The 13 Absolute Best Mexican Restaurants In Colorado

There's plenty of fantastic Mexican food to be found in the United States, both traditional and not. Southern California is brimming with taco trucks, hole-in-the-wall food stands slinging life-changing burritos, and full-on restaurants that have been owned by the same families for generations. Texas puts its own spin on Mexican food with Tex-Mex cuisine, which involves fusing traditional dishes like enchiladas and tamales with local ingredients and techniques. And across the Southwest, you'll find New Mexican cuisine that combines Mexican, Native American, and Spanish ingredients and cooking techniques.

While Colorado may not be one of the first states that comes to mind when musing on where to find great Mexican food, according to a 2023 study from UCLA, Latinos make up the second-largest population group in the state, and of LatinX people, 74% are of Mexican descent. Many families have lived in the state for decades; so it really should come as no surprise that there's some excellent Mexican food to be found in the Centennial State. Whether you're a local, road-tripping through the mountains on a summer vacay, or heading up to ski territory for a quick weekend getaway, consider these not-to-be-missed Mexican restaurants found in colorful Colorado.

Adelita's Cocina & Cantina (Denver)

Located on colorful Broadway in Denver, the bright yellow façade of Adelitas Cocina y Cantina is warm and inviting. Step through the door, and you'll be greeted by the tantalizing smells of customary dishes from the Michoacán region of Mexico. Many of these recipes have been passed down for centuries, and it's clear that head chef and owner Silvia Andaya places a premium on tradition. As Andaya explained to Shoutout Colorado in a 2020 interview, "We are careful to prepare all our offerings in accordance with those who made them originally, generations ago. By doing justice to our ancestors, we therefore do justice to our patrons."

The Adelitas menu is extensive and offers a broad range of appetizers, tacos, tortas, and burritos along with more substantial entrees. There's something for everyone: Splurge on cielo mar y tierra molcajete (a combination of marinated shrimp, steak, and chicken in spicy tomato sauce with green onions, nopales, and cheddar and panela cheeses), or keep it simple with carne asada tacos or tortas. Brunch is served all day every day, and the chilaquiles verdes are not to be missed. All of the sauces and salsas are made in-house, which makes for an extra-special experience. The bar is a tequila and mezcal lover's dream: Whether you're taking shots of Espolon, sipping on Don Julio 1942, or just looking for a killer margarita, you're sure to find what you're looking for at Adelitas.

Teocalli Cocina (Arvada & Lafayette)

Teocalli Cocina's executive team tells you everything you need to know about its claims of authenticity. Head Chef Julio Gaspar grew up cooking traditional Mexican food at his family's restaurant in Oaxaca, while menu designer Chef John Curio was raised in Mexico and has studied the cuisine of every Mexican state. Corn is an integral ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and Teocalli's menu is built around it. In fact, the restaurant's motto is "sin maíz, no hay país," or "without corn, there is no country."

Teocalli has two locations; one in Arvada and another in Lafayette. Though there are some slight differences between the two menus, the majority of dishes offered are consistent. Worth noting is that at both locations, the entire menu is 100% gluten-free, making it an excellent option for those with Celiac disease or other gluten-sensitivity issues. Masa and masa harina, which are commonly used to make corn tortillas, are both naturally gluten-free, making it easy for the chefs at Teocalli to keep things up to code. Dine on traditional dishes like birria-style tacos, pozole verde, and chicken enchiladas smothered in mole poblano; or try a more newfangled dish like the charred pasillo ribs, cotija tacos, or crispy brussels sprouts. Be sure to stop in on Taco Tuesday for $3.50 tacos.

Cactus Flower (Pueblo)

Pueblo is just about halfway between Denver and the New Mexico border. There are a number of Mexican and New Mexican spots in town, but for the last five years, one restaurant has earned top rankings in TripAdvisor's best Mexican restaurant in Pueblo category: Cactus Flower Restaurant. For over 30 years, the family-owned restaurant has served both traditional Mexican dishes as well as plates with a uniquely American twist.

One of the most popular items on the menu is the Cactus Flower chimichanga. The history of the chimichanga is murky, but it's become a popular dish at Mexican restaurants in the United States (let's be honest, we Americans love throwing things into deep fryers). Cactus Flower's version involves roasted pork, a blend of Jack and cheddar cheese, and green onion all stuffed into two flour tortillas, deep fried, and smothered in more cheese and chili. This amalgam of delicious ingredients is then topped with guac, jalapeño cream cheese (a house specialty), lettuce, and tomato. Other popular items include the monster burrito (when they say monster, they mean monster — it's similar to the chimi, but stuffed with chicken or beef as opposed to pork and not deep fried) and the popular chicken and cream cheese enchiladas. Come thirsty since you don't want to miss out on Cactus Flower's sangria margarita, the sweet and spicy pineapple jalapeño-rita, or for groups, a gallon of frozen margs.

Mi Mexico (Grand Junction)

Looking for an affordable but delicious lunch after visiting the Colorado National Monument? Mi Mexico in Grand Junction is the place to be. For 26 years, the family-owned business has been slinging out grande portions of delicious nachos, quesadillas, and burritos at hard-to-beat prices. With lunch specials like a taco and enchilada or bowl of sopa de jaiba and kids' meals for under $10, it's a great inexpensive choice for families, locals, and tourists.

The menu is quite expansive, so you won't have to fret about picky eaters if you're with a group. Start with an appetizer like classic chicken flautas or "nachos Idaho" (stuffed potato skins), then round out your meal with burritos, enchiladas, or tacos. If you want to try a little bit of everything, the combination plates are a great way to go. Mi Mexico also, helpfully, offers a "fresh and healthy choices" menu with delicious options like the vegetarian garden fresco burrito and a Mexican shrimp Caesar salad. Be sure to grab an out-of-this-world chimichanga manzana for dessert. The deep-fried flour tortilla stuffed with apples and cinnamon is served with chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Jaime's Mexican Restaurant (Denver & Englewood)

Whether you want comforting, traditional Mexican cuisine or South-of-the-border with a twist, Jaime's Mexican Restaurant with locations in Denver and Arapahoe County's charming Englewood neighborhood is sure to hit the spot. Jaime's food is created using high-quality ingredients and techniques and strives to create dishes that will satisfy every palate. Nosh on chips and chorizo queso or dare to try the "Mexican candies": three fried jalapeños served with soy sauce and lime.

Less adventurous eaters will find plenty of dishes to their liking at Jaime's. While there are plenty plates incorporating authentic Mexican ingredients including tripe and tongue, you'll also find all-American favorites like hot wings, cheeseburgers, and green chile cheese fries here. Jaime's is a great spot for breakfast every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring specialties such as huevos rancheros and machaca con huevo. The restaurant also has a reputation for tasty desserts — with options like cinnamon sugar-crusted sopapillas, hot-and-cold fried ice cream, decadent banana burritos, and chocolatey Oreo churros, what's not to love?

Crystal Park Cantina (Manitou Springs)

Some of the best views in Colorado can be found in the tiny town of Manitou Springs, just northwest of Colorado's second-largest city, Colorado Springs. With incredible views of the rust-red Garden of the Gods and the towering mass of Pike's Peak, the hamlet began as an artists' refuge, but today is a bustling community made up of both locals and visiting tourists. Although you'll have plenty of choices for restaurants in the main downtown area of Manitou, you'll find some of the best Mexican food in its outskirts at Crystal Park Cantina. Crystal Park is a family-owned business using recipes that were passed down by the owners' "Grandma Anne" using the freshest and finest ingredients available.

One of the best ways to experience a little bit of everything at Crystal Park is to order from its tapas menu, which offers both home-style Mexican options like guacamole and some non-traditional takes like sweet potato nachos. On the main menu, you'll find house specialties like portobello, spinach, and cheese enchiladas, slow-roasted pulled pork burritos, and tacos stuffed with grilled steak marinated in pineapple juice. Bar-wise, Crystal Park only uses 100% agave tequilas and fresh juices for their margaritas (try the jalapeño cilantro –- you won't be sorry) and also serves a variety of Mexican, domestic, and local craft beers.

Rita's (Breckenridge)

Diners in the United States are often bamboozled with a paradox of choice when they go out — so many restaurants of all types have extensive menus that go on for pages and pages, making it tough to narrow in on that one special thing. You won't have this problem at Rita's in the popular ski town of Breckenridge. While Rita's bar selection is extensive, all you'll find on the food menu are chips, dips, and tacos.

Simplicity, however, doesn't mean that Rita's skimps on quality — the food is a huge hit with Breck's adventure-seekers. It's a great spot for chips and guac or queso, and their nachos are legendary. Taco-wise, Rita's has their process down to a science: Just pick your protein and tortilla (flour or hard or soft corn), then choose from one of Rita's three preparation styles: calle, baja, or gringo.

With an excellent staff-curated tequila and mezcal selection, Rita's also serves up some pretty crazy drinks. Their unique cocktail selection includes margaritas like the "espicy," which is chili and cucumber-infused tequila shaken with orange liqueur and fresh lime juice and rimmed with Tajin, but Mexican mules (their take on a Moscow mule) and tequila and mezcal flights are also popular. Perhaps most importantly, Rita's is also known for impeccable service — their staff is friendly, accommodating, and always willing to offer up food and drink suggestions.

Tu Casa (Gypsum)

Spurred by a desire to bring the taste of their home of Veracruz to the mountains of Colorado, two brothers opened Tu Casa in Gypsum in 2012. Veracruz, Mexico is a port city, so much of its cuisine revolves around seafood — and this certainly rings true at Tu Casa. Tu Casa serves up a variety of fish and shellfish dishes, but they also put their own spin on things. Featured on the appetizer menu are chipotle shrimp (billed as "a Veracruz, Mexico specialty!") and more new-age plates like jalapeño ahi tuna tartare tostadas; while the entrees contain options like tilapia tacos and pan-seared bass filet. The dish not to be missed is molcajete de mariscos, which consists of shrimp, fish, octopus, and mussels tossed in a house tomato sauce and served in a sizzling lava rock.

Although there's plenty of seafood to be found on the menu, those who are seafood-avoidant or who suffer from allergies needn't fret. Tu Casa has plenty of meat and veggie options that are just as tasty. The baja burger, topped with fresh jalapeños, pepper jack, and guac is delicious, as are the carnitas plate and the vegetarian chiles rellenos. Tu Casa has a full bar menu and plenty of margarita and beer options, but don't sleep on the frozen piña colada — a steal at $8, with a non-alcoholic option for those abstaining from alcohol and the under-21 crowd.

La Loma (Denver)

La Loma started out as a small, family-owned restaurant operated out of a tiny brick house in Denver's Central Business District, but as it grew in popularity, it became clear that a new home base was needed. In 1981, the restaurant was moved into a building created by combining three Victorian miners' homes into one glorious unit, where La Loma continues to shine.  

This popular, upscale restaurant draws inspiration from traditional Mexican recipes as well as the ingredients and dishes of the American Southwest. Sizzling steak fajita platters are brought out alongside plates of green chile. Beer-battered mahi mahi tacos sit next to savory stuffed sopapillas and chile con queso. The menu itself is a bit pricey, but it's a great spot for a special occasion or just a nice dinner out on the town.

If you're pinching pennies, consider visiting La Loma during happy hour, when many of the restaurant's signature appetizers and cocktails are available for a reduced price. While plenty of drink options are available, the house margarita is tough to beat — it's made with Herradura Silver tequila, triple sec, and La Loma's housemade all-natural sour mix. Add a flavor like prickly pear and a Grand Marnier float, and you'll be set.

Tacos El Rey 2 (Erie)

Boulder gets a lot of air time when people start talking about charming towns in Colorado, but the town of Erie — located about 20 minutes away from the college town — is pretty darn quaint as well. With stunning mountain views, excellent parks, and a delightful main strip in town, Erie's a fun, less-crowded place to spend the day... and it's also where you'll find some of the tastiest Mexican food in Colorado. Tacos El Rey 2 on Arapahoe serves up yummy, satisfying burritos, gorditas, tortas, and more at prices that are hard to beat.

Let's start with the fact that many of Tacos El Rey 2's menu items can be smothered in cheese, queso, or (in a nod to New Mexican cuisine) green chile. A smothered breakfast burrito is a beautiful thing, and Tacos El Rey 2 sells them for $5.50 apiece. Fans rave about the restaurant's fantastic taco offerings with fillings such as beef, fish, shrimp, tripa, lengua, and buche served street-style with onions and cilantro. It's no wonder that this is the go-to taco spot in Erie.

Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge (Denver)

Larimer Street is one of the most historic spots in Denver, and the heart of the Mile High City's downtown area is always abuzz with activity. The area is famed for the free 16th Street Mall, Union Station, and Coors Field, and it's here that you'll find "the home of the fried taco," Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge. Mexico City opened its doors in the 1960s and quickly became a neighborhood favorite.

The restaurant's claim to fame is its one-of-a-kind fried tacos. These crunchy creations are thrown together in crispy white corn tortillas and come in three varieties: steak, chicken, and beef with the option to add bacon or avocado for an extra $1.50. However, if fried tacos aren't your thing, Mexico City offers plenty of other options, like elote (Mexican street corn), Mexican hamburgers, killer enchiladas, and combo plates. Considering its central location in Denver and the quality of the food, it's well worth a stop should you find yourself craving Mexican eats in Colorado.

Blue Agave Grill (Fort Collins)

Fort Collins is a small, charming town located about an hour and a half north of Denver. It's the New Belgium and Odell breweries and offers easy access to plenty of hiking and other outdoorsy activities. FoCo's Old Town district is packed with coffee shops, locally-owned shops, and restaurants — including Blue Agave Grill. The contemporary Mexican fusion restaurant specializes in innovative takes on traditional foods using fresh, often locally sourced ingredients.

Blue Agave offers meals throughout the day. On the brunch menu, you'll find delicious breakfast foods like the chili relleno omelet and a chorizo breakfast burrito –- make sure to order a bloody Maria (Blue Agave's signature spin on a Bloody Mary featuring jalapeño-infused tequila in place of vodka). If you're popping in for lunch, the pork carnitas street tacos are a great option, while the pumpkin espresso bisque is an excellent choice for something a little less traditional. When dining in for dinner, make sure to kick off your meal with warm chorizo corn dip before digging into the tequila lime chicken. The restaurant has plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes available, too -– try the tofu walnut enchiladas or the plant-based smothered burrito.

Super Mega Bien (Denver)

Chef Dana Rodriguez has an incredibly inspiring story. The Mexican-born culinary superstar immigrated to the United States as an adult, got a job as a dishwasher at a Denver restaurant called Panzano, and worked her way up through the ranks of the kitchen for years. She's earned scores of accolades throughout her career, including a nomination for the James Beard Award for Best Chef for her work at  Super Mega Bien, the sister restaurant to Work & Class, located in the Ramble Hotel.  

Super Mega Bien's name says it all: The restaurant churns out some really, really good food. It's not an extensive menu — in fact, only five entrees are listed — but the focus on creating interesting, high-quality goods is readily apparent. A great way to experience Super Mega Bien, particularly if you're dining with a group, is to order a hodgepodge of items from the small plates selection. Appetizers like patatas bravas with chorizo, arepas de queso, and leche de tigre highlight Rodriguez's way of putting her own spin on traditional food. Super Mega Bien does not strictly serve Mexican cuisine, but the flair of Central and South American cooking only adds to the appeal of this fantastic hotspot.