Where to Find the Best Mexican Food in Atlanta
These taquerias and restaurants are serving up Atlanta’s best tacos, spicy margaritas, nachos, burritos, and more.
Here in Atlanta, the question of what restaurant has the best Mexican food is a topic of constant debate. Delicious trial and error has led many to discover solid favorites for queso, tortas, tacos, and other flavorful fare. Fortunately, Atlanta’s food scene has an abundance of Mexican restaurants varied enough to satisfy just about every craving. There are taco shops cozily situated in the back of grocery stores, high-end restaurants that find inspiration from Oaxacan cuisine, and much more. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with the restaurants ahead.
Los Ninos Taqueria
This quaint, little taqueria located on East College Avenue might look adorable, but at Los Ninos you'll find straight-to-the-point menu items that pack quite the tasty punch. Street tacos served on homemade corn tortillas are an easy pick at Los Ninos, and come stuffed with a near limitless selection of meats, including steak, rotisserie, pork, shredded chicken, fried shrimp, or fried fish. And their queso, a homemade chipotle cheese dip that’s nothing short of divine, is easily one of the best in The A.
A downtown Decatur staple, Raging Burrito has been “rolling fatties” since 1996. Conveniently located in The Square, this eatery is known for its unique burrito offerings. Among the favs are the Jerk Burrito, which is made with jerk chicken or tofu sautéed with their famous pineapple salsa and roasted red pepper. Another solid burrito choice is the Raging Queso Burrito because… well, queso. And when the weather is ideal, the garden patio at Raging Burrito is the perfect place to wash down your meal with a Raging Margarita or a Raging 151 Punch (it’s basically the tropics in a glass).
There’s a reason why you’ll always find a line outside of Supremo, the food is both authentic and amazing. With tacos available for $4 each, you can nosh on barbacoa, carnitas, and carne asada tacos to your heart’s desire without breaking the bank. And for the “something sweet” crowd, the churros at Supremo are a must. Sugary-sweet with a subtle hint of salt, the churros are perfect for a post-meal treat—or even pre-meal.
Mariscos La Rivera Nayarit
Nayarit is a coastal state in Western Mexico. Mariscos La Riviera Nayarit is a restaurant in suburban Norcross that serves delicious coastal-inspired dishes. The star of the show is the Huachinango Frito: fried whole snapper, served with a garlic sauce on the side along with rice. But you can’t go wrong with any of the seafood options, including the Piña Rey, a pineapple stuffed with seafood like shrimp, scallops, octopus, covered in cheese and broiled until it’s melty perfection.
Chef Adolfo Gonzalez grew up in a small Mexican town as one of eight children. He grew up delighting in her meals and serves his own version of them at his fast-casual restaurant in Smyrna. There are “super” tacos, like the spicy shrimp, and classic tacos with fillings like barbacoa, chicken tinga, and al pastor. You also can’t go wrong with a torta and a trip to the salsa bar is a must.
If sipping a glass of mezcal in a sophisticated setting on Roswell Road sounds good to you, then you should head over to Casi Cielo. The restaurant is owned by the same group that owns La Parrilla but has a totally different vibe. The menu’s focus is on Oaxacan cuisine, with standouts like the Enmoladas (enchiladas topped with a black mole sauce). Vegetarians, there are delicious options for you, too, like the Milhojas de Verduras, a vegetable Napoleon with Oaxaca cheese, and a jalapeño pesto sauce. Did we mention the extensive mezcal selection?
Bell Street Burritos
Folks don’t lie about their favorite burritos, and those in the know will tell you that Bell Street is either at the top (or very close) to it in Atlanta. They’re San Francisco "Mission-style"—meaning big as hell—and everything inside is cooked for maximum enjoyment, especially the chicken and broccoli, or the pork and green chile. It’s also great that the owner, Matt Hinton, is a former adjunct theology professor at Morehouse, who started doling out delivery burritos after his teaching hours got cut due to budget restraints. He opened his first location in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, and now has two others, and has expanded the menu to include quesadillas, tacos, and more. But seriously, start with the burrito.
Aged in both American and French oak barrels and finished in port wine casks, 1800 Cristalino Tequila is an ultra-premium, crystal-clear añejo meant to celebrate life’s special moments with taste. So, this Cinco de Mayo, elevate your experience and raise a glass with 1800 Cristalino instead—your taste buds will thank you.
Sometimes it’s not about having the best actual Mexican food—more so about the entire experience. And you can’t really front on La Parrilla—Atlanta United’s official Mexican eatery. Yes, it’s a chain, and there’s "fusion" stuff in there that’s totally not Mexican (we see you, barbecue wings) but it’s consistent, they have a great patio, and the basics are banging enough to keep you coming back, whether it’s the skirt steak ranchero burrito, chicken tinga tacos, taquitos or chimichangas. And the biggest reason folks are always packing the house is the way the food matches majestically with some of the city’s best, strongest, and cheapest margaritas and micheladas. Don’t come expecting to be blown away by authenticity—come here for great deals on mainstream Mexican.
Taqueria El Rey Del Taco
On Buford Highway, there are many fine traditional Mexican taquerias, but there can only be one king. The video on the website is more than enough proof that they’ve been doing things the right way—especially those cabeza, barbacoa, and chorizo tacos—since opening more than 15 years ago, but you should still test them by ordering one of the amazing soups (the Spicy Lobster is worth every penny of "market price"), or the parrilladas—specifically the house special for two, which includes beef ribs, chicken, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and cheesy chorizo.
Carniceria Y Tiendas El Progresso
You hear the term "prison tacos" and immediately think somebody’s being an insensitive jerk. But then you remember that El P has bars on its windows, and sits across the street from the federal penitentiary. Carniceria is a restaurant in the back of a grocery store with tacos under $2 (don’t leave without trying the barbacoa or al pastor) that makes its own carne asada and spicy chorizo tortas, along with a ridiculously great shrimp burrito.
Don’t come here looking for burritos—they’re not on the menu. But do come here for Tex-Mex Tamales, the awesome $12 lunch special, or house specials like Mesquite-Grilled Quail, Crispy Whole Fish, or Slow-Braised Chipotle-Molasses Short Rib. And everybody swears by the Puffy Tacos, though the basic hard-shells are fantastic, too.
Don Chon Mexican Restaurant
When’s the last time you’ve been to a Mexican buffet? Was it under $10, fresh, and actually good? Probably not. In addition to indulging in Don Chon’s buffet options, you can also eat cooked-to-order burritos, corn-shelled tacos, legit pozole and menudo soup, and platefuls of some of the best slightly spicy shrimp ceviche in town. Now get your ass to this nondescript Tri-Cities rectangle of a restaurant for a to-go order that’s worth your time and taste buds. Be careful with the three pepper sauces, especially the orange one—it’s not there to look cute. But if you wash it down with a hibiscus agua fresca, you’ll be fine.
Taqueria La Oaxaqueña
If you think you’ve had Atlanta’s best Mexican, but have never visited this OTP-South restaurant, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s right on Mount Zion, and has been around in some form for more than 20 years, starting out serving immigrant workers, branching out into a food truck, and graduating to brick-and-mortar. Try the Mexican Sausage and Steak Taco (wildly underpriced at $3.50), fresh Fried Huaraches, Salsa Verde Pork Ribs, super-stuffed Gorditas, and the Chicken Mole Tamales. There’s also the house specialty: a large, crispy tortilla topped with refried beans, Oaxaca cheese, jalapeños, avocados, and your choice of meat. It looks kinda like a Mexican pizza had a baby with a taco salad—but it tastes way better.
The Original El Taco
Alma Cocina, the sexy Peachtree Street spot that’s one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, has unfortunately halted its takeout services during the pandemic. Luckily, The Original El Taco—a sister concept in Alma Cocina’s restaurant group—is still pumping out quality Tex-Mex and Oaxacan dishes and family-style meals. While the restaurant is currently only operating Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 - 8 pm, all food, wine, and beer is 50% off to-go.