Philadelphia, luckily, is full of Mexican restaurants! Our city is known for its diversity, which leads to incredible, authentic cuisine.
This list features incredible chefs, including the incredible Cristina Martinez, owner of South Philly Barbacoa, and Dionicio Jimenez, the head chef at El Rey.
There’s no better time to support local businesses. You’ll try nopales, a type of Opuntia cacti (that’s full of antioxidants) at South Philly Barbacoa.
You’ll savor Chocolate Oaxaca, a classic Mexican hot chocolate topped with cinnamon at Cafe y Chocolate. You’ll devour the famous rotisserie chicken at Cafe Ynez.
Along with some trendy, well-known spots, I made sure to include some under-rated gems, in the spirit of supporting small business and uplifting communities of color.
Here’s to a city full of brotherly love and good food!
Blue Corn Restaurant and Bar
940 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Head to the Italian Market on 9th Street for authentic Mexican cuisine at Blue Corn Restaurant.
Blue Corn Restaurant serves popular Mexican dishes such as tacos, tortas, and huarache.
During my visit to Philly, I headed to the restaurant on a Tuesday night when it was easy to find seating.
There were many options to choose from, but I went for the dish known to be delicious – Al Pastor Tacos. The hype for the tacos did not disappoint. The tacos are fresh, flavorful, and savory.
Make sure to bring cash since it is cash-only, and make a reservation if you plan to visit during the weekends.
Café y Chocolate
Address: 1532 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone: (267) 639-4506
Cute, authentic, family-owned cafe alert! At this Point Breeze spot, satisfy your sweet tooth, try something savory, or do both!
Start with a house special like the Tamal Azteca (broiled chicken tamal casserole covered with homemade green sauce, sour cream, Chihuahua cheese, poblano rajas, and queso fresco.
Served with Mexican rice and black beans.) Or go out and try their breakfast menu, featuring fresh squeezed juices.
Cafe y Chocolate obviously excels when it comes to desserts. Choose between homemade flan, tres leches cake, churros filled with caramel, or plantains with cream.
Save room for a classic Mexican hot chocolate, complete with spices and cinnamon on top!
South Philly Barbacoa
1140 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 694-3797
“Through food we can educate and change the heart”, says Cristina Martinez, the force behind South Philly Barbacoa. Martinez came to this country with the dream of opening her own restaurant.
She started off selling lamb tacos out of her home, then opened up a food truck, and finally got a brick and mortar store in South Philly.
At her restaurant, she and her staff spend hours dethorning cactus pads to cook nopales, a healthy dish made from cactus.
Their meat marinades for hours in a citrus sauce before being served to customers on homemade tortillas.
Martinez was a finalist for the Basque Culinary World Prize and her restaurant was listed as one of America’s Best new Restaurants by Bon Appetit.
Try it yourself, from 5am-3pm on weekends. In addition to bridging authentic Mexican recipes and traditions to the city, she is also an activist who fights for the rights of marginalized groups. .
1551 W Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
La Llorona is a low-key spot with hanging butterflies that give it a charming vibe in South Philadelphia.
The restaurant starts you off right with the best chips and salsa anyone has ever tasted. The salsa has a unique spicy kick and flavor. Traditional Mexican dishes are served, but tacos, tortas, nachos, and quesadillas are the most popular plates.
The warm, crunchy, and delicious quesadillas are made with a corn tortilla, epazote, mozzarella & Oaxaca cheese, and your choice of protein.
The most loved dish is the Birria – tacos with braised beef and short rib marinated in chile adobo and served with consommé, onion, and cilantro.
1800 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Get a taste of traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist at Sor Ynéz in Fishtown. The Mexican restaurant’s focus on a sustainable future puts a modern touch on the dishes.
Sor Ynéz uses Mexican ingredients and methods to serve some of the best traditional meals.
The food and space of the restaurant honor the artisanship of Mexico and Philadelphia. Dishes such as tlacoyos, ceviche, enchiladas, birria, carnitas, and tacos are made with fresh and local ingredients.
Many of the Mexican cuisines at Sor Ynez are vegetarian and can be made vegan, making this the perfect place for vegetarians and vegans.
Los Cuatro Soles
1801 S Chadwick St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Burrito lovers will love Los Cuatro Soles. The family-owned restaurant has the best-rated burritos in South Philly.
Los Cuatro Soles is a relaxing spot with great outdoor seating. Aside from their highly rated burritos, the restaurant also serves other authentic Mexican cuisines such as fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, huaraches, tostadas, and tortas.
I love a good burrito and made a stop at Los Cuatro Soles to give it a try. The flour tortilla is stuffed with rice, beans, lettuce, Pico de Gallo cheese, sour cream, and meat of your choice.
I chose carnitas for my burrito, and it was just as delicious as many say.
1134 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
James Beard Award-winning Mexican chef and immigration activist Cristina Martinez serves authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine at Casa Mexico.
The family-owned restaurant sits next door to its sister restaurant, South Philly Barbacoa, at the Italian Market. The artsy décor creates a warm, unique environment.
Chef Martinez cooks with love and skill. Everything on the menu is said to be mouthwatering. Specialties on the menu include enchiladas, Chile Relleno, and quesadillas.
Tacos are the top seller with a variety of options. You can get a taco with chicken, fish, shrimp, beef, or steak.
The meal won’t be complete without trying the delicious dessert, flan.
315 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 765-2369
Ever had a “Wet Burrito”? El Purepecha serves huge, stuffed burritos on top of your choice of sauce. According to Philly locals, these are a must-try. Also noteworthy: the baja fish tacos and chorizo tacos.
Look out for daily specials, like lobster enchiladas or birria tacos!
This neighborhood place is on the small side, so nab a table when you can! You can also order from them on GrubHub, UberEats, and Seamless, if you want to enjoy your burrito from the comfort of your own couch.
121 S. 13th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 928-9800
This Midtown Village restaurant is one of Steven Starr’s many offerings to the Philly community. You can’t miss the spinning low-rider bike in the middle of the dining room!
The trendy and colorful spot is perfect for grabbing cocktails with friends, as the bar is equipped with one of the largest tequila selections in the city.
Menu highlights include tuna tostadas, five varieties of guacamole, short rib enchiladas, and a vegan tofu el pastor burrito with pineapple-habanero salsa.
You can also make your own tacos, complete with queso fresco, four tortillas, rajas, and pico de gallo. El Vez usually participates in Center City Restaurant Week, so look out for discounts once restaurant week comes back to Philly!
La Calaca Feliz
2321 Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 787-9930
Craig Laban said it best when he wrote, “Calaca has helped push the dial forward a few more clicks on the evolution of contemporary Mexican cooking in this town”.
This Fairmount restaurant offers up modern rendition of classic dishes and prides itself on using the highest-quality ingredients possible.
Brunch-lover? Choose from more traditional offerings like carnitas tacos, to more Americanized options like avocado toast.
For a boozy kick, try the Bloody Maria, a ”valentina spiced” take on the classic Bloody Mary. There’s also a long drink menu with a lot of different tequilas.
1739-1749 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
LMNO offers a well-rounded experience. It is a restaurant, lounge, bookstore, and art gallery all in one place.
Tacos, nachos, tostadas, and ceviche sum up the best traditional Mexican cuisine LMNO serves. The most popular taco is the Birria, a chile-braised oxtail and beef shank with queso, consommé, cilantro, and onion.
Pollo asado, fish, and dirty veggies are other top contenders for tacos, but I went for the highly-recommended Birria taco and adobada-style pork nachos. The servings were generous, and every bite was flavorful.
LMNO makes dining fun. You can check out the hybrid restaurant solo, with a date, or with a group of friends.
2013 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 563-3330
This Steven Starr cantina was inspired by “Home-style cuisine from Puebla to Veracruz”. The outside resembles a road-side diner while the inside has eclectic decor, complete with folk art and movie posters.
The location is conveniently located in the heart of downtown, a few minutes from Rittenhouse Square. Try the Tumbada (Veracruz-style paella, epazote-scented rice, chicken, chorizo, shrimp, squid, fish, achiote chimichurri) for dinner or get the Tres Leches French Toast for a brunch treat.
Check out their Happy Hour (4-5 from Sunday-Thursday) for $6 margs, $4 tecate cans, and $2 off all tacos!
Rosy’s Taco Bar
2220 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Authentic tacos, small plates, and drinks make Rosy’s Taco Bar people’s go-to spot for happy hour or a late-night binge.
The casual restaurant and bar at Center City have a laid-back atmosphere indoors and outdoors. The vibe of the place is fun, and the food keeps anyone from leaving.
Everything on the menu is loved. Guacamole, salsa, nachos, and quesadillas are great appetizers. Tacos, burritos, and enchiladas are among the favorites for dinner.
Rosy’s is also popular for its non-alcoholic margarita kits, so you can add your favorite tequila.
If you’re in a taco and margarita mood, Rosy’s Taco Bar is the place to go.
1001 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
New York City’s greatest Mexican restaurant, Anejo, has made its way to Northern Liberties Philadelphia.
Anejo has a more sophisticated vibe than a traditional Mexican restaurant. It is an upscale restaurant that serves authentic cuisine under high ceilings and crystal chandeliers.
Morning tacos, Mexican omelets, huevos rancheros, and unlimited brunch cocktails make this restaurant especially favorable for a brunch date with friends or your partner.
The 90-minute premium option offers unlimited Blanco Margarita, Bloody Mary, sangria, or mimosas with a shared plate and your choice of entrée.
The beautiful, spacious indoor area, heated outdoor area, and amazing food and drinks make Anejo a gem any time of the day.
1941 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Tasty, tender tamales draw the people to Juana Tamale. The famous tamales were initially sold in a popup.
After high praise and gaining wild popularity, the restaurant has finally found a permanent home in Passyunk.
The brick-and-mortar location has a cute and cozy décor. Tamales, birria tacos, ramen, and vegan wings are stapled dishes on the menu.
People keep their eyes peeled for any limited-time specials.
Visit early or you might miss out on the tamales. Vegan tamales were on the menu when I visited, but most were out of stock by the time I arrived.
I was able to try the potato and pepper tamale and understand how tamales won the hearts of many.
El Mezcal Cantina
1260 Point Breeze Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Eladio Soto has graced Philadelphia with authentic Mexican cuisine since he came from Pueblo, Mexico, nearly two decades ago.
Influenced by various Mexican regions, Soto serves the best cuisine at his debut restaurant, El Mezcal Cantina.
Soto takes advantage of a hand-built stone oven that was left behind by the previous owners of the restaurant. Some of the best dishes come from the oven.
The live fire is the perfect way to cook carnitas, tostadas, and Mexican-style pizza.
Traditional tacos, aguachiles, and tlacoyos are popular dishes, but I’ve never tried an al pastor pizza. I made a quick midday stop at El Mezcal to enjoy the unique flavors of a brick-oven Mexican pizza, and it was amazing.
Philly has tons of options for Mexican food, from small authentic spots to big, trendy tequila bars. Eating at one of the family-owned restaurants on this list is a great way to support a small business!
Want to keep the party rolling after Taco Tuesday? Check out our article on the best beer gardens in Philly to find the best beer/wine/cocktail experience for you and your friends.
Do you have a favorite Mexican place that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!