Last night we dined at ˇViva Mexico! Restaurant in Langley (old Langley downtown) and it was the best Mexican food we've ever had in the Lower Mainland, beating Las Margaritas in Kitsilano, Poncho's on Denman in the West End, and Luna Loca in South Surrey (was previously in White Rock).
The best Mexican food I've ever had was in Bellingham WA. Sorry I forget the name, but the next time you visit down there, Take the Guide Meridian Exit from the I-5 and head north. It's a few blocks up from Bellis Fair Mall, you take a right and will see the obviously Mexican place within a 100 meters on the left.
Funny I assume that you've been to Bellingham and know the Bellis Fair mall area! Am I right?
I got curious and found the appropriate google map. It's called Lorenzo's Mexican and it's on Bakerview Road and the above directions are accurate, except you can't exit the I-5 to the Guide Meridian, but if you've been to Bellis Fair you already know this.
Dońa Cata on Victoria @ 35th in Vancouver (conveniently only a 5 minute walk from my house) has been acclaimed as an authentic Mexican restaurant though perhaps more like a taqueria. It's patronised by a lot of Mexicans (casual observation) and has a salsa bar with 10 different salsas.
There's some new place on E. Hastings called El Barrio that claims to offer upscale authentic Mexican.
Hee hee, actually that's not a lie. The west coast is a seasonal migrant worker route for many Mexican and Central American agricultural workers. We have a Salvadoran restaurant nearby that is frequented by many who come up through California, Oregon, and Washington for the harvest work in the Fraser Valley. As a result of this changing demographic, SeaTac now has Spanish-language TV and radio stations.
Our gain is their hard work and their cuisine! Salvadoran food is a bit more seafood-based than Mexican, and people interested in this thread topic might want to try the Emanuel Restaurant at 92 Ave and Scott Rd (120th) on the Surrey/N. Delta border: http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&sourc...12,133,,0,1.81
There's a couple of Mexican restaurants just down Victoria Drive from Dońa Cata (on the east side of 36th) that may be more Salvadorean. Note sure which part of Mexico the owner of Dońa Cata (it's named after her abuela but it is very regional though they have a (very) few Tex-Mex dishes (e.g., chimichangas) to satisfy the demands of the non-Mexicans.
If you wish to make your own, there is an independent supermarket located at Elliott (or Clarendon) and E 49th Ave called Killarney Market which is owned by a Japanese Peruvian. They must have a lot of Mexican clients as they sell a lot of fresh tortillas and queso fresco, dried beans in bulk, as well as chilies, tomatillos, jicamas and other products from Mexico and South America (Peru being the focus). More than I've seen in any other store. My first clue about the Peruvian ownership was the cashier, a small woman of Japanese ethnicity talking to one of the customers in Spanish.
There is also a Latin American market right next to ˇViva Mexico! Restaurant in Langley.
If you like to make your own Mexican food a great TV show for that is "Mexico One Plate At A Time" on PBS. No commercials, and Chef Rick Bayless gives cultural and historic background to the cuisine too.