Dallas

Dallas-Fort Worth’s Best Mexican Restaurants for Cinco de Mayo and Beyond

Beans, rice, and everything nice.

Much like that basket of hot, crispy, salty tortilla chips hitting the table at the beginning of your meal, North Texas has a seemingly bottomless supply of quality Mexican restaurants. As one of those rare cuisines that’s still tasty even when it’s mediocre, you’ll likely leave satisfied no matter where you dine. But finding superb Mexican food offers rewards that exponentially outweigh the tiny bit of effort required to find them. Or, you could simply read the list below for almost zero research-related exertion whatsoever.

To be honest, we could’ve easily spiced up your life with no fewer than 100 local greats, but we only have room for a baker’s dozen. So for the sake of framing the content of this list, you won’t find any taquerias, food trucks, or street carts. Instead, only noteworthy full-service restaurants with standout dishes, excellent agave-spiked cocktails, a welcoming vibe, and salsas that will make you weep (both with joy and perhaps a tad of heat-induced pain).

El Fenix
El Fenix | Photo courtesy of El Fenix

El Fenix

Multiple locations

In a city where even trendsetting restaurants disappear without a trace, this local Tex-Mex chain has truly defied the odds with its 100+ year history. And when you’re in the mood for a good ol’ plate of enchiladas topped with chile con carne and a side of rice and beans, El Fenix will always be a classic. Better yet, go on Wednesday for their famously cheap $5.99 enchilada platter that lets you mix and match chicken, cheese, or beef plus your choice of sauce.
How to reserve/order: Dine in, order online, call your favorite location for take-out, or order delivery from Uber Eats, Caviar, and DoorDash.

Gabriela's & Sofia's

Multiple locations

Numerous Mexican restaurants offer tableside guacamole, but for some reason, we like the smashed-in-front-of-our-eyes avocado creation here a little more than the rest. The ingredients are the same, so it’s beyond explanation, but we attribute at least part of our loyalty to the cart-pusher’s undeniable friendliness. Elsewhere on the menu, the shrimp enchiladas shine as does the all-day-everyday breakfast offerings (we suggest the brisket and eggs) for that brunchtime vibe seven days a week.
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call your favorite location for take-out, or order delivery from Grubhub

Herrera's Tex-Mex
Herrera’s Tex-Mex | Photo courtesy of Herrera’s Tex-Mex

Celebrating 50 years in business this year, Herrera’s Tex-Mex has been a family-owned favorite since the doors first swung open back in 1971. Your meal starts with complimentary bean soup, a soul-warming cup of perfectly cooked frijoles in a rich, aromatic broth, then shifts to whatever main suits your fancy. Fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and even a damn good chicken fried steak await, but we suggest choosing something from the long list of combination platters to sample a little bit of everything without having to share with anyone at your table.
How to reserve/order: Dine in or call 972-980-7344 for take-out, or order delivery from Caviar, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.

Jalisco  Mex Kitchen + Bar
Jalisco Norte | Photo courtesy of Jalisco Norte

Stop by the bar for a fine mezcal and a little menu perusal before settling into your table at this sophisticated Oak Lawn outpost boasting one of the city’s greatest indoor-outdoor dining rooms (think: twinkling fairy lights, a canopy of grand trees, the works). Their menu was created by chef José Meza who, at 28, already has experience cooking at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and restaurants. Signature items include the hearty cochinita pibil and an awesome plate of crab enchiladas featuring juicy crab, fresh corn, and pico de gallo wrapped in tortillas and smothered in roasted jalapeño sauce and queso fresco. It’s the next best thing to an actual trip to Puerto Vallarta. 
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call 214-443-5183 for curbside take-out, or order delivery from Uber Eats and Caviar.

José

Lovers Lane

Executive chef Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman taps into the rich tapestry of Jalisco food culture here, pouring her heart and soul into every dish that hits the table. Standout dishes include salmon al pastor, short rib enchiladas, and tempura-battered soft shell crab with a rich carrot mole, baby corn, cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas, finished with chorizo-spiked crema. 
How to reserve/order: Call 214-891-5673 or order online for valet pick-up and delivery.

People the world over have the eponymous Mariano Martinez to thank for the smoothest, frostiest frozen margaritas ever made, because he’s the genius who invented the frozen margarita machine 50 years ago this May. You can still sometimes catch him at the restaurant—in addition to one of the first ever machines (the original lives at the Smithsonian)—but you can always order up one of the icy concoctions that put him and his Dallas outpost on the margarita map. Luckily, the food here is just as delicious as the cocktails. 
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call 214-691-3888 or order online for take-out, or order delivery from DoorDash.

Mesero

Multiple locations

Impeccable service makes every meal at Mesero a delight, so unless you’re ordering takeout or delivery, take the time to bask in their signature hospitality (and tip accordingly, of course). Regardless of how you get your food, however, the folks at Mesero know how to combine ingredients in the most pleasing way possible, whether it’s some of the best queso in the city (try the version with spinach, artichokes, and poblano peppers for a vegetarian change of pace) or entree-sized combination plates like chicken enchiladas covered in a tart and spicy tomatillo sauce alongside a brisket taco, cabbage slaw, white rice, and your choice of three different types of beans.
How to reserve/order: Reservations, take-out,and delivery options vary by location. Check Mesero’s website for more info.

Meso Maya Comida y Copas

Multiple locations

Incorporating ancient Mayan cooking techniques and ingredients into their culinary philosophy, the chefs at Meso Maya draw on traditions associated with the Yucatan, Vera Cruz, and Chiapas to create delectable dishes with a tangible sense of time and place. Rich adobos and salsas showcase layers of flavor from ancient herbs and spices, tortillas are formed on-site with hand-ground masa, and everything else is made from scratch, too. The Oaxacan mole rojo on the pollo con mole might be the best example of their reverence for historical cooking methods, but you can’t go wrong with any of their Budin Azteca plates, which combine tortillas, salsas, cheese, and your choice of protein to create something akin to a Mexican lasagna. And no matter what, an avocado and pineapple margarita is a must to wash away all your worries.
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call your favorite location to order take-out, or order delivery from Uber Eats, Caviar, and DoorDash.

Mexican Sugar
Mexican Sugar | Photo Courtesy of Champion Management

Mexican Sugar

Multiple locations

With one of the most definitive tequila libraries in the region, you’ll definitely need to order up a bunch of food to counterbalance all the blancos, añejos, and reposados you’ll inevitably imbibe neat, on the rocks, or in a frosty margarita. Fortunately, you won’t lack options when it comes to filling your belly during brunch, lunch, or dinner. Sure, you’ll find expertly crafted examples of tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas (including a particularly enticing lobster option), but do not overlook the bone-in pork chop, which is chile-brined, slow-roasted, slathered in orange-agave butter, and served with roasted cauliflower and carrots. 
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call your favorite location for curbside pick-up, or order delivery from DoorDash.

Mi Cocina
Mi Cocina | Photo Courtesy of Emmy Berg

Mi Cocina

Multiple locations

Arguably one of the most popular Tex-Mex chains in the city, legions of fans have a remarkable devotion to the frozen margarita-sangria swirl known as the Mambo Taxi (order the Mambo Limousine for an even bigger case of brain freeze). Of all the locations, the one in Highland Park Village easily has the most appeal, including the severely underrated third-floor Monkey Bar where you can wait for your table in style or sidle up to the pine and make a night of it. If you’re here to eat, request the Deluxe 57, a massive combo platter featuring a cheese enchilada, chicken enchilada, beef enchilada, crispy beef taco, soft cheese taco smothered in queso, a pork picoso tamal, plus rice and refried beans. 
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call your favorite location or order online for take-out, or order delivery from Favor.

Mi Dia From Scratch
Quesadilla de Huitlacoche | Photo courtesy of Mi Dia From Scratch

Mi Dia From Scratch

Multiple locations

Chef Gabriel DeLeon was raised in the restaurant biz, working in family-run joints until he decided it was time to break out and put his own stamp on the local Mexican food scene. Channeling influences from his extensive travels, DeLeon continues to whip up innovative dishes that, as you’ve probably guessed from the restaurant’s name, are always made from scratch. Start with guacamole that can be customized to your liking with everything from sun-dried tomatoes to bacon, then move on to less familiar offerings like the quesadilla de huitlacoche where a sprinkling of “Mexican truffle,” a dark fungus that grows on corn, contributes a wonderful earthiness to gooey queso asadero and roasted veggies between grilled organic blue corn tortillas. Artfully plated additions of avocado purée and New Mexico-style red and green chile sauces seal the deal.
How to reserve/order: Dine in, order online, or call your favorite location for curbside pick-up.

Miriam Cocina Latina
Miriam Cocina Latina | Photo courtesy of Miriam Cocina Latina

If you’re lucky, you’ll spot this restaurant’s namesake chef running the ship on your next visit—even behind a mask, her smile’s utterly infectious. One of the nicest chef-owners in Dallas, Miriam Jimenez may hail from the Dominican Republic but she sure knows her way around a plate of Mexican food. Patio seating is a must here, with immediate views of Klyde Warren Park and downtown’s cityscape just beyond. Spend a leisurely hour or two sipping Palomas or Spicy Pepinos (a way-too-easy-to-drink concoction of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, fresh cucumber, and citrus). To accompany your beverages, try some lobster enchiladas or tacos del Pacifico made with spicy shrimp, poblano peppers, spicy aioli, roasted onion, and pineapple.
How to reserve/order: Dine in, call 214-855-5275 for take-out, or order delivery from Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Tulum
Tulum | Photo courtesy of Tulum

Tulum

Oak Lawn

If you were blindfolded and presented a plate of food from this Oak Lawn favorite, your first guess upon inspection would be that you were at one of Dallas’ top fine dining establishments. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong—the chef-driven dishes here tantalize the senses while thwarting any preconceived notions you have about what Mexican food should be. Among the stellar offerings is grilled octopus swimming in zarandeado sauce, black bean puree, kohlrabi slaw, and toreado onion, as well as the lamb chops served on a bed of mint rice, mole manchamanteles, and arugula. And don’t sleep on their signature Frozen Coco Loco Margarita, which drinks like a lighter, fresher piña colada with a tequila-fueled kick.
How to reserve/order: Dine in or call 972-677-9747 for take-out.

Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor. 
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