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The Best Mexican Restaurant in Every State

Holy guacamole! From authentic taquerias to quirky cantinas, here's where to find the best Mexican restaurant in all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.).

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Barrios Fine Mexican DishesCourtesy @philroc/instagram

Searching for the Best Mexican Restaurant?

We’ve got you covered. From eclectic taco joints to upscale eateries, we’ve rounded up the very best Mexican restaurants across America. Can’t make the trip? These authentic Mexican recipes take you there.

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tacosvia El Barrio Restaurante/facebook

Alabama

El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar, Birmingham

With a name that literally means “neighborhood,” it’s no surprise that El Barrio is a gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Dig into their signature strawberry guacamole underneath the colorful floor-to-ceiling mural painted by one of the area’s graffiti artists. Want to make your own guacamole at home? Follow this simple step-by-step guide.

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The best Mexican restaurant in Alaska El DoradoVia @el.dorado.in.alaska/Facebook

Alaska

El Dorado, Anchorage

When you think of Mexican food, you likely don’t think of Alaska—but one trip to El Dorado will change your mind, thanks to their long list of Mexican favorites like enchiladas, chimichangas and fajitas. If you can’t travel to Anchorage, try making one of our top chicken enchilada recipes at home.

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Barrio CafeCourtesy @hayleyraine

Arizona

Barrio Cafe, Phoenix

It may look like any other hole in the wall, but the food at Barrio Cafe is anything but ordinary. From Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s line-up of authentic eats, you’ll want to go with either the cochinita pibil, 12-hour slow-roasted pork wrapped in a banana leaf, or the chiles en nogada, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with chicken, fruit and nuts. Find more great eats from Arizona.

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Local LimeCourtesy @locallime

Arkansas

Local Lime, Little Rock

Why settle for one salsa when you can have six? That’s what’s on the menu at Local Lime, where all of their selects, from tres chiles to Caribbean mango, are served with homemade, hand-cut tortilla chips. You can make your own delicious dip at home with one of these salsa recipes.

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Gracias MadreCourtesy @goodvibescookieco

California

Gracias Madre, Los Angeles

Leave it to LA to have a Mexican restaurant that serves up purely plant-based plates. And Gracias Madre will have you wondering why you ever thought you needed meat in the first place, with tasty treats like butternut squash quesadillas drenched in cashew nacho cheese. Impressed? Then add these carnivore-approved vegan recipes to your rotation.

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El Taco de MexicoCourtesy @jlovesburritos

Colorado

El Taco de Mexico, Denver

There’s a secret to ordering at El Taco de Mexico: no matter what you get (whether it’s tacos, enchiladas or a burrito), make sure you ask for it “smothered.” Your meal will come drenched in their legendary green chile sauce, which is as spicy as these tongue-tingling recipes.

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Rincon TaqueriaCourtesy @blakeeatsworld

Connecticut

Rincon Taqueria, Norwalk

If you thought the burritos at Chipotle were big, wait until you see the beefy behemoths sold at that this Connecticut shop. For reference, the cheese-covered, meat-filled tortilla is larger than an average dinner plate(!!). Can’t make it to Rincon? Whip up one of our best burrito recipes.

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Dos Locos Fajita and StonegrillCourtesy @eunnyjang

Delaware

Dos Locos Fajita and Stonegrill, Rehoboth Beach

Shrimp, crab, fish, oh my! This beachside restaurant specializes in fresh seafood done Mexican-style. Think: fajitas made with salmon, scallops and shrimp, the “Loco” enchiladas stuffed with colossal crabmeat and even an entire section of the menu dedicated to lobster. As if you needed an excuse to eat more of it, here are three seafood health benefits you probably didn’t know about.

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Bodega Taqueria y TequilaCourtesy @natalie.trz

Florida

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Miami

Taco Tuesday just got a lot more fun thanks to this Miami mainstay. Bite into creative combos including tacos el Cubano, the regional specialty made with carnitas, truffle, fried plantains and chicharrones. Don’t live near South Beach? Make one of these mouthwatering Mexican meals instead.

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Taqueria La OaxaquenaCourtesy @decaturchef

Georgia

Taqueria La Oaxaquena, Atlanta

Consider the tlayuda a Mexican pizza. This specialty at Taqueria La Oaxaquena is a flat, fluffy tortilla spread with creamy refried beans and topped with shredded lettuce, the meat of your choosing and, of course, a healthy helping of cheese. This taco pizza recipe is an easy copycat if you’re feeling inspired.

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Buho Cocina y CantinaCourtesy @1045toshiko3

Hawaii

Buho Cocina y Cantina, Honolulu

We aren’t sure what’s better at this rooftop restaurant: the stunning views of the Hawaiian sunset, the ocean breeze or the fresh fare made with locally-sourced ingredients. (The chef’s motto is “refined not re-fried.”) For an extra-special experience, go on Friday night when you’ll be treated to the weekly Waikiki fireworks show.

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Jalisco's Mexican RestaurantCourtesy @mblosch66

Idaho

Jalisco’s Mexican Restaurant, Idaho Falls

Chips and salsa? Nah, at Jalisco’s, it’s all about the chips and bean dip. The Idaho institution is known for its seasoned black bean blend that’s served as a starter. But if you do stand by salsa (and we don’t blame you!), here are the perfect pairings for each type of chip.

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Broken English Taco PubCourtesy @needlings

Illinois

Broken English Taco Pub, Chicago

This colorful and quirky cantina, with its graffitied walls and parade of pinatas, is on every Chicago taco lover’s bucket list. Grab a group of friends to split the 12-taco tray and choose from fresh fish, beef barbacoa, braised pork belly and more. And if you go for brunch, don’t miss their twist on the Bloody Mary, made with tequila instead of vodka.

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La Hacienda Mexican RestaurantCourtesy @cvswirl

Indiana

La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, Indianapolis

It doesn’t get much better than cheap beer and a heaping plate of enchiladas. That’s what you’ll find at any of La Hacienda’s five locations around Indiana, where the stuffed and smothered tortillas reign supreme. Don’t skimp on the salsa, either—it’s made fresh in-house! Recreate the restaurant experience at home with a frosty frozen margarita.

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La Regia TaqueriaCourtesy @pepperpedro

Iowa

La Regia Taqueria, Iowa City

Started as a food truck, now they’re here. And street-style tacos isn’t all that La Regia Taqueria has to offer—the Iowa institution also has a Latin American market attached that you can browse after you fill up on carnitas. Snag some fresh chorizo or housemade hot sauce to use in one of these authentic Mexican dishes.

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Molino's Cuisine MidtownCourtesy @radquests

Kansas

Molino’s Cuisine Midtown, Wichita

You’ll get quantity and quality at Molino’s (it’s the only Mexican restaurant in the Wichita area certified by the Certified Angus Beef Association). Wash down your piratas with one of the restaurant’s uniquely-flavored margaritas, like spicy watermelon or tamarind, which are rimmed with lemon pepper instead of salt.

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El Taco LuchadorCourtesy @run.cara.run

Kentucky

El Taco Luchador, Louisville

This taco shop is fast-casual at its finest. Not only is the service speedy but the flavors are phenomenal, with fillings like tomatillo braised pork chicharron, pickled cabbage, cotija cheese and their own spicy guacamole. If you’re the kind of person who believes tacos definitely aren’t just for Tuesdays, here are plenty of taco recipes to try tonight.

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Juan's Flying BurritoCourtesy @5forks_foodie

Louisiana

Juan’s Flying Burrito, New Orleans

Meet the new food trend we’re obsessed with: Creole Mexican. That’s what they’re cooking up at Juan’s in New Orleans, where the most popular menu order is the taqueria’s namesake, the Flying Burrito. It’s filled with grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, yellow rice, beans, cheddar jack cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream. (Whew!) Care for more classic Cajun recipes? We’ve got you covered.

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Taco EscobarrCourtesy @carriecof

Maine

Taco Escobarr, Portland

As quirky and colorful as the city of Portland itself, Taco Escobarr lets you mix and match your tacos so you can sample a little bit of everything. One you’ll definitely want to try? Their unique “puffy taco,” which features a deep-fried tortilla as the shell. If you’re feeling inspired, make your own corn tortillas at home.

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ClavelCourtesy @bar_clavel

Maryland

Clavel, Baltimore

Clavel isn’t your average taqueria—it’s also a mezcaleria. So while you soak in the rustic-chic ambiance (complete with exposed brick, Latin American decor and twinkling string lights), you can sip on an artisanal mezcal, poured by a bartender who was trained in Mexican mezcal distilleries. Swapping tequila for mezcal is an easy way to upgrade a margarita, along with these other cocktail-making tricks.

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The best Mexican restaurant in Massachusetts ​Rincon MexicanoVia @rinconmexicanosomerville/instagram

Massachusetts

Rincon Mexicano, Somerville

Rincon Mexicano claims to serve up “tastes from a little corner of home” and boy, do they. Included in Boston Magazine‘s “15 Best Mexican Restaurants in Boston”, Rincon serves up some of the best traditional Mexican cuisine in the Boston area. It comes to no surprise, though, because Chef Lorenzo has studied and mastered the art of Mexican cooking for the past 25 years before opening up his family-owned restaurant.

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Taqueria Mi PuebloCourtesy @taqueriamipueblo

Michigan

Taqueria Mi Pueblo, Detroit

Enchilada enthusiasts rejoice! Each of the over a dozen varieties on the menu at this Detroit destination are made with pillowy, handmade flour tortillas and then smothered in salsa roja and handfuls of cheese. Bonus—many nights, they have a live mariachi band serenading you while you eat. Taqueria Mi Pueblo is just one of the many reasons we love Michigan.

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Andale Taqueria & MercadoCourtesy @chiaimatsumoto

Minnesota

Andale Taqueria & Mercado, Richfield

Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this Minnesota must-visit is what Guy Fieri calls “a real-deal Mexican joint.” And while Guy personally enjoyed the juicy tacos el pastor, other fan favorites include the gooey quesadillas and the spicy pozole (make the slow cooker version).

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El AgaveCourtesy @jessbeingme_

Mississippi

El Agave, Gulfport

If the fact that kids eat free all day on Sundays doesn’t get you in the door of El Agave, the 99-cent margaritas will. Your boozy beverage will pair perfectly with one of the eatery’s most-ordered menu items: the chicken and queso (cheesy goodness poured over chicken strips) or the diablo shrimp (which comes with a warning about the extra-hot “inferno” sauce!). If you’re not imbibing, here are more restaurants where kids eat free.

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Chava's Mexican RestaurantCourtesy @sociableceliac

Missouri

Chava’s Mexican Restaurant, St. Louis

Housed in a historic barroom in downtown St. Louis, Chava’s is favorite among city dwellers for one particular menu item: the fish tacos. But if you’re looking to really indulge, opt for the fried taco. Stuffed with the filling of your choice, the entire tortilla is then flash-fried so it’s crispy and chewy all in one delicious bite. To savor the taste at home, try our fish taco recipe that’s loaded with chiles, cilantro and sour cream.

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El CazadorCourtesy @kaylobro

Montana

El Cazador, Missoula

Come for the food, stay for the atmosphere. The friendly staff and cozy digs make El Cazador feel like a mom-and-pop shop, and it’s a place that the whole family will enjoy. No matter what you order, whether it’s cheesy enchiladas or the tangy chile relleno, you can bet your meal will be out before you can say “muchas gracias!” Find more hidden gem restaurants in your state.

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Mula Mexican Kitchen & TequileriaCourtesy @klstick

Nebraska

Mula Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria, Omaha

There’s American Mexican food and then there’s authentic Mexican food. Mula, in Omaha, dishes out the latter. Start with a flight of dips with bacon and street corn guacamole or the deliciously addictive queso. For your main course, opt for a torta, a Mexican panini made with local telera bread. That’s not the only tasty food Nebraska cooks up—find more recipes from the Cornhusker State.

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Bonito MichoacánCourtesy @mikeyduong06

Nevada

Bonito Michoacán, Las Vegas

Step inside this legendary Latin American restaurant and you’ll feel as if you’re in a cantina down in Mexico, with wooden beams overhead and an explosion of turquoise, coral and bright pink. And the food is just as authentic as the atmosphere. Inspired by the chef’s hometown of Michoacán, the menu features his family’s recipes like flautas “Mama Chelo” and beef tongue tacos.

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Revolution CantinaCourtesy @joyfulgirl13

New Hampshire

Revolution Cantina, Claremont

Sure, you’ll find Mexican mainstays (like the seriously spicy CFD burrito drizzled with ghost pepper sauce) at Revolution Cantina but you’ll also find other South American specialties including Costa Rican casado and Peruvian risotto. And good news for vegetarians and vegans: you can substitute tofu for meat in any dish. If you’re dining in, make sure you don’t make any of these dining mistakes.

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Orale Mexican KitchenCourtesy @whoisapneet

New Jersey

Orale Mexican Kitchen, Jersey City

Everyone knows that guac costs extra—but it’s more than worth it at Orale Mexican Kitchen. The New Jersey restaurant is renowned for its uniquely untraditional avocado dip, made with truffle habanero hot honey, charred scallions and roasted garlic.

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La ChozaCourtesy @champagneandcookies

New Mexico

La Choza, Santa Fe

New Mexico’s famous green chiles are the star at La Choza in Santa Fe. The spicy peppers are woven into many of the restaurant’s award-winning dishes like the chile relleno and the green chile stew. Want to try the Southwestern specialty for yourself? Make this green chile chicken chili for dinner.

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Chavela'sCourtesy @bknyceats

New York

Chavela’s, New York City

The Big Apple is teeming with fabulous Mexican restaurants but Chavela’s is in a league of its own. If you can score a seat at the bustling Brooklyn hotspot, order small plates of south-of-the-border fare to share, like queso fundido or enchiladas de camarones, for a true tapas experience.

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Cabo Fish TacoCourtesy @thatguylarluv

North Carolina

Cabo Fish Taco, Charlotte

North Carolina…or the California coast? You’ll get the best of both worlds when you sink your teeth into one of the Baja-style fish tacos at this joint, where the star of the show is the mango barbecue mahi-mahi taco topped with cilantro white sauce. Try making your own taco de pescado.

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Acapulco Mexican FargoCourtesy @laterremotoacaena

North Dakota

Acapulco Mexican Fargo, Fargo

When in North Dakota, do as the locals do and gorge yourself on Acapulco’s flavorful fare, from homemade refried beans to hand-wrapped corn husk tamales. If you’d rather stay in than go out, recreate your favorite dish with these Mexican restaurant copycat recipes.

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The best Mexican restaurant in Ohio Los Guachos TaqueriaVia Los Guachos Taqueria/Facebook

Ohio

Gaucho’s Taqueria, Columbus

Warning! You’ll definitely need an afternoon siesta after a stop at Guacho’s. Because no one leaves hungry from this Ohio eatery, where tacos al pastor (they claim theirs are the best in the Columbus!) and a sip of their smooth horchata are enough to satisfy your Southwestern cravings. Let your inner bartender loose with these crafty tequila drinks.

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Barrios Fine Mexican DishesCourtesy @philroc/instagram

Oklahoma

Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes, Oklahoma City

Mi casa es su casa. That’s the Mexican take on Midwestern hospitality, which is what you’ll be welcomed with at Barrios. Pull up a chair on the outdoor patio and settle in for an evening of frozen avocado margaritas, some of the best queso you’ll ever have and street corn bursting with flavor. Psst! Here are 10 things to do with queso besides make dip, according to celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez.

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¿Por Qué No? TaqueriaCourtesy @aubrey_eats

Oregon

¿Por Qué No? Taqueria, Portland

The name of this Portland taco stand is exactly what your answer should be when asked if you want one more fresh corn tortilla: why not? And as an added bonus, you can feel good about the tacos el pastor that you scarf down—Por Qué No is dedicated to sustainable practices and to giving back to local organizations. It’s just one of our favorite companies that donate to charity.

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El VezCourtesy @phillyphoodpics

Pennsylvania

El Vez, Philadelphia

At El Vez, every day feels like a Cinco de Mayo party, thanks to its flashy and fun decor, upbeat energy and frequent live music. And whatever you do, kick off your meal with one of their house-made guacamoles, whether it’s “The Original” or the funkier “Bazooka Limon” made with goat cheese, chili flakes and roasted tomatoes. We’ve dreamed up a dozen more ways to top your guac.

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Tallulah's TaqueriaCourtesy @sweetkaroline91

Rhode Island

Tallulah’s Taqueria, Providence

Light, fresh…and addictive. That’s how most would describe the street-style tacos from Tallulah’s. Pick your protein (there are even potatoes, eggs and black beans for vegetarians), then grab a glass of the homemade agua fresca, which comes in mango or lemon basil, to wash it all down with.

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La NortenaCourtesy @cofcfoodies

South Carolina

La Nortena, Charleston

Fresh South Carolina seafood + traditional Mexican eats = the mouthwatering menu at La Nortena. You’ll likely see the locals noshing on octopus ceviche or shrimp nachos while they sip one of the restaurant’s specialty margaritas. To make your own marg, either frozen or on the rocks, read this step-by-step margarita guide.

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Sabor A MexicoCourtesy @cbsherrill

South Dakota

Sabor A Mexico, Rapid City

Sabor A Mexico is proof that good things come in small packages. Because what this Rapid City rest stop lacks in size, it more than makes up for in flavor. The chef, from Michoacan, Mexico, uses family recipes passed down from generation to generation to make her sweet rice horchata and rich mole. (Get more of Abuela’s best recipes.)

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Mas Tacos Por FavorCourtesy @jack1313

Tennessee

Mas Tacos Por Favor, Nashville

“More tacos please” is exactly what you’ll be saying when you step up to the counter at this Nashville novelty, where each scratch-made treat is just $3. And while there’s always a wait (sometimes the line wraps around the building!), it’s well worth it for the fried avocado taco. P.S.: Here are the most creative ways to use up leftover taco meat.

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Fonda San MiguelCourtesy @ilobcandies

Texas

Fonda San Miguel, Austin

In the state that literally created Tex-Mex, it’s tough to pick a favorite—so we let U.S. presidents do it. Both Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush have eaten at Fonda San Miguel, the stunning Austin landmark that’s been dishing out some of the freshest, most authentic Mexican food in Texas since the 1970s. Agree with the POTUS’ picks? Check out more presidents’ favorite foods.

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Red IguanaCourtesy @bdammeir

Utah

Red Iguana, Salt Lake City

Along with being one of Utah’s most decorated restaurants (it’s won the “best Mexican restaurant” title multiple times), Red Iguana also has Guy Fieri’s stamp of approval. The family-run diner is legendary across the state for its melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted pork and puntas de filete a la nortena, a platter of steak tips and bacon atop almond mole. Unfamiliar with mole?  You’re not alone. Our experts answer the age-old question: what is mole sauce, anyway?

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El CortijoCourtesy @alikm85

Vermont

El Cortijo, Burlington

The farm-to-table trend is cool (these delicious dishes are proof!) but the farm-to-taco trend is even cooler. It’s something that El Cortijo prides itself on, using all fresh, all local ingredients to craft everything from its house-made salsa to its fresh-squeezed margaritas.

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En Su BocaCourtesy @macaronsandmatcha

Virginia

En Su Boca, Richmond

Handmade corn tortillas? Sloppy joe tacos? Cold beer? You’ll be having a fiesta “En Su Boca” (that means “in your mouth”) at this Richmond restaurant. If all this food talk has got you wanting Mexican food ASAP, try one of these Mexican dishes that are ready in 30 minutes max.

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Tacos ChukisCourtesy @seattle.foodlust

Washington

Tacos Chukis, Seattle

“To have and to fold” should be the motto at this Seattle secret spot where, as the name suggests, tacos reign supreme. Tucked away in the city’s trendy Capitol Hill, Taco Chukis is home to inventive eats like the prickly pear cactus tacos for vegetarians or the signature Taco Chukis, filled with adobo pork and topped with a juicy slice of grilled pineapple. If you haven’t tried grilled pineapple yet—we implore you to give it a go.

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Oyamel Cocina Mexicana dining roomvia tripadvisor.com

Washington, D.C.

Oyamel

Take a stroll through Penn Quarter and you’ll find three restaurants run by James Beard Award winner José Andres. The brightest and most eccentric of the trio is Oyamel Cocina Mexicana. The eatery is known for its small plates of upscale Mexican street food like lengua guisada tacos, fresh ceviche and cactus salad. What’s more, their corn tortillas are made in-house from scratch each day (learn how to make your corn tortillas!).

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Mi DegolladoCourtesy @vittlemonster

West Virginia

Mi Degollado, Charles Town

Quick, affordable, delicious: Mi Degollado delivers on all counts. Stop in for lunch, where you can load up on all of your favorite fare from shrimp fajitas to beef chimichangas for a budget-friendly price. Psst: try out these other money-saving hacks the next time you go out to eat.

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Botana's RestaurantCourtesy @pakutieeepie

Wisconsin

Botana’s Restaurant, Milwaukee

Any meal that starts with complimentary chips and salsa is an automatic win in our book. And at Botana’s, where the chef is from Guadalajara, Mexico, things only get better when your sizzling-hot entree comes out, particularly if you ordered their popular tequila shrimp. Enjoy it out on the open-air patio if the weather is nice. Here are more tasty reasons to love Wisconsin.

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Hacienda GuadalajaraCourtesy @mustang902012

Wyoming

Hacienda Guadalajara, Cheyenne

Come hungry to this Wyoming cantina. Because not only are the portions massive, but you’ll want to save room for dessert, which includes deep-fried ice cream in a flour tortilla bowl (big enough to feed four!), caramel flan and crispy cinnamon-sugar sopapillas. Want more south-of-the-border sweets? Make one of these top 10 Mexican treats.

Research contributed by Christina Herbst, Taste of Home Assistant Digital Editor

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.

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