clock menu more-arrow no yes
A fajita platter fit for a king at Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe
A fajita platter fit for a king at Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe
Gary Wise/Flickr

13 Essential Spots For Enjoying Houston's Finest Mexican and Tex-Mex Fare

From cheese enchiladas to complex mole, these eateries will satisfy any hankering for Mexican cuisine.

View as Map
A fajita platter fit for a king at Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe
| Gary Wise/Flickr

It's no surprise that Houston is hope to plenty of excellent Mexican food — but it's the wide variety of both flavors and price tags that really makes this culinary scene unique. Situated at the crossroads of Texan, Mexican and Cajun cuisines, Houston restauranteurs have always had to cater to a range of tastes. But where do you find Houston's best Mexican restaurants?

Foods from across Mexico can be found all over Clutch City, including the grilled meats of Chihuahua, the complex moles of Puebla, and the fish stews of Veracruz. From upscale, tablecloth establishments like Hugo's to the taco trucks dotting the city, Houston captures Mexican food traditions with a breadth that's hard to beat.

It'd be controversial to say, definitively, what the best Mexican restaurants in town are. Instead, here are some great options that run the gamut from cheap-and-authentic to upscale-and-Americanized. Whether you're new to Houston or just stuck in a boring Tex-Mex rut, let this map of Houston’s essential spots for Mexican fare be your guide.

Is your favorite Tex-Mex or Mexican spot missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 100% Taquito

Copy Link
3245 Southwest Fwy
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 665-2900
Visit Website
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.
Yelp/Norm B.

2. Fajita Pete's

Copy Link
4050 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77025
(713) 723-8100
Visit Website
Staying true to its name, Fajita Pete's serves up some of the best fajitas in town. 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 whole (as the “poblano steak”).
Yelp/Brittany N.

3. Hugo's

Copy Link
1600 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-7744
Visit Website
Fine Mexican dining as imagined by award-winning shift Hugo Ortega. This inventive restaurant is known 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 chapulinas: crispy fried grasshoppers, served with guacamole and tortillas.
Bill Addison

4. Las Cabamas Restaurant

Copy Link
227 Cavalcade St
Houston, TX 77009
(713) 695-0453
After the mariachi bands finish making their rounds, some of them, by the looks of it, head to Las Cabamas. This laid-back hole-in-the-wall specializes in the light, almost-Mediterranean dishes of Veracruz, where fish plays a central role. Try any of the fish stews on their menu, but be advised: the whole fish comes head and all. Cash only under $10.

5. Panchos Meat Market

Copy Link
7001 Long Dr
Houston, TX 77087
If you like building your own tacos, Pancho's Meat Market is the place for you. 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 whatever meaty filling suits your tastes. Whatever you do, though, don't miss out on the excellent charro beans.
Yelp/Roger T.

6. Picos Restaurant

Copy Link
3601 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098
(832) 831-9940
Visit Website
Pico's has gone upscale, but it's still dishing out super-authentic fare from south of the border. Unlike your 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.

7. La Mexicana

Copy Link
1018 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 521-0963
Visit Website
Half-grocery store, half-bakery, Super La Mexicana is a great place for a quick bite. But despite what the name suggests, this tiny storefront leans towards Central American food, with things like pupusas (basically, a stuffed cornmeal pancake) and a firey cabbage slaw featuring heavily on the menu. The real stand-out is the tamales: Wrapped in a banana leaf rather than a corn husk and made with finer corn meal, they are smoother than your average tamal.
Yelp/VK

8. Tacos La Bala #2

Copy Link
5800 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77081
(713) 839-8226
Visit Website
With the authenticity of a taco truck but 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 — unless you're a vegetarian, that is — but you can do right with the chicharrón tacos. Unlike most chicharrón, which is crispy, Tacos La Bala slow-simmers theirs to mouth-melting perfection.
Yelp/John S.

9. Tacos Tierra Caliente

Copy Link
Alabama Ice House
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 584-9359
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 ones — that really make this place worth it. Cash only.
Yelp/Karen G.

10. Taqueria Puro Jalisco

Copy Link
Reveille St & Park Pl Blvd
Houston, TX 77087
This one's a little mysterious. Parked at Southeast Houston gas station, Taqueria Puro Jalisco lacks a website, a Yelp page, a phone number — and, for that matter, a true street address. And yet this food truck remains crowded with locals, at least during meal times. While the meat options are solid, go for the harder-to-find rajas tacos, which are stuffed with a gooey mess of poblanos and cheese. Unpredictable hours; cash only.

11. Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

Copy Link
1511 Airline Dr
Houston, TX 77009
(713) 426-4420
Visit Website
Bring a date and indulge in one of the parrilladas, or platters, at any of this popular Mexican cafe's three locations. $35 will score you the Teotihuacan parrillada, piled high with grilled quail, beef & chicken fajitas, short ribs. A cheese-stuffed poblano pepper gilds the lily.

12. The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

Copy Link
2704 Navigation Blvd
Houston, TX 77003
(713) 228-1175
Visit Website
It's impossible to have a discussion about Houston Tex-Mex (and Mexican fare in general) without bringing up the Original Ninfa's on Navigation. Recently, the restaurant scored a big upgrade with new wood-fired grills and craft cocktails from Julep's Alba Huerta.

13. M&M Grill

Copy Link
6921 Almeda Rd Ste A
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 you shouldn't sleep on M&M Grill's great breakfast burritos.
M&M Grill/Facebook

Loading comments...

1. 100% Taquito

3245 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77027
Yelp/Norm B.
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.
3245 Southwest Fwy
Houston, TX 77027

2. Fajita Pete's

4050 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77025
Yelp/Brittany N.
Staying true to its name, Fajita Pete's serves up some of the best fajitas in town. 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 whole (as the “poblano steak”).
4050 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77025

3. Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006
Bill Addison
Fine Mexican dining as imagined by award-winning shift Hugo Ortega. This inventive restaurant is known 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 chapulinas: crispy fried grasshoppers, served with guacamole and tortillas.
1600 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

4. Las Cabamas Restaurant

227 Cavalcade St, Houston, TX 77009
After the mariachi bands finish making their rounds, some of them, by the looks of it, head to Las Cabamas. This laid-back hole-in-the-wall specializes in the light, almost-Mediterranean dishes of Veracruz, where fish plays a central role. Try any of the fish stews on their menu, but be advised: the whole fish comes head and all. Cash only under $10.
227 Cavalcade St
Houston, TX 77009

5. Panchos Meat Market

7001 Long Dr, Houston, TX 77087
Yelp/Roger T.
If you like building your own tacos, Pancho's Meat Market is the place for you. 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 whatever meaty filling suits your tastes. Whatever you do, though, don't miss out on the excellent charro beans.
7001 Long Dr
Houston, TX 77087

6. Picos Restaurant

3601 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
Pico's has gone upscale, but it's still dishing out super-authentic fare from south of the border. Unlike your 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.
3601 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098

7. La Mexicana

1018 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77006
Yelp/VK
Half-grocery store, half-bakery, Super La Mexicana is a great place for a quick bite. But despite what the name suggests, this tiny storefront leans towards Central American food, with things like pupusas (basically, a stuffed cornmeal pancake) and a firey cabbage slaw featuring heavily on the menu. The real stand-out is the tamales: Wrapped in a banana leaf rather than a corn husk and made with finer corn meal, they are smoother than your average tamal.
1018 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77006

8. Tacos La Bala #2

5800 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77081
Yelp/John S.
With the authenticity of a taco truck but 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 — unless you're a vegetarian, that is — but you can do right with the chicharrón tacos. Unlike most chicharrón, which is crispy, Tacos La Bala slow-simmers theirs to mouth-melting perfection.
5800 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77081

9. Tacos Tierra Caliente

Alabama Ice House, Houston, TX 77098
Yelp/Karen G.
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 ones — that really make this place worth it. Cash only.
Alabama Ice House
Houston, TX 77098

10. Taqueria Puro Jalisco

Reveille St & Park Pl Blvd, Houston, TX 77087
This one's a little mysterious. Parked at Southeast Houston gas station, Taqueria Puro Jalisco lacks a website, a Yelp page, a phone number — and, for that matter, a true street address. And yet this food truck remains crowded with locals, at least during meal times. While the meat options are solid, go for the harder-to-find rajas tacos, which are stuffed with a gooey mess of poblanos and cheese. Unpredictable hours; cash only.
Reveille St & Park Pl Blvd
Houston, TX 77087

11. Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

1511 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77009
Bring a date and indulge in one of the parrilladas, or platters, at any of this popular Mexican cafe's three locations. $35 will score you the Teotihuacan parrillada, piled high with grilled quail, beef & chicken fajitas, short ribs. A cheese-stuffed poblano pepper gilds the lily.
1511 Airline Dr
Houston, TX 77009

12. The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003
It's impossible to have a discussion about Houston Tex-Mex (and Mexican fare in general) without bringing up the Original Ninfa's on Navigation. Recently, the restaurant scored a big upgrade with new wood-fired grills and craft cocktails from Julep's Alba Huerta.
2704 Navigation Blvd
Houston, TX 77003

13. M&M Grill

6921 Almeda Rd Ste A, Houston, TX 77021
M&M Grill/Facebook
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 you shouldn't sleep on M&M Grill's great breakfast burritos.
6921 Almeda Rd Ste A
Houston, TX 77021

Related Maps