18 Standout Mexican Restaurants in Philadelphia
These top-notch taquerias and restaurants are serving up the city’s best tacos, spicy margaritas, and heaping piles of nachos.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to Mexican food in Philadelphia. We’ve got food trucks lining the streets, laid-back taquerias, plant-based eateries with creative takes on Mexican fare, and multi-course meals with all the fixings (and all the mezcal) at some seriously top-notch restaurants.
So whether you’re looking to add a new takeout spot to your roster or want to snag a coveted table for brunch, you’ll find what you’re looking for in our picks for the 18 best Mexican restaurants in Philadelphia right now.
This restaurant and tequila bar with roots in NYC has made a mark in Philly too. Thanks to Taco Tuesday deals, margarita flights, and an elevated space complete with crystal chandeliers, oak tables, and a long bar with glowing booze wall, it’s quickly become a Philly favorite. It also makes for an excellent brunch spot, featuring unlimited brunch cocktails, Morning Tacos with pork shoulder and chorizo hash, and, of course, large orders of guac for the table.
This long-time favorite pop-up won the hearts and tummies of many, thanks to too-good birria tacos, tamales, and vegan wings. Now that Juana Tamale has a brick-and-mortar location of its own, classics hold down the menu, but it's often enhanced by limited-time additions covering everything from brunch to ramen. Keep your eyes peeled for specials you’d never expect, and try to snag the goods before they sell out.
From the folks behind Kensington Quarters and Prohibition Taproom comes La Chinesca, a Mexicali dining experience housed in a former Jiffy Lube station that got a serious facelift. The menu takes inspo from Northern Mexico’s Baja region, featuring delectables including Shrimp Tostadas, Fried Peppers, and Birria Tacos alongside Chinese-American bites like Egg Rolls and Fried Wonton. The food menu gets a seasonal refresh, as does the cocktail menu with several spicy options.
La Llorona Cantina
La Llorona keeps its menu laid-back and unfussy, big on snacks, tacos, mezcal, and all the other staples that keep diners coming back. Whether you’re after braised beef tacos, a round of queso and warm tortillas, or carne asada, La Llorona does it in a way that feels fun and instantly relaxed. In addition to dinner, you can enjoy sampling agave nectars at the bar or visit for weekend brunch.
This new-ish addition to Fishtown’s restaurant scene is a hybrid bookstore, venue, and art gallery from Stephen Starr, but luckily, all the goings-on don’t distract attention from serving good grub. A live-fire grill is the focal point of both the interior space and the menu, serving up meat, seafood, and veggie tacos, along with smaller plates like guac and ceviche to share. If you want to get fancy, for-the-table house specials include Lobster Puerto Nuevo, Adobo Lamb Shank, and more.
All three Loco Pez locations offer an eclectic menu that puts tacos next to waffle fries, quesadillas beside fried chicken sammies, and adobo wings on the same sheet as a bacon-wrapped Street Dog loaded up with pico de gallo, jalapeños, and beans. Nachos De Kenzo are the shop’s over-the-top take on nachos that come covered in carne asada, chicken tinga, chorizo, and guacamole. Another favorite are the birria tacos, which when available, are a must-order—just be sure to make good use of the consome cup.
Sor Ynéz is all about mingling traditional Mexican recipes and methods with a modern twist rooted in sustainability. As such, you’ll find stand-out dishes like Lamb Shank Barbacoa and Birria de Res alongside veggie-forward options like Eggplant Mixiote and seasonal root veggie ceviche. Mezcal and tequila cocktails are another cornerstone here, with many creations making use of leftover ingredients from the food menu, like beet-infused gin and a cocktail with charred corn. You’d be remiss not to try La Gritty, an ode to Philly that consists of a dark Modelo beer spiked with jalapeño-infused tequila.
Blue Corn Restaurant
Visit this tiny, family-owned restaurant and feast on authentic Mexican dishes, from Coctel de Camaron (shrimp cocktail smothered in a homemade tomato sauce) to simply perfect skirt steak tacos. Blue Corn also offers a variety of tacos, huaraches, tortas, and larger entrees like Alambre, a popular Mexican dish that consists of pan-seared chicken or beef topped with onions, peppers, bacon, cheese, and guacamole.
Café y Chocolate
Enjoy a sweet and savory Mexican-style breakfast at Café y Chocolate, or visit for dinner for burritos, quesadillas, and other casual comforts. The spot makes for a great daytime stop for noshing on churros, molletes, and the special Huevos Motuleños, a tower of huevos rancheros covered in refried beans, ham, cheese, salsa verde, poblano rajas, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and queso. The shop is also known for fresh-squeezed juice, agua fresca, and, as the name suggests, hot chocolate, so don’t leave without grabbing a housemade drink.
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.
Cantina Los Caballitos
This Passyunk staple sports a big outdoor patio (and cozy colorful indoor dining room) perfect for crafting your ideal custom-order taco and burritos. Don’t be afraid to pile on the guac and cheese on your al pastor taco, and definitely don’t be afraid to stop by for brunch, when an early blood orange margarita is perfectly acceptable.
Restaurateur Stephen Starr’s El Rey is all about modern meets homemade. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday and features discounted tacos and $5 classic margaritas, but stop by anytime for Blue Shrimp Ceviche, Brisket Quesadillas, and Veracruz-style Paella made with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, squid, and more. El Rey also offers a nice setting for a lazy brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 4 pm.
This no-frills, BYOB spot has a wide selection of taco options, including addictive Birria Tacos made with slow-cooked beef and served alongside a cup of consomme for dipping. The restaurant has been a neighborhood staple for more than a decade, and you’ll see why when sampling the menu of al pastor marinated in dried chiles and chimichangas with fried flour tortillas.
This modern Mexican restaurant opened with takeout and delivery at the very start of the pandemic, but now you can dine onsite both indoors and outdoors. The dinner menu consists of sophisticated ceviche, several taco options built on homemade tortillas, and larger format entrees like Duck Confit for Two served with corn tortillas, cilantro, onions, and tatemada salsa.
You wouldn’t expect to see a pizza joint on this list, but this restaurant incorporates Mexican ingredients and dishes into nearly everything on its menu. The vast menu includes empanadas, crispy queso flautas, and a few Philly-meets-Mexico cheesesteaks, and Rosario’s has pizza toppings you won’t find anywhere else. The Pizza Al Pastor is a favorite that comes topped with Guajillo pepper sauce, marinated pork in a mild chili sauce, chunks of pineapple, chopped fresh onions, and cilantro, and a new addition turns buzzy Birria tacos into a shareable pie.
Rosy's Taco Bar
This lively corner taqueria is perhaps best known for its popular happy hour and late-night menus. With both menus offering plenty of appetizers for sharing and margarita deals, Rosy’s is a must for grabbing drinks—but the extensive entree menu with tacos, salads, enchiladas, and more will ensure you stay through dinner.
Sanch Pistola’s (along with its sister locations, Jose Pistola’s and Pistolas Del Sur) offer lively bar scenes and outdoor dining options. Spend some time mulling over the expansive land and sea taco options, or opt for the burrito with Kobe beef or soy chorizo. For drinks, happy hour goes from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Saturday, when you can score discounted margarita pitchers to go with your nachos.
South Philly Barbacoa
Chef Cristina Martinez started this barbacoa operation out of a Philadelphia apartment before making what would become one of the most popular pop-ups in town and, later, a permanent fixture in the neighborhood. The star of this eatery is its namesake: the slow-cooked lamb barbacoa that Martinez grew up preparing in her native Mexico. The signature dish often sells out and lines of customers queue up for tacos, consommé, tamales, and other traditional Mexican dishes as well, so get there early.
This cozy hideaway on a picturesque corner of Second Street offers a premium ambiance that instantly transports you through a tavern of candles, carved woodwork, and Mexican tiles. Luckily the food and drinks live up to the setting, too, with elevated takes on ceviche, fajitas, and more for dinner, or you can stop by the bar for happy hour and dig into discounted sangria, margaritas, queso, and chilaquiles.