You can notice it as soon as you walk in- the ambiance is a fusion of Mexico meets Finland, with cheerful Mexican music playing in the background of the Nordic-inspired dining room. The lighting and furniture is simple, yet stylish. Mexican art and pottery hang on the tan-coloured walls. The food, however, is anything but fusion. No, this is pure Mexican cuisine.
Mex-Mex is the creation of owner and chef Eder Rodriguez. Rodriguez, originally from Toluca, Mexico, first came to Finland in 2006 as part of an exchange program for his food and beverage studies. He trained in Tampere at Näsinneula restaurant. A few years later, Rodriguez decided to make Finland his permanent home. He has worked at several prestigious restaurants in Finland, including Smör, here in Turku.
With the goal of bringing authentic Mexican flavours to Turku, Rodriguez opened Mex-Mex in 2014. Located a bit conspicuously along Itäinen Pitkäkatu, it can be easily overlooked. But you definitely don’t want to miss this place. Everything, from the corn tortillas to the spicy, flavourful sauces, is made from scratch. Many of the ingredients aren’t available in Finland, so they are imported. This creates a dining experience that is unique from the usual offerings of typically-Finnish restaurants.
While the recipes and dishes are authentic Mexican, there are a few tweaks to accommodate some locally-available ingredients. For example, the fish tacos available on the dinner menu are made with salmon. This common Finnish ingredient should appeal to the locals, while also introducing them to a new meal they’ve possibly never eaten before. In addition to fish tacos, the dinner menu, which is currently served on Friday and Saturday evenings, contains a small yet tasty array of Mexican classics, including freshly made guacamole, ceviche, enchiladas, tacos and more.
Lunch at Mex-Mex offers a refreshing change from the usual lunch spots. In addition to being a served lunch rather than the typical lunch buffet, the three course meal offers only one option for each course (though vegetarian and special dietary requests can be made). Lunch includes a soup starter, main entrée and dessert. The menu changes daily, offering customers the chance to try new, delicious options each day. One day might be chicken enchiladas smothered in salsa verde and then next day could be a pork belly burrito. Though chicken and pork aren’t exotic items in Finnish cuisine, the sauces and garnishes will transport you to Mexico on even the coldest, greyest winter day.
Mex-Mex also holds special events from time to time. In the past, they have hosted events such as Tacos, Cervas y DJ (Tacos, beer and DJ), which is just what is sounds like—a fun party vibe with tacos, beers and music. The next event at Mex-Mex will be Let Me Mexmex You, a unique event organised by Mex-Mex and Helsinki-based wine group, Let Me Wine. The event will include four courses, each expertly paired with wine, and will take place on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15.
If you can’t make it to the upcoming event, be sure to keep your eyes open for new events around the corner. Rodriguez plans to expand the evening dinner service and really focus on bringing new, exciting food to Turku. And of course, lunch is always a great option to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure in the middle of the work day.