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Here Are the 15 Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in the U.S.

From coast to queso-loving coast, these are the best Tex-Mex restaurants in the country!

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Taco Mexican Tex Med Food Lifestyles With Friends Eating Dinnerknape/gettyimages

Big on beef, yellow cheese, flour tortillas and comfort, Tex-Mex is a fusion of northern Mexican and Texan tastes. As a nod to this border cuisine that makes mouths water from Massachusetts clear to California, here are the best Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. Of course we could fill the entire list with Texas spots, but we’ve spread the love to other places where either Texans have set up shop or the food is so good you’ll swear you’re in the Lone Star State.

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Lone Star Taco Barvia @LoneStarTacoBar/facebook

Lone Star Taco Bar

Boston, Massachusetts

For nearly a decade the team at Lone Star Taco Bar has been slinging mesquite-smoked beef barbacoa, a Tex-Mex classic. One of the owners grew up in Texas, which no doubt helped drive the menu. Lone Star credits its flavor inspiration to the open-air markets and taquerias of Austin, Dallas, and Mazatlan, Mexico. Find your own inspiration in these top Tex-Mex recipes.

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Güeros Brooklyn

Brooklyn New York

Ooey-gooey cheesy nachos are a beloved border creation. As the story goes, they came into existence in 1943 when a  maître d’ named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya García created an impromptu dish to feed guests while the restaurant’s chef stepped out. Brooklyn is a long way from the border, but Güeros nails the spirit of combining ingenious ingredients with their piled-high brisket nachos.

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Republic Cantina

Washington, DC

As a queso-loving country, it makes sense that our capital should have a decent place to dunk salty tortilla chips. Republic Cantina is that place. Order the chili con queso, then wash the delicious dip down with a Texas-style drink, like Ranch Water— it’s Topo Chico with tequila, muddled lime and agave.

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Juan Luis

Charleston, South Carolina

Holy guacamole does the “Holy City” have a stupendous spot for border cuisine. Pitmaster John Lewis, who grew up on breakfast tacos, enchiladas and gorditas in El Paso, opened Juan Luis to give Charleston a taste of the same. This meat maestro knows his way around crispy gorditas stuffed with red chile pork, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo.

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El Charrocia @elcharrousa/facebook

El Charro

Fraser, Michigan

San Antonio-style puffy tacos are going strong in the Great Lakes State, thanks to El Charro. Now with four locations, this deep-fried tortilla touting empire started in 1971 in Fraser with family recipes from Delia Martin. Taco fillings include chicken, beef and mahi mahi—each topped with lettuce, cheese and tomatoes.

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San Antonio Taco Company

Nashville, Tennessee

Since 1984, San Antonio Taco Company has served Tex-Mex flavors to the Music City. Started by two Texans, the restaurant is now run by new owners who carry the tortilla-centric torch. The chili con carne here is famous in town, and the fajitas sizzle as well. Can’t get enough? Try making one of these flavorful fajita recipes.

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Lonesome Rose

Chicago, Illinois

Contrary to what the name implies, Lonesome Rose draws a crowd, especially for brunch (hey, vaqueros can enjoy a leisurely weekend meal, too). Four kinds of breakfast tacos, plus frozen margaritas, are a nod to Texan cuisine. You’ll also find unique twists here, like French toast with horchata icing and whipped pepita butter.

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Tamale House East

Austin, Texas

More than mouthwatering, Tex-Mex is a family tradition at Tamale House East, a third-generation Austin institution. Tamales are clearly a big draw here, but you can’t stop by without also trying Mom’s Migas and Queso—scrambled eggs with pan-fried corn tortillas, queso and salsa ranchera. Afterward, make your own migas at home.

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Matt’s El Rancho

Austin, Texas

Here’s another historic spot. Matt’s El Rancho dates back to 1952 and counts President Lyndon Johnson among its legions of loyal fans over the decades. The restaurant also claims to have introduced a slew of Tex-Mex staples, including fresh-lime-juice margaritas, Mexican seafood dishes and Bob Armstrong dip (loaded queso with taco meat and guacamole).

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Ms G’s Tacos N’ More

McAllen, Texas

Some states have wine trails. Texas has the Rio Grande Valley Taco Trail, and Ms G’s Tacos N’ More is on it. This unassuming spot that’s takeout only has earned icon status in the birthplace of Tex-Mex thanks to decades devoted to chorizo-and-egg-stuffed tortillas. Taste how the pros do it, then whip up your own breakfast tacos.

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Paloma Blancavia @palomablancasa/instagram

Paloma Blanca

San Antonio, Texas

When it comes to “Best Tex-Mex” titles in San Antonio, competition’s as stiff as a crunchy taco shell, and yet Paloma Blanca has nabbed the top honors in town, according to San Antonio Magazine. Fajitas by the pound, including a veggie version with zucchini and mushrooms, served on a sizzling comal griddle helped sealed the deal.

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El Original Tacos Jalisco 2via originaltacosjalisco.net

El Original Tacos Jalisco

Denver, Colorado

Forget cake. As any Tex-Mex lover knows, it’s really about having your enchilada and eating it, too. The combo plate—a mixed platter that can include tacos, enchiladas, tamales and more—is a Tex-Mex creation. At El Original Tacos Jalisco, guests enjoy a menu with 13 combo choices. And we can’t forget to mention all the types of burritos you can order.

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Five and Dime General Store

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hot topic: Is Texas or New Mexico the birthplace of the Frito pie (corn chips smothered in chili and cheese)? We’ll steer clear of the controversy and just say this Five and Dime, which has a snack bar in back, is famous for the dish. Food legend Anthony Bourdain filmed his Frito pie experience in this very spot.

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Bar Amávia @BarAmaDTLA/facebook

Bar Amá

Los Angeles, CA

Even California, which has its own love affair with Mexican food, can’t resist the allure of Lone Star-style eats. LA’s Bar Amá serves puffy tacos, queso and green enchiladas that some say are even better than what’s in Texas (fighting words, for sure). Join the friendly feud by perfecting one of these ways to make enchiladas at home.

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Laredos Grillvia laredosgrill.com

Laredos Grill

Seattle, Washington

Take a right at the Space Needle and suddenly you’re in…Laredo? This Tex-Mex cantina in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood feels authentically Texan thanks to rustic decor, including ceramic tiles and carved wood sourced from its namesake city. Frozen margaritas made with avocado puree are a favorite at Laredos Grill. Salud!

Amelia Mularz
Amelia is a writer who covers both food and travel. Her favorite pilgrimages include Mexico City for the mole, Tel Aviv for the hummus and Wisconsin for the curds. She lives in Los Angeles, where she can be found forever exploring the city's street taco scene.