While tacos, tortas, tamales and the like may have originated in Mexico, Americans have been more than happy to embrace these tasty south-of-the-border staples as their own.
Once seen as a novelty outside the Southwestern U.S., authentic Mexican cooking can now be found in kitchens from coast to coast.
Take a look at Gayot.com’s 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. to find elevated takes on this bold and eclectic cuisine.
1. Eduardo de San Angel - Fort Lauderdale, FL
The cuisine at Eduardo de San Angel is a marriage of European technical flair with the complexity of flavors from chef-owner Eduardo Pria's native Mexico. Consider the top-to-bottom quality of ingredients that go into these dishes, and the prices will seem like a bargain.
2. Elote Cafe - Sedona, AZ
At Sedona's Elote Cafe, chef Jeff Smedstad serves cuisine inspired by fifteen years of travels through Mexico. Elote's elegant food is enhanced with local wines, cheeses and produce. Favorites like guacamole are found alongside more unique offerings like smoked pork cheeks served with cascabel chile sauce, corn cake and buttermilk cumin drizzle.
3. Hugo’s - Houston, TX
Born in Mexico City, chef Hugo Ortega worked his way through the Houston restaurant scene before opening Hugo's with his restaurateur wife, Tracy Vaught. Housed in a vintage 1925 building, lovingly restored to the original brick walls and stamped-tin ceiling, Hugo's is a dining destination worth seeking out for dishes like cochito con mole Xico (braised pork shoulder, mashed plantains and pasilla-dried plum sauce from Veracruz).
4. Mamacita - San Francisco, CA
Mamacita's interior transports guests from busy Chestnut Street in San Francisco to the courtyard of a Mexican village, with a thatched roof over an adobe house kitchen and a sky-blue ceiling dripping with clusters of gold stars. The menu presents classic dishes made from fresh ingredients with a dash of California flair.
5. Mary & Tito’s Cafe - Albuquerque, NM
A fixture in Albuquerque since 1963, Mary & Tito's Cafe is still going strong after over 50 years of service. The exemplary red chile smothers just about everything here, from omelets to tamales to the fresh-tasting chile rellenos; equally famed are the carne adovada, chicharrones and savory stuffed sopapillas with sides of refried beans done right.
6. 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 baked cabrito (kid goat) and menudo, a tripe soup that is a legendary hangover cure. On your way out, don't fail to pick up an assortment of pan dulce from the beckoning bakery case; these Mexican pastries and candies are among the best in town.
7. Oyamel Cocina - Mexicana Washington, DC
Dressed up in its corner location in DC's Penn Quarter, José Andrés' Oyamel takes you heart and soul across the border down Mexico way. Enjoy ceviche, mole or crispy grasshoppers in a taco.
8. Petty Cash Taqueria - Los Angeles, CA
Petty Cash Taqueria tempts Angelenos with ceviches, tacos and more unusual offerings like pig ear nachos. Stop by during "hora feliz" (aka happy hour) Mon.-Fri. from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. for food and drink specials.
9. Toloache - New York, NY
Casual-chic surroundings nicely complement chef Julian Medina's haute Mexican delights at this New York restaurant. If you're in the mood for a challenge, try the chapulines tacos, which are — of course — Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers.
10. Topolobampo - Chicago, IL
Topolobampo's refined approach is cutting edge and avoids clichés, and the food from owner-chef Rick Bayless is always exciting. The menu changes often, but we've enjoyed slow-cooked lamb carnitas and seared black cod with pozole, avocado and crispy chicharrón (pork rinds).
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