The Most Popular Mexican Restaurant in Every State (#14 Has Lobster Quesadillas!)

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Embark on a culinary journey through the best Mexican eateries, one state at a time.
Updated May 8, 2024
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woman eating mexican tacos

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From decades-old local institutions to holes in the wall that crank out the best tacos you’ve ever tasted, Mexican food has become a staple in American culture.

While certain areas are more well-known for Mexican food due to proximity (think San Diego), you can nab excellent tacos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, and more in every state.

So, step up your travel game and join us on a tour of the most well-loved Mexican joints in all 50 states.

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Alabama: Antojitos Izcalli (Tuscaloosa)

Katrin Kovac/Adobe couple eating mexican food

Family-owned and authentic, Antojitos Izcalli has hundreds of reviews online touting its delicious options.

The street tacos seem to be a fan favorite, but the small yet mighty restaurant has plenty of other delicious options as well.

Alaska: El Dorado Mexican Restaurant (Anchorage)

ManuPadilla/Adobe woman eating mexican food

Yelp and Google are full of rave reviews for El Dorado.

From the top-notch service to the large array of tasty tacos and delicious margaritas, the restaurant is much loved for offering an authentic dining experience.

Arizona: Cocina Madrigal (Phoenix)

PapatoniC/Adobe mexican woman eating a taco

Known for hand-crafted tacos, homemade enchiladas, and an array of top-notch, authentic dishes, Cocina Madrigal has quickly become a local favorite in the few years since Chef Madrigal opened its doors.

Just check the thousands of raving Yelp reviews for proof.

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Arkansas: Taqueria El Palenque (Little Rock)

fahrwasser/Adobe pulled pork quesadillas

Little Rock’s Taqueria El Palenque is something of a hole in the wall, but it’s a local gem that locals know well as the top spot to get authentic Mexican cuisine on the cheap with excellent (and quick) service.

California: Guerilla Tacos (Los Angeles)

Nelea Reazanteva/Adobe corn chips nachos

It’s nearly impossible to choose the best Mexican restaurant in California as there is simply so much to choose from.

But lines wrapping around the restaurant and 1,000+ raving Yelp reviews are enough to convince us this one-time food truck turned L.A. hot spot is worth a visit.

Colorado: Xicamiti La Taqueria Bistro (Golden)

George Dolgikh/Adobe mexican tacos with beef

With a friendly staff, a massive menu, and a reputation for top-notch authentic dishes and strong margaritas, it’s no surprise that Yelp is filled with hundreds of reviews applauding the restaurant.

One diner even said she’d eat at the Bistro for her last meal.

Connecticut: Los Garcia Mexican Fusion (Waterbury)

Pixel-Shot/Adobe hands with taco and tasty guacamole

Los Garcia offers a fun and lively set-up. It’s a food truck with seating indoors and outdoors.

But if you want to sample top-notch Mexican street food, consider showing up with some time to spare, as the hotspot tends to get packed.

Delaware: El Pique (Wilmington)

Eduardo/Adobe latin man with tacos in hand

A small spot with a big reputation, El Pique is an excellent choice for both dining in and taking out.

It’s particularly well-known for its delicious sopes and tacos — and for offering a lot of bang for your buck.

Florida: Bodega Taqueria Y Tequila (Miami Beach)

Marcos/Adobe  preparing tacos al pastor

Bodega Taqueria Y Tequila is the go-to spot in Miami for street-style tacos and burritos (the tacos have previous accolades as the best in the whole state).

It also has an attached speakeasy lounge, so you can grab some fun cocktails after you eat.

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Georgia: Taqueria La Oaxaqueña (Jonesboro)

EdNurg/Adobe woman eats a fast food flatbread

What began as a simple tamale-selling business has grown into a local gem — known for traditional Oaxacan food and a welcoming atmosphere.

Beyond the tamales that started it all, the taqueria is also known for its mole, quesillo, tacos, and more.

Hawaii: Los Chaparros Mexican Restaurant (Honolulu)

Marcos/Adobe woman eating tacos al pastor

Los Chaparros, which roughly translates to “The Shorties” due to its owners’ tiny stature, has become a beloved Honolulu institution.

You’ll find well over 1,000 rave reviews on Yelp, touting everything from the tortas to the breakfast specials to the drinks.

Idaho: Despo’s Mexican (Ketchum)

AntonioDiaz/Adobe couple eating delicious tacos

Since the early 1980s, Despo’s has made quite the name for itself, with a delectable menu that the staff works hard to ensure is healthy and sustainable — as well as delicious.

Find all your traditional Mexican dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Illinois: 5 Rabanitos (Chicago)

Chicago is packed to the brim with incredible Mexican restaurants, but 5 Rabanitos has made quite the name for itself among the gems in Pilsen.

With a moderately priced menu and stunning (and very filling) plates, it’s clear why Yelp is filled with rave reviews.

Indiana: Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Bar (Indianapolis)

Marcos/Adobe latin woman eating mexican tacos

From their traditional sopes and tamales to their modern takes on classics, like lobster quesadillas, to their drink specials and tequila flights, it’s easy to see why Los Arroyos is quickly making a name for itself in the Indianapolis dining scene.

Iowa: El Bajio Mexican Restaurant (Cedar Rapids)

Cultura Creative/Adobe friends enjoying Mexican food

Family-owned El Bajio is a favorite among locals looking for an authentic homemade taste.

That’s probably because everything, from the tortillas to the tamales, is made from scratch in-house.

Kansas: El Pollo Rey (Kansas City)

Marcos/Adobe eating mexican tacos

Chicken comes in many delicious forms at El Pollo Rey — and the sides are pretty tasty, too.

This Kansas City gem is known for loading up plates at great prices and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Kentucky: Taco Luchador (Louisville)

Keitma/Adobe cut quesadillas in plate

Yelp is packed with hundreds of rave reviews touting this Louisville taqueria’s eclectic and delicious menu.

Whether you’re looking to mix and match some delectable tacos or indulge in a bargain happy hour margarita pitcher (or both!), Taco Luchador has got you covered.

Louisiana: El Cabo Verde (Shreveport)

Andrii/Adobe smiles and tacos shared among friends

From brunch to Taco Tuesdays to Thursday Local (where local ingredients and brews are showcased), there’s always something going on at El Cabo Verde.

That explains why it’s quickly become the go-to spot for Mexican cuisine in the area.

Maine: Taco Escobarr (Portland)

vitals/Adobe Mexican tacos

Visitors seem to love the ambiance almost as much as they love the delicious food and drinks at Taco Escobarr.

With crispy tacos, loaded nachos, and stiff margaritas, all for an affordable price, it’s no wonder the restaurant’s Yelp page is filled with hundreds of raving reviews.

Maryland: Taqueria Habanero (College Park)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe beef burritos

With several locations around the D.C. area, Taqueria Habanero is small but mighty.

The menu is packed with authentic Mexican options — and it’s a great place to stop by for a Taco Tuesday deal, delicious chips and guac, and so much more.

Massachusetts: Taqueria Jalisco (Boston)

Zerbor/Adobe vegan tofu scramble breakfast burrito

A tucked-away hole-in-the-wall with a big reputation, Taqueria Jalisco is known for its birria tacos — and according to hundreds of glowing Yelp reviews, they certainly live up to the hype.

Michigan: Taqueria Lupita (Detroit)

Sydney/Adobe person grabbing a taco

Offering traditional options from Jalisco, Lupita’s has an eclectic menu with an array of enchiladas, fajitas, and more.

However, the Detroit staple is particularly known for its street-style tacos.

Minnesota: Tacos El Kevin (Minneapolis)

David Prahl/Adobe man eating tacos

Tacos El Kevin is a fun, brightly colored hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The restaurant offers different specials every day, but visitors seem to be particularly drawn to the tacos.

Crispy tacos dorados and al pastor are particular fan favorites.

Mississippi: Burrito Zone & Tamales (D’Iberville)

Marcos/Adobe Quesadilla typical mexican dish with various ingredients

Another excellent hole-in-the-wall, Burrito Zone & Tamales, offers authentic Mexican cuisine.

Visitors can create and customize their own tacos and burritos. As the name implies, the tamales are also a must-try.

Missouri: Taqueria El Bronco (St. Louis)

Christian/Adobe woman holding burrito covered with guacamole

Taqueria El Bronco is a small, no-frills restaurant that is all about the food. It has a longstanding reputation for serving authentic Mexican food right.

Visitors love the classics, like tacos, tortas, and burritos — and the taqueria is well-known for its delicious, chunky guacamole.

Montana: Albertano’s Mexican Food (Bozeman)

Sydney/Adobe person grabbing taco

Small, authentic, and open late, Albertano's is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

The restaurant opened in 2015 and is known for its welcoming environment, excellent service, and massive (and affordable) menu.

Nebraska: Mula Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria (Omaha)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe couple eating street tacos

Mula is the place to be for authentic Mexican comfort food — and there are hundreds of glowing reviews on Yelp to prove it.

From the guac flight to the street tacos, the restaurant has become quite the hot spot in the Omaha area.

Nevada: El Dorado Cantina (Las Vegas)

Ixepop/Adobe burrito taco gordita crunch

There’s no shortage of excellent Mexican food in Vegas, but El Dorado Cantina is a particular standout.

It’s conveniently located just behind The Strip, offers authentic Mexican cuisine made with organic ingredients, and is open 24 hours a day.

New Hampshire: Cielito Mexican Restaurant (Bristol)

Adriana/Adobe guacamole and chips

Cielito in Bristol is a simple restaurant where the focus is on excellent, authentic cuisine and top-notch drinks.

Some of the stars on the menu are the chicken taquitos, carne asada tacos, and chimichangas.

New Jersey: Orale (Jersey City)

Marcos/Adobe mexican people eating taco

Orale may not be the most authentic Mexican option in Jersey City (taking a walk down Newark Ave. to Mexico City should scratch that itch), but it offers a fun and lively ambiance, an excellent brunch menu, happy hour deals, and an extensive tequila and cocktail list.

New Mexico: El Patio De Albuquerque (Albuquerque)

Nenad/Adobe girl eating tortilla

El Patio Albuquerque’s claim to fame is its green chile (and, in particular, the green-stuffed sopapillas with green chile).

The much-loved restaurant gets its name as most of its seating is outside on a delightful patio in a lively, pedestrian-friendly part of Albuquerque.

New York: Ruta Oaxaca (Astoria)

elnariz/Adobe handmade Guacamole from fresh organic avocados with chips on a table

New York City is filled to the brim with excellent Mexican cuisine.

We picked Ruta Oaxaca for its glowing reputation for serving up delicious traditional dishes and offering a wide selection of tequila and artisanal mezcal.

It also has three locations in Astoria, Patchogue, and Woodbury.

North Carolina: Taqueria la Vaquita (Durham)

Maridav/Adobe couple having margaritas at miami ocean

This little Mexican joint is no frills and all thrills (particularly when you take your first bite of their excellent street tacos).

The small restaurant, easy to identify by the large spotted cow on its roof, offers simple, authentic Mexican fare and a delightful outdoor area for visitors to enjoy.

North Dakota: Plaza Azteca (Fargo)

Oleksandr Blishch/Adobe burrito

Plaza Azteca has two locations in Fargo, and both are quite popular (so plan ahead if you’re visiting on a weekend).

Known for excellent authentic food and drink specials (the margaritas are a big hit), it’s no wonder the restaurant’s Yelp page is filled with happy customers.

Ohio: Cuco’s Taqueria (Columbus)

vaaseenaa/Adobe burritos

Cuco’s started out as a Mexican grocery store with a tiny taco counter back in 2003 — and has since grown to a much-loved and highly-praised restaurant.

Diners can enjoy classic dishes like tacos, tamales, and tortas — and they still sell groceries, too.

Oklahoma: Birrieria Diaz (Bethany)

M.studio/Adobe assorted-mexican-food

Birrieria Diaz is a popular and lively joint in Bethany that is widely praised for its authentic options.

While the whole menu seems to be a hit, the restaurant is particularly known for its delicious birria (lamb or beef stew).

Oregon: Tienda Santa Cruz (Portland)

Cultura Creative/Adobe friends enjoying Mexican food

Tienda Santa Cruz is part grocery store, part taqueria and stands out among many great dining options in Portland for its authentic feel.

Yelp is full of rave reviews for the taqueria, and diners seem to be particularly impressed by the carne asada tacos and supreme burritos.

Pennsylvania: La Palapa Mexican Cuisine & Mezcal Bar (Pittsburgh)

LorenaPh/Adobe woman sitting with a plate of tacos

A delightfully decorated restaurant that foodies (and Yelp reviewers) rave about, La Palapa does all your favorite Mexican dishes — and does them exceptionally well.

One Yelp reviewer even said they sell the best empanadas she’s ever had. The house-made hot sauce is also a big hit.

Rhode Island: Tallulah’s Taqueria (Providence)

Marcos/Adobe restaurant terrace in Mexico

Tallulah’s has two locations in the Providence area, and both are a huge hit with foodies.

It’s a casual restaurant where you can hang out outside, snack on some delicious tacos, and order a drink or two (Yelp is also filled with diners praising the burritos as the best in the area).

South Carolina: Sun City Cafe (Myrtle Beach)

Paolaulloa0022/Adobe  sharing pastor tacos

Sun City Cafe is not quite authentic, but their twist on traditional Mexican dining — dubbed “Myrtle Mex” — is a huge hit with customers.

The appetizers, particularly the guacamole and shrimp dip, are particularly well-loved among Yelp reviewers.

South Dakota: El Columpio (Mitchell)

Guajillo studio/Adobe mexican stew tacos guisados

The tacos and burritos at El Columpio keep customers coming back (and fill the restaurant’s Yelp page with rave reviews).

Diners also love the drink specials, which include a wide range of sodas like Jarritos and Fanta, as well as the famed (for being delicious and strong) margaritas.

Tennessee: Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos (Memphis)

Fotoluminate LLC/Adobe traditional mexican cuisine

While Memphis may be known for barbecue, there are some seriously good Mexican options as well. Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos has made quite a name for itself.

It's small but mighty, with a menu packed with top-notch street and specialty tacos, fajitas, and so much more.

Texas: Hugo’s (Houston)

bartsadowski/Adobe fresh carne asada tacos

It’s no simple feat to choose the best Mexican restaurant in Texas, but thousands of rave reviews on Yelp will tell you Hugo’s is one of the best.

Chef Hugo Ortega opened his namesake restaurant back in 2002, and it has since become a staple in Houston for authentic Mexican options, plus extensive wine, cocktail, and tequila lists.

Utah: Red Iguana (Salt Lake City)

Audiovisual Media/Adobe chilli stuffed with cheese

Red Iguana has been serving delicious and authentic Mexican food in Salt Lake City since 1985.

Now, patrons can get it at the original location, Red Iguana 2, and Taste of Red Iguana. It’s a staple in the area, even earning a spot on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”

Vermont: Mojo Cafe (Ludlow)

edan/Adobe nachos with cheese and guacamole

Mojo Cafe in Ludlow is known for offering cheap, modern takes on traditional Mexican cuisine.

The restaurant describes its style as “Mex-Orleans & Street” style, and happy customers on Yelp cannot get enough of the tacos (or the prices).

Virginia: Abuelita’s (Richmond)

Marcos/Adobe tacos al pastor in a mexican taqueria

Abuelita’s has become a much-loved institution in the Richmond dining scene.

It specializes in Mexican comfort food, particularly guisos (or Mexican stews), birria tacos, tamales, and homemade tortillas.

Washington: Fogón Cocina Mexicana (Seattle)

Steve Cukrov/Adobe margarita cocktails

Fogón has become a staple in the Seattle area. It offers delicious homemade tortillas, family recipes, and an excellent brunch menu.

Nearly 2,000 Yelp reviewers praise the food, the ambiance, and the fresh margaritas.

West Virginia: Ortegas Taco Shop (Charles Town)

Meeko Media/Adobe chef folds over a taco

Ortegas offers an array of delicious meals and snacks, with many healthy options made from locally sourced ingredients.

Yelp is packed with rave reviews — with the chips and salsa and breakfast burritos appearing to be particular fan favorites.

Wisconsin: Tapatios Cocina Mexicana (Fitchburg)

svetlana_may/Adobe chicken tacos

A great place to go for a few tacos and drinks, Tapatios is well-known in the Madison area.

The restaurant’s Yelp page is filled with happy customers citing it as one of the best, most authentic options you can find locally.

Wyoming: Fiesta Mexican Restaurant (Jackson)

kolotype/Adobe quesadilla with meat and vegetables

Fiesta is well-known as one of the best places to get Mexican food in Jackson and all of Wyoming.

Yelp is filled with hundreds of reviews praising how cheap and delicious the food and drinks are — with one user even calling the margaritas a “great arm workout.”

Bottom line

Drazen/Adobe woman eating tacos during lunch

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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