These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (2024)

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These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (1)

ByAmelia Mularz

Taste of Home's Editorial Process

Updated: Oct. 11, 2023

    From coast to queso-loving coast, these are the best Tex-Mex restaurants in the country!

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (2)

    knape/gettyimages

    Big on beef, yellow cheese, flour tortillas and comfort, Tex-Mex is a fusion of northern Mexican and Texan tastes. As a nod to this border cuisine that makes mouths water from Massachusetts clear to California, here are the best Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. Of course we could fill the entire list with Texas spots, but we’ve spread the love to other places where either Texans have set up shop or the food is so good you’ll swear you’re in the Lone Star State.

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (3)

    via @LoneStarTacoBar/facebook

    Lone Star Taco Bar

    Boston, Massachusetts

    For nearly a decade the team at Lone Star Taco Bar has been slinging mesquite-smoked beef barbacoa, a Tex-Mex classic. One of the owners grew up in Texas, which no doubt helped drive the menu. Lone Star credits its flavor inspiration to the open-air markets and taquerias of Austin, Dallas, and Mazatlan, Mexico. Find your own inspiration in these top Tex-Mex recipes.

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    Güeros Brooklyn

    Brooklyn New York

    Ooey-gooey cheesy nachos are a beloved border creation. As the story goes, they came into existence in 1943 when a maître d’ named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya García created an impromptu dish to feed guests while the restaurant’s chef stepped out. Brooklyn is a long way from the border, but Güeros nails the spirit of combining ingenious ingredients with their piled-high brisket nachos.

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    Republic Cantina

    Washington, DC

    As a queso-loving country, it makes sense that our capital should have a decent place to dunk salty tortilla chips. Republic Cantina is that place. Order the chili con queso, then wash the delicious dip down with a Texas-style drink, like Ranch Water— it’s Topo Chico with tequila, muddled lime and agave.

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    Juan Luis

    Charleston, South Carolina

    Holy guacamole does the “Holy City” have a stupendous spot for border cuisine. Pitmaster John Lewis, who grew up on breakfast tacos, enchiladas and gorditas in El Paso, opened Juan Luis to give Charleston a taste of the same. This meat maestro knows his way around crispy gorditas stuffed with red chile pork, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo.

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (7)

    cia @elcharrousa/facebook

    El Charro

    Fraser, Michigan

    San Antonio-style puffy tacos are going strong in the Great Lakes State, thanks to El Charro. Now with four locations, this deep-fried tortilla touting empire started in 1971 in Fraser with family recipes from Delia Martin. Taco fillings include chicken, beef and mahi mahi—each topped with lettuce, cheese and tomatoes.

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    San Antonio Taco Company

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Since 1984, San Antonio Taco Company has served Tex-Mex flavors to the Music City. Started by two Texans, the restaurant is now run by new owners who carry the tortilla-centric torch. The chili con carne here is famous in town, and the fajitas sizzle as well. Can’t get enough? Try making one of these flavorful fajita recipes.

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    Lonesome Rose

    Chicago, Illinois

    Contrary to what the name implies, Lonesome Rose draws a crowd, especially for brunch (hey, vaqueros can enjoy a leisurely weekend meal, too). Four kinds of breakfast tacos, plus frozen margaritas, are a nod to Texan cuisine. You’ll also find unique twists here, like French toast with horchata icing and whipped pepita butter.

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    Tamale House East

    Austin, Texas

    More than mouthwatering, Tex-Mex is a family tradition at Tamale House East, a third-generation Austin institution. Tamales are clearly a big draw here, but you can’t stop by without also trying Mom’s Migas and Queso—scrambled eggs with pan-fried corn tortillas, queso and salsa ranchera. Afterward, make your own migas at home.

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    Matt’s El Rancho

    Austin, Texas

    Here’s another historic spot. Matt’s El Rancho dates back to 1952 and counts President Lyndon Johnson among its legions of loyal fans over the decades. The restaurant also claims to have introduced a slew of Tex-Mex staples, including fresh-lime-juice margaritas, Mexican seafood dishes and Bob Armstrong dip (loaded queso with taco meat and guacamole).

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    Ms G’s Tacos N’ More

    McAllen, Texas

    Some states have wine trails. Texas has the Rio Grande Valley Taco Trail, and Ms G’s Tacos N’ More is on it. This unassuming spot that’s takeout only has earned icon status in the birthplace of Tex-Mex thanks to decades devoted to chorizo-and-egg-stuffed tortillas. Taste how the pros do it, then whip up your own breakfast tacos.

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (13)

    via @palomablancasa/instagram

    Paloma Blanca

    San Antonio, Texas

    When it comes to “Best Tex-Mex” titles in San Antonio, competition’s as stiff as a crunchy taco shell, and yet Paloma Blanca has nabbed the top honors in town, according to San Antonio Magazine. Fajitas by the pound, including a veggie version with zucchini and mushrooms, served on a sizzling comal griddle helped sealed the deal.

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    via originaltacosjalisco.net

    El Original Tacos Jalisco

    Denver, Colorado

    Forget cake. As any Tex-Mex lover knows, it’s really about having your enchilada and eating it, too. The combo plate—a mixed platter that can include tacos, enchiladas, tamales and more—is a Tex-Mex creation. At El Original Tacos Jalisco, guests enjoy a menu with 13 combo choices. And we can’t forget to mention all the types of burritos you can order.

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    Five and Dime General Store

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Hot topic: Is Texas or New Mexico the birthplace of the Frito pie (corn chips smothered in chili and cheese)? We’ll steer clear of the controversy and just say this Five and Dime, which has a snack bar in back, is famous for the dish. Food legend Anthony Bourdain filmed his Frito pie experience in this very spot.

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (16)

    via @BarAmaDTLA/facebook

    Bar Amá

    Los Angeles, CA

    Even California, which has its own love affair with Mexican food, can’t resist the allure of Lone Star-style eats. LA’s Bar Amá serves puffy tacos, queso and green enchiladas that some say are even better than what’s in Texas (fighting words, for sure). Join the friendly feud by perfecting one of these ways to make enchiladas at home.

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    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (17)

    via laredosgrill.com

    Laredos Grill

    Seattle, Washington

    Take a right at the Space Needle and suddenly you’re in…Laredo? This Tex-Mex cantina in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood feels authentically Texan thanks to rustic decor, including ceramic tiles and carved wood sourced from its namesake city. Frozen margaritas made with avocado puree are a favorite at Laredos Grill. Salud!

    Originally Published: May 28, 2021

    Author

    Amelia Mularz

    Amelia has spent the last 15 years writing about travel and exploring food destinations, and she’s shared many of her finds at Taste of Home and other publications. Her favorite pilgrimages include Mexico City for the mole and Wisconsin for the curds. She lives in Los Angeles where she can be found enjoying the city’s street taco scene.

    Read More

    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (18)

    These Are the Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the Country (2024)

    FAQs

    What are 3 differences between Tex-Mex cuisine and authentic Mexican cuisine? ›

    Tex-Mex cuisine leans on yellow cheese, beef, canned tomatoes, and flour tortillas, creating a hearty and flavorful combination. In contrast, authentic Mexican cuisine emphasizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as corn, diverse chilies, and indigenous vegetables, capturing the essence of regional flavors.

    What's the number one Mexican restaurant in America? ›

    Taco Bell was just named the best Mexican restaurant in the United States, according to a nationwide customer survey of people's favorite brands. The Harris Poll, surveyed more than 77,000 customers on over 3,000 brands to determine what everyone loved the most. Taco Bell beat Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Del Taco, and Qdoba.

    What Tex-Mex dish was first served in the Plazas of San Antonio Texas before making its way to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893? ›

    The stands became so popular that, in 1893, the San Antonio Chili Stand was presented at the Chicago World's Fair, giving many Americans their first taste of chili.

    What foods are actually Tex-Mex? ›

    Examples of Tex-Mex food include fajitas, nachos, and any dish that uses beef, black beans, canned vegetables, wheat flour, or yellow cheese. These ingredients are not popular south of the Rio Grande or the Mexican border. This means Tex-Mex food is available in numerous places in Atlanta.

    What is the best food to eat at a Mexican restaurant? ›

    In general, more nutritious options include fajitas, bean burritos, grilled chicken dishes, and soft tacos. Here are some of the most nutritious choices to look for on the menu.

    What is the best Mexican food ever? ›

    Greatest All-Time Mexican Classic Dishes to Try
    • Chilaquiles. This should be on top of your list of authentic Mexican dishes you will order the next time you enter an authentic Mexican restaurant. ...
    • Pozole. Guess what the top Mexican dishes include? ...
    • Tamales. ...
    • Cochinita Pibil. ...
    • Mole Poblano. ...
    • Tacos. ...
    • Elote.

    What's the #1 restaurant in the US? ›

    And the top spots have stayed consistent. For the seventh consecutive year, Manhattan's Le Bernardin was named the number one restaurant in the U.S. This is also the fourth time chef Eric Ripert's signature seafood restaurant is ranked at the top spot globally.

    Is San Antonio known for Tex-Mex? ›

    Our long history of Mexican culture and influence makes San Antonio an excellent place to find authentic Tex-Mex, Mexican, and Mexican fusion cuisines. Plenty of options are available for you, whether you are looking for classic dishes like tacos or enchiladas or want a modern take on a traditional favorite.

    Who created Tex-Mex? ›

    Tex-Mex cuisine (derived from the words Texas and Mexico) is a regional American cuisine that originates from the culinary creations of Tejano people (Texans of Mexican heritage). It has spread from border states such as Texas and others in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country.

    How old is Tex-Mex? ›

    Looking back at Tex-Mex history, Southern Texas is the birthplace of Tex-Mex food dating back to the late 1800's. Tex-Mex recipes became known more widely with the building of the Texas Mexican Railway. Tejano home-style cooking quickly gained popularity throughout Texas and spread across the Southwest.

    What food is Texas known for? ›

    Especially Texas Smoked Brisket, Ribs, and sausage. Finish the meal with Pecan Pie, Texas Sheet Cake, or Peach Cobbler which are all popular Texas desserts! Tex-Mex is also hugely popular with dishes like Queso, Grilled Chicken and Steak Fajitas, Chicken Flautas, and Beef Enchiladas.

    What is an example of a Tex-Mex dish and a Mexican dish? ›

    The taco can indicate if your food is from the north or south of the border. Tex-Mex tacos feature ground beef, a flour tortilla, salad, and yellow cheese. A Mexican taco is always served in a corn tortilla, filled with slow-roasted pork or barbecued meat, and topped with lime, onion, and cilantro.

    Is enchilada Mexican or Tex-Mex? ›

    Dishes such as enchiladas can be authentic or of the Tex-Mex variety. Authentic Mexican enchiladas have a variety of ingredients wrapped and often fried. They can be topped with cheese, chicken, lettuce, or sauces. Tex-Mex enchiladas are typically baked and are made with beef and cheese.

    Is Tex-Mex white people food? ›

    Tex-Mex cuisine (derived from the words Texas and Mexico) is a regional American cuisine that originates from the culinary creations of Tejano people (Texans of Mexican heritage).

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