The Absolute Best Mexican Restaurants In Dallas

In years past, Dallas was known as the town to get a "cab and a slab," also known as a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a juicy, likely large, ribeye steak. One of the city's leading wine retailers, McKinney Wine Merchant, dedicated its wine club to the pairing. But, Dallas is more than a city of steakhouses. Though the city's history lies in oil and agriculture, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shares that today Dallas is a city of banking and finance, technology and fashion, art and culture.

With culture comes cuisine, and Dallas has become a culinary destination over the past few decades. Bon appétit named Dallas the 2019 Restaurant City of the Year, celebrating a culture of diversity that features unique restaurants highlighting distinct points of view. The influence of Hispanic culture melds into the flavors of Dallas fare when it comes to Mexican food. According to the World Population Review, Texas has the second-largest population of Hispanic and Latino heritage residents and over 7.3 million residents of Mexican descent. Though enchiladas and tamales will always be on the table of Dallas' Mexican food scene, today's chefs highlight their Hispanic origin and tradition, bringing authenticity to the city's menus.

The modern-day fare of Dallas combines Mexico's regional dishes with Tex-Mex influence. D Magazine calls it "Mex-Mex," a trend-led by local pioneers Monica Greene and Abraham Salum, along with newcomers like Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman and Jose Meza. This is one of the most exciting times to be a food lover in Dallas, and each of these options should be a must-try for your Mexican food bucket list. 

El Fenix

El Fenix has been a Dallas institution for over 100 years, serving cheese enchiladas and beef tamales topped with chile con carne from their historic building just outside downtown. Only In Your State shares that since opening its doors in 1918, the restaurant has been considered Dallas' home of Tex-Mex cuisine. Dallas Observer notes that by maintaining a classic approach, El Fenix has kept a continuous line of diners wrapped around the building for decades, each one eager to get in. With offerings like its famous enchilada plate of two enchiladas with rice and beans, served every Wednesday for just $5.99, it's easy to see what is so worth the wait.

Being the longest operating Mexican food restaurant in the country is especially impressive, as Dallas historically sees extremely high rates of restaurant closures. Local publications, like Dallas Observer, include entire sections devoted to the topic. And yet, El Fenix survives by serving exactly what you would expect a Tex-Mex restaurant to provide. The food is a delicious nod to the past. The cooks at El Fenix consistently deliver comfort classics to loyal fans every day, including the same Mexican plate founder Miguel Martinez created over 100 years ago.

Meso Maya Comida y Copa

From one extreme to the other, Meso Maya Comida y Copas and El Fenix are sister restaurants, both owned by Firebird Restaurant Group, per Restaurant News. Still, the two couldn't be more opposite. Instead of cheese enchiladas and flour tortilla soft tacos, Meso Maya brings Mayan flavors of Oaxaca & Puebla, and there are no flour tortillas in sight. 

Mexican-born and raised chef Nico Sanchez highlights the flavors that remind him of his home, tamales from Guanajuato, Michoacán carnitas, shares El Restaurante. The queso here is white, made with poblano peppers, nopales, and brisket, or layered with onions, roasted peppers, and chorizo. The avocado margarita reminds us of a boozy green juice, a must-try, or sip the other Texas favorite, Ranch Water, which is made with tequila, Topo Chico, and lime. Chef specialties include Yucatan-style braised pork shoulder in a tangy achiote chile sauce and short rib chile Rellenos in a pasilla chile sauce, with each always served with fresh, house-made, hand-ground corn tortillas. 

Mia's Tex Mex

There is nothing swanky about Mia's Tex Mex. Opened in 1981, the forty-one-year-old restaurant is a Dallas staple for classic Tex-Mex served alongside schooners of cold beer and frosty margaritas. After stepping through the doors of the vibrant yellow building, pink and green walls, vinyl tablecloths, kitschy décor, and lots of memorabilia, greet you (including a portrait of Dallas Cowboys' beloved Hall of Fame coach, Tom Landry). Dallas Observer notes Landry was a restaurant regular who loved the unpretentious neighborhood spot nestled on the edge of Dallas' fancy Highland Park. Accordingly, this is a favorite spot of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as well (via ESPN). As the story goes, Jones was seen at Mia's with coach Jimmy Johnson the night before Landry was fired and replaced with Johnson. We hope they didn't toast the union under Landry's portrait.

The menu at Mia's Tex Mex includes the usual suspects; nachos, chimichangas, carne asada, and flautas. But, one dish reigns supreme for those who love beef. Mia's nods to the "Tex" in Tex-Mex with its menu specialty of brisket tacos. Though the dish is now popular on menus all over town, Mia's was one of the first. Like Mexican food, American barbecue is an essential cuisine in Dallas, and slow and low smoked brisket is the dish of choice. Mia's brings the best of both worlds together by adding smoky brisket to grilled peppers and onions smothered with melty Monterey Jack cheese that creates what one might call extreme taco goodness. 

E Bar Tex-Mex

Almost forty years ago, restaurateur Eddie Cervantes opened Primo's Tex-Mex on McKinney Avenue in the heart of Dallas' uptown district, when the neighborhood was still considered emerging, per the Culture Map Dallas. Primo's and the just-off-downtown area became a certified place to be for late-night cocktails and cold, happy hour margaritas on the patio. After selling the restaurant in 2008, Cervantes opened E Bar Tex Mex in 2013 in another transitioning area of the city, this time stepping just beyond uptown, into the neighborhood of Old East Dallas, per D Magazine

At E Bar, Cervantes delivers a similar vibe to the one that made Primo's a local favorite. Regulars linger over a cold beer and endless bowls of chips and salsa at the bar. Restaurant reviews by Culture Map Dallas add that E Bar Tex Mex is the Mexican restaurant to take your family when they visit. Serving expected favorites like fajitas and enchiladas, warming tortilla soup (our favorite), and killer, creamy queso, E Bar ensures guests receive flawless Tex Mex the way it should be: filling, flavorful, and with excellent portions for the price. As the neighborhood around E Bar continues to gentrify — Dallas Morning News reports that high-end townhomes are rapidly replacing old and historic bungalows — E Bar continues to deliver inviting, low-key charm. This restaurant will make you feel at home from your first visit and onwards. This spot could be considered the "Cheers" of East Dallas Mexican restaurants.

Javier's Gourmet Mexican

Walking into Javier's today is not much different from when the doors first opened nearly forty years ago. Cozy, dark, rustic, regal, with an old-school feeling of nostalgia. You'd be right to expect to see J.R. Ewing at the next table over, enjoying a bourbon whiskey on the rocks. Javier's has been serving Mexico City-inspired flavors to Dallas eaters since the 1970s, according to D Magazine. The signature Filete Cantinflas of grilled beef tenderloin stuffed with Chihuahua cheese and topped with a spicy mulato chile sauce will satisfy any carnivore, as will the Filete con Champinones, a dish of bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin with mushroom and brandy sauce. 

Though beef dishes are plentiful, and Mexico City is a landlocked locale without much natural seafood, the fish specialties are our favorite here. Barra de Navidad (sauteed shrimp in a fiery diablo sauce), and the zesty Red Snapper a la Javier (complete with tomatoes, peppers, and olives), are consistently delicious entrees. One of the few authentic Mexican restaurants to not only survive but thrive in the city for decades, Javier's tuxedo-clad waiters serve ice-cold margaritas and Mexican martinis, as they have for decades. The ambiance and service continue drawing the pretty people of Dallas' Park Cities out to play. Over the years, Javier's has become a place for celebrity sightings, per USA Today. And make sure you dress to impress, especially if visiting the cigar lounge for a post-dinner cocktail, as the restaurant follows a strict dress code policy.

Mi Cocina

WFAA-TV reports that in 1971, Dallasite and restaurateur Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine, forever changing how the city, country, and world drink. Almost 30 years ago, Mi Cocina opened its first location in North Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood, putting that machine to good use by introducing what has become a city treasure, the Mambo Taxi. With locations now dotted throughout the city, Mi Cocina is known for serving high-end, family-friendly Mexican fare alongside some of the best margaritas in town, namely, that famous Mambo Taxi. (On our last visit to Mi Cocina's Highland Park location, a row of baby strollers lined up out the door, confirming the restaurant's family bonafides).  

As for the famous Mambo Taxi, it is a sweet, tangy, frozen concoction of swirled sangria and margarita, which D Magazine reports have overflowed passed local popularity into national fame. Mambo lovers have a saying, "with one you are feeling good, two you are doing the mambo, three you need a taxi." We thoroughly agree, yet we are thankful that bartenders recently created a "Skinny Mambo." My Fitness Pal shares that the original drink delivers 700 calories per glass! Pair the boozy beverage with crave-worthy queso, ribeye fajitas, huevos rancheros (breakfast is joyfully served all day), or our favorite, Mama's Chicken con Hongos. This plate is piled high with seared chicken, mushrooms, onions, and poblano peppers. We recommendation to add a side of guacamole and lots of fresh pico de gallo.

Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco began as a hole-in-the-wall taco stand with a walk-up counter and a few tables outside, wedged between a busy interstate I-75 and Henderson Avenue. Today, it has grown into a street taco mecca with multiple locations that take over entire city blocks and are rapidly expanding throughout the country, per Nation's Restaurant News. The outlet reports that the fast-casual spot serves upwards of twenty different tacos at any one time via a menu listing titled "WTF" or "weekly taco feature." The variation keeps loyal fans returning to see what flavor combination will be on the menu that week. Staples include spicy chicken tikka, barbacoa-style slow-roasted brisket, and Nashville hot tofu. 

As good as the tacos are (and they are), we are thrilled that you can now have an especially incredibly item called the Backdoor Chicken any night of the week. When the original Henderson Avenue location opened, you could only find your way to savory, juicy rotisserie roasted chicken by knocking on the back door on Monday nights, per Dallas Observer. Now, every Velvet Taco presents the menu star as a $20 family meal every day. The offer includes a 48-hour brined, whole rotisserie chicken, Korean barbecue sauce, corn tortillas, roasted elotes, and fresh pico de gallo. Bonus, you can still beat the Monday blues by getting the meal for a special offer at just $10.

Chilangos Tacos

Crispy, savory, juicy tacos de birria have become a standard of late in Dallas. Originally, early Mexicans made the dish with goat meat before transitioning to beef. If you are unfamiliar, birria is meat slowly stewed with adobo (a mixture of garlic, chile, and herbs) and served inside a crispy taco dipped in fat and grilled. Each taco is served with stewed juices on the side, perfectly succulent for dipping. Birria has been a breakfast favorite in Jalisco, Mexico, since the 1950s, but the juicy tacos found their way to America originally through Tijuana before Los Angeles taco stands began dishing up the flavor-bomb in 2015 (via Eater). 

In 2019, Mexico City transplant and SMU finance graduate Jon Garay and chef Joel Mendoza introduced birria tacos to Dallas through their store Chilangos Tacos. Young, though well-regarded, Mendoza's resume includes high acclaim. The chef has done stints at Mexico City's Pujol and served roles working alongside Dallas and Latin cuisine icon Stephan Pyles at his now closed but celebrated San Salvaje. The menu at Chilangos Tacos includes classic birria tacos of beef, as well as chicken, pork, and vegetable options. However, Dallas Observer notes that the stars aligned, especially on off-menu items like the La Costra, a stewed beef, and melted Monterey jack cheese combination served inside a flaky shell and topped with herbaceous cilantro and crunchy onions.

La Mina

Last October, La Mina opened in the recently renovated Dallas Village community, led by Chef Tony Ilbarra. An El Paso native noted by Culture Map Dallas, Barra brings solid chops to the position, having worked under notable Dallas chefs like Matt McAllister at FT33 and Misti Norris of Petra & the Beast. At La Mina, Ilbarra delivers his take on a special cuisine, combining Mexican heritage with Texas roots by employing an ancient method of making fresh tortillas from heirloom Mexican corn that undergoes nixtamalization. In this process, dried corn is cooked and steeped in a mix of water and food-grade lime mineral, then ground to make maize, per CIMMYT. At La Mina, the alkaline-infused maize is ground and baked into heavenly corn tortillas (via PaperCity Dallas). 

As soft and flavorful as the tortillas may be, the cocktails are the true reason we visit La Mina. In fact, we would go anywhere that mixologist Leann Berry is infusing and shaking specialty spirits. Over the years, Berry has led the bar programs at Monica Greene's Ciudad and Cedars Social, and Abraham Salum's Komali, winning awards for her kicking cocktails along the way (via D Magazine). Berry recently announced she was a part of the team at La Mina, and we couldn't be more excited. Lucky for us, she brings her tamarind margarita, a former award winner at Komali, to her new digs.

Jalisco Norte

Jalisco Norte's Mexico-born chef Jose Meza is one of the most traveled chefs in the city. He learned to cook authentic Mexican flavors while traveling around his home country before moving to stints at three Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain, and Noma in Copenhagen. Meza came to Dallas on an invitation to cook with Dallas celebrity chef icon Dean Fearing after the two met while Meza was cooking at the Ritz-Carlton Punta Mita (via D Magazine). Chef Jose brings to Jalisco Norte the high standards of quality and service he learned while cooking in Europe, combining those skills with the flavors of Mexico and including influences from Oaxaca, Puebla, and Yucatán.

The food Meza delivers at Jalisco Norte is elegantly presented with a sophisticated, modern style while delivering familiar flavors. His plates are beautiful and comforting, combing contemporary style with approachability. Meza pays homage to those who came before him by adhering to Michelin star standards while telling a story through his food. His Mex-Mex offerings include a must-try 50 ingredient negro mole inspired by his family roots and served with roasted chicken enchiladas. Additional menu highpoints include salmon in corn sauce with roasted tomato marmalade, coconut mole with seared scallops and squid ink chicharron, and beef tongue barbacoa with spicy pasilla sauce.

The Mexican

Though The Mexican just opened in Dallas's Design District, it is quickly receiving quite a buzz for its elevated take on Mexican cuisine, inspired by the flavors of Monterrey, Mexico. As for the newfound fame, we couldn't agree more. Culture Map Dallas shares that the 15,000 square foot restaurant can accommodate 320 people, serving highly elevated Mexican cuisine with a contemporary focus that is all about luxury. People Newspapers gushes over the beauty and elegance of the Turtle Creek Avenue hot-spot, highlighting how well-appointed every detail of the massive interior of the multi-million dollar restaurant bears, including a "visually intoxicating cigar bar."

Thankfully, the flavors match the ambiance, particularly the signature sea bass ceviche, filet, and bone marrow tacos. Texas Monthly adds that the menu reads like that of a typical steakhouse in Mexico, infusing Mexican flavors with lots of meat, which means Dallasites should be accepting. The goal at The Mexican is to inspire guests to feel their passion with refined style. With this, the restaurant also follows a strictly enforced dress code and time allotment policy, noting it is also best to dine without children. So, dress to impress, leave the kids at home, and make sure you aren't late for your reservation.

Revolver Taco Lounge and Purépecha Room

Deep Ellum's Revolver Taco Lounge brings the best of all worlds together in one destination-worthy restaurant. Chef and owner Regino Rojas has opened multiple locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the past several years, but it is the one just off downtown Dallas where his star shines brightest, thanks in part to his mother. With elevated ingredients and a rustic style, Rojas delivers unconventional yet relatable flavors in perfect balance. Revolver's front dining room serves "pound on the table" good tacos, states the Dallas Observer. Offerings include cabrito, pork carnitas, wagyu beef, octopus, and duck breast topped with the sauces and salsas of his Michoacán, Mexico hometown.

Each imaginative combination is taste-tested for authenticity by his mother, who helps out in the kitchen. Housed in the back of the dining room, Rojas presents the Purépecha Room, bringing his mother's Mexican kitchen to the Deep Ellum lounge. In this space, the multi-year James Beard Award semifinalist creates a continuously evolving tasting menu based on seasonal ingredients and inspirations drawn from his familial roots. With highly limited seating (only three tables at two seatings a night), you'll want to book your reservations well in advance in order to ensure you experience this food.


Run, don't walk, to where Chef Anastasia Quinones-Pittman is cooking. Currently, that place is José. When the restaurant opened in 2017, the owners tried recruiting Quinones-Pittman (also known as AQ) to run the kitchen, but the uber-talented Texas native wasn't available. Then, they offered her complete control over the kitchen, ensuring she could bring her creativity to fruition on every plate, and she agreed, per Texas Monthly. Nowadays, Texas Monthly calls her food "Modern Mexican Magic." We call it utterly delicious. Over the past decade, the James Beard Foundation Best Chef Texas semifinalist has worked in some of the premier modern Mexican restaurants in Dallas, including running the kitchens of Alma, Komali, and Cedars Social (via D Magazine). At each, she brought her unique spin to Mexican fare. And at José, the city is truly embracing it.

AQ's inspiring mix of flavors showcases her Mex-Tex talent, elevating everything from small plates to full entrees. Her signature dish is what some may consider a humble taco, though Chef Anastasia's cooking is far more than that. The rotating Taco de Tacha is a wild combination of nixtamalized corn masa shaped into delectable, hand-crafted tortillas and topped with nontraditional, savory offerings. Recent iterations like pork belly with a blueberry mole on a blue corn tortilla or fried maitake mushrooms with burrata on a red bell pepper tortilla stun and surprise. Pair this with her vibrant aguachile dishes of fresh fish and zesty citrus and spice, comforting duck confit mole, and succulent short rib enchiladas, and you are in for a treat unlike anywhere else in the city. Thank you, AQ!