XULO (pronounced: choo-lo, means: bonito) is Stockholm’s newest Mexican restaurant, located on Torsgatan 49, in Vasastan. It has already earned itself a reputation for the most authentic and tasty tacos in Stockholm. So of course being Mexican myself, I couldn’t resist the temptation and had to go there to try their Mexican food to see for myself if the reputation stood the test.
Upon arrival at XULO we encounter a small downstairs restaurant with only a handful of tables but fully packed with guests. It’s the middle of July, Stockholm’s slowest month for most businesses but here everything is at full speed, plates with tasty looking food constantly coming out of the kitchen, the highly inviting aromas coming from the kitchen filling the restaurant. Jonathan, XULO’s owner and chef, receives us with a warm and sincere smile, making us immediately feel at home, like when visiting a cousin’s house in Mexico.
Jonathan offers us beers and sits with us to have a chat about how XULO came to be. He begins to tell us the story on how he opened his first ‘taquería’ (small street-taco restaurant) back in Guadalajara, Jonathan’s hometown, when he was only 17. His love for food and specially tacos, made him begin experimenting with flavours. He already knew a lot about good meat, the main ingredient, from his experience working with a butcher from the age of 10. He then started working at different restaurants and learning all about food and food service. When Jonathan moved to the small island of Holbox, down in the Mexican Caribbean, he started missing tacos, like the ones he had in Guadalajara, so he started cooking them for friends and neighbours and everybody loved his touch. He then opened a ‘taquería’ in Holbox at the same time as he was working as a restaurant manager. Everything was rolling smoothly for him in Holbox until his Swedish wife had to return to Sweden and he of course followed her along.
Jonathan knew quite clearly he had to work with food here in Sweden. -It’s the only thing I knew and could do, he says. He started working in restaurants, first as a runner and with time he made his way to being a waiter and then on to better positions. Until he attended a restaurant manager course and his final project became XULO. Then things just rolled on like an avalanche. He finished his course and immediately bought a restaurant. He was handed the keys on the 1st of June 2021, and in 17 days he furnished and painted it, built the bar and put together a menu. By 17th of June of the same year XULO opened its doors to the public.
“When I opened I set myself a very low salary because I didn’t know if I was going to survive. My salary was enough to cover for my living and expenses and to this day that is what I live with. I don’t care if I make a lot of money or not, I care that people come to XULO and get a good impression of the place, show them that Mexican food is different from what they will see everywhere.”Jonathan
During our visit we tried the dishes that make the restaurant so popular right now. Their ceviche is superb, it tastes so fresh that you almost feel as though you are sitting somewhere along the cost of Sinaloa, Mexico. The right amount of spices and the shrimps in it are so savoury.
Perhaps the most popular dish is the mix of meat tacos, with three different kinds of tacos: pastor, steak and barbecue. If you have never been here, this could be your starting point.
There is of course a vegetarian and a full vegan option, for absolute every dish, even their ceviche, they can make it with a tapioca-based non-fish ingredient or cauliflower. Another thing worth mentioning is that all their tortillas are made with corn, which is of course gluten free. XULO’s entire menu is gluten free.
In the menu you will find of course different dishes, and looking at the menu is like getting to know Jonathan and his family. The names of the dishes refer to their favourite dishes. El Flaco, would be the steak taco, which is Jonathan’s favourite, because his nickname back in Mexico was el flaco = the skinny one; La Guera, a slang for blondie, would be a burrito, which is Jonathan’s wife’s favourite; and in the kid’s menu you will find a quesadilla and a bistec taco, because that’s what Jonathan’s daughter likes to eat at XULO.
Every weekend there are some special dishes at XULO. What comes on the special’s menu will be dictated by what Jonathan or his wife may be fancying or missing from Mexico. It could be anything from fish tacos to pozole, a traditional Mexican stew-like soup.
“Every day I cook everything from scratch. I try to always have fresh stuff from the same day. Looking to make things much better. In the afternoons we make the corn tortillas freshly by hand. XULO is doing better and better things. If you come after 4, your tacos will come in the handmade tortillas.”Jonathan
Leaving XULO with a smile is almost a guarantee, it’s even part of their logo, which is a taco turned upside down, looking like a smile. And we can already anticipate that big things are coming for the restaurant, as a new broader menu is on its way, and maybe in the not so distant future there could be a sister restaurant.
Don’t forget to order a ‘michelada’ on your next visit to XULO, which is a beer in a tangy, spicy sauce, so refreshing!
Our food rating for XULO 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 out of 5 stars.