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A quesadilla served with a side of crema and caviar at Tatemo.
Tatemo, Houston’s Mexican tasting menu restaurant, is a must-try.
Brittany Britto Garley

18 Standout Mexican Restaurants in Houston

With dishes like grilled cactus, barbacoa tacos, and large, loopy churros, these restaurants draw from true Mexican traditions

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Tatemo, Houston’s Mexican tasting menu restaurant, is a must-try.
| Brittany Britto Garley

It’s no secret that Houstonians love their Mexican restaurants. And, what’s not to love? The lively destinations serve as worthy backdrops for cheese-filled feasts made up of stewed meats and grilled vegetables, fiery salsas, and tequila-fueled libations.

While there are a number of excellent choices to consider in any given pocket of the city — from taquerias and food trucks to Tex-Mex restaurants — there are a select bunch whose focus remains on true Mexican cuisine. These restaurants, not only present their versions of authentic Mexican dishes, but they incorporate cooking techniques long-utilized in Mexico, such as the nixtamalization — or proper preparation of corn — and on-site baking for the freshest fresh torta bread.

From trustworthy standbys to upscale, new hotspots, there is plenty to discover about this beloved cuisine. Raise a cricket-salt rimmed marg, and cheers to Houston’s bountiful Mexican food scene.

This map has been updated to rotate out La Chingada Tacos & Tequila and Cielito Cafe, and add Tatemo, Ojo de Agua, and Cochinita & co.

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Cascabel

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This Spring Branch restaurant dishes out vegan renditions of Mexican and Latin favorites. The menu features pozole rojo, burritos, tortas, creamy chile con queso, and tacos that can be filled with a variety of proteins, including soy al pastor, jackfruit, Mexican brisket from hibiscus, fajita-style mushrooms, soy bistec, and more.

Eva's Mexican Restaurant

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This decades-old, family-owned Mexican restaurant, tucked in the middle of a nondescript retail strip in Spring, has not changed much over the years. Warm chips with red and green salsas precede meals like chicken with mole sauce, carnitas, and platters of tamales with crispy tacos. Fajitas are a house favorite and can be had with beef, chicken, shrimp, or a mix of all three.

Tatemó

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Award-winning chef Emmanuel Chavez offers Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on the breadth of maize at one of Houston’s few tasting menu restaurants. Make your reservation at the discreet BYOB Spring Branch spot Wednesday through Saturday, and prepare yourself for perfect bites of quesadilla, ceviche, and more. Or, opt for the more casual, walk-in brunch on Sunday, when families gather around rib-eye and short rib quesadillas and masa pancakes, and maiz and tortillas by the bulk are on offer.

At Hugo Ortega’s newest restaurant, the spotlight is on Mexican street eats. The fast-casual Uptown Park concept, which offers counter-service by day and a full-service format during dinner and weekend brunch, is known for its slow-roasted meats like birria and barbacoa that are used to build tortas and tacos. Urbe houses its own on-site bakery, too, producing fresh bread, tortillas, and pastries, plus large, spiral-shaped churros — presented just like in the mercados in Mexico.

Meat-filled torta sandwich.
Urbe’s torta ahogado is a mouthful.
Paula Murphy

Xalisko

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Chef Beatriz Martines shares her journey of cooking and cuisine from her hometown in Jalisco, Mexico with the Woodlands. Find dishes like refreshing ceviches, the saucy, fall-off-the-bone birria tatemade — a saucy slow-braised lamb shank served with rice and beans, and Martines’ signature trompito al pastor, a hunk of marinated roasted pork, which is delivered to the table on a mini spit. End with something sweet, like the churros gordos, which are stuffed with cajeta, or Xalisco’s fun spin on the tres leches, which is made with a cranberry compote and topped with a vanilla-cream cheese icing, and orange zest.

A white plate with birria tatemade against a black backdrop.
The tender birria tatemade is a must-not-miss entree.
Xalisko Cocina Mexicana

Ojo de Agua

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With more than 40 outposts in Mexico City, this all-day cafe is a perfect place to stop in for a bright and refreshing meal while in River Oaks. Find made-to-order smoothies, juices, coffee drinks, and wine-based margaritas, all of which are served alongside ceviche, decadent chilaquiles, tacos with grilled proteins, and their signature colorful acai bowls.

Ojo de Agua’s chilaquiles, topped with a fried egg, cilantro, onions, and verde salsa, with an acai bowl topped with fresh fruit on the side.
You can eat all the colors while dining at Ojo de Agua.
Jennifer Hasbún

La Hacienda

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Just as its name suggests, this Heights restaurant is reminiscent of a real Mexican hacienda. Colorful paper strands drape from the ceiling, and a large space peppered with banquettes and tables is anchored by a grand staircase. The menu is old-school with a number of combo platters, like the La Hacienda Special, which combines a chile con queso puff, beef taco, stuffed bell pepper, cheese enchilada, and tamale with rice and beans.

Armandos

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Don’t let the white tablecloths fool you — this River Oaks restaurant delivers classics like chile con queso, enchiladas, and its signature twice-refried beans. In for a celebration? Visit on Thursday night when the restaurant turns into a party. Spring for the $48 River Oaks ‘Rita — a combination of Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila, Patron Citronge, fresh lime juice, agave, and dusted with gold flakes. Or, opt for the recently launched Sunday brunch for filling plates of huevos rancheros, avocado tostadas, and chilaquiles. 

Huevos rancheros made with tortillas and two sunnyside up eggs topped with slices of avocado, and side servings of refried beans and potatoes at Armandos.
Brunch is Armandos’s newest feature.
Matt Johns

Arnaldo Richards' Picos Restaurant

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For almost four decades, Arnaldo Richard’s Picos has shed a light on the seven regions of Mexico through its cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the all-day restaurant offers plenty to get excited about — menudo on the breakfast menu, seafood enchiladas for dinner, and traditional tres leches or rice pudding for dessert. Stopping by during your lunch hour? Try the 2-course power lunch for $29, available on weekdays.

Tostada with scallop sashimi.
A course from the new CURATED x Picos dinner series.
Alex Montoya

This time-honored family-owned restaurant continues to shine in a city rich with Mexican dining choices. Barbacoa from 44 Farms often serves as the filling to tortas, tacos, and more, and saucy enchilada plates include house-made toppings like herb butter Suiza sauce and chili gravy.

La Guadalupana

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What it lacks in curb appeal, La Guadalupana makes up for in its beloved menu of baked goods, hearty breakfast plates, and friendly service. Pair a concha with the rich, chocolaty champurrado, or for a complete meal, try the chicken flautas with rice and beans.

Chef Hugo Ortega’s namesake restaurant combines Mexican cuisine with top notch service and a chic dining space in the heart of Montrose. This inventive restaurant is known for its playful renditions of Mexican classics. (Think: squash soup, duck tostadas, and two types of mole.) The agave-roasted barbacoa has earned accolades, but for a truly unique dining experience, try the chapulines — crispy fried grasshoppers served with guacamole and tortillas.

Puebla's Mexican Kitchen

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The early bird has until 3 p.m. to score breakfast tacos, tortas, and gorditas at Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen. The restaurant keeps daytime hours Monday through Saturday and is known for its breakfast specialties and aguas frescas. Add barbacoa to an order of migas, or fuel up with huevos con chorizo for a tasty start to the day.

chilaquiles divorciados with two fried eggs at Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen.
Puebla’s is one of the Heights’s best kept secrets.
Brittany Britto Garley

Cuchara

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Vacationing in Mexico City is all the rage these days, but for those looking to save on travel time and still get a taste of what all the fuss is about, a visit to Cuchara is a great alternative. For a decade, this gem has been slinging casual Mexico City fare throughout its happy, light-filled Montrose dining room — decorated with art from Mexico City muralist Cecilia Beaven. Paloma cocktails presented in clay cups are Instagram-worthy and pair well with loaded plates like the crispy tostadas and the cheese-stuffed grilled cactus filet. Try its new daytime sister concept, Cucharita, newly opened down the street.

Pozole served with lime, red onion, and a small tortilla.
Cuchara’s pozole is comfort in a bowl.
Megha McSwain

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

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Bring a date and indulge in one of the parrilladas, or platters, at this popular Mexican cafe. Sixty dollars scores diners the Teotihuacan parrillada — piled high with chargrilled quails, beef short ribs, grilled jumbo shrimp, and beef and chicken fajitas. A cheese-stuffed poblano pepper gilds the lily.

Spanish Flowers

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Spanish Flowers has grown to multiple locations around Houston since its inception back in the late ‘70s. Start with the loaded Spanish Flower nachos, layered with fajita meat, taco meat, beans, and traditional toppings, then indulge in one of the specialties like carne guisada or the 8-ounce ribeye and enchilada combo plate.

La Fisheria

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With its splashy, Mexican resort-style dining space, La Fisheria is a Downtown oasis focusing on coastal cuisine. This means there is a multitude of ceviches to consider, from shrimp, scallops, and stewed octopus, to fish that is fried, char-grilled, or pan-seared.

Whole fish.
The whole fish is a head turner.
Megha McSwain

Cochinita & co.

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Chef Victoria Elizondo provides an inviting cafe to down Mexican favorites. Get there before 11 a.m. when buildable breakfast tacos, top-notch chilaquiles, agua frescas, and coffee drinks are on offer. And don’t be ashamed if you double back during lunch or dinner for Cochinita’s taco platters and the cochinita pibil, the namesake dish that comes stuffed in a taco, served with rice and beans, and a side of fideo or a salad, or as a full entree with sides and tortillas.

Cochinita & co.’s chilaquiles is a combination of tortilla chips, topped with fried egg, slices of avocado, crema fresca, green onion, and a spicy red sauce.
Breakfast is just the tipping point at Cochinita & Co.
Brittany Britto Garley

Cascabel

This Spring Branch restaurant dishes out vegan renditions of Mexican and Latin favorites. The menu features pozole rojo, burritos, tortas, creamy chile con queso, and tacos that can be filled with a variety of proteins, including soy al pastor, jackfruit, Mexican brisket from hibiscus, fajita-style mushrooms, soy bistec, and more.

Eva's Mexican Restaurant

This decades-old, family-owned Mexican restaurant, tucked in the middle of a nondescript retail strip in Spring, has not changed much over the years. Warm chips with red and green salsas precede meals like chicken with mole sauce, carnitas, and platters of tamales with crispy tacos. Fajitas are a house favorite and can be had with beef, chicken, shrimp, or a mix of all three.

Tatemó

Award-winning chef Emmanuel Chavez offers Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on the breadth of maize at one of Houston’s few tasting menu restaurants. Make your reservation at the discreet BYOB Spring Branch spot Wednesday through Saturday, and prepare yourself for perfect bites of quesadilla, ceviche, and more. Or, opt for the more casual, walk-in brunch on Sunday, when families gather around rib-eye and short rib quesadillas and masa pancakes, and maiz and tortillas by the bulk are on offer.

Urbe

At Hugo Ortega’s newest restaurant, the spotlight is on Mexican street eats. The fast-casual Uptown Park concept, which offers counter-service by day and a full-service format during dinner and weekend brunch, is known for its slow-roasted meats like birria and barbacoa that are used to build tortas and tacos. Urbe houses its own on-site bakery, too, producing fresh bread, tortillas, and pastries, plus large, spiral-shaped churros — presented just like in the mercados in Mexico.

Meat-filled torta sandwich.
Urbe’s torta ahogado is a mouthful.
Paula Murphy

Xalisko

Chef Beatriz Martines shares her journey of cooking and cuisine from her hometown in Jalisco, Mexico with the Woodlands. Find dishes like refreshing ceviches, the saucy, fall-off-the-bone birria tatemade — a saucy slow-braised lamb shank served with rice and beans, and Martines’ signature trompito al pastor, a hunk of marinated roasted pork, which is delivered to the table on a mini spit. End with something sweet, like the churros gordos, which are stuffed with cajeta, or Xalisco’s fun spin on the tres leches, which is made with a cranberry compote and topped with a vanilla-cream cheese icing, and orange zest.

A white plate with birria tatemade against a black backdrop.
The tender birria tatemade is a must-not-miss entree.
Xalisko Cocina Mexicana

Ojo de Agua

With more than 40 outposts in Mexico City, this all-day cafe is a perfect place to stop in for a bright and refreshing meal while in River Oaks. Find made-to-order smoothies, juices, coffee drinks, and wine-based margaritas, all of which are served alongside ceviche, decadent chilaquiles, tacos with grilled proteins, and their signature colorful acai bowls.

Ojo de Agua’s chilaquiles, topped with a fried egg, cilantro, onions, and verde salsa, with an acai bowl topped with fresh fruit on the side.
You can eat all the colors while dining at Ojo de Agua.
Jennifer Hasbún

La Hacienda

Just as its name suggests, this Heights restaurant is reminiscent of a real Mexican hacienda. Colorful paper strands drape from the ceiling, and a large space peppered with banquettes and tables is anchored by a grand staircase. The menu is old-school with a number of combo platters, like the La Hacienda Special, which combines a chile con queso puff, beef taco, stuffed bell pepper, cheese enchilada, and tamale with rice and beans.

Armandos

Don’t let the white tablecloths fool you — this River Oaks restaurant delivers classics like chile con queso, enchiladas, and its signature twice-refried beans. In for a celebration? Visit on Thursday night when the restaurant turns into a party. Spring for the $48 River Oaks ‘Rita — a combination of Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila, Patron Citronge, fresh lime juice, agave, and dusted with gold flakes. Or, opt for the recently launched Sunday brunch for filling plates of huevos rancheros, avocado tostadas, and chilaquiles. 

Huevos rancheros made with tortillas and two sunnyside up eggs topped with slices of avocado, and side servings of refried beans and potatoes at Armandos.
Brunch is Armandos’s newest feature.
Matt Johns

Arnaldo Richards' Picos Restaurant

For almost four decades, Arnaldo Richard’s Picos has shed a light on the seven regions of Mexico through its cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the all-day restaurant offers plenty to get excited about — menudo on the breakfast menu, seafood enchiladas for dinner, and traditional tres leches or rice pudding for dessert. Stopping by during your lunch hour? Try the 2-course power lunch for $29, available on weekdays.

Tostada with scallop sashimi.
A course from the new CURATED x Picos dinner series.
Alex Montoya

Alma

This time-honored family-owned restaurant continues to shine in a city rich with Mexican dining choices. Barbacoa from 44 Farms often serves as the filling to tortas, tacos, and more, and saucy enchilada plates include house-made toppings like herb butter Suiza sauce and chili gravy.

La Guadalupana

What it lacks in curb appeal, La Guadalupana makes up for in its beloved menu of baked goods, hearty breakfast plates, and friendly service. Pair a concha with the rich, chocolaty champurrado, or for a complete meal, try the chicken flautas with rice and beans.

Hugo's

Chef Hugo Ortega’s namesake restaurant combines Mexican cuisine with top notch service and a chic dining space in the heart of Montrose. This inventive restaurant is known for its playful renditions of Mexican classics. (Think: squash soup, duck tostadas, and two types of mole.) The agave-roasted barbacoa has earned accolades, but for a truly unique dining experience, try the chapulines — crispy fried grasshoppers served with guacamole and tortillas.

Puebla's Mexican Kitchen

The early bird has until 3 p.m. to score breakfast tacos, tortas, and gorditas at Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen. The restaurant keeps daytime hours Monday through Saturday and is known for its breakfast specialties and aguas frescas. Add barbacoa to an order of migas, or fuel up with huevos con chorizo for a tasty start to the day.

chilaquiles divorciados with two fried eggs at Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen.
Puebla’s is one of the Heights’s best kept secrets.
Brittany Britto Garley

Cuchara

Vacationing in Mexico City is all the rage these days, but for those looking to save on travel time and still get a taste of what all the fuss is about, a visit to Cuchara is a great alternative. For a decade, this gem has been slinging casual Mexico City fare throughout its happy, light-filled Montrose dining room — decorated with art from Mexico City muralist Cecilia Beaven. Paloma cocktails presented in clay cups are Instagram-worthy and pair well with loaded plates like the crispy tostadas and the cheese-stuffed grilled cactus filet. Try its new daytime sister concept, Cucharita, newly opened down the street.

Pozole served with lime, red onion, and a small tortilla.
Cuchara’s pozole is comfort in a bowl.
Megha McSwain

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

Bring a date and indulge in one of the parrilladas, or platters, at this popular Mexican cafe. Sixty dollars scores diners the Teotihuacan parrillada — piled high with chargrilled quails, beef short ribs, grilled jumbo shrimp, and beef and chicken fajitas. A cheese-stuffed poblano pepper gilds the lily.

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Spanish Flowers

Spanish Flowers has grown to multiple locations around Houston since its inception back in the late ‘70s. Start with the loaded Spanish Flower nachos, layered with fajita meat, taco meat, beans, and traditional toppings, then indulge in one of the specialties like carne guisada or the 8-ounce ribeye and enchilada combo plate.

La Fisheria

With its splashy, Mexican resort-style dining space, La Fisheria is a Downtown oasis focusing on coastal cuisine. This means there is a multitude of ceviches to consider, from shrimp, scallops, and stewed octopus, to fish that is fried, char-grilled, or pan-seared.

Whole fish.
The whole fish is a head turner.
Megha McSwain

Cochinita & co.

Chef Victoria Elizondo provides an inviting cafe to down Mexican favorites. Get there before 11 a.m. when buildable breakfast tacos, top-notch chilaquiles, agua frescas, and coffee drinks are on offer. And don’t be ashamed if you double back during lunch or dinner for Cochinita’s taco platters and the cochinita pibil, the namesake dish that comes stuffed in a taco, served with rice and beans, and a side of fideo or a salad, or as a full entree with sides and tortillas.

Cochinita & co.’s chilaquiles is a combination of tortilla chips, topped with fried egg, slices of avocado, crema fresca, green onion, and a spicy red sauce.
Breakfast is just the tipping point at Cochinita & Co.
Brittany Britto Garley

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