Mexican Food Ratings by City

A Review of Restaurants Tried

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Methodology Used  |   Regional Mexican Food Styles "Las Especialidades"  |   Heat Index "El Fuego"

Mexican Restaurants Listed by State

Arizona (3)  | Idaho (1)  | Nevada (2)  | New Mexico (42)  | Oklahoma (24)  | Texas (83)  | Utah (3)  | Washington (8)  | Wyoming (1)  | CLOSED

Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
El Bravo
3800 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ
18 Son. 2006 (Also in north Phoenix).
Full Review
El Charro Café
4699 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ
21 Son. 2007 One of the oldest Sonora style restaurants in Arizona, it is known for its carne seca. . .
Full Review
Hispanic Magazine Top 50 Restaurants
La Fuente Restaurant
1749 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ
24 Son. 2007 La Fuente's food comes from the owners' family recipies from Sonora. The restaurant is known for its mole. . .
Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
Rancho Viejo
2525 E. Seltice Way
Post Falls, ID
15 Gen. 2003
(On Request)
(Also in Spokane & Pullman, WA). Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
Baja Fresh
7501 W. Lake Mead
Las Vegas, NV
17 Cal. 2000
(Only the Salsa is Spicy)
The word "fresh" is very appropriate. Try items with black beans, sour cream, etc. This is a chain fast food restaurant, but it is better than most, especially if you are looking for vegetarian dishes.
2101 S. Decatur Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
13 Son. 2000 The food was disappointing to me because it was not spicy or authentic tasting. It is supposed to be Arizona style, but I think most places in Arizona are better tasting.

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New Mexico
Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
Casa Grande
2424 Central SW
Albuquerque, NM
23 NM 1992 Red enchiladas are excellent. They serve sopaipillas and honey with the meal, and I remember being glad I had this to cut the fire from the enchiladas.
El Modelo
1715 2nd St. SW
Albuquerque, NM
21 NM 1990 Takeout only. Stuffed sopaipillas are excellent. Tamales are the specialty.
El Pinto
10500 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM
17 NM 1990 The same family started this restaurant, La Posta in Mesilla, and Griggs in El Paso, Texas. The food here has become more toned down and "Americanized" than the original recipes call for, and is not my choice for New Mexican food. It's in a large hacienda-type building, and the setting is really much of the enjoyment of eating here. Despite the fact that I don't care much for the salsa at El Pinto, La Posta, or Griggs, the El Pinto salsa sold in grocery stores is one of the best, and I use it at home frequently.
Garduño's of Mexico
2200 Sunport Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM
20 NM 2000 While "airport food" has always had a bad reputation, one of my best experiences was at Garduño's in the Albuquerque airport. In fact, it was so good I tried to eat there again when I was at the airport, but since 9/11 it has been placed outside the security perimeter and it is no longer possible to eat there while changing planes unless you have a lot of time. If you are able to try it, though, you will get genuine New Mexican food, although with plastic forks. It would be worth planning connecting flights through ABQ at meal time with enough layover to try Garduño's.
La Salita
1217 Eubank NE
Albuquerque, NM
17 NM 1990 This was a neighborhood favorite of my cousins so I ate there quite a bit, and had quite a bit of La Salita's take-out. If it were not so convenient, though, I probably would not have eaten here, since this is not a "destination" restaurant with great New Mexican food. I always felt that if you had the time to drive to other places, better food was available in a number of other restaurants.
1520 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM
18 NM 1981 I think I ate twice at this location near Old Town, and felt that the food was too "touristy" and "toned down." I was surprised when I ate at the Osuna location and thought the food was much better.
6051 Osuna NE
Albuquerque, NM
21 NM 2003 Excellent blue corn enchiladas, but I was a little diasappointed in the stuffed sopaipilla (but it was still good). . . Full Review
5801 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM
22 NM 1981 Not to be confused with the more famous Perea's Tijuana Bar & Restaurant in Corrales, this Perea's is a 1950's style greasy spoon place (it was probably in its heyday when Central Ave. was still part of US 66). What sets Perea's apart, though, is the breakfast menu. It may have some of the best huevos rancheros anywhere--they are plenty spicy, but the emphasis is on flavor rather than the spiciness.
Sadie's Dining Room
6230 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM
22 NM 2006 Excellent blue corn enchiladas and carne adovada. Red chile is on the spicy side, but not extremely so--it is just spicy enough to have a good flavor. I think this is one of the premier New Mexican restaurants in Albuquerque. . . Full Review
Little Mexico
200 Anthony Dr.
Anthony, NM
20 EP 2006 Recommended item is Zapo's flautas. It also has one of the better versions of pozole found in southern New Mexico. Serves a variety of tacos, Mexican combination dishes, and breakfast items. Has a bakery with a number of Mexican baked goods. . . Full Review
Tacos El Abuelo
Taco Truck
Anthony Dr.
Anthony, NM
17 Chih. 2005 Taco truck, located just n. of the Texas state line in Anthony, NM. Serves excellent tacos and burritos, and has some non-beef items such as chicken mole and bean burritos. Drinks are excellent, such as lemonade, horchata, and canteloupe. . . Full Review
508 S. Canal
Carlsbad, NM
13 NM 1989 From the outside, this looks like the Mexican restaurant in Carlsbad, but I was not impressed--it's better to go to Lucy's down the street.
Lucy's Mexicali
701 S. Canal
Carlsbad, NM
20 NM 2002 Stuffed sopaipillas are best.
Chris & Di's 4 Winds
US 54 & US 380 Intersection
Carrizozo, NM
23 NM 2000 One of the best places I've tried. I love the red chile enchiladas.
Guadalajara Cafe
916 L. Casillas Blvd.
Clovis, NM
23 NM 2005 A rare example of true New Mexican style food in southeastern NM. Red enchiladas and rellenos are great. . . Full Review
3100 Mabry Dr.
Clovis, NM
20 NM 2006 Largely a Tex-Mex restaurant, but enchiladas and other items such as the topped sopaipilla have a definite New Mexican influence. When ordering enchiladas I would recommend the green--the are spicier and have a better flavor. . . Full Review
Matilda's Cafe
424 Corlett Rd.
Española, NM
23 NM 1978 I went a long time ago. I remember that it was hot and that it's a good example of northern New Mexico style cooking.
Rio Grande Cafe
100 Los Alamos Hwy.
Española, NM
21 NM 1973 Probably the hottest green chile in New Mexico.
Jerry's Cafe
406 W. Coal Ave.
Gallup, NM
23 NM 2006 Very good New Mexican dishes. Stuffed sopaipilla with guacamole is the specialty. . . Full Review
El Caballero
210 W. Marland
Hobbs, NM
19 NM 2001 Pretty much a hole-in-the-wall place. Specializes in tacos and other meats, soups, and Mexican dishes found in the more authentic, border places. Enchiladas are not as good as at Goncho's, but the other dishes make up for it.
801 W. Bender
Hobbs, NM
17 NM 2002 A little more Tex-Mex than most food in New Mexico, but very good and flavorful. This is a sit-down, family-style restaurant that specializes in combination plates and typical Mexican fare.
Hwy 28 (about 15 mi. s. of Las Cruces)
La Mesa, NM
25 NM 2008 Chiles rellenos and green enchiladas are best, but they are even better during chile season (Aug.-Oct.). This may be the premier New Mexican food restaurant in southern N.M. The food is prepared the way it shoud be, so you can see what N.M. food is all about. . . Full Review
El Sombrero Patio Cafe
363 S. Espina
Las Cruces, NM
21 NM 2005 The best items I've tried is the stuffed sopaipilla with red chile--it's almost as good as Nellie's. The green enchiladas are milder than I like. There are daily specials with items not normally on the menu. . . Full Review
Kiva Patio Cafe
600 E. Amador
Las Cruces, NM
22 NM 2005 Serves a combination of New Mexican and Mexican style food. While it does not have the most "authentic" green chile, the chile is spicy enough, and most of all it is very flavorful. The food is very fresh and the kitchen is clean and open to view from the dining room. . . Full Review
Las Trancas
1008 S. Solano
Las Cruces, NM
23 NM 2005 Cooked with light canola oil, the food here concentrates on the flavor of the chiles rather than the flavor of the oil. Even though the enchiladas are medium-spicy by New Mexico standards, the salsa will satisfy the most serious chilehead. Green enchiladas are served with chile chunks (not puréed). Stuffed sopaipillas are excellent, but you might want to order something else since free sopaipillas and honey are served with all meals. . . Full Review
Los Compas
603 S. Nevarez
Las Cruces, NM
20 NM 2005 Los Compas is a small restaurant with service from the counter. About 20 plates are available, most with beans and rice, including some breakfast dishes. I liked both the red and green chile here, but the relleno was greasy. Carne adovada seems to be the specialty here. . . Full Review
My Brother's Place
334 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM
17 NM 2005 The red chile here is hotter than at most places in Las Cruces, and has a deep red color. Red enchiladas are good, but I think the sopaipilla compuesta is an even better way to enjoy the chile (you can have it covered with either red or green chile). Sometimes the restaurant is a little weak in the preparation, such as not serving the food at the proper temperature. . . Full Review
1226 W. Hadley Ave.
Las Cruces, NM
24 NM 2002 Stuffed sopaipillas are my favorite--it's like a burrito but using a sopaipilla instead of a flour tortilla. You can get it stuffed with red or green chile, along with beans, lettuce, and meat (or you can order it vegetarian). Enchiladas are also very good--stacked is best. I have always considered Nellie's to be the best New Mexican restaurant in Las Cruces--it's too bad it's not open for dinner.
310 S. Mesquite
Las Cruces, NM
19 NM 2005 Nopalito has good red enchiladas, and green enchiladas are served with chunks of green chile (New Mexico style). The most distinctive feature of the restaurant is the salsa that is made with green chile strips, sort of like chile con queso but without the cheese. . . Full Review
Roberto's Mexican Food
908 E. Amador Ave.
Las Cruces, NM
23 NM 2006 One of the most popular take-out places in Las Cruces, it also has counter service for dining in. The spicy red enchiladas are some of the best in Las Cruces, and the one served at the city's annual Whole Enchilada Festival. . . Full Review
El Charro Cafe
209 S.P. Blvd.
Lordsburg, NM
18 NM 1998 They seem to be afraid of using the undiluted hot chile found along the Rio Grande, but the food has a good flavor.
2184 Avenida de Mesilla
Mesilla, NM
22 Chih. 2005 Tacos al carbon are fantastic--I think better than any I have found in El Paso or Jurarez. Other items are not as memorable. . . Full Review
El Comedor
2190 Avenida de Mesilla
Mesilla, NM
20 NM 2005 Chiles rellenos contain very spicy Hatch chiles, but the batter is not as good as at Chope's. Red enchiladas have a good flavor, and are not as spicy as at some other restaurants. . . Full Review
La Posta Restaurant
2410 Calle de San Albino
Mesilla, NM
16 NM 2005 Mesilla's most popular tourist destination, it is not a place to go for the most spicy and authentic New Mexican food. It is worth visiting, though, to see the historic building, and it maintains good service to help you enjoy your meal. Green enchiladas are best, and appetizers (chile con queso) and sopaipillas are good. . . Full Review
Los Mariachis
2790 Avenida de Mesilla
Mesilla, NM
24 NM 2007 Both red and green chile are excellent, and the red may be as good as Chope's. Salsa is excellent (better than Chope's). Chiles rellenos are disappointing compared to other restaurants. Stuffed sopaipillas are my favorite dish. . . Full Review
El Rancho
101 S. Chicago
Portales, NM
17 NM 1999 Would have a higher score if more spicy
El Toro Bravo
102 S. Main
Roswell, NM
16 NM 2003 My complaints with this restaurant are small ones--the salsa is not hot enough, the stuffed sopaipillas use ground beef instead of chunks, and there are no whole beans (only refried). Overall it has very good New Mexico style food. . . Full Review
Doña Chole Tortillas & Tostadas
1809 Mc Nutt Rd.
Sunland Park, NM
21 Chih. 2006 An authentic south of the border style restaurant that specializes in tacos, burritos, tortas, and sopes. . . Full Review
Dean's Restaurant
1806 E. Tucumcari Blvd.
Tucumcari, NM
19 NM 2006 Green enchiladas are pretty close to authentic New Mexican style, but red enchiladas are more Tex-Mex. Refried beans, chips, and salsa are very good. . . Full Review
Del's Restaurant
1202 E. Tucumcari Blvd.
Tucumcari, NM
15 NM 2006 Green chile is pretty good but I would pass on the red. Del's is famous for its sopaipillas with honey served for dessert. . . Full Review
El Toro
107 S. 1st
Tucumcari, NM
18 NM
I tried it years ago, but I checked Qwest Dex, and it's still there, so I would highly recommend it.
Casa de Sueños
35 St. Francis Dr.
Tularosa, NM
21 NM 2009 Good New Mexican style restaurant serving flat enchiladas (usually found only in northern New Mexico). . . Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
La Hacienda
2403 Falcon Rd.
Altus, OK
15 Gen. 2001 One of the few places in Okla. with red chile enchiladas, but they are not spicy.
1000 E. 2nd St.
Edmond, OK
15 Tex. 2004 If you know what to order, it can be very good. Chile relleno is one of the better items. . . Full Review.
(Also in OKC).
Carnitas Michoacan
306 W. Edmond Rd.
Edmond, OK
22 Mich. 2009 Specializes in authentic Mexican style tacos and other dishes from the interior of Mexico. . . Full Review
1612 S. Boulevard
Edmond, OK
14 Tex. 2003 Strictly Tex-Mex, except for some special dishes (carne guisada, tacos al carbon, etc.). . . Full Review
(Also in OKC).
Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant
1718 E. 2nd St.
Edmond, OK
17 Tex. 2008 An American style Tex-Mex restaurant with some meat dishes that are more authentic. Lemonade is very good. . . Full Review
Pepe's Mexican Restaurant
1701 S. Broadway
Edmond, OK
17 Tex. 2008 Owner by the former manager of one of the El Charrito restaurants, it carries on the tradition of the food that made Tex-Mex popular in Oklahoma. . . Full Review
905 N. Main
Elk City, OK
6 Tex. 2001 The low rating is not because of bad food or lack of freshness, but a total lack of resemblance to genuine Mexican food. I did not find the correct sauces or flavors. It was pretty much just a cheese dish.
Serapio's Mexican Restaurant
1637 E. Hwy 66
El Reno, OK
20 Tex. 2008 Don Serapio's, as it was known in OKC before it relocated to El Reno, serves fresh Tex-Mex food prepared daily for consistently large crowds of customes. . . Full Review
Abel's Mexican Restaurant
5822 N. W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
23 Northern 2010 Has a special menu with authentic tacos, gorditas, quesadillas, etc.. . . Full Review
3001 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
13 Tex. 2003 With all the hype and reviews I have seen about Abuelo's, I was expecting something more . . . Full Review
Adobe Grill
5120 N. Shartel Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
23 Oaxaca 2008 Serves authentic dishes from southern Mexico. . . Full Review
Casa Perico Mexican Grille
12219 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
17 Tex. 2006 Specializes in fajitas and grilled meats. Has a larger than average menu. I like the flautas. Sopaipilla served for dessert is very good. . . Full Review
Cocina De Mino
6022 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
19 Tex. 2006 I was impressed by the flautas, especially the salsa ranchera on top. . . Full Review
Diego's Mexican Food
1501 N. W. 23rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK
21 Ags. 2008 Serves northern style meats and tacos along with some Tex-Mex dishes. . . Full Review
El Alex
2505 S. Robinson Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
20 Chih. 2006 Authentic restaurant that serves the style of food that is found in the El Paso/Juarez area. Red enchiladas and mole are very good. I did not like the chips, but the salsa was great. Food is well prepared, and I think you will not be disappointed. . . Full Review
El Chico
6801 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK
11 Tex. 2004 The cheese enchiladas are usually good, but sometimes are barely edible. Other items are not good at all, such as the tortilla soup. . . Full Review
La Costa
3113 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
21 Seafood 2009 Specializes in authentic style Mexican style seafood. . . Full Review
Los Amigos
4101 N. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK
15 Tex. 2008 Standard Tex-Mex food, but I think it's fresher and prepared better than at other places. I especially enjoy the queso served free as an appetizer.
Los Molinos
2703 S. Western
Oklahoma City, OK
17 Tex. 2005 The salsa and queso are much spicier than is normally found in Oklahoma. Cheese enchiladas are very good. Large selection of meat items--many are authentic and typical of food found in Mexico and the border areas. . . Full Review
1121 N. W. 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK
20 Cal. 2008 California style Mexican food with good flavors and good prices. . . Full Review
Margarita's Mexican Restaurant
7800 N. May
Oklahoma City, OK
20 Zac. 2008 Margarita's is a family run restaurant with fresh food. Largely Tex-Mex, but many dishes are more authentic. . . Full Review
San Marcos Restaurant No. 3
12201 N. Rockwell Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
20 N.L. 2010 Although consistently voted the "Best Mexican Food in Oklahoma City," I think Ted's is pretty generic. The chicken fajitas and guacamole, though, are quite good. . . Full Review
Ted's Café Escondido
2836 N.W. 68th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
18 Tex. 2008 Although consistently voted the "Best Mexican Food in Oklahoma City," I think Ted's is pretty generic. The chicken fajitas and guacamole, though, are quite good. . . Full Review
Poquito de Mexico
422 W. Main
Yukon, OK
18 Tex. 2006 Poquito de Mexico has been around for years, and has some of the best Tex-Mex food in the Oklahoma City metro area. Fajitas are the specialty, but cheese enchiladas are very good. . . Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
El Tejavan
3801 I-40 East
Amarillo, TX
20 Gen. 2004
Serves food from the Mexican interior--not Tex-Mex. Specializes in meat items, such as caldo de res (this is a popular breakfast item--opens at 9:00 a.m. for breakfast). There is another location in west Amarillo that is open on the days this one is closed. This location opens earlier, though, and is a popular breakfast place. . . Full Review
Red Rooster Cafe
209 W. Washington St.
Anthony, TX
21 EP 2007 A small town restaurant that serves Mexican, American, or a combination of the two types of food. Standout items include chiles rellenos and salsa. . . Full Review
Vic's Flautas & Tortas
308 Franklin St.
Anthony, TX
17 Chih. 2004 Flautas and tortas are the only items served. Most business in takeout. . . Full Review
1728 Barton Springs
Austin, TX
17 Tex. 1985 Chuy's is quite popular because there is a large variety of items, but I thought the Mexican food was somewhat "Americanized."
El Gallo
2910 S. Congress
Austin, TX
17 Tex. 1997 I've been going to this restaurant since the 1970's, and it's been consistently one of the better Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin. I know there are fancier places, but go to El Gallo for traditional Tex-Mex.
El Patio
2938 Guadalupe
Austin, TX
22 Tex. 1999 Try the chile con queso. Has the greasiest (and best) Tex-Mex tacos I've eaten (back in the days when I used to eat such things). Combination plates also come with dessert (sherbert or praline). I think this is the best Tex-Mex place north of San Antonio.
La Reyna
1816 S. 1st
Austin, TX
19 Tex. 2003 Best Tex-Mex breakfast in town, with excellent huevos rancheros. Flour tortillas are excellent. . . Full Review
Ay Caramba!
6874 Doniphan Dr.
Canutillo, TX
21 EP 2006 Serves the standard Mexican menu items, but seafood plates are a good bet. Chicken tampiqueña is one of the best dishes. . . Full Review
Flautas Tepalca
6994 Doniphan Dr.
Canutillo, TX
22 Mich. 2007 Some of the best flautas you will find anywhere. Another specialty is the aguas frescas drinks including Mexican style lemonade, horchata, and fruit drinks. . . Full Review
Las Fuentes
6845 Doniphan Dr.
Canutillo, TX
19 Chih. 2007 Authentic home cooking style Mexican food. Chile verde is very good, as are the soups. . . Full Review
Little Diner
7209 7th St.
Canutillo, TX
23 NM 2009 Famous for its gorditas, other good items include red and green enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and tamales. One of the spiciest Mexican restaurants in the El Paso area... Full Review
Peppe's Restaurant & Cantina
6761 Doniphan Dr.
Canutillo, TX
21 NM 2010 After the closing of Griggs Restaurant the recipes were given to Peppe's to continue the tradition. This is classic New Mexican cuisine from the same family who founded La Posta in Mesilla... Full Review
Amigos Restaurant
2000 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2007 The "amigos" came from the original La Hacienda restaurant on Paisano and opened their own place on Montana with the original food, including comida corrida style lunch specials. . . Full Review
Anita's Restaurant
704 N. Piedras St.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2008 Neighborhood restaurant serving home cooked Mexican food. Best item is caldo de res (beef soup). . . Full Review
6232 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2007 Tri-color enchiladas are one of the specialties. Free sopaipillas with each meal. . . Full Review
Ay Caramba!
8001 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2008 Chicken fajitas, flautas, and queso fundido are good. For fish, try the original Ay Caramba in Canutillo. . . Full Review
Azulejos Restaurant
101 S. El Paso St.
El Paso, TX
18 Cal. 2007 The casual dining restaurant at the Camino Real Hotel, Azulejos is as much "Southwest" or "California influenced" as it is Mexican. The restaurant is famous for its tortilla soup--available all the time and served whenever there is a buffet. . . Full Review
664 Sunland Park Dr.
El Paso, TX
23 Chih. 2008 Barrigas is a restaurant from Ciudad Juarez that has expanded into El Paso, bringing more authentic food than is normally found in the Sun City. . . Full Review
Café Mayapán
2000 Texas Ave.
El Paso, TX
23 Interior 2007 Fresh and varied food from the interior of Mexico. This restaurant is operated by a nonprofit organization that was established to provide jobs for displaced garment workers. It also provides very good Mexican food. Open only for lunch Mon.-Fri. . . . Full Review
Carnitas Querétaro
6515 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
24 Chih. 2008 Has a wide variety of meat items including carnitas (pork), the signature dish. I think it may have the best chicken mole in town, and I also like the pozole. Serves good lent specials. . . Full Review
Casa Jurado
226 Cincinnati Ave.
El Paso, TX
24 EP 2010 Probably one of the better Mexican restaurants in El Paso. Wide variety of dishes with all types of food served. . . Full Review
Casa Jurado West
4772 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2007 CJ West is still owned by the Jurado family (although I have found the food to be just as good at the original Casa Jurado even though it has new owners). Casa Jurado West has better parking than the original restaurant and is open when the other restaurant is not (such as on Sunday). . . Full Review
Cocteles Mazatlan
7849 North Loop Dr.
El Paso, TX
20 Seafood 2005
Shrimp cocktail is the specialty, but fish tacos and fillets are made with orange roughy--one of the better types of fish served in El Paso. Baked potato is excellent, as is the complientary vegetable soup. . . Full Review
Delicias Café
865 N. Resler Dr.
El Paso, TX
21 Chih. 2008 Serves authentic working class diner food as you would experience it in the state of Chihuahua. Chicken flautas and mole are good. Breakfast is served--burritos and tacos are very popular. . . Full Review
Dominguez Mexican Food
1201 Airway Blvd.
El Paso, TX
22 EP 2005 An excellent restaurant for family dining, and for El Paso style Mexican food. Standout items include chips, salsa, and mole enchiladas. Red enchiladas are among the best in town. Live music on Fridays. . . Full Review
El Ciro's
3710 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2004 The original Ciro's location is distinguished by "Mexican flag" flautas (with avocado, sour cream, and tomato sauce toppings, which are green, white, and red). Chile rojo is one of the best items. Chips and salsa are excellent. Open until midnight, and 3 AM on weekends. . . Full Review
El Jacalito Restaurante
2130 Myrtle Ave.
El Paso, TX
22 Chih. 2008 El Jacalito serves very authentic Juarez style food that attracts a good lunch crowd. Lunch specials come with caldo which is some of the best in town. During Lent it serves some pretty memorable comida de cuaresma specials with fish or shrimp, lentil soup, and capirotada. I have had a hard time finding anyone who has matched the lentil soup served here. . . Full Review
Elmer's Family Restaurant
6305 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2007 Famous for its breakfasts, but the red enchiladas are pretty good also. Serves fried chicken specials and other American food. . . Full Review
El Portal del Ciro's
4800 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
18 EP 2004 This Ciro's is a neighborhood restaurant that is open for breakfast, holidays, and just about all the time. There are lots of specials with really low prices such as breakfast specials (8:30 am to 11:00 am) and comida corrida for lunch. . . Full Review
El Portal del Ciro's
9111 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2004 One of several Ciro's in town--this one is open late and has a huge (by Mexican restaurant standards) menu as well as a large beer selection. Flautas and chiles rellenos are very good here. . . Full Review
El Rancho Escondido
14261 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
22 EP 2008 Open since 1977, it is known for steaks and enchiladas. Located just east of El Paso on the highway to Carlsbad. . . Full Review
El Rincon de Cortez
3415 Sun Bowl Dr.
El Paso, TX
21 Chih. 2006 Specializes in Mexican steaks served various styles with delicious sauces. Has some of the best horchata in El Paso. . . Full Review
El Taconazo
6110 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
22 Chih. 2008 Specializes in tacos al carbon, fajitas, and other meat items, served with green onions and baked potato. . . Full Review
El Taco Tote
7101 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
19 Chih. 2008
Serves a wide variety of tacos, including beef, chicken, pork, fish, and shrimp. Food is served from the counter. About as close to authentic Juarez tacos as you will find in El Paso. . . Full Review
Hispanic Magazine Top 50 Restaurants
Forti's Mexican Elder
321 Chelsea St.
El Paso, TX
24 EP 2007 This restaurant is not outrageously spicy, has a good flavor, and is a good choice for those who want to experience El Paso style Mexican food. It also has one of the most Mexican-looking and pleasant interiors in the city. Combination plates are good, except for the fact that they do not allow substitutions. . . Full Review
G & R Restaurant
401 E. Nevada
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2004 The food here is rather "tame" by El Paso standards, but it is still spicy and flavorful enough to be recommended. The chile con queso may be the best in El Paso. . . Full Review
Griggs Restaurant
9007 Montana
El Paso, TX
20 NM 2006 Good New Mexico style good--green enchiladas, rellenos, tortillas, and slaw are enjoyable. Chicken sopa is very good. . . Full Review
Jalisco Cafe
1029 E. 7th Ave.
El Paso, TX
22 EP 2007 Neighborhood restaurant serving home cooked Mexican food. Best item is caldo de res (beef soup). . . Full Review
JJ's Gorditas
5320 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2007 Most of the food here is mediocre, but the gorditas are wonderful. They have a thin crust, with several fillings available (beef, chicken, avocado, and bean). Salsa is excellent and hot. . . Full Review
Julio's Cafe Corona
8050 Gateway Blvd. East
El Paso, TX
23 Chih. 2007 One of the better restaurants from Ciudad Juarez that has now opened in El Paso. Flautas are very good. . . Full Review
2719 N. Piedras St.
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2008 Kiki's is an El Paso institution, and has been written up in just about every travel and restaurant guide around. I think it is very good for certain items. Best items may be the beans (either refried or black beans) and the home made flour tortillas. Beef burrito with green chile is one of the best menu items. . . Full Review
L & J Cafe
3622 E. Missouri Ave.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2008 Maybe the best place in town for down home El Paso style Mexican food. Spicier than most restaurants, especially the salsa. The bar is very popular at night, and the restaurant is usually crowded at lunch. This is an El Paso institution, located next to Concordia Cemetery. . . Full Review
La Casita
3355 N. Yarbrough Dr.
El Paso, TX
22 EP 2007 Very good El Paso style Mexican food with excellent chips and salsa. Specialties include fajitas and red enchiladas. . . Full Review
La Choza Menudazo Y Tamalotes
4012 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
23 Chih. 2007 Excellent authentic Mexican restaurant with some of the best chips and salsa in El Paso. Specialties include menudo and tamales. . . Full Review
La Isla Mariscos
8140 North Loop
El Paso, TX
21 Seafood 2004 Mexican style fish and shrimp comes with about 12 choices of Mexican sauces, many of which would be hard to find at very many other restaurants. . . Full Review
La Malinche
3910 Doniphan
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2006 Probably the best restaurant in town for entomatadas (enchiladas with non-spicy tomato sauce), and the same sauce is used on chiles rellenos. Red enchiladas are good, without being overly spicy. Large selection of steaks. . . Full Review
La Norteña Cafe
212 W. Overland Ave.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2008 Excellent El Paso Mexican food. Meat items are best. . . Full Review
Las Fuentes
5300 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
19 Chih. 2004 A good neighborhood restaurant with all the standard items. Food is cooked with vegetable oil, and the Mexican white cheese is good. Enchiladas and tacos are good, but chiles rellenos are greasy. . . Full Review
(4 other locations)
Leo's Mexican Food
7520 Remcon Cir.
El Paso, TX
16 EP 2007 Leo's is probably best for its lunch specials and combination plates. It is an El Paso institution, and it gives free sopaipillas with dinner. . . Full Review
Los Bandidos de Carlos & Mickey's
1310 Magruder
El Paso, TX
22 EP 2006 This is one of the better restaurants in the city with atmosphere to match to food. Most dishes are pretty good except the green enchiladas. Has a full bar, a good mariachi group that I believe plays every night. . . Full Review
Los Gallegos
4400 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
14 Durango 2005 Has very authentic food--as you would find in Mexico (unfortunately, though, not always the best food). Lent specials are good. . . Full Review
Los Gordos
4130 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
21 Jal. 2007 Tacos al carbon and meat items are the specialty. . . Full Review
Los Jarrones Mexican Food
120 E. Redd Rd.
El Paso, TX
23 Chih. 2008 Tacos de barbacoa are the specialty. . . Full Review
Lucy's Restaurant
4119 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2007 The best item here is the "secret salsa" (the one they only give you on request) of chile de arbol, a very spicy and flavorful red sauce. Otherwise it seems that meat items are the most popular here. Milanesa and caldillo are good. . . Full Review
Martha's Mexican Restaurant
7327 Alameda Ave.
El Paso, TX
18 EP 2005 Martha's has been in operation since 1993, and seems to be doing something right--green enchiladas for one (I like the ones with chicken--ask for sour cream to make enchiladas suizas). Serves comida corrida for lunch--you can choose between two items each day Mon.-Fri. Breakfast is served, and there is a dinner special for $3.99. . . Full Review
Mike & Ana's
1850 Trawood Dr.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2008 A neighborhood restaurant in east El Paso, it draws customers by being cheap without sacrificing quality. There are lots of breakfast and lunch specials. . . Full Review
Mi Tierra Restaurant
1035 Belvidere St.
El Paso, TX
23 Dgo. 2008 A neighborhood restaurant that tastes like home made. . . Full Review
Oh! Taco Grill
4131 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
19 Chih. 2005 Serves Mexican style beef and fajita dishes with sides of tortillas so you can make your own tacos (several salsas are avilable at the salsa bar). . . Full Review
Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant
3472 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
20 Chih. 2007 Specializes in machitos and other authentic south of the border dishes. . . Full Review
Pepe's Chicken
6951 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
19 Chih. 2006 Serves Mexican style pollo asado al carbon, or char-broiled chicken marinated in fruit juice. . . Full Review
Puerto Vallarta Mexican Grill
7200 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
20 Seafood 2008
An authentic Mexican style seafood restaurant. I do not care for the pollack but other fish, such as tilapia, is frequently served as a special. Complimentary ceviche is served. . . Full Review
(also at 1611 Montana Ave.)
Ramon's Mexican Restaurant
1071 Country Club Rd.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2006 Specializes in steaks. Combination plates are good, and red enchiladas are among the best in El Paso. . . Full Review
Red Peppers
910 E. Redd Rd.
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2007 Chile relleno and green enchilada are better than average for El Paso. Salsa bar has several varieties--all homemade. . . Full Review
5218 Doniphan
El Paso, TX
19 NM 2007 Red enchiladas are one of the best dishes here--the heat index of enchiladas varies with the chiles used, and usually it's at least as hot as you would normally find in southern New Mexico. The slaw and pot beans are recommended as side dishes. Monday night taco night is very popular. . . Full Review
Señor Fish
9530 Viscount Blvd.
El Paso, TX
20 Seafood 2008
One of El Paso's best example of typical Mexican fish tacos, served with fish soup, french bread, and potatoes. Chips, salsa, and lemonade are excellent. . . Full Review
Su Casa
2030 E. Yandell Dr.
El Paso, TX
23 EP 2007 A good neighborhood El Paso style restaurant. Enchiladas and tacos are good. Free sopaipillas with meals. Limited selection of Middle Eastern food is available. . . Full Review
Taco Fish
7500 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
20 EP Seafood 2006 Fish tacos made with tilapia are surprisingly good. Complimentary ceviche, bread, soup, lemonade, and rompope are very enjoyable. . . Full Review
Tia's Mexican & Seafood
6110 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
21 EP Seafood 2008 Fish tacos and lemon pepper fish fillet are very good. I don't recommend the regular Mexican dishes here (enchiladas, etc.). Some best features of the restaurant are the pico de gallo served as a salsa and fresh squeezed lemonade. . . Full Review
8949 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2004 Combination plate is recommended. For single items, I like the chile relleno and tostada. . . Full Review
Villa del Mar
7988 Gateway East
El Paso, TX
22 Seafood 2005
The best place in El Paso for traditional Mexican style fish (fish fillet or whole fish with Mexican sauces). Also known for its seafood (shrimp and oysters). . . Full Review
Wyngs Restaurant
122 S. Old Pueblo Rd.
El Paso, TX
24 EP 2006 Serves excellent fajitas. Located on the Tigua Indian Reservation, the Speaking Rock Casino next door is quite popular. . . Full Review
Lil' Paradise
212 W. Main St.
Fabens, TX
19 EP 2005 A small family run restaurant where the food tastes home made. Serves Mexican and American food, including steaks and seafood. . . Full Review
1308 50th St.
(and other locations)
Lubbock, TX
20 Tex. 2001 Try this for breakfast. Some locations are take-out only.
La Cumbre
2610 Salem
Lubbock, TX
17 Tex. 2001 Much better than the other places I've tried in Lubbock (except El Charro on 19th that closed years ago).
Rosa's Café
4301 N. Midland Dr.
Midland, TX
16 Tex. 2006 Fajitas are the specialty. Guacamole and tamales were very good. Flour tortillas were excellent. . . Full Review
(several other locations)
La Norteña
212 E. 3rd St.
Pecos, TX
20 EP 2004 This is not really a restaurant--it is takeout only. They have a widespread following who stop by for a dozen or so tamales while driving through on I-20. . . Full Review
121 N. Zarzamora St.
San Antonio, TX
24 Tex. 2005 Great Tex-Mex food--probably one of the top five in Texas. Cheese enchiladas and tamales are excellent. . . Full Review
Mi Tierra
218 Produce Row
San Antonio, TX
23 Tex. 2005 Grilled meats are excellent, especially chicken fajitas. Bakery in front has very good pan dulce. Open 24 hours. . . Full Review
11800 Glorietta Rd.
San Elizario, TX
23 EP 2005 Sofia's is a new, clean restaurant located along the Mission Trail of El Paso's lower valley. The food here is authentic, fresh, and excellent. . . Full Review
El Chico
US 75
Sherman, TX
13 Tex. 1999 There's also a Pancho's in town, which would probably receive about the same rating. El Chico is a Tex-Mex chain which does not serve outstanding food, but it is consistently pretty good, and in some cases better than the local restaurants.
El Meson de Oñate
9993 Socorro Rd.
Socorro, TX
22 EP 2005 Outstanding dish is flautas, and almost everything is excellent. Probably the best pico de gallo in El Paso. Next to the historic Socorro Mission. . . Full Review
El Burrito
402 SE 2nd St.
Tulia, TX
16 Tex. 1994 The Texas Panhandle generally has better Tex-Mex than the rest of the state, as you'll find in Tulia.
US 80
Van Horn, TX
20 EP 2003 Home of the John Madden football memorabilia room. Also home of excellent red enchiladas. . . Full Review
Casa Mañana
609 8th St.
Wichita Falls, TX
17 Tex. 1999 Pretty standard Tex-Mex.

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
Los Hermanos
395 N. State St.
Lindon, UT
14 Gen. 2003 The food is fairly good, but it is not at all spicy. Locals says this is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Provo/Orem area. . . Full Review
Miguel's Baja Grill
51 N. Main St.
Moab, UT
18 BC 2006 Very good fish tacos, but I did not care for the salsa, beans, or rice. This is a surprisingly good place to go for Mexican seafood. . . Full Review
511 S. 300 West St.
Salt Lake City, UT
19 NM 2006 Serves New Mexico style enchiladas, although they are not as spicy as is normally found in the Land of Enchantment. Open late, and drive-through window is open all night. Horchata is available. . . Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
El Caporal
105 W. 1st St.
Cle Elum, WA
9 Gen. 2003 El Caporal has good cheese and tastes fresh, but it is not a good choice if you are looking for genuine Mexican food or anything spicy. They do not even have a spicy salsa. . . Full Review
(Locations throughout central and western Washington).
El Ranchito Family Mexican Restaurant
352 Griffin Ave.
Enumclaw, WA
14 Gen. 2001 A long time Enumclaw Mexican restaurant. Inconsistent, but some of the meals have been fairly spicy. All of them have had good flavor and enjoyable cheese.
El Ranchito Family Mexican Restaurant #2
1000 Griffin Ave.
Enumclaw, WA
8 Gen. 2003 The enchiladas are almost totally cheese, with very little enchilada sauce, so frankly I do not enjoy them very much. This seems to be the more "anglosized" version of the two El Ranchito Restaurants in town. . . Full Review
951 Roosevelt E.
Enumclaw, WA
6 Gen. 1999 Right now this is tied with a restaurant in Oklahoma for my worst Mexican food experience in the U.S. No chile was used, and if I wanted a meal of gloppy melted cheese I'd go to Safeway and buy some Velveeta (and save a lot of money).
Mexico Bonito
1807 Harrison Ave. NW
Olympia, WA
15 Gen. 1999 Even people from Texas like this one! (I liked it, and so did a friend of mine who used to live in Olympia).
Mi Hacienda Restaurant & Grill
404 W. Lewis St.
Pasco, WA
23 Col. 2006 Specializes in seafood dishes from the Mexican state of Colima. Authentic green enchiladas were great but the red enchiladas were less impressive. . . Full Review
El Gallito
1700 20th Ave.
Seattle, WA
17 Gen. 2000 You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was. This is a "hole-in-the-wall" type Mexican restaurant that does its best to bring authentic Mexican treats, rather than the standard Americanized restaurant that only serves tacos, enchiladas, and "combination plates." My main complaint was a lack of spicy chile, but otherwise was pretty good for the Pacific Northwest.
Birriería Apatzingán Restaurant
609 N. 1st St.
Yakima, WA
24 Mich. 2006 This is a very authentic restaurant serving food from the Mexican state of Michoacán. I recommend the enchiladas (you can't miss them on the menu--there are several pictures of them with various meats). . . Full Review

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
3350 CY Ave.
Casper, WY
19 Jal. 2003 Although this restaurant serves food that is not quite authentic "interior" style, the chile is almost as good as the New Mexico style restaurants found around Albuquerque. It is also fresh and good tasting, so overall it is a very good experience. . . Full Review
(Also in Cheyenne).

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
3720 E. Sunset Rd.
Las Vegas, NV
18 Son. 1999 Not spicy, but good flavor. A local neighborhood restaurant with much better food than the more popular restaurants I have tried.
3311 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM
24 NM 1981 In a city that had too many disappointing Mexican restaurants, this was one of the ones that was always exceptional.
La Tertulia
416 Agua Fria
Santa Fe, NM
25 NM 1987 Located in a historic home, the surroundings probably contributed to the enjoyment of the meal. Nevertheless, I thought it had some of the best blue corn enchiladas and posole ever served in a restaurant. I have had a hard time trying to find anything in Albuquerque or Las Cruces that typified New Mexican food as well as La Tertulia.
A & T Garcia's
409 W. Reno
Oklahoma City, OK
20 Tex 1984 This is probably the best Tex-Mex restaurant that ever existed in Oklahoma City. It had great burritos and enchiladas, with real flavor instead of the standard Tex-Mex fare. It was a real shame to see it close, and nothing else this good has come along that I know of.
Blue Corn Cafe
13320 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
15 NM 2004 Do not expect the food at Blue Corn Cafe to be like the food in Santa Fe. . . Full Review
Cazuelas Grill Restaurante Mexicano
2624 W. Britton Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
19 N. L. 2006 This taqueria makes a few concessions to the Tex-Mex cooking style, but overall it is a very authentic northern Mexico style restaurant that specializes in tacos, steaks, and other Mexican favorites. . . Full Review
Cocina De Mino
12325 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
18 Tex. 2009 Tacos al carbon are good, and also the Tex-Mex food. . . Full Review
Hacienda Don Elias
221 S.W. 24th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
22 Mich. 2006 Very authentic food from the state of Michoacan. Salsa is spicy and very good. Has several items not normally found in U.S. Mexican restaurants. Serves breakfast all day. . . Full Review
936 NW 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK
17 Tex. 2005 Cheese tacos are some of the best in OKC. Other items I like are cheese enchiladas, beans, chips, salsa, queso, and corn tortillas. Temporarily closed, and will open in a new location on Classen Blvd. . . Full Review
Las Palomas Mexican Cafe
2329 N. Meridian Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
19 Nuevo León 2008 Northern Mexico style restaurant with excellent soups on weekends. Other specialties include chile relleno and enchiladas suizas. . . Full Review
OK Cocina
2302 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
21 Mexico City 2007 An authentic Mexico City style torta and sope restaurant. . . Full Review
Original Monterey Jack's
2205 W. Hefner Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
18 Tex. 2007 Monterey Jack's has most of the typical Tex-Mex dishes. Spinach enchiladas are very good. Free sopaipillas served with dinners. . . Full Review
Poblano Grill No. 4
7011 W. Hefner Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
17 Tex. 2008 Typical Tex-Mex style food. The side dishes, such as papas tejanos and Mexican style corn, were probably more enjoyable than the entree. Tortilla soup is good. . . Full Review
8445 N. Rockwell
Oklahoma City, OK
15 Tex. 2002 Way too expensive, and somewhat disappointing the last time I went. Still interesting, though, because of having red and green chile enchiladas.
Las Fajitas Mexican Specialties #2
455 E. Main
Yukon, OK
17 Tex. 2003 I recently upgraded both the heat index and overall rating based on recent times I have gone. However, this is based on both a salsa and an enchilada sauce (ranchero sauce) that have to be specially ordered (they are not on the standard menu). The restaurant is very accommodating and will give you either the standard Tex-Mex or the "good" stuff. . . Full Review
Alexandro's Mexican Food and Steaks
5655 Gateway West
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2005 Steak tampiqueña and fajitas are the specialties. Enchiladas (both red and green) are among the best in El Paso. . . Full Review
3800 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
18 EP 2005 Pretty typical Mexican food with a large bar. . . Full Review
(Also at 9201 Gateway East)
10600 Montana Ave.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2005 This is the better of the two Avila's Restaurants in El Paso. The service is good, the managers seem to be on top of the situation, and the food has more flavor. . . Full Review
(Also at 6232 N. Mesa)
Hispanic Magazine Top 50 Restaurants
Dos Señoritas
5800 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
19 NM 2004 At the site of the former Griggs Family Restaurant, it uses many of the same recipes. Green enchiladas used to be a standout item at Griggs, but are disappointing at Dos Señoritas. . . Full Review
Griggs Family Restaurant
5800 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
24 NM 2003 The Griggs family reopened this restaurant with the original recipes, and it has the best New Mexico style food in town. I like the red and green enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and stuffed sopaipillas (I order them with the red chile used on enchiladas). The Griggs extended family originated La Posta in Mesilla and El Pinto in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For some reason, though, only this restaurant seems to provide the rich flavors and spiciness that I think accurately represent the original family recipes. Salsa is the one example of food here that is not very spicy, and probably out of the mainstream of New Mexico style food preparation. This is a minor detail, though, compared to the overall excellent meals that are served.
Hamburger Hut
5720 Dyer
El Paso, TX
16 EP 2001 Generally this restaurant serves about the greasiest food in town. However, if you can make it for breakfast you can try some of the best huevos rancheros anywhere (actually, it gets my vote for the best huevos rancheros in El Paso).
Javier's Restaurant
10501 Gateway West
El Paso, TX
18 EP 2005 A small restaurant in a strip shopping center known for its comida corrida lunch specials. Many times has fresh fruit drinks: horchata, limonada, melon, etc. Red enchiladas are very good. Gorditas are my favorite item. . . Full Review
La Cascadita
4532 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
17 Chih. 2005 A good example of traditional Chihuahuan homemade syle food with a comida corrida, consisting of caldo de res and the special of the day. Enchiladas suizas (green enchiladas) are good. In season (summer) melon (cantaloupe drink) is recommended. . . Full Review
La Cuesta
1926 Montana
El Paso, TX
20 EP 2006 Shredded beef taco and other meat items are recommended. Chile relleno is good. The bar is popular, and live music on Thu. & Fri. is good. . . Full Review
La Hacienda
1720 W. Paisano
El Paso, TX
17 EP 2004 Located in one of the most historic buildings in El Paso, La Hacienda is a good place for parties and special occasions. There are several upscale menu items and food not normally served in El Paso Mexican restaurants. . . Full Review
La Paloma
9225 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
21 EP 2004 Chicken mole and homemade flour tortillas are very good. You may wish to try the Mexican plate (I recommend the one with the chile relleno). The La Paloma Special (hamburger with green chile sauce), is good comfort food. . . Full Review
Mangos Café & Mexican Eatery
7106 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
23 Interior 2007 Upscale eatery with food from the interior of Mexico. Coffee bar is also popular. . . Full Review
Marlin Mar y Tierra
7500 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
17 Seafood 2005 The striped bass fish fillet with traditional Mexican sauce is pretty good. Fish tacos are rather meager, and do not come with soup. . . Full Review
Mi Mexico Bonito
964 Chelsea
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2004 The best item I've tried is the tortilla soup, made with white cheese, avocado, and chipotle chile. Enchiladas are above average for El Paso. Chiles rellenos are below average. . . Full Review
4130 N. Mesa
El Paso, TX
17 EP 2004 The enchiladas taste a little different here because they are made with chocolate. Most food is topped with large amounts of yellow cheese. Restaurant is spotlessly clean. . . Full Review
Sombras del Pasado
5800 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
19 EP 2005 A very good, upscale Mexican restaurant. Also serves steaks and seafood. Chicken mole is excellent. The original location in Socorro, Texas is in a historic building near the Socorro Mission. Full Review
Tutti Café
11360 Montwood
El Paso, TX
16 Tortas 2004 Tutti Café is strictly a tortas restaurant, but with a wide variety of meats to put in the sandwich. Smoothies are sold for drinks. . . Full Review

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Methodology Used

The original intent of this page was to list the best Mexican restaurant in each city. I would try as many restaurants as possible, and rate them on a one to ten scale (with ten being the best possible score). Then I would list the winner or winners that I think others would be most interested in trying. The rating was simply to give an idea of how the food in that city compared to Mexican food in other cities.

Over time, though, I have had a desire to rate all the restaurants I try. I have found that while most of the time the choice of the best restaurant is clear-cut, sometimes a lower-rated restaurant may have one or two outstanding dishes or the difference in quality may not be all that great and it may be more conveniently located for a lot of people and thus should be included on the list. It is particularly important to list several choices when there is more than one style available (see the section on Mexican food styles below). I see the value of this list more for people visiting cities with a limited amount of time who wish to make an informed choice than for local residents (locals usually know their city and have their own favorites that may or may not agree with my choices).

I am familiar with authentic Mexican food from the interior of Mexico, and much of what is served in the U.S. bears little resemblance to this. However, there are regional specialties in the U.S. that seem to correspond to the four border states (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California). In the section below I describe each of these food types, as well as what I call "general" Mexican food that corresponds more to food from the Mexican interior. Interior food is generally not spicy as the border food is, and some of it is remarkably similar to American food. It's just that American customers have a certain expectation of Mexican food, so proprietors generally try to meet this expectation (with a corresponding diminishing of quality and downgrading in my rating).

Although I try to be fair and rate food from all categories according to that category, I have a definite bias towards genuine food from the interior and New Mexico style food. On my star rating scale I generally will not rate California or Arizona food higher than 4 stars, or Tex-Mex higher than 3 stars (except for the best places in Austin and San Antonio). My favorite dishes are enchiladas and some of the other New Mexico specialties such as posole and stuffed sopaipillas. I sometimes like chicken, but seldom try beef dishes or tacos unless they really look as if they will be the "real deal." I have created a separate category for Mexican seafood. My standard for seafood is what I have eaten in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas (it's too bad I don't know the name of the restaurant so I can recommend it to everybody!). To me the best enchiladas are the deep red spicy ones made with New Mexico chile. Green chile is good if it's fresh (such as in some restaurants in Las Cruces that serve local chile from the Mesilla Valley). If enchiladas are not New Mexico style, then I look for a good flavor. If they are not spicy, then I at least look for good cheese, and hopefully good chips and salsa will be served to meet the need for something spicy. If a restaurant claims to be authentic or serves food from the interior of Mexico, I generally try one of the wide variety of plates found in the interior (restaurants in Mexico generally do not specialize in enchiladas, and many do not serve chips--salsa is to put on top of the food, rather than for dipping the chips into).

I am biased against a number of things that may affect my ratings, including the following: Lard used in enchiladas instead of vegetable oil, Salsa that is too wimpy, Yellow cheese, or any non-Mexican style cheese, Too much garlic or comino in the enchilada sauce, Huge portions of food at inflated prices, Smoke that seeps into the non-smoking area, or really if there is a smoking area at all, Substituting music or entertainment for good food, and worst of all--Purposely changing the food for American tastes.

A very good trend I have seen is the spread of genuine, interior-style restaurants throughout the United States, including the four border states that have their own regional styles. Hopefully this will not only make better food available to the public, but will cause consumers to have a higher expectation when they go out for Mexican food. I like all types of Mexican food when it is done well, but I think the interior style food is raising the bar for all restaurants, causing many to turn away from the all-too-common "anglocized" Tex-Mex or "border food done badly" restaurant.

  • All information listed is subject to change, and may not be up to date.
  • It is only my opinion.
  • It may be subject to me trying a dish that is not the restaurant's specialty.
  • I may have gone on a day when they had an especially good or bad cook.
  • I may have gone on a day when I was in an especially good or bad mood.
  • I hope it's accurate enough to be useful.

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Regional Mexican Food Styles

U. S. Regional Mexican Food Styles

Cal. California Style. There is not a great distinction between California and Arizona style. I describe California style as consisting largely of salads (taco salad, etc.), olives, sour cream, etc. Also "healthy" Mexican food (such as at Baja Fresh). California style has more variety than the other styles, and commonly serves a variety of fish, meats, tacos, etc. Flour tortillas are common.

NM New Mexico Style. Uses New Mexico red or green chiles. The chile has a strong, pure chile taste. Whole pinto beans are often served instead of refried. A dish unique to N.M. is stuffed sopaipillas, or "sopaipillas compuestas" (a large sopaipilla stuffed with different combinations of meat, beans, lettuce & tomato, and chile). N.M. also has a version of posole (hominy) that I have not found other places: served with chile and often times pork. I think a N.M. meal would not be complete without sopaipillas served with honey. Usually this is the dessert (served without sugar or cinammon as is often used in areas outside New Mexico). In Albuquerque it is common to serve sopaipillas with the meal (they are excellent with red chile, and the purpose of sopaipillas with honey is to kill the fire in your mouth from eating the hot chile). I must also mention the mole dishes served in N.M. style food (usually chicken and mole). The best way to describe mole is that it is a kind of chocolate sauce, although this really doesn't do it justice, and trying mole dishes served in different restaurants is almost an exercise in itself, such as trying to compare certain good Thai dishes. Mole is sometimes found in the other regions, particularly Arizona. I have found the best examples of New Mexican food in Española, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, in that order (Santa Fe and to a lesser extent Albuquerque have a lot of "tourist" restaurants that do not typify the NM style very well). The food served in southern New Mexico is almost a distinct style, but I am listing both types as "New Mexico" style as long as it has the distinct NM characteristics. The differences in the styles include the following:

  • Northern NM Style. Northern New Mexico uses blue corn tortillas which are stacked when used in enchiladas because the blue corn is more fragile than yellow corn. Green enchiladas are served with the chile in "chunks," and served stacked, sometimes with an egg on top. Green chile stew is common. Posole is more common in northern NM than in the south. Sopaipillas are served with the meal instead of dessert, although the restaurants that cater to tourists will serve them for dessert. Many communities have localized specialties. Since New Mexican food is really the staple diet in the area, it includes meats, vegetables, and a lot of dishes that the average person would not think of as "Mexican." For the purpose of this list, though, I mainly rate the items one would normally expect to find in Mexican restaurants.
  • Southern NM Style. Probably the biggest difference in the south is a lack of some of the items that are typically served in the north such as blue corn tortillas and posole. The green enchiladas are also quite different at most restaurants, being served with the chile puréed as in El Paso restaurants. Southern NM restaurants generally serve enchiladas rolled unless you request that they be flat. Many people think the chiles rellenos are better in the south--they are grown around Las Cruces and Hatch, and the best I have encountered are at Chope's in La Mesa (south of Las Cruces). Southern N.M. restaurants tend to serve large "sopaipillas compuestas" stuffed with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and red or green chile, making a good sized meal, while northern restaurants tend to serve the regular sized "stuffed sopaipillas" that are more of a side dish.

Son. Sonora or Arizona Style. Found primarily in Arizona. Less spicy than N.M. style. Uses flour tortillas. Has red and green chile, but is not as strong as in New Mexico. Uses less cheese than the other styles. Carne seca is one of the distinctive dishes.

Tex. Tex-Mex Style. Typical dish is beef or cheese enchilada topped by chile con carne (a brown sauce with ground beef). The chile con carne or other enchilada sauce is usually brown and uses comino (cumin) instead of red or green chile as in the N.M. food. Served with refried beans and fried rice (cooked with tomatoes and spices such as garlic). I will have to make an editorial comment and say that generally Tex-Mex food is all the same, and there is nothing about it that I like as well as the other styles except one thing--it has the best chile con queso (a cheese sauce with chile in it). Sometimes restaurants serve cheese tacos, which is really nothing more than chile con queso poured on a tortilla. My rating for Tex-Mex restaurants is generally based on their freshness and the quality of the cheese, particularly the chile con queso. Around Austin and San Antonio there are a few exceptional Tex-Mex restaurants that stand well above the mediocrity typically associated with Tex-Mex food (at least in my mind). In my experience the really good Tex-Mex food has enchiladas that derive their flavor primarily from the cheese rather than the chile con carne sauce on top, tacos that are very greasy that may even be to the point of producing a pool of liquid on the plate as you pick it up (either ground beef or chicken enchiladas), and tamales that rival the ones in New Mexico. San Antonio also has its own style of enchiladas, with the tortilla soaked in a sauce that turns it red.

  • EP. El Paso Style. El Paso has developed a unique style of food that has more in common with New Mexico style than Tex-Mex, primarily the use of red and green chile on enchiladas. What it shares with Tex-Mex is the use of refried beans rather than whole pinto beans, similar styles of rice, and chiles rellenos with a sauce on top. El Paso restaurants, however, generally do not serve taco salad or complimentary chile con queso as an appetizer as is popular in east Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, the chile con queso in El Paso (and New Mexico) is of a totally different character, being loaded with strips of green chile and using a very thick cheese--the queso is usually considered an entrée and many times is served on a combination plate as one of the items. When I first started eating food in El Paso there was a generous use of lard for the cooking oil, but I think most restaurants have now turned to vegetable oil. I have also seen an increase in the variety of food being served in recent years as immigrants from all parts of Mexico find more of an audience for different dishes from the interior that do not fit the traditional "El Paso style." I don't know why, but I have never seen any mole in the area other than brown. A real El Paso style lunch would be a "comida corrida" where the proprietor picks one or two entrées that you can order that will come with caldo (beef soup), a salad (usually with no dressing), rice and beans, and dessert if the restaurant is really generous (which does not happen very often). There are also fish and seafood specials on Fridays during Lent (comida de cuaresma) that should not be missed if you are in the area at the right time.

Mexican Regional Food Styles

Chih. Chihuahua Style. I think certain restaurants deserve their own category since they typify the food that is found across the border in Ciudad Juárez and the rest of Chihuahua State in Mexico. The food in Juárez is slightly different than the food in El Paso, and I think it can be described best as "home made" food, or even "street food," rather than "restaurant" food. "Juárez style" also describes restaurants that serve only one type of food (such as tacos, flautas, etc.) or a limited selection of foods, unless these foods come specifically from another state in Mexico besides Chihuahua. The comida corrida is a Juárez institution, and one of the distinguishing features of this type of restaurant. Another feature is the use of thicker sauce in the enchiladas, almost as if flour is added. Chihuahua food tends to use white cheese, being home to a large Mennonite colony which produces much of the cheese used in the state. Chiles rellenos always have a sauce on top and the relleno itself tends to be very greasy. Seafood is popular but, being in the desert, the freshest fish is usually not available--instead people usually like to eat shrimp. Chihuahua steaks and meat dishes such as milanesa used to be very good but with the greater presence of American-style ranches and feed lot operations, in my opinion the quality has gone downhill.

Other States State Name or Abbreviation Listed. If the restaurant owner is from a certain state in Mexico and/or serves food specifically from that state, the state will be listed. With the exception of Coahuila I probably would not be able to tell if the food is very authentic, but in most cases I will take their word for it.

Gen. General Style. Most commonly this is food from the Mexican interior. May use red chile instead of the brown found in Tex-Mex. Usually serves tacos and enchiladas, because this is what is expected from American customers, although this is not the primary diet found in Mexico. For the purpose of this survey "general style" is simply food that does not have the pronounced regional characteristics of the the border styles (Cal., Ariz, N.M., Texas).

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Heat Index

Spiciness of the enchiladas and/or other chile sauce.

Very Hot. Probably too hot, unless you're used to it.
Hot. Hot, as found in the more authentic restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and El Paso. (To me, this is just right).
Medium Hot. Has a little bit of a bite.
Medium. A little bit of flavor, but not much spiciness.
Mild. Pretty much like tomato sauce.

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