Mexican Food in Hiroshima

ByMatt Mangham
Jan 28, 2019

Mexican Food in Hiroshima

The rest of the world’s foodies may cast a longing eye toward Japan, but let’s face it, if you live here sometimes you just want a  decent taco. Once upon a time, this was surprisingly difficult, but no longer. Hiroshima has at least two good Mexican options now, while an hour’s drive (a little longer by train) will take you to a third and praiseworthy option in Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Iwakuni. In no particular order, here they are.

Graffity Mexican Diner

After living in San Diego, the Nakashima brothers returned to Hiroshima with the skills and flavors they’d acquired while working at a Mexican restaurant a stone’s throw from Tijuana. Their Graffity Diner (and yes, some of the walls are covered with messages from happy customers) was one of the first Mexican places in town to make a successful start, and in their 11th year, they’re more popular than ever, with both locals and travelers. Expect to run into overseas players for the Hiroshima Carp here on a fairly regular basis. On my most recent trip, one brother manned three burners and a fryer, cutting up beer battered fillets of catfish and tending his carne asada, while the other brother worked the floor and register. They make their own sauces, and in addition to tacos, burritos, and chimichangas they offer steak, chicken mole and a popular Pescado a la Veracruzana. I ran out of guacamole in a hurry and was promptly provided more without asking. Their collection of beers and tequilas is a welcome feature, including Dos Equis lager and both a Porfidio and Olmeca. Group courses and all-you-can-drink specials are also available, though I wouldn’t count on that Olmeca being included.

Borracho’s

A more recent player, Borracho’s opened up about two years ago and immediately began winning rave reviews. Located well into the chaos of the Nagarekawa drinking district, it should be tricky to find, but luckily the enormous Virgin of Guadalupe above the entrance makes it fairly easy to spot. The menu isn’t especially surprising; it includes tacos, fajitas, taquitos, and chimichangas along with other bits and pieces. But the food is excellent, especially the small corn tortillas made fresh on the premises and featured in many of the dishes. The guys in the kitchen travel to Mexico often and have a lot of the flavors just right. I especially liked the little show they make out of creating your guacamole fresh at the table, and with the help of a few extra jalapenos, you’ll soon feel that friendly prickling of the scalp that means you’re enjoying yourself.  

Borracho is also a great place to share dishes, and a large plate of chorizo tacos is an excellent place to start. The decor steps right up to the edge of being overdone and stops just in time. Mexican blankets, milagros, braided ristras of chiles, and other touches grace both the first and second floors. The top floor is nonsmoking, with a small bar of its own to see to parties and other groups. And the selection of tequilas? Outstanding. And since they’re open until 5 in the morning, you have plenty of time to try them all. God speed.

Mike’s Tex-Mex

As a transplanted Texan, this is the closest thing I’ve found to the kind of restaurants my family visited in the halcyon days of the 1970s. My kids love it, and despite it being an hour by car from our front door, we make the trip two or three times a year. Mike’s is old school Tex Mex, with enchiladas, refried beans and “Mexican rice” all running together on the platter. 

I assume, that you’ll be ordering the Hungry Hombre special. The chips arrive at the table hot and greasy, and the guacamole is served in a bowl at least twice the size you’ll find elsewhere. Even drinks come in the kind of pebble-textured plastic tumbler I remember from childhood. Cocktails include both the regular margarita and the “Coronarita,” with a bottle of Corona upended in the margarita glass. Dessert? Try the cinnamon tortilla chips and vanilla ice cream. You’ll leave full and happy. 

Mike’s has locations near U.S. military bases around Japan, so they’ve no doubt benefited over the years from customer feedback. And while the other two restaurants mentioned here are relatively small, Mike’s offers a spacious, non-smoking dining room with a rack of sombreros for the kids to wear and polaroids of happy diners covering one wall. The only thing missing is a mariachi band.

Graffity Mexican Diner

Address: 6-4 Fukuromachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi 730-0036
Access: South from Yoshinoya in the middle of the Hondori Shopping Arcade. Walk two and a half blocks toward Peace Boulevard and look for the sign on your right. The restaurant is on the fourth floor.
Hours: Seven days a week. Lunch 11:30-14:00, dinner 18:00-24:00
Telephone: 082-243-3669
Additional Info: English menu, and limited English spoken. Smoking. Credit cards accepted
Website: http://graffity.info/

 

Borracho’s

Address: No. 2 Mizuno Bldg, 6-5 Yagenbori, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0027
Access: Easiest way to find it is probably to head south along Yagenbori from Kamiyacho. It’s about six blocks, but just keep an eye out for the huge Virgin mural over the door on your right.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 18:00-05:00. Sunday, 18:00-02:00
Telephone: 082-241-3911
Additional Info: English menu, and limited English spoken. Smoking. Credit cards accepted
Website: http://borrachos-hiroshima.jp/ (apparently down at time of writing) 

Mike’s Tex-Mex Restaurant

Address: 1-7-12 Mikasamachi, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi-ken 740-0016
Access: By car, take Route 2 to the Hatsukaichi Interchange entrance to the Hiroshima-Iwakuni Toll Road. Exit at Ootake and continue south on Route 2 into Iwakuni. At the junction with 110, follow 110 south. You’ll find Mike’s on your right shortly before the bridge over the Imazu River. Or, from Iwakuni Station, follow the tunnel below the station and walk south (right) along 110, past the Yamaguchi Prefectural Culture Hall. You’ll see Mike’s on the right.
Hours: Lunch 11:00-14:00, dinner 17:00-22:00. Closed Wednesdays and some national holidays.
Telephone: 082-724-7001
Additional Info: English menu, English spoken. Nonsmoking. Credit cards accepted
Website: http://mikes.jp/shopinfo04.html
Website 2: www.facebook.com/borrachosonline/ 

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About the author

Matt Mangham subscriber