4/30/2013 11:30:00 AM

The Top Mexican Restaurants in 15 U.S. Cities

Oyamel, Washington DC
Mexican Food Week is in full swing, and to keep things rolling we've rounded up our top-rated Mexican eateries in 15 U.S. cities. Which joint near you came in numero uno? Click through the slide show to find out and check out the full results of our Mexican Food Survey right here. Share your thoughts on both via social media using hashtag #MexicanFoodWeek.

If this slideshow leaves you hungry, how about something unusual? We taste tested some cricket tacos this week, check that out here (they bugs are better than you think!).

47 comments :

  1. Oyamel in DC really isn't worth the price nor cramped space you have to sit in

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  2. I am dismayed to see this survey choose Austin to represent Texas' Mexican food. I prefer any greasy, hole-in-the-wall restaurant in South Texas over all the Mexican places I've tried in Austin

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    1. Church...I live in Austin, and can't find a decent taco. I have to wait until I go visit my parents in San Antonio to have some good Mexican food. You know these sites have to suck off Austin as the Meca of food in Texas. :/

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    2. Houston has wonderful Mexican food from casual to upscale and you don't have to wait in line because it is the only good place in town. I have to agree that Austin is a distant third place at best. I am happy to see Mexican food catching on across the nation but you ain't tasted nothing yet until you try the food in Texas. Ask the locals, the current trendy restaurant is not always the best-it is just where everyone is going this week. My test is the quality of the beef and chicken fajitas, the guacamole and the flour tortillas. My favorite chicken fajitas served sizzling with sides, chicken fajitas in a salad, or my lunch chicken fajita tacos in a soft flour taco. They are part of my diet-seriously. I was born in Texas not of Hispanic decent but eat Mexican food at least 5 times a week and often cook Migas for breakfast at home.

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    3. In El Paso, we may not have allot of french gourmet, be we sure have the BEST Mexican food in the country, L&J's diner, can compete with anyone, at least give it a try, every person in Texas and Mexico for that matter knows Austin has lousy Mexican food, lots and lots of other cool stuff, but just because your writer wanted a trip to Austin doesn't justify putting it in top 15.

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    4. You clearly havne't been to La Fonda San Miguel especially during their Sunday brunch. Truly authetic Mexican.

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    5. I'm Mexican,I live in Austin and one of the best Mexican Restaurants I ever tried in the US is Fonda San Miguel

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  3. Wow. No Hugo's in Houston? Or all of the authentic family owned Mexican restaurants in Texas, New Mexico or Arizona? What did you pick, the only "Mexican" restaurant that happens to be in such Mexican food havens as Washington DC, San Francisco, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, etc?

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    1. Skipping Texas is unbelievable! Consider the miles of border with Mexico and the population of persons of Mexican descent-we've got some great cooks here.

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    2. Are you kidding me!! I lived in s.a for about a year and I have to say the Mexican food is almost non existent!! I asked for a "tampicena" that means skirt steak dinner plate and they gave me a t-bone!!?? Absolutely clueless!! Look, I'm from Chicago there are lots of real Mexican places to eat here....what I mean by real Mexican places is the people cooking dont even know English for god sake!! No tex-med gravy on my enchiladas crap!!

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  4. So you select Mexican restaurants in Boston and Portland but ignore San Antonio? You have no credibility.

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    1. I totally agree. In fact, all of Texas is ignored and Texas has the best Mexican food-no comparison. I won't even eat Mexican food outside of Texas, New Mexico, and California. If the state doesn't border Mexico, it just loses something over the miles.

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    2. I agree too. Let's face it.. generally speaking, the only places in the US where you will find authentic and good mexican food.. is Texas, Arizona, Calif and N.M.. End of story..

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  5. "Why" "do" "we" "feel" "the" "need" "for" "all" "of" "the" "quotes" "?"

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    1. Dude. I see somebody post this same question so often. Pick up an actual Zagat guide and figure it out, this is how they've always done it. It's quoting and paraphrasing actual diners. If you don't like it, go hang out on Yelp.

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  6. multiple locations on the majority--that means chains....
    really...I mean really. Get off the keyboard and go try some real Mexican....

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    1. But if the Zagat Staff blogger who wrote this gets off the keyboard, he/she/it "won't" "be" "able" "to" "use" "all" "those" "quotes" "!"

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  7. Costa Azul in Coronado Calif is the best.Fresh Tortillas every day . Homemade chips. Grilled fish tacos. Real Margaritas. Zagat loved them.We go at least three times a week.

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  8. SO "very happy" to find Chéen Huaye selected to represent Miami - it truely is a "superb meal and delightful experience."

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  9. What a crock o $#!+. Las Vegas Cafe Rio? A not even to close to Mexican chain originating in Salt Lake City? Thanks for finally opening my eyes to the innacuracy of Zagat ratings

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    1. Is there a reason you thought Zagat ratings are "impartial"?

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    2. If Salt Lake City were included, the top Mexican restaurant would be the Red Iguana. Cafe Rio is way down the list there.

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  10. Not San Antonio, or Santa Fe/Albuquerque, or Tucson...not much of a survey, to my mind. You're better than this, Zagat, or you used to be.

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  11. I "wanted to be offended" by the lack of "good mexican food choices" in "austin," because, let's be honest, "Taco Deli" is "Tex-Mex" "at best" but, "then again," I "couldn't get past all the quotations."

    And I agree... San Antonio or El Paso should've had something decent listed. But hey, give the writer some credit; they probably haven't been to any other Texas cities before.

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  12. Seriously, Honolulu, Boston, San Francisco, Washington? If you want real Mexican Food, how can you leave out Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego and Albuquerque??

    I haven't been to any of those listed places but I doubt that any of them stack up to Los Dos Molinos in Phoenix, Guadalajara Grill in Tucson or any one of a half dozen places in Albuquerque or San Diego.

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    1. You forgot the La Posta in Old Mesilla, New Mexico!

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  13. This is "BS." It's also really "annoying." No mention of Tucson? El Charro. Seriously. No cred.

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  14. While I live in Chicago, I have been to many of the other cities as well. Have had meals at 5 of the above mentioned, Rick Bayless Restaurant is a wonderful 'high end' restaurant; BUT there are so many very good to excellent choice of Mexican Restaurants for half of the price in Chicago.
    That 'joint' in Austin is good at best. And to include chain restaurants in a list of 'Zagat's Top Mexican Restaurants' -
    WOW Zagat's credibility is sliding away, away, away...

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  15. Los Angeles:

    La Serenata de Garibaldi
    Juan's Restaurante in Baldwin Park
    Javiers Newport Coast

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  16. You've omitted either by lack of knowledge, or intention, any restaurants / taco shops in San Diego County. Your survey therefore is void, bereft of any actual legitimacy in commenting on Mexican food.

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  17. So far, my favorite is the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City of all places. But get there early for dinner or the line will be long.

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  18. Heck Colorado ignored again, tons of Mexican places here in Denver not to mention the rest of the State. Another disappointing hoity toity Zagat article.

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  19. Tucson has some really great mexican food, especially in the South Side of Tucson. Here's some of my favrites:
    El Merendero on 12th Ave, and many more on 6th Ave.
    El Pollo Loco on 22nd St.
    El Sur on Wilmot and 22nd Street
    And La Parilla Suiza on Speedway is another superb mexican food
    restaurant!

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    1. And I have a completely different list, which attests to how many Mexican restaurants Tucson has, in all kinds of price ranges:

      Cafe Poca Cosa
      Taqueria Poco de Gallo
      Little Poca Cosa

      If in Phoenix, I recommend Barrio.

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  20. Two of the very few things I miss about LA: El Cholo [several locations] and Manuel's on Evergreen in East LA.
    2500 miles WSW of LA is Tortilla Republic in Poipu, Kauai.
    But maybe the very best: Rancho de Chimayo, about 30 miles NNE of Santa Fe New Mexico. Worth the drive.
    Zeke

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  21. No restaurants in San Diego? I call shenanigans!

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  22. Yeah I know Milwaukee doesn't sound like the Mexican food capital of the U.S. but there are some places here that remind me of the best in Mexico City or Toluca. For tacos like your adopted Mexican mom makes go to El Rey grocery at lunch. Restaurants like Mr Senors and Quiote will stand with any anywhere.

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  23. I've travelled extensively in Mexico and spent many a days in Mexico City being taken around by the locals to the best restaurants there. I also married a Mexican from a family with strong culinary traditions. I recently moved to Miami. I can categorically tell you that Cheen Huaye is at best mediocre Mexican and doesn't deserve to be number 8 on this list of top 15 mexican in the US. Whomever rated this restaurant so highly clearly has no clue about good mexican. The menu is boring and the food bland. The place doesn't have a liquor license so there is no Tequila and no margaritas. Drinking tequila is an integral part of a good mexican meal - you may not like Tequila but the restaurant must offer it.

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  24. In San Diego we have El Callejon that has better scores than several of the ones listed, that has real traditional mexican food and not the tex-mex stuff that shows in several of the ones chosen... I have no idea who did this... but for sure needs a lot more information...

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  25. This list is ludicrous. Nothing from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. If you've ever eaten "Mexican Food" north of the 35th parallel or so, you know it's a joke in comparison. A bowl of tortilla chips with random crap drizzled on top does not a nacho make.

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    1. Have to agree with this comment--where is Joe-T's? You haven't really experienced true Tex Mex unless you've been to Joe T's for an evening in Ft. Worth!

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  26. This list is a big pile of BS. The best authentic Mexican food is found in the Rio Grande Valley, not even San Antonio nor Houston.

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  27. I live in San Diego and have lived in LA...the Mexican food at both cities is boring...What a shame..even though San Diego is a major city, population wise, Z does not put them in the list of cities and sadly they are correct the restaurants here are boring
    otherwise it the best city in the USA
    One SD Mex restaurant worth a shot is Barrio Star at 2706 5th

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    1. You must lack the sense of taste. I've traveled all over the major cities in the US and San Diego, by far, has the best Mexican food in the country. Tex-Mex food is the worst!

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  28. Great stuff from you, man. I’ve read your stuff before and your just too awesome. I love what you’ve got here, love what you’re saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read more from you.

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  29. Philippine pili nuts from the Bicol region in the Philippines is a great Filipino or Philippines food orsnack. Pili nuts are very healthy and nutritious indeed, being a source of energy, potassium and iron.They also have protein, dietary fiber / fibre, and calcium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  I know they have no cholesterol, no trans fat, and the unsalted ones have no sodium. What is great about the pili nut snack or treat is that they are so crisp, rich, and delicious.

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