The cooks in Taco Shop’s kitchen stuff burritos, tacos, and tortas with traditional Mexican meats ranging from carne asada and carnitas to barbacoa and al pastor. They also pile these seasoned proteins onto towering platters of nachos and hide them inside gooey quesadillas. In the dining room, tangerine-colored walls brighten up the space and make guests feel like tiny pieces of pulp.
The flavors of Mexico City get an inventive reboot at Cantina Laredo, which has specialized in modern Mexican cuisine since 1984. Over the decades, Catina Laredo locations have spread to numerous states, countries, and at least two planes of reality. Classic dishes fill the menu, including guacamole prepared tableside and hand-rolled enchiladas stuffed with everything from Angus beef to avocado and artichokes. At the same time, the chefs elevate and refine traditional flavors by creating chicken fajitas with bacon, mushrooms, and chipotle-wine sauce and filling tortas with slow-roasted pork, apricot spread, goat cheese, and fried egg.
As for drink pairings, the Casa Rita?Cantina Laredo's signature margarita?is versatile, its classic version including silver tequila with Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice. Diners can customize their drink by adding flavors such as mango or tamarind into the mix.
Named Best Healthful Fast Food in 2009 by Miami New Times, Pepper’s Burrito Grill crams burritos and tacos full of fresh ingredients, and grills up a sizzling menu of quesadillas, enchiladas, and other traditional Mexican fare. Rice and beans rub shoulders with pico de gallo and cheese within the cozy walls of the fish burrito, waiting to be joined by a cuddly companion of beer-battered tilapia and its beer-battered teddy bear ($8.99). Heath-conscious diners can opt for a whole-wheat tortilla for $0.50 extra, or switch to grilled fish at no additional charge. Dress up a shrimp taco “A La Mex” with a hard or soft corn tortilla topped with onion and cilantro ($3.99). An appetizer of queso fundido primes palates with melted chihuahua cheese, sausage, and peppers ($5.99), and a refreshing margarita is perfect for cleansing the palate in between more margaritas ($4.50).
Frustrated by a lack of local options for authentic Mexican cuisine, the Alarcon family decided to take matters into their own hands. Originally from Monterey, Mexico, they decided to stop searching for a great Mexican restaurant and just make one instead. The family started by making meals for friends, eventually expanding a take-out taqueria, and, today, the Alarcons welcome guests to El Agave Azul, Named after the type of cactus used to make tequila, El Agave Azul serves up tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, which guests can customize by selecting ultra-fresh ingredients instead of just having their name written in sour cream on them. In addition to fresh pico de gallo and grilled pineapple, diners can choose from 17 different fillings, including the house specialty al pastor pork, tender barbacoa beef, or spicy mushrooms.
Though it’s a national brand with locations sprinkled across 14 states, Chevys Fresh Mex doesn’t succumb to shortcuts at any of its restaurants. The expert chefs at each eatery gather together fresh ingredients to prepare the entire menu from scratch, whether they’re infusing chicken enchiladas with chipotles or simmering fragrant cauldrons of their homemade tortilla soup. Even though this hands-on approach harkens back to the foundations of Mexican culinary traditions, chefs also give each dish a contemporary twist—tacos meet flavorful drizzles of chipotle aioli, slow-roasted carnitas mingle with fresh oranges and lemons alongside fajita platters. Meanwhile, bartenders engage in serious agave innovation with top-shelf margaritas in flavors such as prickly pear and spicy mango.
When Latin House Burger & Taco Bar originated more than 20 years ago, it wasn’t even a house. Instead, Chef M and his wife, Bella, served their fusion of American and Latin cuisine from the window of one of Miami’s first food trucks, easily eclipsing the still-fledgling industry's typical fried fuzzy dice and mud-flap sandwiches. Nowadays, they've traded their wheels in for chairs, on which patrons sit before savoring plates of tacos, burritos, and tostadas with fillings ranging from cilantro-lime chicken to calamari. As a testament to the eatery's dual cultural influences, Latin House's burgers—usually cooked to a juicy medium-rare—dwell under taco-style toppings such as crema and avocado as well as traditional American accouterments such as bacon and cheese.