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The top 5 Mexican restaurants in America

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 (Espita Mezcaleria)

Tacos, enchiladas, burritos. When you think of Mexican food, these culinary classics often come to mind. But restaurants across America are taking Mexican dishes to new heights with gourmet twists and regional specialties. Find the best south-of-the-border fare with Gayot's list of the Top 5 Mexican Restaurants in the country.

1) Bracero: Cocina de Raiz - San Diego, CA

Javier Plascencia, who redefined Tijuana's culinary scene, has long been an ambassador of cutting-edge Mexican cuisine. He's also created an important gastronomic bridge between the border countries, bringing the bold tastes of Baja into San Diego, first at Romesco and now at Bracero: Cocina de Raiz. Standout plates include acorn and kabocha squash in mole negro, delicate albacore two ways (seared and tartare) and the famed beef cheek taco.

2) Cosme - New York, NY

Chef Enrique Olvera, of esteemed Mexico City restaurant Pujol, brings his pricey Mexican cuisine to discerning Manhattan diners in the buzzy yet romantic Cosme. The menu may seem compact in terms of choices, but each dish is filled with exciting twists and tastes. Duck carnitas, Olvera's version of the Peking favorite, are tender and filling.

3) Espita Mezcaleria - Washington, DC

Espita Mezcaleria is a must for Mexican food and mezcal in Washington, D.C. Savor ceviches, tacos, mole and more, but be sure to leave room for dessert. The kitchen offers a seriously distinctive rice pudding with poached raisins and a guava-caramel sauce.

4) Comal - Berkeley, CA

Berkeley's be-there-or-be-square hotspot, Comal puts a savvy spin on regional Mexican dishes. Each day's menu lets you discover dishes as-yet-unfamiliar in the States, such as a ground-pumpkin seed/ground-grilled eggplant dip known as sikil pak. Meanwhile, the familiar classics (tacos, tamales, quesadillas) sport slyly inspired fillings: rabbit tinga, wood-grilled rock cod and Berkshire pork al pastor.

5) Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia San Antonio, TX

Established in 1941, Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia is the don of Mexican dining in San Antonio. Along with Tex-Mex classics, there are authentic offerings like the Monterrey special of baked cabrito (kid goat) and menudo, a tripe soup that is a legendary hangover cure. On your way out, pick up some pan dulce from the bakery case.

Discover more of the best Mexican restaurants in the U.S.