Where to Find the Best Mexican Food in Nashville
These taquerias and restaurants are serving up Nashville’s best tacos, spicy margaritas, nachos, burritos, and more.
The question of which restaurant in Nashville has the best Mexican food is an endless debate. Settling it requires intensive research involving large volumes of tacos, queso, fajitas, tortas, and spicy margaritas. To save yourself time in your search, head straight to any of the restaurants below, many of which wouldn’t be out of place on a list of the best restaurants in Nashville, period. Whether these are a bit of a drive for you or right next door, all are worth a visit ASAP.
Maíz de la Vida
After a couple of years popping up at various bars and coffeehouses around Nashville, the culinary community can’t wait for chef Julio Hernandez to finally open his own restaurant in the Gulch. He started his business making tortillas from imported heirloom corn he ground and nixtamalized himself to sell at retail and wholesale, but his experience as a talented chef eventually got him back into cooking again. His gorgeous tacos, spicy quesabirria, and overstuffed gorditas should be highlights of his upcoming brick-and-mortar.
Belen Restaurant y Mercado
Tucked away at the back of a Mexican market in a strip mall, Belen can be a little tough to find, but make the effort for some of the most authentic and affordable Mexican food in town. You’ll have a tough time spending more than 10 bucks on the menu of tacos, gorditas, pupusas, and a variety of meat and seafood stews. Service isn’t fast, and the decor isn’t fancy, but it’s delicious.
Atlanta-based chef/restaurateur brought his ode to Tex-Mex to the Gulch back in 2019, and the crowds keep on coming to feast on his take on Southwest cuisine. In addition to a large outdoor patio and a well-stocked bar that are both great places to pass an afternoon, the cool industrial vibe of the main dining room is striking. Sunday brunch is a special occasion, and everyday dinners feature some of the only puffy tacos in town, plus outstanding queso and nacho dishes, woodfired meats in the fajitas, and a fantastic smoked short rib with chipotle molasses glaze.
El Fuego Restaurante
This popular East Nashville staple has become a gathering spot for neighbors as they wait for a table and sip on margaritas made from fresh-squeezed limes. The energetic patio offers prime seating, including occasional live entertainment from a small stage. El Fuego’s menu is pretty straight ahead with the expected fajitas, tacos, chimichangas, burritos, and enchiladas, but the beer is always cold, and the drinks are always strong.
Taqueria Y Birrieria Arandas
Don’t be put off by the fact that the kitchen is actually a truck in the strip mall parking lot. They make some great food in that vehicle. Order carryout or take your tacos into a small dining area in their nearby storefront. The menu is basically a whiteboard on the wall with a listing of tortas, tostadas and daily plate specials, plus a selection of tacos, gorditas, tortas, and mulitos. The consomme that accompanies the birria is packed with flavor and is highly recommended.
Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant
With more than half a dozen locations around town, Las Palmas demonstrates an impressive consistency across their various outlets. This is not that surprising when you consider that the majority of their menu revolves around various combinations and permutations of beans, rice, cheese, meats, and tortillas. But they do it very well, and sometimes that’s exactly what hits the spot.
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.
Blanco Tacos & Tequila
A prime location between the new Apple Store downtown and the National Museum of African American Music pretty much guarantees success for this latest link in a national chain of upscale cantinas. The menu features a selection of interesting cheese crisps that come with toppings like BBQ pork and roasted corn or short rib machacha, guac, and charred onions. In addition to elevated tacos, burritos, and fajitas, Blanco also offers combo platters if you can’t make up your mind. A popular Sunday brunch is another nice addition to weekend downtown dining options.
From the restaurant group behind Whiskey Kitchen and Kayne Prime Steakhouse, Saint Añejo is one of the fanciest Mexican restaurants in town. With a bar boasting more than 100 premium tequilas and mezcals, you know the margaritas are top-shelf, and the mixologists will also serve you some modern agave-based cocktails as well. For such a chi-chi spot, the menu of nachos, tacos and quesadillas offers fairly traditional options, but they’re dressed up to look pretty. One surprise is an Heirloom Tomato Salad with poblano cream and cotija cheese that you probably won’t find at your regular Mexican haunt.
Pancho & Lefty's
This restaurant’s tagline says it all: “Tacos, Tequila and Beer!” What else are you looking for? Start off with a spicy El Diablo margarita and follow it up with salvo after salvo of fun Mexican classics for a great night out. We recommend the Big-Ass Nachos with jalapeños, chile-lime corn, charro beans, and adobo chicken followed by some cola-braised short rib barbacoa tacos or a novel Hot Chicken Taco if you like it even spicier. The Shrimp Po’boy Taco is a clever and delicious combination of Mexico and New Orleans.
A twist on the usual food truck operation, Taqueria Azteca is a small brick-and-mortar location where the food is cooked in a truck in the parking lot. Carnitas and Spicy Chicken Tinga are the power move here, and you can always augment them with an order of Sopes.
Mas Tacos Por Favor
Everybody raves about the tacos (and rightly so), but don’t miss out on Mas Tacos’ amazing Chicken Tortilla Soup or their Pozole Verde and its multiple levels of flavors, either. Of course, you should go ahead and order some tacos, too, especially the Cast Iron Chicken with salsa verde and sour cream. You'll get full and spend just about $10, but be sure to bring cash.
La Hacienda Taqueria Mexican Restaurant
“La Ha” is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in town, thanks in part to its on-site tortilla making. The menu is massive and affordable with plenty of combos and platters, but with breakfast served all day, can you really resist Huevos con Chorizo for dinner?
A favorite among the East Nashville crowd, El Jaliciense is known for serving old-school street tacos, wrapped with two corn tortillas and stuffed with traditional fillings like spicy pork and beef, as well as a veggie menu and options like tripe or tongue. Be sure to try their popular micheladas, too.
Tacos y Mariscos Lopez
Mariscos is Spanish for seafood, so that’s really the order of the day here. The restaurant’s version of a shrimp cocktail is probably the best deal, and the kitchen is pretty talented at frying fish. For landlubbers, the usually mundane dish of grilled chicken is a standout.
The prominent sign outside of this East Nashville fave is a frequent Instagram and Twitter feature thanks to the clever aphorisms they post on a regular basis. Maybe that’s what draws folks in, but it’s the exemplary (and strong) margaritas and spicy enchiladas that keep them coming back.
Part of a small regional chain, Nada serves upscale tacos in a glamorous setting. Its bar is hopping, and Nada's Queso Gringo rises above its snide name thanks to the addition of smoked Gouda, black bean puree, rajas con crema, and a spicy habanero salsa. The plush leather seating, sweeping ceilings, wood paneling, and exposed brick only add to the vibe.
Located across the street from Belmont University, Chago’s know their audience. They’ve introduced a generation of students to classic Latin American dishes that are flavorful without being too challenging, and they offer some of the best vegetarian Mexican options in town. It's also got two outdoor patios to enjoy.