Top 10 Mexican Restaurants in the US
At these restaurants from coast to coast, you can tuck into handmade tacos, Tex-Mex classics or haute interpretations from celebrity chefs. Find out which of these Top 10 Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. offer pig ear nachos or dried grasshoppers. Holy guacamole!
Eduardo de San Angel
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Eduardo de San Angel Restaurant Review
Eduardo de San Angel Gourmet Mexicano resembles a small Spanish-style hacienda with unique artwork, candles and fresh flowers. The cuisine is a marriage of European technique with the chile-enriched, complex flavors of Mexico. Novel dishes to try are the sautéed Florida blue crab with smoked chipotle chile sauce and Puebla-style mole with yellow corn cakes; achiote-rubbed pork loin with honey and pasilla chile glaze; and a trio of grilled Colorado lamb chops brushed with cilantro-garlic oil served with a mushroom tamale. There’s also black bean ravioli in walnut cream sauce and ancho chile crêpes with asadero cheese in squash blossom sauce. A modest, affordable wine selection pairs well with this Mexican cuisine.
Elote Cafe Restaurant Review
At Sedona’s Elote Cafe, chef Jeff Smedstad serves cuisine inspired by fifteen years of travels through Mexico. Elote’s elegant food is enhanced with local wines, cheeses and produce. Favorites like guacamole are found alongside more unique offerings like smoked pork cheeks served with cascabel chile sauce, corn cake and buttermilk cumin drizzle. Other main courses might include lamb adobo, carnitas and house-smoked chicken in a Puebla-style mole. The restaurant also serves its signature elote, a fire-roasted corn served with spicy mayonnaise, lime and cotija cheese. After dinner, indulge in desserts like pumpkin flan or homemade Mexican chocolate ice cream. Elote also features tasting flights of top-shelf 100 percent agave Mexican tequilas.
Hugo’s Restaurant Review
Born in Mexico City, chef Hugo Ortega worked his way through the Houston restaurant scene before opening Hugo’s with his restaurateur wife, Tracy Vaught. Housed in a vintage 1925 building, lovingly restored to the original brick walls and stamped-tin ceiling, Hugo’s is a dining destination worth seeking out. Start with one of four ceviches, perhaps a version with octopus, before enjoying a seasonal entrée like the chapulines, pan-sautéed grasshoppers served with guacamole, tortillas and chipotle tomatillo salsa. Seafood dishes are offered alongside meat plates such as cochito con mole Xico (braised pork shoulder, mashed plantains and pasilla-dried plum sauce from Veracruz). There’s a notable wine list and multiple tequila selections, not to mention desserts by Ortega’s brother and pastry chef Ruben Ortega. It makes a romantic date night spot, particularly on the candlelit patio. Sunday brunch is popular, so make a reservation to sample the seemingly endless Mexican delicacies on the buffet tables.
San Francisco, CA
Mamacita Restaurant Review
Mamacita’s interior transports guests from busy Chestnut Street to the courtyard of a Mexican village, with a thatched roof over the adobe house kitchen and a sky-blue ceiling dripping with clusters of gold stars. Chef Sam Josi cooked at Slanted Door and he approaches Mexican food similarly to the way Charles Phan approaches Vietnamese food — classic dishes made from fresh ingredients with a dash of California flair. Josi’s traditional quesadillas, which resemble empanadas, are made from masa every morning and stuffed with broccoli raab, maitake mushrooms, roasted cipollini onions and Sonoma Dry Jack cheese. Chilaquiles rojos are a nice choice for sharing with a group — a huge portion of warm tortilla chips tossed with chipotle cream, roasted chicken, sweet pepper rajas and acorn squash. Tacos feature fillings ranging from grilled achiote-spiced Gulf prawns to carne asada to Marin Sun Farms goat. A separate vegetarian menu (kale, squash and mushroom tacos) is a nice extra. End with churros dusted in cinnamon-sugar and served with coffee-mascarpone cream. Margaritas are among the best in town.
Mary & Tito’s Cafe
Mary & Tito’s Cafe Restaurant Review
A fixture in the North Valley since 1963, Mary & Tito’s Cafe isn’t merely still going strong — it’s going incendiary. Antoinette Knight carries on the legacy of her parents, Mary Ann and Tito Gonzales. Long the secret of loyal locals, the restaurant has been “discovered” beyond state lines — though the cooking remains as utterly pure and simple as ever. The exemplary red chile (with or without beef) smothers just about everything here from omelets to tamales to the fresh-tasting chile rellenos; equally famed are the carne adovada, chicharrones and savory stuffed sopapillas with sides of refrieds done right. For dessert, there’s Mexican wedding cake. The only downside — besides the early closing time (between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. depending on the day) — is that you can’t cool your heels (or your satisfyingly singed palate) with a beer: no alcohol is served here.
Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia
San Antonio, TX
Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia Restaurant Review
Mi Tierra was established in 1941, and its resolutely northern Mexican cuisine evolved over the years to accommodate American tastes. Enchiladas, for example, morphed into a cheese-filled and decorated dish making much of a meat gravy flavored with comino and spiced with chile powder — now the classic Tex-Mex version. Despite the history, we tend to prefer plates with a more Mexican bent — the pollo en mole poblano, for example, or the Monterrey special of baked cabrito (kid goat). We are also suckers for the muy macho breakfasts, especially the chilaquiles “famosos” (tortilla strips scrambled with eggs and topped with salsa and cheese) and, if we’re feeling puckish, the menudo, a tripe soup that is a legendary hangover cure. On your way out, don’t fail to pick up an assortment of pan dulce from the beckoning bakery case; these Mexican pastries and candies are among the best in town.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana Restaurant Review
Dressed up in its corner location in Penn Quarter, José Andrés’ Oyamel takes you heart and soul across the border down Mexico way. Aside from crispy grasshoppers in a taco, the kitchen sticks mainly to things that most Yankees will eat: ceviches several ways; tacos with pork, grilled chicken, wild mushrooms, or beef tongue; guacamole and hand-made tortillas. Bigger dishes include the classic mole poblano. Well, the list goes on and on, with so many gustatory diversions that you’ll mark this as a return-trip destination. Many return trips. Desserts are worth a major calorie overload, with tres leches cake, Oaxacan chocolate custard, sweet potato flan, and ice creams, plus more. For libations, customers can leap into tankfuls of unusual tequilas, or switch over to brews or specialty cocktails. Visually, the setting has been enlivened with special chairs designed by Philippe Starck and a colorful butterfly mural.
Petty Cash Taqueria
Los Angeles, CA
Petty Cash Taqueria Restaurant Review
Chef Walter Manzke’s Petty Cash Taqueria is headed up by chef de cuisine Fabian Gallardo. Kick things off with Manzke’s famous fried pig ear nachos, selections from the ceviche bar or the “bomb.com,” a combination of guacamole, chicharrones and sea urchin. The tacos are made with handcrafted tortillas and fillings like cochinita pibil, carne asada and charcoal grilled octopus. Don’t miss the buñuelos (fried donut holes) with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. Stop by during “hora feliz” (aka happy hour) Mon.-Fri. from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. for food and drink specials.
Toloache Restaurant Review
Casual-chic surroundings nicely complement chef Julian Medina’s haute Mexican delights at this Theater District restaurant. Diners nurse creatively concocted margaritas and dig into elevated Mex dishes like chicken enchiladas slathered in fig salsa and Veracruz-style paella with epazote-scented rice, shrimp, chorizo, tilapia, chicken, clams and octopus. There’s a ceviche bar, too. Waiters push the guacamole, but there’s too much on the menu to let the guac fill you up. If you’re in the mood for challenge, try the chapulines tacos, which are — of course — Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers. Slightly tamer are the Baja-style tilapia tacos with spicy jícama slaw and guacamole. Heartier dishes include the super-tender pomegranate-and-tequila-braised beef ribs, which float temptingly in a celery root purée. The caramelized goat’s milk crêpe is the perfect way to top off a meal — with a shot of tequila, of course.
Topolobampo Restaurant Review
Adjacent to Frontera Grill but with a separate dining room, this creation of owner-chef Rick Bayless forges on as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. The refined approach is cutting edge and avoids clichés, and the food is always exciting. The menu changes (at least) monthly, but a dish of slow-cooked lamb carnitas with avocado-tomatillo and arbol chile-toasted sesame salsas gives you an idea of where it’s headed. In the past, we’ve grooved on the red chile-marinated Gunthorp duck breast with roasted tomato sauce (it’s accented with chipotle, bacon and pineapple and served alongside spaghetti squash and chipotle-glazed shiitakes). Another winner is the seared black cod with pozole, avocado and crispy chicharron. Do not miss little-known and festival food dishes, which pepper the menu. Desserts may include date cake with mango.