Dallas' Five Best Tex-Mex Restaurants

Categories: Best Of Dallas

Matts Rancho enchilada.jpg
While barbecue is certainly important foodstuff in the Lone Star State, it has roots in many other areas of the country and world. But Tex-Mex has been jacking up G.I. Tracts here for 100 years -- long before the rest of the country bastardized our already-bastardized signature cuisine.

These are City of Ate's five favorite spots for Tex-Mex, including our recent Best of Dallas winner. We're sure you'll agree with all of them, but just in case, make your case in the comments. Get more of Dallas' best with our Best Of app, available for the Droid and the iPhone.


Matt's Rancho Martinez
, Pictured above
East Dallasites know where to find great drinks, chicken fried steak covered in runny cheese, foot-long enchiladas and decent fajitas, and they loved on Matt's enough to land it a Reader's Choice award in this year's Best of Dallas issue. Order the Bob Armstrong Dip, which makes use of taco meat, guacamole, sour cream and queso. It's the Mexican Famous Bowl, only significantly less terrible.

*****
Avila's Interior.jpg
Avila's
Avila's consistent cooking has earned the restaurant three Best of Dallas awards, two for Best Mexican (even though it's Tex-Mex) and one for Best Meatless Enchiladas. The small, swift dining room still turns out some of the best Tex-Mex in Dallas.
*****
faves mias brisket tacos.jpg
Mia's
It might be the hot pink walls that cast an eerie glow down on your plate, or the Pitbull playing on the sound system, but something gives Mia's a kitschy appeal. Whatever it is works, and diners keep coming back for more. Brunch is busy on the weekends, and you'll wait for a seat Friday nights. Watch out for strollers; Mia's is a family favorite.
*****
Herraras Combo.jpg
Herrera's
Herrera's is a greasy affair, and its food strikes me as some of the most gritty, earthy Tex-Mex cooking in Dallas. Cumin and pork flavors abound, and on weekends bowls of menudo leave trails of steam that rival the fajita plate's. And I've yet to find a better sour cream enchilada in Dallas. (Trust me: I've tried.)
*****
Pepe's parrot.jpg
Pepe & Mito's
Homemade tortillas, great Margaritas, tacos and tamales make our recent Best of Dallas winner the place to secure a hangover-preventing carb-and-grease base before a night of drunkenness in Deep Ellum. Hit up the patio when the weather is warmer and take it easy on the chips and salsa. You'll need room for the sopapillas.

Location Info

Mia's Tex-Mex

4322 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Avila's Mexican Restaurant

4714 Maple ave, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Matt's Rancho Martinez

1904 Skillman St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Herrera's Mexican Restaurant - CLOSED

4024 Maple Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe

2911 Elm St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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59 comments
J C Nowlin
J C Nowlin

I don't know how long ago this article appeared but I can tell you this  the BEST restaurant in Dallas isn't even mentioned.  If you want to go to a place with the best food the most wonderful staff ands the most interesting items go there.  I have been going or rather following this place from every move for over 50 years.  It started out in Oak Cliff on Ft Worth Ave as a small mom and pop place and it is still run by the grandson and his sons are taking their places in line.  I love it and will hope to be returning every time I come home to Dallas for the next 50 years...try the TUPINAMBA on Inwood Rd. just south of LBJ and north of Walnut Hill Lane.

Titleman
Titleman

Escondidos on Butler is the best kept secret for tex-mex.

MailIamZardozian
MailIamZardozian

Lots of places here make a decent enchilada but there is not one/not one place in the entire metroplex that can make a real, honest to god, San Antonio style puffy taco.  The things they pass off here as puffy tacos (some kind of hollowed out flying saucer thing or those crappy flat things at the allegedly good Desparados) are horrible. 

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Hard to really disagree with the list, but what I think it highlights is the pathetic state of Tex Mex in Dallas.  Honestly, Matt's is probably both one of the best places in Dallas and terrible at the same time.  I'm pretty sure that every other major city in Texas (possible exception of Ft. Worth) just kicks our Tex Mex ass.

The Stig
The Stig

Those cheap Jack in the Box tacos are a guilty pleasure shared by many, especially at 3-4 AM.

Emilysometimes
Emilysometimes

Casa Galaviz in Denton. Breakfast tacos. One dollar. Delish.  Oooh, and the place on South Locust, next door the gravestone dealer- wonderful tortas.

Tex Mex Slut
Tex Mex Slut

Tipicos off of Northwest Hwy by Bachman Lake.Greatness.

MisGnomer
MisGnomer

sorry but on 3 trips to Avila's I've found it to be incredibly average and bland. sub it for Tejano's and you're looking pretty good.

i enjoy Matt's, I guess there's some sort of backlash going on with it but there are some very good dishes.

uptowndweller
uptowndweller

casa milagro in richardson is as good or better than anything else in the DFW area

Meltedcheeeese
Meltedcheeeese

Someone mentioned Casa Navarro...I 2nd that. VERRRRRRRY good Tex Mex and every order gets a free bowl of beans as an app. 

Haveagoodshow
Haveagoodshow

i havent been high on matts for a decade or so.  as for the rest, i guess i can agree.  a couple of others that werent mentioned are Bandito's, Mariano's and Tejano in the OC.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Wait a minute.

Jack In The Box - TACOS

Tsmlmr
Tsmlmr

You are missing out if you haven't stopped by Casa Navarro at Marsh and Forest. I now live in PA and can't visit Dallas without making a run to C.N.

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

The Great Tom Landry walked past me out of Mia's one time. Great moment. Wonderful man. It was a beautiful day. Good times... 

roadrunner
roadrunner

Except for Mia's this list is a jokeMatt's Rancho Martinez is to Tex-Mex what Olive Garden is to Italian.

JR
JR

Herrera's is good & at Matt's the steak fajitas I like, but my favorite small chain Tex-Mex is still El Fenix! They have the best beans hands down!

Neil Lemons
Neil Lemons

Pepe N' Mitos wine with their Wine wine chipotle enchiladas and tortilla chips. Yum!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Where's Taco Cabana?!?

The chick in the commerical is pretty hot...

Annie
Annie

El Ranchito & Ojeda's - my two favorites.

ericthegardener
ericthegardener

I like Avila's, Herrera's & Mia's but my favorite Tex-Mex is Gonzalez on Jefferson not far from the Texas Theatre. Best tortillas in town. They're almost as thick as pancakes!

cp
cp

Scott, have you eaten at all of these or is this just a compilation of the Tex Mex places that pop up the most in the DO's "Best Of"? 

Keith Bilbrey
Keith Bilbrey

Where's Luna's?  Since a lot of these tex-mex places use their chips it would stand to reason that they deserve a nod. If you go in be sure an try the Tacos Dorados. Oh yeah...ya'll even gave them glowing reviews. (http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

i know tex mex
i know tex mex

This list is a Joke. Mia's is the only respectable one here. Matt's I never understood. It's all hype. Never meet a person that said they like it anymore than say On the Boarder. Herrera's is good but inconsistent, Like most real tex mex joint usually are. Where is Manny's? essentially the same as Mia's. Casa Milagro in Richardson deserves a nod. These bozos stick to what they know. Love you mean it!

Nic Rodriguez
Nic Rodriguez

I like Herrera's, Mia's, and Avila's. I also like Tipico's...if you can find a place to park.

Preraphazon
Preraphazon

Herrera's is definitely #1, but you can't lump all Herrera's together.  The one on Maple, the original chef, is still the best.  There are three different owner/operators for different locations, and some are better than others.  The new location on Fitzhugh isn't that great.  The chili con carne on the enchiladas is bland and strange.  Both Oak Cliff and the Denton Dr. location are pretty good.  But the real deal is Maple, now in its third location in a one-block diameter, just north of Oak Lawn Ave.

I have never understood how Matt's makes any list.  I think they're boring and awful.  I gave them every chance. I just don't like their food.  

Mia's is too commercial.  But if you're going for chain TexMex, Abuelo's is really astonishingly good, especially the shredded beef enchiladas with queso sauce, and their simple but delicious salsa and chips and amazing chocolate flan.

A sleeper is Los Rancheros in Casa View, on Gus Thomasson.  Real Tex-Mex, somewhat similar to Herrera's.  Another great find is Las Ranitas near Deep ellum on Main/Columbia St. and on Jefferson in Oak Cliff.  Las Ranitas is cheap, somewhat imaginative, and good.  I recommend the Don Politas plate, which includes a guacamole tostada, an enchilada with tiny pieces of beefsteak alongside a cheese enchilada, a rich delicious enchilada red sauce, beans and rice, all for about $7.  The beans and flour tortillas are warm and comforting, similar to Herrera's.

Cliffie
Cliffie

Having lived both in Dallas and San Antonio, I was surprised at how different the food could be as close as these cities are to one another, and all the food claiming to be Tex-Mex.  And you get REALLY strange looks asking for some of your favorites in New Mexico.  But they all have their strengths and weaknesses, so just go for the best.  Our personal favorite in Dallas is Tejano's on Davis in Oak Cliff.  Good food and good prices.

Hubertray1
Hubertray1

I was about to say the same thing about Dallas. Maybe if we had bottle service at our restaurants you would give us some credit!

cp
cp

El Fenix is so 1950 with their Green Goddess dressing on top of the greens for your tacos. But I do love their chips and salsa. 

Beda
Beda

i've been waiting for someone to disparage El Fenix, but their cheese enchilada plate is my favorite.  and they  have good chips and hot sauce.

cp
cp

And they have $1.00 margaritas happy hour and half off nachos. 

Brian
Brian

Ojeda's is good just make sure you aren't int hte enormous center room (a bit cold and noisy). mmmm 

cp
cp

Those are right up there with Pancho's. 

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

I'm preparing a scan of my cholesterol count. I didn't eat at every Tex-Mex place in Dallas. I'm too new, and I can't. But I did eat at all of these, and a few that didn't make my final cut.

cp
cp

Agreed. 

OldManJam
OldManJam

On the Boarder? That sounds like porn-Mex

Robert Kelly
Robert Kelly

Agree on Maple, was excited to have the one close to me on Fitzhugh.  Tried it twice, but now I'll have to head back to Maple.  That chili con carne on the enchiladas is TERRIBLE, and the sauce is not  hot  at all...

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

Last time I drove by Herrera's in Oak Cliff, it was closed or looked closed.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

you are very right, the best herreras is maple for sure. 

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

agreed on Los Rancheros, love their juevos y papas. I do like the Chile Rilleno at Matts though. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Right behind you.  I would discourse on their menu but all I get is the cheese enchilada plate.  Not gourmet, maybe not the best, but my go to favorite, especially on Wednesdays.

Guest
Guest

You have lots of references to cholesterol and health. Are you gonna take a page from Houston and do something about it on the blog, go veg for a spell or just hang it up and resign yourself to fatassery.

matt
matt

still open and i actually prefer the sour cream enchies there over the maple location, but both are indeed the best int own.

Canker
Canker

Just saying the 5 best when you admit to have not been to so many is ludicrous. But you knew that.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

'twas a joke CP. Next week City of Ate is all tofu.

I realize these list posts can be aggravating when penned by a newcomer and read by lifelong Dallas locals. I'm quite certain the contents of each list provides a guide to some of the best options in Dallas. The comments are open on each post, however, and we openly invite you add your own favorites into the fold. Matt's Rancho Martinez was in fact a reader's pick.

cp
cp

Uh, the DO used to have a vegetarian writer on this very blog. 

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

Writing about veg in Dallas would be like writing about temperance and prudent behavior in Vegas. I'll skip a meal every now and then, resolve to never finish a plate, and then hope for the best. Maybe top five salads next week.

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