Must-Try Mexican Restaurants in Portland

Portland is known for its fantastic and convenient food scene.

delicious tacos al pastor at portland mexican restaurants

You can find lots filled with food trucks, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and well-known establishments everywhere.

Whether you are a Portland native or come from another part of the country, I included, you may have difficulty finding certain regional American cooking.

Coming from California, I’ve had difficulty finding decent Mexican food in Portland.

There’s nothing quite like crisp mimosas in the morning or warm pozole on a cool evening, and I missed these things after moving.

After spending a few years sticking to the same haunts, I decided to expand my range and find those hidden gems in the city.

I wanted to find places that felt like home, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found the best spots for that. Here are some of the best Mexican restaurants in Portland.

While some are just around the corner, others are worth driving for.

¿Por Qué No?

Two locations
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If you searched for good Mexican restaurants in the Portland area, you have probably heard about this spot.

Their location off of Mississippi and Fremont feels like a bigger setup, with an upper patio that overlooks the neighborhood.

Their spot off of Hawthorne and 47th Ave felt just as established, but it felt more my speed.

It is a single-story building with a cozy enclosed patio that feels like an intimate family restaurant.

Both locations feel casual and welcoming, the perfect retreat from a busy work day.

I would recommend trying their daily Aguas Frescas.

Coming in from a hot summer day, these are very refreshing.

Their verduras tacos are another must, along with their pescado and pollo verde.

If you want to build your plate, Bryan’s Bowl is the perfect blend of savory and sweet flavors.

Nuestra Cocina

2135 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
Phone: 503-232-2135
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This is another popular spot that you might have heard of.

Located on the corner of Division St and 22nd Ave, Nuestra Cocina is a more upscale experience and is best experienced on a night out.

The restaurant is only open during the evening, which works well with the interior’s warm lighting and relaxed feel.

By far my most favorite dish from Nuestra Cocina is their sopes de chorizo, frijoles, y chile de arbol con queso.

Alternatively, their ceviche del dia is another excellent choice if you want to try their daily special.

I also loved their tacos since their house-made tortillas are an advertised highlight of their menu.

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Tamale Boy

Multiple locations
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Tamale Boy blends food truck catering with its restaurant business and is praised for its affordable options.

I enjoyed looking through their menu and seeing seasonal dishes rotate out as the year progressed.

If you are looking for a street vendor experience, Tamale Boy is a great pick.

And if you are prone to travel around the city, you will enjoy their accessible locations.

My favorite on their menu is the Sikil Pak, a dish I hadn’t tried before sitting down on their patio.

I would also highly recommend their Norteño Tamal Frito.

It makes for a hearty breakfast or brunch, packed with some delicious garnishes.

I favor Tamale Boy’s menu in general for their fun twists on classic or traditional Mexican dishes.

Maya’s Taqueria

1000 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-226-1946
Hours and menu

For the person on the go, Maya’s Taqueria is the perfect stop to get some good Mexican food.

Located on the corner of Morrison and 10th Ave, just a few blocks from Pioneer Courthouse, it’s an excellent stop for lunch in Downtown Portland.

I visited with friends in between window shopping in the evening, which made for a perfect pit stop before continuing our night.

I was so impressed by their menu selection and found quite a few favorites during my visits.

My go-to is their nopales tacos, a dish my grandpa served at home.

However, their nachos (with and without meat) and taco salads are great dishes if you need a meal that won’t spill on your way to the MAX.

Their burritos are another great choice if you need something filling.

To top it all off, every meal is served with chips and salsa, a perfect snack!

Que Pasa Cantina

1408 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: 503-230-9212
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Located near 12th Ave and Madison St, Que Pasa Cantina gives off the vibe of a restaurant where family and friends are welcome to gather.

While my comfort zone tends to be on the west side of the Willamette River, this was one location that drew me out to visit the east side of town more frequently.

Their colorful and vibrant presentation is very similar to restaurants back home and quickly became a comfort.

It just so happened to be the cooler part of the year, when I was craving some good pozole.

And Que Pasa Cantina didn’t disappoint in this area.

If you find yourself at this location when the weather is a bit chilly, I would highly recommend trying a bowl of their house-made pozole.

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Their fajitas are another dish that really must be experienced yourself to appreciate.

If you aren’t in the mood for warm dishes, their Mexican Chopped Salad is another excellent dish.

Taqueria Nueve

727 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: 503-954-1987
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For the time being, Taqueria Nueve is only doing pickup and delivery services for customers.

However, if you need a solid Mexican restaurant to order from, Taqueria Nueve is the place to go.

In its little corner between Washington St and 7th Ave, this restaurant is situated perfectly to serve East Portland and those living just across the river.

My favorite dish of theirs has to be their enmoladas.

While I hadn’t grown up with that dish at home, it was a rich and savory experience that improved on the tried and true enchilada.

Their calabacita tacos are also a delicious treat for meat-excluding palettes.

And for something a little spicier, their Camarones a la Diabla tacos are a must-try.

The Matador

Multiple locations
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You can find a Matador location not just in Portland, but in several states if you’re so inclined to visit them.

I happened to visit their location on 23rd Ave and immediately fell in love with the classic ranchero vibes that only so many restaurants use.

Not to mention the bar was absolutely stunning to look at!

Their meals are offered to-go, but I would highly recommend sitting down at one of their locations for yourself.

Their grilled carne asada has to be my favorite dish on their menu.

However, when I was in the mood for something lighter, I enjoyed ordering different variations on their Matador Bowl.

And if you are looking for some tacos, I recommend their beyond picadillo tacos as well.

La Cocina Restaurant

3901 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227
Phone: 503-278-5414
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Located off the corner of Williams Ave and Failing St, La Cocina Restaurant is a quaint and colorful spot several blocks from Denorval Unthank City Park.

I remember being interested in stopping by because of the vibrantly painted benches outside of the establishment.

If you want to sit down at an establishment that feels like home, this is the place to go.

There are many dishes on their menu that are worth trying, but my favorite has to be their big taco salad.

The quinoa salad comes in a close second and makes for a great gluten-free option.

Their La Costa burrito is another must-have and works well no matter what time of day you order it.

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For the customer that wants to go out of their comfort zone, the Mextlapique is another great dish if you don’t mind a little spice.

Verde Cocina

Multiple locations
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Each Verde Cocina location feels as welcoming as they advertise it online.

Aside from their delicious food, they make a point of using sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.

And while their dishes come at affordable prices, you are sure to be impressed by the stylized plates.

I for one visited for a breakfast meet-up and was far from disappointed.

Although I’m usually one to go with chilaquiles for breakfast, their Buenos Días breakfast quickly became my favorite.

I also recommend their Verde enchiladas, which never get old no matter how many times I order them.

For plant-based dishes, their chimichurri is a great choice, along with their Nor’Wester.

If you haven’t had jicama sticks before, this is a great starter to try for its fresh and tangy taste.

Raul’s Family Mexican Restaurant

4820 SW 76th Ave, Portland, OR 97225
Phone: 503-203-2999
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Located near the Fred Meyer off of SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Raul’s is the best place to stop for a casual sit-down with friends and family.

Their Jalisco style of cooking is something that is very familiar to me, having grown up near restaurants with similar tastes and styles.

If you are looking for a taste of home from another state, Raul’s is a solid choice.

It just so happened to be another cold day when I stopped by Raul’s.

I tried and enjoyed their caldo de res, although their pozole was another contender for my favorite.

I would also highly recommend their Rose salad, and I promise that it tastes just as good as it looks on their menu.

And for something vegetarian/vegan friendly, I cannot express how much I enjoyed their tacos de papa.


200 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-887-9258
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You can find this laid-back spot on the corner of 28th Ave and Davis St.

It’s a quaint little spot from the outside but feels very much like a modern Portland hangout.

While nothing can quite match traditional Mexican decor, I felt happy to see some aluminum stools and lively plants.

This is the place for you if you’re looking for fresh twists on your favorite Mexican dishes.

My favorite item by far from their menu is the Masa Y Papa.

But if you want something hearty, you should try the hamburguesa.

While most of their menu consists of sandwiches and hamburgers, you can order one of their bowls for a fresh and tasty meal.

I was especially fond of their jamaica, and I’d recommend it for a drink!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.