Austin

Austin’s Best Mexican Restaurants for Cinco de Mayo and Beyond

Pitchers all around.

Suerte
Suerte | Photo by Adam Kingman
Suerte | Photo by Adam Kingman

If there’s one culinary tradition Austin truly excels at, it’s Mexican. The best of the best have not merely endured the many tests of 2020, but have thrived with a glass of Mijenta Blanco firmly in hand. Austinites continue to line up around the block (six feet apart, of course) to get their fix of mole marinades, warming pozoles, and tangy ceviches—okay fine, tacos, too. And while much of the state is beginning to brave the border in search of flour and corn delights, the good news for those not yet ready to dust off their passports is that you can still enjoy the real-deal stateside at any one of these top Austin area Mexican eateries.

ATX Cocina
ATX Cocina | Photo courtesy of ATX Cocina

ATX Cocina

Downtown

Modern Mexican with a touch of glam, ATX Cocina takes you back to sunny days at Riviera Nayarit’s beach clubs. Each plate is generously portioned, gluten-free, and good to share, with highlights spanning crab tostada with habanero-lemon aioli and chile jam and oh-so-tender prime beef carne asada. There’s also a daily happy hour and even taco and margarita kits to-go if you want to take the party home.
How to order/reserve: Book a table on OpenTable or get take-out via Tock.

Veracruz
Veracruz | Photo courtesy of Veracruz

Veracruz

Downtown

Founded and run by sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez, Veracruz has expanded its footprint to several additional locations including East Austin, downtown, and Tarrytown. And while the meaty tacos get all the attention, the vegan option, El Diferente, actually steals the show—the refried pinto beans, potato, mushroom, avocado, corn, and poblano pepper melt so magically together, no brisket can compete. A host of fresh juices and smoothies seal the deal.
How to order/reserve: Stop by for first come, first served seating or get delivery via Favor.

El Alma
El Alma | Photo courtesy of El Alma

El Alma

Barton Springs

El Alma remains one of the most popular spots in Barton Springs, thanks to a rooftop boasting skyline views and a menu that’s equal parts quality and affordable. Here, Chef Alma Alcocer showers Austin with Mexico City-born gems like crema de elote and roasted duck relleno, among other enticing dishes. Happy hours run daily between 3 pm and 6 pm and the weekend brunch is well worth booking days in advance.
How to order/reserve: Book a table on Resy or call 512-609-8923 for take-out.

La Condesa
Photo courtesy of La Condesa

La Condesa

Downtown

La Condesa is just as buzzing and trendy as the Mexico City district it’s named after, with a large dining and patio area for you and your crew to relax in socially-distanced style. Hit up the Sunday brunch happy hour from 11 am to 3 pm for half-priced cocktails that make the outstanding ceviche taste even better or split a huge party package with enough meats, tortillas, beans, and more to feed you and five hungry buddies.
How to order/reserve: Book a table on OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Suerte

East Austin

This East Austin institution has long been hailed as the number one purveyor of authentic Mexican cuisine, and it indeed lives up to the hype. The bright and welcoming outpost sources local heirloom corn from Central Texas to make their famous masa in-house and the resulting ultra-fresh tortillas arrive filled with flavor-packed seasonal offerings like confit brisket and oak-smoked pork chops. Weekend brunch sees their take on delicious pastries while happy hour provides fantastic cocktail deals.
How to order/reserve: Book a table online or call 512-953-0092 or get takeout via Toast

El Mesón

South Lamar

This family-owned stalwart has been a neighborhood darling for over a decade and thankfully, it’s recently returned for indoor dining. The menu features an eye-catchingly wide range of regional specialties including ceviche acapulqueno, chile en nogada, and chilorio del norte (AKA northern-style guajillo pork). And if that weren’t reason enough to drop everything head on over, everything is made from scratch and sourced locally whenever possible.
How to order/reserve: Call 512-442-4441 to book a table or get take-out.

Licha's Cantina

East Sixth

Inspired by Mexico City’s soulful street eats, Licha’s Cantina is IG-gold from design to dish. The menu features house-made masa, slow-roasted meats, and sauces redolent with spices. Picture-perfect plates to snap with your phone (and between your lips) include cochinita pibil and tinga de pollo, which sit beautifully alongside homemade tortillas, guac, salsa, escabeche, pico, beans, and chips. Keep an eye on their social media pages for seasonal party packs and other one-off enticements.
How to order/reserve: Book a table on OpenTable or get take-out online.

Sazón

Multiple locations

Right on time for Cinco de Mayo festivities, Sazón is finally back for indoor and patio service. The team moves effortlessly between regional dishes from Puebla, Yucatán, Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Mexico City. Two of the most distinctive offerings are the pipian verde con pollo (toasted pumpkin seed sauce, poached chicken) and alambres de red (grilled beef tenderloin with vegetables), but no matter how you slice it, this is laid back date night gold.
How to order/reserve: Call 512-326-4395 to book a table or get take-out and delivery.

Fonda

Burnet Road

With museum-quality artwork, exotic plants, and international décor setting the scene for their classic regional cuisine, Fonda San Miguel has made a name for itself as one of the finest interior Mexican restaurants in all of America since opening in 1975. Feast on calabacitas rellenas, enchiladas, ancho relleno San Miguel, and more along with a bounty of rice, beans, corn tortillas, and the requisite chips and salsa. The illuminated bar’s margarita on the rocks is numero uno, and all tequilas take a refreshing happy hour dip on weekday afternoons.
How to order/reserve: Book a table online or call 512-459-4121 for take-out.

On Burnet Road, T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs charms crowds with Tucson-style hot dogs tracing their roots back to Sonora, Mexico. That’s right—this joint had the audacity to introduce an already meat-obsessed city to heart-stopping bacon-wrapped sausages topped with beans, diced onions, tomatoes, mustard, and a squirt of mayonnaise and let’s just say, we’re here for it. They even fly the buns in from Arizona, for goodness’ sake. A vegetarian dog is also available, as well as burritos and quesadillas.
How to order/reserve: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out online.

Discada

East Austin

The name “discada” refers to a seven-layered northern Mexico culinary technique also known as cowboy-wok cooking, and this homey East Austin standout definitely lives up to its rustic moniker. The unassuming trailer only serves two dishes: The little taquito with pork, beef, onions, and bell peppers topped with pineapple and the Elote en Vaso, a cup of bright yellow corn dressed with tajin, mayo, and queso fresco. Note that these talented guys sell out almost every day, so call ahead or follow their social media to ensure yourself a plate.
How to order/reserve: Stop by or order online for take-out.

James Wong is a contributor for Thrillist.
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