When it comes to Mexican food, there is no shortage of great Mexican restaurants across the States serving quality Mexican dishes. It’s true that Mexican food varies, but whether you’re eating rib eye carne asada in a high-end Mexican restaurant or you’re using your hands to devour tacos at a modest Mexican joint, you’ll easily find some of the best Mexican food “north of the border” in your travels around America.
But if you’re a true lover of Mexican food, you’ll want the best of the best, and we’ve taken care of that for you. The Daily Meal put together a list of the 50 Best Mexican Restaurants in America, and in order to assemble the list of America’s best Mexican restaurants, we analyzed the results of a survey sent out to some of the country’s leading culinary authorities, writers, and critics. Additionally, The Daily Meal supplemented those with best-of lists both in print and online, and rounded it out with our personal favorites from around the country. We also made sure to include restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican fare; while some Tex-Mex classics on the menu are acceptable if done really well, the main focus needs to be on true Mexican cuisine.
The following Mexican restaurants are America’s five best Mexican restaurants, where you’ll find some of the best Mexican food in the U.S.
Originally a taco truck, Pinche Taqueria puts a twist on modern Mexican food — specifically Mexican street food.
La Condesa in Austin does it all, and it serves traditional Mexican food with new-age flair. The cocktails at La Condesa are also a must-try.
Guelaguetza offers diners a specific type of Mexican food: authentic Oaxacan cuisine. Named for the summertime festival celebrated in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, Guelaguetza is a year-round destination for its tamales, memelas, unstuffed enchiladas, and of course, exquisite moles.
Spanish chef José Andrés immersed himself in Mexican culture and in the Mexican food scene by spending time in in Mexico before opening Oyamel in 2004. Go for the antojitos (“the little dishes from the streets”), papas al mole, and tacos with handmade tortillas, especially chapulines — the Oaxacan specialty of sautéed grasshoppers — if you dare.
Since hosting his 26-part PBS series Cooking Mexican in the late ’70s, Oklahoma-born chef Rick Bayless has been a champion of Mexican cuisine in America. He has even won the approval of the Mexican government: in 2012, he was named to the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest distinction awarded to foreigners. At this slightly fancier and more ambitious next-door cousin of his popular and groundbreaking Frontera Grill, Bayless serves irresistible Mexican fare of a kind not otherwise found outside some of the better restaurants of Mexico itself, if even there. Red snapper in "red ceviche" (cured with crimson hibiscus), frogs' leg tamales with cascabel chile, lamb in ancho-tamarind sauce, and cajeta crêpes with chocolate and plantains are among the vividly flavored attractions in this colorful, well-run dining room has to offer.