Food & Drink

The 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Memphis

Published On 08/17/2015 Published On 08/17/2015
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
Courtesy of Agave Maria
Flickr/Memphis CVB
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
Swanky's
Las Delicias
Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist
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1. Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana 1215 S Germantown Rd, Memphis, TN 38138

Far from the usual Tex-Mex, Pepe Magallenes and his son Jonathan redefined Memphis's idea of Mexican food when they brought authentic Mexico City cuisine to an unassuming shopping center just outside the Memphis city limits. There's a line out the door most days for lunch for the supremely fresh fish tacos, guacamole, tortas, elote, and aguas frescas. Ask Pepe and Jonathan to choose for you or opt for one of the daily specials.

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2. Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant 3295 Poplar Ave Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38111 (Midtown)

The Mexican menu at this spot is pretty standard, but the Cuban menu is what's really special. They also offer fun drinks like the margarona, which you can enjoy alongside choriqueso: a spicy cheese and chorizo mixture to eat with chips.

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3. Babalu Tacos & Tapas 2115 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Overton Square)

Jackson-based Babalu might have tacos in its name, but that doesn't mean it's an exclusively Mexican restaurant. Tapas and empanadas are on offer here, but so are fried gulf shrimp, cubanos, and a much-lauded burger. It's made with Aspen Ridge Natural Angus beef and topped with roasted Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, Haas avocado, smoked bacon, chipotle aioli, and served on a sweet sourdough bun. As for the tapas and tacos menu, we recommend sharing orders and starting with guacamole, which will be made fresh at your table, with sundried tomatoes.

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4. Agave Maria's 83 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

This downtown spot brings crowds almost every night, thanks to the welcoming space, great food, and margaritas on tap. Yes, you read that right. Margaritas. on. tap. Why haven't you been yet?

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5. Elena's Taco Shop 6105 Summer Ave # 101, Memphis, TN 38134 (East Memphis)

Elena's promises to use the freshest ingredients in their SoCal inspired menu of tacos, tortas, burritos, and rice bowls. Fish tacos scream Cali, and steak street tacos are all Mexico, but it's more unique dishes like carne asada fries that bring people back. Pro Tip: Take advantage of their extensive salsa bar.

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6. Mi Mexico 3967 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122 (East Memphis)

The authenticity of the food at Mi Mexico is undeniable, and options like taco samplers and the New Mexico Breakfast (which is really just a sampler) give patrons the chance to try an assortment.

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7. Bucanas 4522 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122 (East Memphis)

Don't let the unassuming location and exterior fool you: Bucanas brings it with killer Mexican served to patrons in giant booths. Late night it becomes a popular dance club, but as long as they're serving food you should definitely be there ordering molcajete with a group of friends (beef, shrimp, chicken, cactus, and chorizo dip).

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