Houston, a city known for its diverse culinary landscape, offers an array of Mexican dining experiences that cater to every palate. From authentic street food to upscale dining, downtown Houston is a paradise for those who love Mexican cuisine. This guide will take you through some of the best Mexican restaurants in downtown Houston, highlighting their specialties and unique dining experiences.
El Tiempo Cantina
Overview: El Tiempo Cantina is a Houston institution known for its authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. With a lively atmosphere and a family-run feel, it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Specialties: Their fajitas are a must-try, marinated to perfection and served sizzling. Don’t miss their extensive margarita menu, featuring classic and innovative flavors.
Ambiance: The vibrant and colorful decor reflects the rich Mexican culture. The outdoor patio is perfect for enjoying Houston’s balmy evenings.
Guadalajara del Centro
Overview: In the vibrant GreenStreet shopping and entertainment complex, Guadalajara del Centro offers a contemporary take on traditional Mexican cuisine.
Specialties: Their seafood dishes, like the ceviche and the shrimp enchiladas, are particularly noteworthy. The restaurant also boasts an impressive selection of tequilas and margaritas.
Ambiance: The modern, stylish interior is complemented by a lively bar area, making it a great spot for dining and socializing. The outdoor seating area is relaxed, perfect for enjoying Houston’s downtown vibe.
Overview: Located in the heart of downtown, Xochi (pronounced so-chee) celebrates Oaxaca’s rich culinary and cultural traditions. Chef Hugo Ortega’s innovative menu is a foodie’s dream.
Specialties: The restaurant is famous for its mole, a complex and flavorful sauce staple in Oaxacan cuisine. Their tlayudas (Oaxacan pizzas) are also a crowd-pleaser.
Ambiance: The interior is elegant and sophisticated, making it an ideal spot for a special night out.
The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation
Overview: This iconic restaurant is where the famous fajita was born. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation has a storied history and remains a landmark for Tex-Mex cuisine.
Specialties: Apart from their legendary fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos al carbon are highly recommended. Their margaritas, particularly the Ninfarita, are a perfect accompaniment.
Ambiance: The restaurant has a rustic charm, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The outdoor patio offers a great view of the Houston skyline.
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Overview: Hugo’s brings the flavors of Mexico to Houston with an authentic and innovative menu. The restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored Latin-style building.
Specialties: Their brunch buffet is a must-try, offering an array of Mexican delicacies. The chiles en nogada, a stuffed poblano dish, is a testament to the chef’s culinary expertise.
Ambiance: The high ceilings and wrought-iron chandeliers create an elegant and inviting ambiance. The open kitchen adds an element of excitement, allowing diners to watch as their meals are expertly prepared.
Overview: Pappasito’s Cantina is renowned for its festive atmosphere and generous portions. It’s a part of the famous Pappas family of restaurants and upholds its reputation for quality and service.
Specialties: Their mesquite-grilled fajitas and shrimp brochette are standout dishes. The queso flameado, a melted cheese dish served with tortillas, is a crowd favorite.
Ambiance: The decor is lively and colorful, with an energetic vibe perfect for family gatherings or casual dinners with friends.
La Calle Tacos
Overview: La Calle Tacos brings the authentic taste of Mexican street food to downtown Houston. It’s a casual spot with bold flavors and traditional recipes.
Specialties: Their street tacos, with a variety of fillings like al pastor, barbacoa, and carne asada, are a must-try. Also, their tortas and elotes (Mexican street corn) are not to be missed.
Ambiance: The vibrant and colorful decor and the open kitchen create a lively and inviting street-food atmosphere.
Overview: Cuchara, meaning “spoon” in Spanish, is an authentic Mexico City bistro in the heart of Houston. The restaurant is known for its contemporary Mexican cuisine and artistic interior.
Specialties: Their brunch menu is a highlight, offering unique dishes like chilaquiles and huevos divorciados. The mole poblano is another standout dish.
Ambiance: The walls are adorned with colorful murals, creating a lively and artsy environment. The ambiance is both chic and casual, suitable for any occasion.
Overview: Caracol, a coastal Mexican kitchen, is the brainchild of Chef Hugo Ortega. It focuses on the rich seafood traditions of Mexico.
Specialties: The ceviches and seafood dishes, like the wood-grilled oysters and the whole fish preparations, are exceptional. The chocolate clams are a unique and delicious offering.
Ambiance: The restaurant has a sophisticated yet relaxed beachside feel, with an open and airy dining space.
Teotihuacan Mexican Café
Overview: A local favorite, Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe is known for its home-style Mexican cooking and friendly service.
Specialties: Their enchiladas verdes, and the parrilladas (Mexican mixed grills) are highly recommended. The margaritas are also a hit among regulars.
Ambiance: The cafe has a casual and welcoming atmosphere with traditional Mexican decor.
Downtown Houston offers a rich tapestry of Mexican culinary experiences, from street food to fine dining. Each restaurant on this list brings something unique: traditional flavors, innovative dishes, or a vibrant atmosphere. For those looking to combine their culinary adventure with shopping and entertainment, GreenStreet is an ideal destination. With its array of dining options, including the contemporary Mexican flavors of Guadalajara del Centro, GreenStreet provides a perfect blend of gastronomy and leisure. So next time you’re craving Mexican cuisine in downtown Houston, remember that a world of flavors awaits you. Explore GreenStreet and its dining offerings.