14 Essential Mexican Restaurants to Try in Philly
It’s margarita season.
Summer is coming and Philly is slowly opening back up, which seems like the perfect formula for a summer spent sipping margaritas and feasting on tacos. Mexican fare runs the gamut in Philly from hole-in-the-wall spots that have become takeout favorites to high-end restaurants with cocktails to match.
So whether you’re looking for a comfort food feast to enjoy at home, an outdoor hideaway to embrace the season, or just a hearty breakfast burrito to start you on your day, you’ll find something that’s perfect for you in our picks for the best Mexican restaurants in Philly.
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. Plus, the restaurant’s expanded takeout menu includes to-go margaritas, mojitos, and pina coladas.
How to book: Walk in or call 215-925-1010 for pickup or delivery
Café y Chocolate
Enjoy a sweet and savory Mexican-style breakfast at Café y Chocolate. The spot is only open through dinner on the weekends, but it’s an ideal daytime destination for 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.
Cantina Los Caballitos
This Passyunk staple recently reopened its huge outdoor patio and is still offering custom-order tacos and burritos for delivery and pickup. Definitely don’t be afraid to pile on the guac and cheese on your al pastor taco, and now that you’re able to secure a spot on the patio, don’t forget to order a house-special margarita or sample from the huge selection of tequila and mezcal.
Don Barriga Mexican Grill
The West Philly staple serves up the good stuff with burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and other essentials on the rotation. For an early day treat (or really anytime treat), check the house breakfast complete with nacho chips cooked in rojas and salsa verde along with fried beans, bacon, eggs, and one mollete for just $10.
Restaurateur Stephen Starr’s El Rey is all about modern meets homemade. Happy hour runs Sunday through Thursday and features $2 off tacos and $6 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 recently brought back brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m.
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 fried flour tortillas.
How to book: Walk in or call 215-551-1245 for pickup
This modern Mexican restaurant started offering takeout and delivery for the first time last year, but you can now return to the restaurant for indoor and outdoor dining. 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 it does. 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 reopened for indoor and outdoor dining and has even brought back its popular happy hour to celebrate. With 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.
With outdoor dining options and delivery still available, you can enjoy this Fishtown favorite. Choose from Kobe beef burritos, mahi-mahi tacos, fried plantains, churros, and a ton of other options, or visit the restaurant’s sister spots Jose Pistola’s and Pistolas Del Sur, which have also reopened.
Housed in the former home of Honest Tom’s Plant-Based Taco Shop, Taco Taco Mexican keeps the tradition alive with plant-based (not all, but some) tacos and burritos. The shop’s owners, three longtime kitchen staffers at Honest Tom’s, also brought back the original shop’s menu that featured non-vegan favorites and ultra-stuffed breakfast burritos.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Tacos California’s namesake item is on point, but this casual, walk-up spot also has nachos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortas, and even a Mexican take on gyro. No matter what you order, you’ll be getting high-quality Mexican fare that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.
For about 35 years, Tequilas Restaurant has been serving Philadelphians elevated cocktails and classic Mexican dishes inside its gorgeous historic building on Locust Street. The spot, which is said to have once been the only Mexican restaurant in town, has superior mole, several enchilada options, and fresh ceviche. Plus, there’s a drink menu you can’t skip with a rose margarita made with rose-infused blanco tequila and a few jalapeno-infused options.
Xochitl is open with daily specials, like the “BLT” with agave-glazed bacon and homemade bollio roll, roasted ancho rubbed salmon tacos, and short rib enchiladas. The cozy candlelit restaurant offers limited indoor and outdoor dining, or you can bring the party home.