical flautas, which are usually long and thin with hardly any meat; these were stuffed! ?The carnitas were a simple, but delicious. My soup was outstanding—spicy chicken broth with a hint of chipotle smokiness, shredded chicken, potatoes, diced fresh avocado, and diced tomatoes.? Several days later, I was wishing I had purchased a cup to take home with me. It was amazing.” –Denise

50 State St., Newburyport, 978-499-0428,