Trying to come to a conclusion on the best Mexican restaurants in the United States is no easy feat. The US is a land that spreads far and wide, spanning many different cultures and landscapes; many nationalities have made their mark on the restaurant scene here, but perhaps none more prevalent than the Mexicans.
Selecting a Mexican restaurant that is not too over the top, yet still somewhat fine dining, and most importantly, tasty, could take you quite a while, that is why we have compiled a list of the ten best Mexican eateries in the US. Located across this great nation, there is bound to be one near you. Ok, maybe not down the road, but in your section of the country, nevertheless!
10 Barrio Café, Phoenix, Arizona
Opened in 2002, Barrio Café offers a wider range of Mexican cuisine than the usual Taco and Burrito. Chef, Silvana Salcido prides herself on bringing the best of Mexico to her restaurant, and much more! Featuring dishes from across all regions of Mexico, Barrio is a great place for diners to enjoy enchiladas of Mexico City or a cheese fondue born in Oaxaca. Or, if you’re up for something more filling, try the cochinita from the Yucatan region.
9 Avila’s Mexican Food, El Paso, Texas
For home-cooked with love Mexican food, head to Avila’s in El Paso. This family run institution has been serving customers for 65 years and is a fusion between American and Mexican cuisine. Dishing up meaty burgers with a Mexican twist, along with the classics such as burritos and tacos. If you are feeling up to it, try and win out a challenge with the Avila’s Super Combination, which really is something to behold.
8 Tortilleria Nixtamal, Queens, New York
A bit further north in Queens, New York, sits Tortilleria Nixtamal. In a city where food is aplenty from all around the world, you have to be good to stand out from the rest, and that is exactly what Nixtamal serves up.
Sourcing fresh produce straight from Mexico, and nothing less, prides itself on a no-frills experience; simple food, simple food and simple toppings. What’s more, is that the famous tortillas are made fresh in-house using Nixtamal!
7 Broken Spanish, Los Angeles, California
With a seasonal menu, using only the finest Mexican ingredients depending on the time of year is Chef Ray Garcia’s, Broken Spanish, in Los Angeles. Don’t be fooled by the contemporary backdrop and décor inside the restaurant, what is served to you is nothing short of artisanal perfection. Squid with mixed rice, chorizo, ravigote and fava leaves is just one of the specialties on offer, as well as the famous Pollo Prensado made year-round.
6 Cala, San Francisco, California
Just as New York, San Francisco is not short of eateries offering the latest in worldwide cuisine. Cala restaurant and taqueria is owned by Gabriela Camara and brings the best Mexico has to offer all day round! Specializing in tacos during the day and transforming in to a Mexican restaurant at night is what sets this place apart. And, with a menu that has so many options, there is certainly an option that will suit you. If you simply have a hankering for all day Mexican, then treat yourself to a tortilla during the day and stay on for some more sophisticated Mexican cuisine in the evening.
5 Elote Café, Sedona, Arizona
If you want a table at Elote Café, you better be quick as tables fill up very early in the evening. Why? World-class Mexican cuisine overlooking Sedona’s famous Red Rocks is why. A magnificent meal with a view that compliments the meal in every single way, Elote is one of the best eateries to find Mexican cuisine in the United States. Chef Jeff Smedstad has inspired the menu with his over 20 years traveling throughout Mexico, so you know you will be getting some of the most authentic Mexican food in the country here.
4 Oyamel, Washington, D.C.
Headed by Spanish head chef, Jose Andres, Oyamel is a celebration of typical Mexican cuisine. If fact, Andres is renowned for his eagerness to learn about different cultures and their different cuisines. After spending some time in Central America, he decided to open Oyamel in Washington D.C.
Begin with the classic tortilla chips and salsa before heading on to indulge in some tapas ‘street food’ and then on to some handmade tortillas. If you are feeling like a Spanish/Mexican fusion, then no worries, they have you covered as well!
3 Nuestra Cocina, Portland, Oregon
Nuestra Cocina, or Our Kitchen, is perhaps one of a kind in the US, as it is spearheaded by a husband and wife team, Benjamin and Shannon Gonzalez. Specializing in Mexican ‘peasant’ food, this restaurant is located in an otherwise unsuspecting neighborhood, in the very south of Portland, Oregon. With food spanning from the very north in Zacatecas to the east coast in Vera Cruz, Nuestra Cocina may not be in prime location, but is worth taking time to come and visit.
2 Hugo’s, Houston, Texas
Owned and operated by Mexican born and bred chef, Hugo Ortega has been around the traps when it comes to restaurants in Houston. Going in to business with his wife, they opened Hugo’s in 2002 and has never looked back. It is a hit with locals, and no wonder why; being a finalist in 2013 for best chef in the Southwest! Known for his inventive and inspiring ways, the lamb barbacoa is a must-try while in store. Because of Ortega’s experience as a restauranteur throughout the Texan city, you can be assured you will be treated to some of the best food and service in Houston.
1 Distrito, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For anyone wanting straight-up Mexican food with no strings attached, you will want to check out Distrito in Philadelphia. There aren’t too many places serving up food prepared by a chef who emerged through a television show, but Distrito and Chef Jose Garces are exceptions. Specializing in cuisine from Mexico City; nachos, huaraches, enchiladas, tamales, ceviches and moles, this vibrant Philly restaurant dishes up some of the tastiest Mexican food on the Eastern Coast.