After some intense debate and a whole lot of tacos — here are nine of the best Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in Charlotte.
Of note: These restaurants are in no particular order.
Tamales la Pasadita
Tucked away on The Plaza is some of Charlotte’s best Mexican food — no frills, just really good food. They serve everything from tortas to desayunos (breakfast dishes) to tostadas, in addition to tamales and tacos.
Order: Tamales, of course, and their tacos are some of the best in the city. We tried de pollo en salsa rosa (chicken with slits) and de picadillo de res (beef chop) tamales, plus pollo (chicken), carnitas (pork) and barbacoa pastor (beef) and topped with plenty of salsa verde, salsa and sour cream.
Pro tip: Go easy on the red sauce if you aren’t a fan of heat. My lips were on fire by the end of the meal, but in a good way.
Price: Tamales and tacos are $3 each.
Location: 3112 The Plaza, next to Mattie’s Diner.
Hours: Open daily from 8am-9pm.
Of note: The online menu is different from what you can order at the restaurant. Also, they operate under the LLC Taqueria Gaviota Latina LLC, which is what you’ll see on your receipt and their website.
Tacos el Regio
Pork spins vertically on a spit behind the counter. A Charlotte FC scarf hangs on the wall to your left as you walk in, over a row of framed soccer jerseys, and there’s soccer on the TV as you head into the main dining room. The restaurant is an ode to Monterrey, Mexico, and it sits in a shopping center near Albemarle Road Park.
Order: Tacos, of course. We tried taco de trompo (marinated pork on a corn tortilla with pineapple and onion), taco de chicharrón (pork skins with salsa verde on a corn tortilla). We also tried the gringa (marinated pork and melted cheese on a large flour tortilla), which is one of their most popular items. Wash it all down with a guava agua fresca (fruit water).
- My thought bubble: We tasted a lot of food in the name of research, and the gringa was my favorite.
Price: Agua fresca $1.50; taco de trompo $2.25; tacos de chicharrón $2.75; gringa $7.99
Location: 8829 E W.T. Harris Blvd.
Hours: Thursday and Sunday 11am-10:30pm; Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm.
Taquería los Altos
Taquería los Altos is another east Charlotte gem.
Order: Chips and salsa, but not just any chips and salsa — salsa de molcajete. Be careful. It has a kick. Go for the fresh guacamole and a few tacos, like al pastor (marinated pork), asada (steak) and pollo (chicken). Definitely try quesabirria. Birria is served with three tacos, which include cheese, cilantro, onions and beef.
- We also tried the chimichanga (soft or fried flour tortillas) with chicken or beef, topped with cheese and lettuce and served with rice and beans.
- The enchiladas supreme includes four enchiladas (your choice of meat) and topped with lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.
Our thought bubble: Axios’ Danielle Chemtob swears by the birria. This is a good place to start if you’ve never had it.
- Birria is a Mexican dish from Jalisco. The traditional soup or stew includes chili pepper-based goat meat adobo, garlic, cumin, bay leaves and thyme. It’s cooked at a low heat.
Price: Salsa de molcajete $6.95; fresh guacamole $5.95 small/$8.99 large; tacos start at $2.50 each; chimichanga $9.95; enchiladas supreme $9.99; quesabirria $13.99
Location: 8625 Monroe Road Suite D
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11am-10pm; Thursday 11am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-10pm
This is a Plaza Midwood staple. The restaurant group’s brands include Sabor Latin Street Grill and La Caseta.
Order: Try the enchilada verde — three tortillas filled with chicken covered with a green salsa, queso fresco, onion, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
Price: Tacos are $3.49 each; enchilada verde $11.95; chimichanga a la carte $10.49/$12.95 as a plate.
Location: 2917 A Central Ave.
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30am-10pm, Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-9pm.
Paco’s Tacos and Tequila
The SouthPark favorite is a solid Tex-Mex option with several tequila options. It’s part of the FS Food Group, which also owns Mama Ricotta’s, Midwood Smokehouse and YAFO.
Order: Outlaw steak fajita – a giant portion of wood-grilled marinated skirt steak cooked to order on a wood-burning grill ($32). Fajitas are served with onions, green peppers, charro beans, lettuce, red rice, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeños, shredded cheese, Mexican butter and warm homemade flour tortillas.
Price: Lunch enchiladas and quesadillas start at $10; diner chimichanga $18; dinner taco plates are $19 for two tacos and $23 for three tacos; dinner enchiladas start at $15.
Axios tip: If you’re a queso lover, give their volcano queso a shot. It has a blend of cheeses melted with pineapple, jalapeño bacon, onions and poblano peppers ($13).
Location: 6401 Morrison Boulevard, Suite 8A
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm
Wynee Bermudez of @wyneesworld posted Maria’s quesabirria on TikTok in June 2020, and it quickly generated over one million views.
Order: Obviously the quesabirria, and don’t forget to dip it in the beef broth. Other go-to dishes include the enchiladas rancheras (corn tortilla rolled & baked with chicken, beef, or cheese, topped with mole sauce and cheese, served with rice or beans) and chilaquiles mexicanas (two eggs and pieces of corn tortilla cooked with shredded chicken and prepared in their special sauce & topped with cheese).
Bonus: Maria’s also has a vegan menu.
Price: Quesabirria $5.50 each; enchiladas rancheras $13.70; chilaquiles mexicanas $10.50.
Location: 5234 South Blvd., near the South Boulevard and Tyvola Road intersection.
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-10pm
Axios’ Ted Williams swears by this Atlanta-based Tex-Mex restaurant from chef Ford Fry.
Appetizer: Skip the guacamole and go with the chile con queso, which is a yellow American cheese sauce with poblano, onion, jalapeño and fire roasted tomato salsa ($9).
Price: Tacos start at $18. Guacamole is $13.
Location: 101 West Worthington Ave., Suite 100 in the Design Center in South End, and in Strawberry Hill, 4223 Providence Road Suite D.
Hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 11am-2:30pm; Dinner Monday-Thursday 5-10pm, Friday 5-11pm, Saturday. They serve brunch on Saturday-Sunday from 10am-3pm, then they’re open for dinner Saturday 3-11pm and Sunday 3-10pm.
Anita’s Mexican Grill
This beloved authentic Mexican joint shares a parking lot with a BP gas station.
Order: Speedy Gonzalez combo — taco, enchilada, rice, beans, chips and salsa. Other popular Anita’s orders include their #8 burrito, chicken or beef quesadilla and rice; and the #13 taco salad with chicken or beef. All combos are served with chips and salsa, which is just spicy enough.
How it works: The menu hangs behind the counter with prices written on paper and taped next to the dish. Anita’s offers 21 different combos. All dishes are served inside styrofoam. If you’re dining in, it’s styrofoam with the top cut off.
Price: Everything is under $10. The Speedy Gonzalez combo is $5.25. Tacos start at $1.95 each.
Location: 2904 Yorkmont Road
Hours: Monday- Friday: 11am- 3:30pm; Saturday: 11am-3pm.
Que Fresa, a taqueria and bar by the same owners as Que Onda, opened in Wesley Heights last summer. The vibrant taco spot known for its “preppy tacos,” also offers sharables, tortas, desserts and margs (both by the glass or in a pitcher).
Order: The Bang Bang Camarones for an appetizer ($11.95) and at least a few of their 15 speciality tacos.
- If you want something sweet, opt for the Cuatro Leches — it’s a four-milk sponge cake with strawberry, dulce de leche and whipped cream ($6.95).
Price: An order of chips and guac is $5,95. Tacos start at $4.50. Bowls and burritos range from about $9-$16. On Fridays, you can get a large house margarita for $6.
Location: 1500 W Morehead St A.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday 11am-9pm.
Of note: Que Fresa will open a second location in Uptown in the new Duke Energy Plaza in fall 2023.
- Que Onda in Plaza Midwood opened last month at 1518 Central Ave.
Want more international food? Check out our Indian, Korean or Chinese food guides next.
Plus tacos are taking over South End.
Editor’s note: This story was first published in 2018 and was last updated in May 2023.