Food & Drink

Houston's Best Mexican Restaurants to Enjoy From Home

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation
The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation | Cooper + Ricca
The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation | Cooper + Ricca

While Houston may be synonymous with Tex-Mex cuisine (throw a rock and it will likely land in a vat of queso), our traditional Mexican food game is just as fuerte. Real-deal taco trucks are as common as potholes, tamales are a way of life, and a devouring bowl of Mexican pozole here is just as comforting as watching The Price Is Right on a sick day.

Given the current state of affairs during the COVID-19 crisis, we all could use some of that comfort right now. So we scoured the city’s Mexican food scene in search of the best takeout and delivery restaurant options that are open to feed your soul at this very moment. Here’s what we found:

Cuchara

Montrose
The bright and bold flavors of Mexico City come to life at this artsy Neartown bistro, which has opened its patio and dining room back up for dine-in service and is offering a curbside to-go menu. Pickup cervezas, margaritas, and Mexican cocktail kits to pair alongside upscale comida --- gorgeous ceviches, fat pork belly stuffed gorditas, and mains from red snapper Veracruzana to a 34-ingredient mole negro. On weekends, brunch favorites include Hidalgo-style lamb barbacoa, spicy pozole rojo, and satisfying chilaquiles.
Click here for pickup and delivery

Hugo's

Montrose
Chef and restaurateur Hugo Ortega is a hometown hero, epitomizing the American dream by going from dishwasher to James Beard Award winner (and co-owner of Caracol and Xochi, two other Mexican establishments that would have made this list had they not been temporarily closed). His roots were planted in Mexico City, and his passion for traditional Mexican flavors never fails to impress patrons near and far. At his namesake restaurant, Hugo’s, interior Mexican cuisine is showcased in dishes from crispy-skinned, achiote-rubbed suckling pig to braised duck with mole poblano. For now you can order the eats online for curbside pickup and delivery along with Margarita and Sangria kits and discounted bottles of wine (and if all goes well, you can expect the dining room to open back up during Phase 2 of Governor Abbott’s Texas Reopening, May 18).
Click here for pickup and use Postmates for delivery

Luna y Sol Mexican Grill

Richmond
So, you’re craving menudo but your quarantine partner wants a loaded burrito. Not a problem. This Richmond grill house has you covered with both, as well as with comfort foods like carne guisada tortas, chicharron tacos, and sloppy beef entomatadas (think of them like enchiladas covered in tomato sauce). The dining room has opened back up, but we'd recommend doing curbside pickup or delivery via Speedy Food.
Call 281-762-7588 for pickup and click here for delivery

Arnaldo Richards' Picos Restaurant

Upper Kirby
Raised in Monterrey, Mexico, chef Arnaldo Richards perfected his grandmother’s authentic recipes, and then some. His namesake eatery explores seven regions of Mexican cuisine, from the Spanish-influenced Gulf to the achiote-kissed South; and it’s opened back up for dine-in service, even going so far as to install a custom plexiglass barrier with a removable wall so you can sit with your group at the bar (though again, we'd recommend takeout or delivery). Order margaritas made with the restaurant’s exclusive barrel-aged tequilas to chase your enchiladas de mariscos (seafood-stuffed enchiladas), chile de arbol-spiced veal shank osso bucco, and traditional chiles en nogada (poblanos stuffed with pulled pork and topped with a walnut-based cream sauce).
Click here for pickup and here for delivery

Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

Heights (& Southwest Houston)
With tres locations, wallet-friendly prices, and more-than-generous portions, Teotihuacan -- or “Teo” -- draws fans from around the city. Each remains open for delivery and curbside pick-up only during this crisis (keep an eye out for re-opening details on social media), with the full menu available along with to-go margs and family-style party packs. Dine at home and you can explore the flavors of Mexico via Veracruz-style fish, tomatillo-smothered enchiladas, colossal chiles rellenos, and parrilladas overflowing with grilled short ribs, quail, jumbo shrimp, beef, and chicken; and tack on tres leches or fried sopapillas dusted with cinnamon and sugar for dessert because you deserve it.
Call 713-695-8757 for pickup

Irma's Original

Downtown
This longtime treasure is both re-open for dine-in service and continuing its takeout menu -- a menu that switches things up based on the availability of ingredients (and more importantly, owner Irna Galvan’s culinary intuition). If you can get it, the handmade pork roast tamale is out-of-this-world with a seamless meat-to-masa ratio -- though you can also fill up on fresh spinach enchiladas, picadillo chiles relleno, fish tacos, and Irma’s homemade flan.
Call 713-222-0767 for takeout

Tacos Tierra Caliente

Montrose
Fact: Stuffing your face with this truck’s righteous tacos whilst sipping a cold one at the neighboring West Alabama Ice House is a Houston right of passage; one that you shall hopefully be able to honor again someday soon. Currently, you can still snag the small-but-mighty numbers by hitting up the truck (though hours may be limited). You’ll need at least three to even begin to fill that hunger pang, but at $1.50 to $2 a pop, that’s very doable. Choose flour or corn, fill with barbacoa, pastor, and lengua, say “yes” to chopped onion and cilantro, and pack in your own intense red and green salsas.

Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen

Heights
Desayuno is served all day at this friendly neighborhood cafe, which reopened its dining room from 7am to 3pm Monday through Saturday as of May 1 (and again, takeout is available). Also, the breakfast is also super-cheap, with the entire menu sitting under $6 (and lunch plates don’t go over $10.50). Go for huevos con machado, in which farm-fresh eggs are scrambled with Mexican-style dry beef and served with refried beans, spicy salsa, and tortillas; or try the traditional chilaquiles, a “breakfast nacho” deal loaded with your choice of tomatillo, guajillo or ranchero sauce -- all made in-house.
Call 713-426-9062 for pickup

Laredo Taqueria

Washington (& other locations)
Laredo’s inevitable line out the door isn’t around these days, but its fat-laden tortillas still are. Order pickup or delivery on services including DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates to get them filled with things like spicy potatoes, nopales, perfectly blended chorizo and eggs, crispy chicharrones, refried beans, and salsas; and add on tamales, enchiladas, and weekend-only menudo.
Call 713-861-7279 for pickup and use DoorDash, GrubHub, or Postmates for delivery

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

East End (& Uptown)
Though Ninfa’s is most notorious for its classic Tex-Mex fajitas, locals also hit it for its decidedly more traditional Mexican fare. “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo kicked things off by saving her family’s struggling tortilla factory in 1973, and chef Alex Padilla has done an incredible job of manning the reins since then. The Original location is currently reopened for dine-in service with reservations encouraged, though we'd encourage you to opt for curbside/delivery (you can order online). Its second Uptown location is operating curbside and delivery only (with plans to reopen in the near future). If you’re dining at home, you can order Ninfa’s grade-A scratch-made tortillas by the dozen, plus oh-so-tender cochinita pibil, chile relleno stuffed with cheese and brisket picadillo, and family-style enchiladas. Wash it all down with boozy margaritas (also available to-go) to keep the fiesta going.
Click here for pickup and use DoorDash for delivery

The Original Alamo Tamales

Northside
We Houstonians are all about that tamale life; sit at any bar long enough (which you’ll be able to do again, one sweet day), and you’ll likely hear that beautiful “tamale, tamale” siren song, prompting you to spring some cash for a foil-wrapped pack of the good stuff. While, sure, your abuela may make the best in town, the second best in town are definitely the hand-rolled ones here at Alamo. The Northside spot is open for carryout and drive-through, offering oily beauts loaded with things like jalapeño and cheese, sweet corn, or shredded pork. Pick ‘em up. Dip in both red and green sauce. Eat. Rinse. Repeat.
Call 713-692-6363 for pickup

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who has spent many a Saturday demolishing tacos y cerveza. Join her from a safe social distance @BrookeViggiano.