The 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Philly
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we decided to celebrate by paying homage to one of the most popular foods in the country, Mexican food. Below is our list of The 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Philly As you will see we skipped over commercialized/Americanized spots and went for the most authentic choices in the city where you might have to brush up on your Spanish with Rosetta Stone. This list is comprised of places that serve more than just small bites, so you will not find taco trucks or corner hipster joints either. These restaurants serve a wide variety of Mexican dishes for those looking to venture outside of just “trendy” tacos & burritos. So if you want real authentic Mexican food then you will love these places. Check them out! (Those looking for Caribbean Latino dishes check out our Top 10 Latino Restaurants.)
Making our list of the best Mexican restaurants in Philly is this cozy Mexican joint is located on the Northern end of Northern Liberties section of town and boasts some of the best Mexican dishes. The menu offers an assortment of platters such as Chuletas tentacia(pork chops), Tampiquena (marinated flank steak), and Mole Pablano (chicken breast in special sauce). Las Cazuelas is BYOB and for $7 they will turn your bottle of tequila into a pitcher of awesome margarita. This is a perfect date spot.
If you want a cool, casual, lively Mexican joint then you have to head over to the Fairmount section of the city and check out this place. La Calaca Feliz features colorful Mexican murals of skeletons, a outdoor courtyard, and a happening vibe as this place is usually packed. If you are heading here on a Friday or Saturday night we recommend you make reservations to be safe. The Dinner entrees are hardy and the prices are on the moderate side but the experience is well worth it. Great place for a date or to hang with friends.
When it comes to Mexican food Tequilas is the grand daddy of them all. Established in 1986 when Philadelphians only knew “Tex-Mex,” owner David Suro was a pioneer in the city. Tequilas offers a wide variety of dishes including goat meat, wild boar on occasion, and variety of traditional Mexican food. For cocktail lovers this place is more of a mixologist lab than bar, serving literally a book of some of the best cocktails in town. David Suro also features his own Tequila Siembra Azul in many of his cocktails. This place is more upscale than your traditional Mexican eateries so the prices are a little higher but you won’t regret spending a dime. Perfect for dates, after work gatherings, or business meetings.
The owner of this joint Carlos Molina was the executive chef at Tequilas Restaurant, so you know authenticity and quality are present here. It makes our list of the best restaurants in Philly due to its fresh ingredients and a menu that boasts authentic platters from the Mexico City and Yucatan region of Mexico, this place is sure to please. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, here you will find a dizzying array of options. If you love cocktails, Los Bugambilias serves up awesome drinks to compliment your food. With a clean and cozy atmosphere, this is a great date spot or a place to catch up with friends or colleagues or even a business lunch.
Switching gears from fine dining to ultra casual, this South Philly hole in the wall boasts authentic Mexican with very hardy servings. Located in South Philly, El Jarocho is a quaint BYOB spot that is very popular among locals so seating is very limited. As a fair warning, you might have a waiting time. Menu options include chicken and steak platters that can feed two. Perfect spot for a very casual date or meet up with friends.
Keeping with the tradition of BYOB, Que Chula es Puebla is a Kensington hotspot for Mexican dishes. The moment you step in you know you’re in a family owned and operated business which is exactly what we look for when we were making our list of the best Mexican restaurants in Philly. It’s a very clean and charming spot that is both affordable and really authentic. You almost feel like you’re ordering from a grandmother’s kitchen. I’ve even heard folks from California talk about how authentic the dishes are. Great place for a casual date, meeting with friends, or a solo trip.
Traveling further down 2nd St. you will run into a festive and uniquely decorated Mexican joint, Lucha Cartel. One of the first things that grabs you is the awesome decor. Paintings of religious figures and saints such as Jesus’ Last Supper can be seen here, but the twist is that every face is covered in a Lucha Libre mask (Mexican wrestling). This Old City spot is spacious, lively, and features a great variety of menu items including stuffed chicken breast, spicy shrimp, and chochinita pibil (slow cooked pork). This is a perfect spot to eat with friends, a date, or after work socializing.
Heading back up to Kensington, you’ll find another great BYOB, Taco Riendo. Located along busy 5th St., this place serves a gamut of Mexican dishes including large dinner plates of steak, chicken, and shrimp. The decor is rustic and reminiscent of a small Mexican joint out west in a desert somewhere. This cozy spot even offers outdoor seating on warm days. Perfect place for a cozy date, eat with friends, or to enjoy food solo.
I seldom use the term, but this place is definitely charming. Located in the Headhouse District, Xochitl, looks more like a colonial bar than a Mexican spot. Inside you will be drawn in my the warm and relaxing vibe. Although pretty popular this place feels like a hidden gem with each visit. Here you can build your own guacamole to go along with your dinner as well as fantastic cocktails. This place although quaint is very elegant and on the pricy side. However, the quality and presentation, and atmosphere here is outstanding. Perfect place for a date, business luches/dinner, or to meet with friends.
Located in South Philly, Taueria La Veracruzana is a comfort Mexican spot that churns out authentic dishes from morning until night. Here you can grab traditional Mexican breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The food selection is pretty extensive here so the hardest part will probably be deciding on what you want. However, you really can’t go wrong here as this places serves up some of the best authentic Mexican in town all day long. This is a hole in the wall spot so it’s a great place to meet with a small group of friends or a casual date.