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Achilito’s, a small chain of Mexican restaurants based around Massachusetts, opened its newest location in Harvard Square earlier this year.
Though the restaurant already has locations in Jamaica Plain, Brighton, and Foxborough, its 84 Winthrop Street location marks its first foray into the Cambridge area. The menu features a variety of Mexican and Latin American dishes, ranging from burritos, quesadillas, and bowls to empanadas, elotes, and pupusas.
Daniel Wood, a West Cambridge resident, said he was driven by a sense of curiosity to try Achilito’s, but it was the quality of the food and service that led him to return.
“When it opened, I wanted to give them a shot because they looked like they were working really hard to get the place off the ground,” Wood said.
But Wood said he quickly appreciated “wonderful” staff and high quality of food.
“I really have noticed the freshness of the food,” he said. “And it’s affordable, the small and large portions.”
But Taj S. Gulati ’25 said his experience with the food at Achilito’s was “not that good.”
“It’s really wet,” he said. “It’s quite moist. And that might be some people’s yum — I personally don’t enjoy it.”
Achilito’s staff did not respond to requests for comment.
Achilito’s will face tough competition in Harvard Square, which is known for the dominance of El Jefe’s Taqueria and Felipe’s Taqueria, two Mexican restaurants appreciated by students for their long hours.
Both have withstood the longstanding, fierce competition for the Square’s demand for Mexican food.
Some customers expressed disappointment about the new addition. Gulati said that instead of another Mexican restaurant, Harvard Square would be better served by more culinary variety.
“You do not need another Mexican restaurant. We have Jefe’s, we have Felipe’s,” Gulati said. “They’re cute. They have a little rivalry.”
“Maybe get some late night Chinese food, a late night Indian place,” he added. “I didn’t need a third [Mexican] option.”
Francisco Lagos, a kitchen manager at Felipe’s, said the natural response to Achilito’s is to stay consistent and “keep everything fresh.”
“We are focusing on what we’re doing,” Lagos said. “We have to keep the same quality.”
Still, Lagos suggested that Felipe’s may consider extending its weeklong hours to stay competitive.
Wood said that Achilito’s arrival onto the Mexican food scene in Harvard Square may improve the quality of existing restaurants.
“That keeps everybody on their toes,” he said. “Anytime you have competing businesses, you’re going to want to make sure your place is up to par.”
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