Food & Drink

The 10 best Mexican restaurants in Philly

Published On 11/12/2014 Published On 11/12/2014
El Vez Restaurant
Tequilas Restaurant
Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Cucina Zapata
Quetzally 2157352326
Distrito - Philly
La Calaca Feliz
Mad Mex University City
Union Taco
Flickr/Matthew Mendoza
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1. El Vez 121 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Midtown Village)

A Stephen Starr restaurant, El Vez is a vibrantly designed restaurant serving equally colorful, traditional Mexican food. This Midtown Village spot also quenches your thirst with an awesome, house-made margarita of your choice.

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2. Tequilas Restaurant 1602 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Rittenhouse)

If you didn't get this impression from its name, the name of the game at this Rittenhouse Square spot is tequila -- tequila shots, tequila cocktails, tequila salsa -- it's all tequila. Well, that and Day of the Dead decor (this place is decked from floor to ceiling) and traditional Mexican fare like mole poblano and chiles rellenos. The servers here will likely attempt to dazzle you with creative bartending techniques lie head-balancing acts, so you'll get a show with dinner, too (just lookout for the occasional broken margarita glass).

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3. Quetzally 1225 Fitzwater St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Italian Marketbella Vista)

Quetzally regulars come for the generous portions of authentic Mexican food at fair prices, and burrito lovers can rejoice at varied and fresh options. Be sure not to miss the Spicy Pork Burrito, which comes with sautéed onions and pineapple.

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4. Distrito 3945 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (West Phillyu City)

Jose Garces may not have won the Iron Chef America Tournament of Champions (we'll assume you watched), but who needs a meaningless trophy with a restaurant this good? Garces is, offering up a whole bunch of tasty, authentic Mexican food & drinks, from carnitas tacos and carne asada tortas to his signature Don Julio tequila margarita. The UCity spot is sure to please, with walls covered in bright pink & green paint and Mexican wrestling masks, and more.

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5. La Calaca Feliz 2321 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130 (Fairmountart Museum)

Having pleased critics and citizenry with tacos & tequila at Ft. Washington's Cantina Feliz, this crew of Garces alums enter the city with La Calaca: a red-boothed, Muertos-muraled rec room in Fairmount where they'll sling tons of agave and twisted Mexican staples, a big box store at which they say “that was easy”, but like, in Spanish, and in a way that scares you.

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6. Mad Mex 3401 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (West Phillyu City)

Relive college days at this haunt with a Big Azz margarita -- brain freeze impending -- a red velvet quesadilla (that's sadly, doesn't come with frosting), and wings.

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7. Union Taco 712 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The dude behind Verdad says his new 20-seat taqueria's got a "San Diego" feel where you can scarf seasonal eats like strawberry habanero guacamole, Pork Carnitas tacos w/ chipotle bbq, pomegranate & avocado, or Black Truffle flatbread w/ chicken confit, mushrooms, goat cheese & pesto.

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8. Verdad 818 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 (Main Line)

Serial restaurateur Howard Taylor's teamed up with CIA alum Nick Farina to open a Euro-Latin tapas restaurant & tequila bar, occupying a seductively dimmed 85-seater with soft drapery and wrought iron dividers separating front and rear dining rooms from the central bar area and its smattering of banquettes covered in leopard print. Stop in for their weekly brunch offerings as well.