Best Mexican/Latin restaurant (Inside Chittenden County)
- 169 Church Street, Burlington, VT, 05403
El Gato proprietor Teresa “Tree” Bertram grew up in California on her Mexican American grandmother’s cooking. In August 2011, she brought that authentic Mexican style to Burlington, using local proteins whenever possible but aiming to “stay true to the food” with traditional spices and flavors. Her Church Street cantina churns out elote (Mexican grilled corn), posole, tacos, tamales and more than 80 house-infused tequilas.
SEVEN DAYS: How do you distinguish “authentic” Mexican food from the real deal?
TREE BERTRAM: You can always tell by the rice; if the rice is bad, it’s not authentic. Salsas are very important, too. Sometimes you can just feel it. There’s definitely a place for Mexican food where the chef comes in and puts a twist on it, and I think that’s great, but it’s not what I do. I can’t really eat Mexican food like that!
2012 Runner-up: El Cortijo