Angela's Cafe

By Catherine Smart · 06/17/2019    East Boston (+) · Mexican · $$

If you haven’t eaten at Angela’s Cafe in Eastie, have you really eaten Mexican food in Boston? The OG Angela’s (there’s now a second branch in Orient Heights) is essential to the city’s canon of cuisine, representing the rich and complex food of Puebla.

On the corner of a mostly residential street, you might drive right by the brick-red roof. But inside, the place is likely bustling with a mix of families and casual dates dining in, and neighborhood regulars popping in to pick up takeout.

Start with some fresh guacamole—this bracing version, with lime, cilantro, and onions, is served in the molcajete (lava stone mortar and pestle) it was made in. Then whet your appetite with a Taco Arabe, a flour tortilla filled with silky pork and sweet onions in adobo sauce.

Most people come here for the mole, which is really a category of sauces rather than a specific recipe. Angela’s signature mole is a glossy reddish-brown gravy, bursting with deep flavor you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe that’s because it contains chocolate, almonds, peanuts, raisins, sesame seeds, animal crackers, and banana—and that’s hardly the full list.

For a brighter take on mole, try the green version in the Pipian Verde with pork loin. The vibrant color comes from parsley, spinach, and green tomatillos, the richness from sesame seeds and pepitas.

Customize fan favorites like burritos, chilaquiles, and enchiladas with sauces and spice levels to match your mood. The beauty of this spot is the sweet staff, here to help you navigate the vast menu. Speaking of sweet—you’ll want to wrap up with a cool, creamy slice of Vanilla Flan floating in caramel sauce. And don’t get overwhelmed by all the choices. This might be your first trip out to Angela’s, but like everyone else in the cozy, colorful dining room, you’ll be back.

Angela’s is open every day at 8 a.m. Whether you want Chilaquiles or Belgian Waffles, the cafe serves a stellar breakfast.

The restaurant can be gluten-free-friendly. Many of the dishes are naturally gluten-free, made with corn tortillas. Just be sure to ask; for instance, the mole is not safe for celiac (it’s thickened with crackers), but the Chilaquiles and Vanilla Flan are.

Ask about specials. Some are written down, some are kind of secret. The staff will point you in the right direction.

Must Haves

  • A flour tortilla stuffed with rice, beans, and all the fixins—plus pulled beef in smoky chipotle sauce with just the right amount of heat.

  • A.k.a. the cure. This miracle dish of leftover tortilla chips sautéed with salsa and topped with runny eggs, shredded chicken, sour cream, queso, onion, and avocado will fix you.

  • You’ve likely never tasted anything like this fresh green mole sauce made with pepitas, sesame, parsley, and probably dozens of other secret ingredients. The best part might be sopping it up with homemade tortillas.

  • We like them best with red mole sauce, but you really can’t go wrong with these tender corn tortilla roll-ups.

Fun Fact

Need proof it’s never too late to follow your dreams? Angela Atenco Lopez had been cooking for almost 50 years (she started helping her mother in the kitchen at age 8) when she moved to Boston and teamed up with her sons to run Angela’s Cafe.

Tastes of Angela's Cafe

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