the staff at taqueria morita photo by izaiah johnson

2022 Best New Restaurants // No. 6 Taqueria Morita

Once you start eating at Take Root Hospitality’s Taqueria Morita, it is difficult to stop. No, this is not a Mexican menu of everlasting enchilada platters the size of an infant or burritos the size of your face. If you want chips and salsa – and believe us, you do – you will have to order them, and they will not be refilled (unless you pay for another order, that is). It is a menu largely inspired by northern Mexican cuisine, designed by chefs experienced at executing at a high level, who are applying those skills to a culinary tradition with which they are intimately acquainted. That’s why, once you start eating, you won’t want to stop until you’ve tried everything on the menu – so you don’t leave wondering about the things you didn’t try.

potato and rajas taquitos at taqueria morita // photo by izaiah johnson

Take Root culinary director Aaron Martinez grew up in southern California, and it’s his taste memories that anchor Morita’s menu. “We don’t tie ourselves to any particular region, but you will find a lot of the flavor profiles are inspired by the northern part of Mexico,” he explained. Part of what makes Morita’s menu outstanding is the way it sparks curiosity through ingredient selection that accentuates the best in Mexican flavors. The citrus-y salsa cruda, served with the aforementioned chips and salsa; the potato and rajas taquitos, with poblano cremosa, chiles toreados and queso fresco; and the Baja-style crab tostada with white soy, cilantro and guacachile (a salsa made with emulsified fresh peppers and garlic oil) all introduced us to new flavors and ingredients, expanding our understanding – and elevating our expectations – for what Mexican-inspired food can be.

fish tacos at taqueria morita // photo by izaiah johnson

Whether it’s the Maine crab in the crab tostada, the Atlantic cod marinated in white soy in the fish tempura tacos, or the buttermilk-brined chicken in the fried chicken torta, Taqueria Morita does not cut corners when it comes to the quality of ingredients or the care with which they’re handled. The sweet potato tacos, with pipian verde, pecan salsa and queso fresco, are a bit firmer than expected, but it’s refreshing that they aren’t relegated to the mushy texture of so many other sweet potato dishes. Everything is spiced to perfection – plenty of fiery bite without overpowering the other flavors.

After starting on the Vicia patio this summer, Taqueria Morita has taken up residence at Winslow’s Table for the colder months. The taqueria will reopen on the Vicia patio once the weather warms, but the owners are actively looking for its own brick-and-mortar, likely somewhere with foot traffic such as Maplewood or Webster Groves.

Taqueria Morita, 7213 Delmar Blvd. (currently inside Winslow's Table), St. Louis, 314.725.7559,