It’s no surprise that Houston wants a lot of exceptional Mexican food– yet it’s the variety of both tastes and also price that truly makes this section of the city’s cooking scene one-of-a-kind. Located at the crossroads of Texan, Mexican as well as Cajun foods, Houston restauranteurs have actually always needed to cater to a variety of tastes. Foods from across Mexico can be discovered throughout Clutch City, including the grilled meats of Chihuahua, the complex moles of Puebla, and the fish stews of Veracruz. From upscale, tablecloth facilities like Hugo’s to the taco vehicles populating the city, Houston records Mexican food customs with a breadth that’s hard to beat. DESPITE YOUR interpretation of Mexican food– be it fajitas and also margaritas or mole and rompope– there’s no better place than Houston to locate it. Not a surprise there, as our city, native home of those well-known fajitas and also various other Tex-Mex standards, is house to the country’s third-largest Mexican population. Thanks to a heritage just as saturated in chile disadvantage carne as well as chile con queso– and a flourishing economic situation that’s drawing Mexican nationals of every socioeconomic red stripe– Houston’s Mexican food landscape has never ever been more vibrant.
Molina’s, currently in its 73rd year, still markets the combination platters that made it famous, overruning with cheese enchiladas, tacos, and also tamales. El Patio– presently commemorating its 50th wedding anniversary– remains to offer the blue-hued frozen margaritas that left generations of Houstonians inebriated at the eatery’s nearby Club No Minors.
At the same time, brand-new generations of Tex-Mex aristocracy are setting a high bar for the years to find. Take Tex-Mex impresario Russell Ybarra, who produced Gringo’s out of his father’s own stopped working Pearland restaurant, or El Tiempo owner Domenic Laurenzo, who’s building on granny Mother Ninfa Laurenzo’s tradition, his dining establishments flourishing like jalapeño bushes in July.
On top of that, thanks to a mixture of development, Houstonians are coming to take pleasure in the exact same kind of cooking as diners in indoor Mexico’s best dining establishments. La Fisheria is serving sophisticated Gulf fish and shellfish dishes motivated by the high end cooking of Tampico. Cuchara is delivering clients to a busy diner in Mexico City’s La Zona Rosa for comida corrida, the cost-effective noontime repast including training courses of nopales salad, simple quesadillas, and calming arroz con leche. As well as at Caracol, fish and shellfish fans are frolicking in a sea of brightly-hued ceviches and Mexican crudos that typically look extra like Nobu-style sashimi platings than bowls of campechana.
Final thought? There’s no better place in the nation for Mexican food now– be it comfortingly Tex, purely Mex or, as is generally the case, something in between. Hence the requirement for Houstonia’s ultramodern guide to our city’s Mexican favorites, from the very best in breakfast tacos, to barbacoa, chips and also queso, campechanas, taqueros, taco vehicles, and also– however certainly– fajitas and also margaritas.
1. Teotihuacan Mexican Coffee Shop
1511 Airline Dr.
Houston, TX 77009.
Bring a day and also enjoy one of the parrilladas, or platters, at any one of this popular Mexican coffee shop’s 3 places. $35 scores restaurants the Teotihuacan parrillada, piled high with grilled quail, beef & hen fajitas, brief ribs. A cheese-stuffed poblano pepper gilds the lily.
2. Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen area.
1140 Eldridge Pkwy.
Houston, TX 77077.
Scratchmade recipes from Chef Sylvia Casares are the definition of comfort food. Dig into fajitas, caldo de pollo (particularly wonderful for hangovers and colds) as well as wood-grilled seafood, or try Casares’ rib-sticking enchiladas filled with everything from traditional cheese and poultry to calabacita as well as crab.
3. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigating.
2704 Navigation Blvd
. Houston, TX 77003.
It’s difficult to have a discussion concerning Houston Tex-Mex (as well as Mexican fare as a whole) without bringing up the Original Ninfa’s on Navigating. Order the fajitas, which are renowned, or choose timeless enchiladas. Just recently, the restaurant scored a large upgrade with brand-new wood-fired grills and craft mixed drinks from Julep’s Alba Huerta.
1777 Walker St.
Houston, TX 77010.
One of Eater’s best new dining establishments in 2017, Xochi is Chef Hugo Ortega’s love letter to Oaxaca. Enjoy recipes like pork rib memelas, wood-roasted octopus offered over masa pancakes, and much more little plates, after that transition right into bigger offerings like the bistec con mole de Chicatana, a Prime ribeye offered with ant mole.
5. La Mexicana.
1018 Fairview St.
Houston, TX 77006.
Half-grocery store, half-bakery, Super La Mexicana is a wonderful area for a quick bite. However despite what the name suggests, this little store front leans towards Central American food, with points like pupusas (essentially, a stuffed cornmeal pancake) and a firey cabbage slaw including heavily on the food selection. The real stand-out is the tamales: Covered in a banana leaf instead of a corn husk as well as made with better corn dish, they are smoother than the average tamal.
1600 Westheimer Rd
. Houston, TX 77006.
This inventive restaurant is recognized for its playful renditions of Mexican classics. (Think: squash soup, duck carnitas, and mole made with candied apples and tamarind.) The agave-roasted barabacoa has earned accolades, but for a truly unique dining experience, try the chapulines, or crispy fried grasshoppers served with guacamole and tortillas.
7. Tacos Tierra Caliente.
1919 W Alabama St.
Houston, TX 77098.
There are a lot of taco trucks in central Houston, but Tacos Tierra Caliente is arguably the best. Parked just across the street from Alabama Ice House, this drunk-food haven offers a simple menu of tortas, quesadillas and classic Mexican street tacos. It’s the tacos– especially the pastor– that really make this place worth it. Cash only. 8. Picos Restaurant.
3601 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX 77098.
( 832) 831-9940.
Pico’s has gone upscale, but it’s still dishing out super-authentic fare from south of the border. Unlike the usual neighborhood Tex-Mex joint, Pico’s tempers its tacos and enchiladas with extremely sophisticated entrees that can be hard to find elsewhere. Case in point is the chili en nogada: a roasted poblano pepper, stuffed with pork, fruit and nuts and then covered in pomegranates and walnut cream.
9. 100% Taquito.
3245 Southwest Fwy.
Houston, TX 77027.
( 713) 665-2900.
What started as a project at the University of Houston soon morphed into an Upper Kirby favorite. Expect lots of lovable kitsch– a dated VW Beetle is parked in a window– and small plates that depart from heavy Tex-Mex fare. Get an asada or pastor torta: Although the bread is good and the meat is great, it’s the sour carrot and jalapeño slaw that really makes these sandwiches sing.
10. Tacos La Bala # 2.
5800 Bellaire Blvd
. Houston, TX 77081.
( 713) 839-8226.
With charm of a taco truck and the quality of a restaurant, Tacos La Bala offers the best of both worlds. The meats here, including the falling-apart barbacoa, have been cooked masterfully. It’s hard to go wrong with this menu– except for vegetarians– the chicharrón tacos are a must. Unlike most chicharrón, which is crispy, Tacos La Bala slow-simmers its version to tender perfection.
11. Fajita Pete’s.
4050 Bellaire Blvd
. Houston, TX 77025.
( 713) 723-8100.
Staying true to its name, Fajita Pete’s serves up ridiculously tender fajitas. For one thing, this takeout-friendly restaurant manages to cook their skirt steak– normally quite a tough cut of beef– to an odds-defying level of tenderness. (Asked how they did it, an employee explained, “just a lot of love, I think.”) It’s the complex, lime-forward marinade that really makes the beef, though. Get it sliced as fajitas, or served whole as the poblano steak.
12. M&M Grill.
6921 Almeda Rd
. Houston, TX 77021.
( 713) 747-8226.
Thanks to Houston’s endlessly diverse population, this quick-service spot serves up excellent Tex-Mex fare made with Halal meats. The fajitas are a consistently excellent choice, and M&M Grill’s excellent breakfast burritos are totally worth waking up early.
13. Pancho’s Meat Market.
7001 Long Dr.
Houston, TX 77087.
( 713) 643-7989.
14. Las Tortugas – Tortas Perronas.
1837 Bingle Rd
. Houston, TX 77055.
( 713) 461-1900.
This small eatery’s namesake sandwich is offered in dozens of different ways at Las Tortugas. Keep it simple with the Guera (chicken, cheese, avocado) or go meat-crazy with the Borracha (ham, skirt steak, two different types of cheese). Whatever the choice, it won’t cost much more than $6 or $7.
For DIY tacos, Pancho’s Meat Market is the place. While there are a lot of great Mexican grocers in Houston, this local chain stands out for its prepared foods. There’s a wide variety of Mexican staples too choose from, so get some fresh tortillas and stuff ’em with meat. Don’t forget to save room in the cart for the charro beans. DIY tacos, Pancho’s Meat Market is the place. While there are a lot of great Mexican grocers in Houston, this local chain stands out for its prepared foods. There’s a wide variety of Mexican staples too choose from, so get some fresh tortillas and stuff ’em with meat. Don’t forget to save room in the cart for the charro beans.
There’s a no better place in the country for Mexican food right now– be it comfortingly Tex, strictly Mex, or, as is usually the case, something in between. Hence the need for an up-to-the-minute guide to our city’s Mexican favorites, from the best in breakfast tacos to barbacoa, chips, taco trucks, and– but of course– fajitas and margaritas.