Tex-Mex is huge in Houston, and for a good reason. Since the late 1800s, it has been home to the delicious flavors of fajitas, nachos, and chili con queso, all of which were invented there.
Despite being widely popular, Tex-Mex wasn’t always regarded as a treasure in the culinary world. However, nowadays, it has become popular, and chances are you don’t have to go far away from where you are in Houston. But what is Tex-Mex?
What is a Tex-Mex?
The term “Tex-Mex” (a combination of the words “Texan” and “Mexican”) refers to American cuisine that originated with the Tejano population of Texas. Since then, the cuisine has spread to all corners of the United States.
Queso and chile peppers, which are components of Tex-Mex, are essential to the history of American cuisine. It is made with processed and fresh ingredients, including cumin, chili peppers, sour cream, beef, and cheese.
Whether as a first-timer or a Tex-Mex lover, the restaurants below will not disappoint. Read on to find the best Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston.
1. Tacos A Go-Go
Location: 3704 Main St, Houston, TX 77002
Phone: +1 713-807-8226
Tacos a Go Go in Midtown should be your first choice if you want a casual restaurant to enjoy Tex-Mex on a budget. The trendy eatery excels at serving food in tortillas, from breakfast tacos to delicious brunch and late-night fare.
Regulars enjoy the variety of tacos offered on the menu, with lamb barbacoa and al pastor receiving the highest praise. To sample all of their in-house sauces, be sure to visit the salsa bar.
2. Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen
Location: 12348 Gulf Fwy, Houston, TX 77034
Phone: +1 713-910-5565
With 10 Gringo’s locations in the Houston area, there is a location for everyone from Spring to Texas City. It started in 1993 and was originally located in Pearland.
Gringo’s not only serves up mouthwatering Tex-Mex, but it also actively participates in the neighborhood by sponsoring fundraising events and giving generously to local charities, schools, and organizations.
3. El Tiempo Cantina
Location: 322 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006-3130, USA
Phone: +1 713-807-8101
There are a lot of El Tiempos all across Houston, and with good reason. They are crowded with couples, families, and large weekend groups.
To pass the time while you wait for a table, make a reservation or order a margarita from the bar. Upon taking a seat, begin with the queso. The handcrafted, thick-cut chips are delicious.
El Tiempo’s signature dish is steak fajitas. However, you can wager on the Vegas Combo Plate if you’re still unsure. It includes cheese enchiladas, crunchy beef tacos, and sizzling beef fajitas.
Location: Various locations
Phone: +1 713-975-9699
Your Tex-Mex demands are met by Chacho’s around-the-clock. Nothing could be more informal than these dine-in or drive-through restaurants, famous for their hearty nachos and potent margaritas. In addition, the mango salsa served at Chacho’s salsa bar is a sight to behold.
There aren’t many families having dinner together around here. So instead, anticipate individuals or couples who have had a few beers and are looking for late-night food, ideally cheese-covered carbs.
Location: 22390 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77070, United States
Phone: +1 281-376-4077
There is no justification for why you haven’t tasted one of Houston’s best Tex-Mex restaurants since there are 24 Los Cucos locations around Texas.
Sergio and Manual Cabrera, two brothers, founded Los Cucos after moving to Houston, Texas, in search of the “American Dream.”
Since its doors opened in 1991, Los Cucos has continued offering high-quality, freshly prepared dishes, including table-side fresh guacamole, beef, and chicken fajitas with BBQ ribs.
6. Teotihuacan Mexican Café
Location: Various locations
Phone: (713) 426-4420
Visits to this hidden gem are worthwhile. Teotihuacan has mastered every type of meat it provides and even gives mixed dishes to anyone unsure.
Consider the La Maria, with one beef taco al carbon and one chicken fajita enchilada Verde, or the show-stopper El Danny, with one chicken and cheese flauta, one chicken fajita taco, and pork carnitas.
The restaurant has taken the Texan twist a step further by presenting BBQ beef short ribs that may be ordered with jumbo grilled shrimp and beef fajitas or with sautéed onions, rice, and charro beans.
7. Ninfa’s on Navigation
Location: 2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003
Phone: +1 713-228-1175
The original Ninfa’s deserves a regular place in your nightlife routine. In 1973, “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo opened the restaurant, grilling skirt steak for “tacos al carbon,” or fajitas as we now know them.
For a good reason, the Rio Grande Valley native is primarily to be thanked for making fajitas popular. But, unfortunately, hers is the standard, just-can’t-get-enough kind. So instead, you may enjoy the patio’s breeze while seeing the vibrant Navigation Boulevard.
8. Lupe Tortilla
Location: 9313 Katy Fwy (at Echo Ln), Houston, TX
Phone: +1 713-522-4420
Lupe has the best fresh, soft tortillas around, and some could even say gigantic ones. The flour tortillas are perfectly browned and manage to be both thin and chewy at the same time. Although slightly fluffier than the corn alternative, they are still excellent.
Along with its trademark, Steak Lupe, Lupe is well-known for its tortillas. The large piece of sizzling beef is covered in pico and melted cheese when served.
9. Chuy’s Tex-Mex
Location: 2706 Westheimer Rd (at Kirby Dr), Houston, TX
Chuy’s is an Austin, Texas, institution that has now gained national recognition. The founders envisioned a vibrant and trendy Tex-Mex restaurant with real, fresh food and a welcoming atmosphere.
Instead, despite being a major franchise, everything is always fresh and never frozen.
10. Pappasito’s Cantina
Location: 1600 Lamar St Hilton Americas Hotel, Houston, TX 77010
Phone: +1 770-541-6100
Everyone is aware of Pappasito’s superiority. However, you can’t be living your greatest life if you’ve never had the chance to try their delicious enchiladas or their bacon-wrapped shrimp cooked over mesquite.
Watching their tortillas cook in front of your eyes at Pappasito’s is the best part of the restaurant. The restaurant creates them by hand and brings them to your table every hour. Does life get any better than that?
If you are craving Tex-Mex, Houston will have a place for you, no matter your location. The cuisine has had a special role in the city’s culinary landscape for more than a century, making it one of the first things people look for when they arrive.
We hope this guide has been enlightening, and we guarantee you will enjoy Tex-Mex from any of the restaurants above.
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