photo credit: Kirsten Gilliam

The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

The Original Ninfa's On Navigation


Second Ward

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerClassic EstablishmentBig Groups


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The original Ninfa’s On Navigation runs like a well-oiled machine. From the service, to the food, to the atmosphere, everything is a well-choreographed dance. The classic Tex-Mex establishment thrives on being fast-paced, wheeling out plates of sizzling fajitas, preparing queso flameado tableside, and keeping the pitchers of Ninfaritas flowing.

The original Ninfa’s in the Second Ward has been open since 1973, and it’s a cornerstone of Tex-Mex history (there’s a second location in the Galleria). Mama Ninfa, the original owner and restaurant’s namesake, is credited as the inventor of the fajita. While the fact check hasn’t come back, we do know that the steak fajitas here are serious business. It’s customary to see staff carrying enormous trays full of fajitas every few minutes like they’re the only thing on the menu. After a while, the constant sizzle of the skirt fajitas whizzing by your head becomes a part of the ambiance. And if it isn’t fajitas flying by, it’s plates of tacos al carbon overflowing with yellow rice and refried beans. Or maybe it’s fajita burgers piled with peppers and onions ready to be devoured. 

The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

photo credit: Al Torres

The Tex-Mex cantina remains true to its roots, with the original dining room from the ‘70s still being a part of the restaurant today. And with murals of Mama Ninfa and family photos throughout the interior, Ninfa’s feels vibrant, bustling, and alive. No one swings by Ninfa’s for a quiet dinner. On most days, Ninfa’s feels a bit like a party. Because if it isn’t the boisterous laughs of large crews that you hear, it’s the clank of glasses in celebration filling the room with so much activity, you can hardly hear the music playing in the background. 

Ninfa’s has become the catch-all for Houstonians looking for good Tex-Mex, regardless of the occasion. Ninfa’s serves as the default destination for hungry Astros fans, and will often transform into a sea of orange on game days. Devoted regulars looking for a good lunch fill the bar seats as they tear into brisket enchiladas. And birthday parties of 15+ people get rowdy in the back rooms as they pass around bowls of chile con queso. No matter who comes to Ninfa’s or when, they slip into the rhythm of the restaurant and come out satisfied.

Food Rundown

The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

photo credit: Kirsten Gilliam

Steak Fajitas

Did you really go to Ninfa’s if you didn’t have a plate of the steak fajitas? Crispy ends and juicy steak, what more can you ask for?
The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

photo credit: Cooper and Ricca

Tacos Al Carbon

Filled with smoky skirt steak, the tacos al carbon at Ninfa’s are practically spilling over with peppers and onions. Served with rice and your choice of beans, there’s the option to get just one taco, but we have never regretted getting two.
The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

photo credit: Becca Wright

Queso Flameado

While a more traditional Mexican dish, we prefer the queso flameado at Ninfa’s over the chile con queso. Prepared tableside, the gooey dollops of cheese get served in fresh flour tortillas.
The Original Ninfa’s On Navigation image

photo credit: Cooper and Ricca

Fajita Burger

Surprisingly, the fajita burger is one of our favorite dishes to order at Ninfa’s. The chopped fajita steak burger comes doused in so much cheese you might forget that the burger is underneath.


Almost as famous as the fajitas, the Ninfaritas are the house made margaritas that are on almost every table at Ninfa’s. Order a glass or commit to an entire pitcher with your friends.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Tex-Mex Restaurants In Houston

Tex-Mex isn’t just a type of food. It’s a way of life. Here is your guide to the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston.

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Taqueria Del Sol is a family-run Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurant in the Greater East End.

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When it comes to Houston restaurants, think of this guide as your crash course.

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