The Best Mexican Restaurants In Austin15 restaurants that remind us how incredible Mexican food is in this city.
Austin is home to a ton of great Mexican restaurants. We have a sneaking suspicion that it’s half the reason our friends and family come to visit. For this guide, we steered away from taco trucks and Tex-Mex spots (both of which are too important not to have their own guides) and focused exclusively on sit-down Mexican restaurants, from buzzy spots where you can dress up, to old-school Austin institutions, to casual neighborhood joints that are there for you every night of the week. And if you just want to know where to get the best tacos or the best birria in town, we’ve got guides for those, too. These are the best Mexican restaurants in Austin.
If Austin had a fine dining Hall of Fame, Fonda San Miguel would inevitably be in it. It harkens back to a time when a gallon of gas cost $0.50 and Microsoft was just starting out (1975, if you don’t feel like Googling). But it takes more than time alone to become a household name. Fonda San Miguel has consistently been putting out fine dining takes on classics from Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, and Yucatan, all in a beautiful building that looks more like the backdrop for some engagement photos than a restaurant just a stone’s throw away from a CVS in Allandale. Plates here are large, rich, and decadent—order some tenderloin carne asada and shredded duck enchiladas with poblano-spinach sauce, then grab a couple of refreshing watermelon margaritas to balance it all out.
When the weather is nice, there are very few better places to be than on La Condesa’s cozy sidewalk patio with a margarita in hand, overlooking a very walkable section of Downtown. Tacos aren’t even an item on the menu here—though just about every large-format entree you order will come with a short stack of petite, pliable, and incredibly tasty corn tortillas that showcase La Condesa’s biggest strength: masa. You’ll also find tortas, tamales, tlacoyos, and huaraches on the menu here. Plates here are meant to be shared, including carne asada-marinated steaks, sliced and spread over a bed of rich, punchy mole, served with a pile of—you guessed it—fresh corn tortillas.
In a past life, El Borrego De Oro was probably a Chinese restaurant, as evidenced by the turquoise, pagoda-shaped sign on South Congress displaying the name. But you’d never know stepping inside. It feels lived in and cozy—the type of place that has its regulars who’ve been coming in every weekend for menudo for decades. There’s a big sheep on the sign out front, and that should probably be an indicator of what you want to order here. We like the birria soup, packed full of tender, stewed lamb meat in a rich and savory consomé, just ready to be packed into some housemade corn tortillas.
If you’ve heard only one thing about the modern Mexican restaurant Suerte, it probably has something to do with suadero tacos. They come four to an order, requiring a three-day process that involves slow-confited brisket and something called “black magic oil,” and should definitely be a part of your order. But this trendy East Side spot is more than just brisket and black magic. Here you’ll also find tender smoked goat barbacoa, crispy tlayudos topped with white bean aligot, and house-made chocotacos that will make you feel like a kid again. You’re not really here for a casual Tuesday night torta—you’re here for brunches to plan your month around and celebratory dinners in a beautiful, buzzy space in East Austin.
Given its location on a bar-heavy section of East Sixth Street—and a clientele made up largely of weekend boozy brunchers and bar-hopping pregamers—the food at Licha’s is always better than it needs to be. House-made huaraches, tlacoyos, tacos, and sopecitos all appear on the menu, topped with everything from nopales to tuétano (and lots in between). And while there is a dark and cozy dining room here, the large patio is where you want to be, overlooking a busy stretch of East 6th Street with a margarita in hand.
The carnitas at Carnitas El Guero are exceptional, the kind you order extra because you want leftovers to last for days. Rich, tender, and perfectly fatty without being greasy, the carnitas are so good that the people behind it are in the process of building a mini empire of stands and restaurants all over Texas. Our favorite location is the one on North Lamar, with a full kitchen, serving quesadillas, gorditas, tortas and an unforgettable spicy pozole. You can also get cantaritos, the tequila cocktail originally from Jalisco, served in a clay pot rimmed with chile powder.
If the name Veracruz sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s become synonymous with migas and some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin. That same team has a buzzy all-day spot in Mueller, where you can still get breakfast tacos if you want, or you can order off a large menu of dishes inspired by the Mexican state it’s named after, all set in a large dining room with a beautiful patio. There’s also a full bar here, so you can grab a signature blue, frozen margarita to really round out the views of Mueller Lake at sunset.
Show up to La Fruta Feliz on a Saturday afternoon and you might think you just walked into a party, instead of a nondescript strip mall restaurant on Manor Road in East Austin. Inside you’ll find everything from karaoke and live music, to TVs playing Shrek dubbed in Spanish. It’s lively and fun, but most importantly, it’s home to excellent food. Grab some tacos or tortas if you’re here for a quick lunch, or sit down with a plate of rich and gamey goat barbacoa. Then pair it all with something off the massive list of refreshing signature juices and aguas frescas.
If there are two things every Austinite can unite behind, it’s tacos and natural wine. It’s part of what makes Nixta in East Austin such a popular destination. The food here treads a line between the super-traditional (they make their own masa) and the unconventional (you don’t see many taquerias where duck confit stands in for carnitas). But even when things start to veer into less-familiar territory, it’s the traditional methods of preparation and distinctly Mexican flavors that make this spot worth coming back to. Well, that and the colorful patio the whole restaurant is set on.
Dining at Cocina De Consuelo feels about as close to a home-cooked meal as any we’ve found in Austin. And considering it’s a small, family-run business set in a renovated house in Rosedale, that’s not too far off. Cocina De Consuelo is open for most of the day, but breakfast is what we’re here for—featuring a range of classic, morning-friendly Mexican comfort dishes, like machacado and eggs, barbacoa, and huevos rancheros—all served with a side of fluffy, house-made flour tortillas (you can also get corn or whole wheat). Just make sure to show up early, because we’re definitely not the only ones showing up for breakfast.
Sure, it kind of looks like a giant evil Apple store tucked between a bunch of industrial brick buildings Downtown, but it’s difficult not to leave Comedor with a newfound appreciation for some inventive takes on classic Mexican flavors. This is a place that very much falls into the world of shared plates—ranging from tiny apps to large-format dishes. Prepare to order a few for each person in your party, and leave spending a little more than you probably expected. But it’s also the type of place you can save for a special occasion, order some roasted bone marrow tacos, then take a shot of mezcal via bone luge and celebrate the whole night.
Taquero Mucho describes itself as “a cute pink taqueria in the heart of Austin Texas,” and as much as we tried, we couldn’t come up with a better description. This is a place that just feels fun and lively, and doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. But despite all that, the food coming out of this Downtown taqueria is just as good as any neighborhood spot. It just also happens to look like a Glossier flagship store with just a little more neon.
Equal parts panaderia and taqueria, Mi Tradición is a one-stop-shop for tacos, conchas, and everything in between. The tlacoyos here are excellent—stuffed with beans and epazote, and topped with nopales, crema, and cotija—and we usually like to pepper in some huaraches, picaditas, and whatever else arrives on the blue corn masa. But the gringa pastor served on housemade flour tortillas might be our favorite thing here, packed full of tender pork, sweet pineapple, and a bit of salty cheese for a perfectly balanced bite every time. On the way out, grab a box full of pastries from the bakery side of the shop to get you through the rest of the week.
Curra’s biggest claim to fame is their invention of the avocado margarita—a cocktail that somehow makes us feel like what we’re drinking is at least a little bit healthy—but there’s also a pretty large menu of more classic drinks that contain surprisingly few avocados. You’ll find a few Tex-Mex leaning dishes on the menu here, but it’s the more classic Mexican flavors we’re coming back for, including trompo-cooked al pastor enchiladas, cochinita pibil, or steak tacos dusted in Oaxacan coffee grounds.
El Naranjo serves traditional Oaxacan food out of a bright, modern, and sometimes loud space at the bottom of a newish apartment building on South Lamar. The menu constantly changes, but you can count on certain dishes to always be there, like the ceviche de la semana, queso Oaxaca fundido, and an enormous tlayuda Oaxaqueña, served with a fiery red salsa. The spot is probably most known for the expertly seared duck breast, served with a deep, rich, nutty mole negro—plated in a minimalist style, simply with rice.