The Ultimate Guide to the Top 5 Mexican Restaurants in Houston

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Houston, known for its vibrant culinary scene, offers a plethora of options for Mexican cuisine lovers. But when it comes to finding the best Mexican restaurant Houston boasts, the decision can be overwhelming. This article dives into the top 5 Mexican restaurants in Houston, bringing you not just their names and menus but also the unique experiences they offer.

1. Hugo’s


Hugo’s is a renowned Mexican restaurant located in the heart of Houston, Texas. It is celebrated for its authentic Mexican cuisine, a blend of traditional and modern Mexican decor, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. This detailed guide will provide you with an in-depth look at what you can expect when dining at Hugo’s:


At Hugo’s, the ambiance is carefully crafted to transport diners to the heart of Mexico. The restaurant seamlessly blends traditional and modern Mexican decor, creating an inviting and cozy atmosphere. The warm colors, rustic wooden furnishings, and tasteful Mexican artwork contribute to the restaurant’s overall charm. Whether you’re visiting for a romantic dinner or a casual lunch, Hugo’s ambiance is sure to enhance your dining experience.

Menu Highlights

Hugo’s menu is a delightful exploration of Mexican flavors, featuring a diverse selection of dishes that showcase the richness of Mexican culinary traditions. Here are some standout menu items you should consider trying:

  • Chile Relleno: A signature dish at Hugo’s, the Chile Relleno features a roasted poblano pepper that is carefully filled with picadillo, a savory mixture of ground meat, fruits, and spices. It is then topped with a luscious walnut cream sauce and garnished with vibrant pomegranate seeds. This dish is a perfect representation of the restaurant’s commitment to combining traditional flavors with a modern twist.
  • Costillas de Res: If you’re a fan of succulent meat dishes, the Costillas de Res is a must-try. These braised short ribs are cooked to perfection in a rich and flavorful Mexican sauce, creating a tender and mouthwatering experience. The dish is served with homemade tortillas, allowing you to savor every bit of the delicious sauce.

Price Range

Hugo’s offers a range of pricing options to accommodate various budgets while ensuring a high-quality dining experience. Here’s an overview of their pricing:

Price RangeDescription
AppetizersStarting at $10Hugo’s appetizers are budget-friendly, making it easy to explore a range of flavors without breaking the bank.
Main CoursesStarting from $20The main courses at Hugo’s are reasonably priced, allowing you to enjoy a high-quality Mexican meal affordably.


One of the standout features of Hugo’s is its weekend brunch buffet. This specialty offering has gained significant popularity among locals and tourists alike. The brunch buffet allows guests to indulge in a wide array of Mexican dishes, ranging from traditional breakfast favorites to unique regional specialties. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore a variety of flavors and experience the diversity of Mexican cuisine.

2. Xochi


Xochi is an exceptional dining establishment situated in Downtown Houston, dedicated to showcasing the culinary marvels of Oaxaca, a region in southern Mexico renowned for its rich gastronomic heritage. When you dine at Xochi, you can anticipate a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Here’s an in-depth look at what Xochi has to offer:


Xochi offers a contemporary setting adorned with exquisite Oaxacan-inspired art pieces that pay homage to the region’s culture and traditions. This fusion of modern design and traditional Oaxacan aesthetics creates a visually stunning and culturally immersive atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking an intimate dinner or a special occasion celebration, Xochi’s ambiance sets the stage for an extraordinary dining adventure.

Menu Highlights

The menu at Xochi is a culinary journey through the flavors of Oaxaca, featuring a diverse selection of dishes that highlight the region’s culinary diversity. Here are some standout menu items that are worth exploring:

  • Mole Tasting: Xochi takes pride in presenting a variety of traditional Oaxacan moles, each meticulously prepared with a unique combination of ingredients and flavors. This mole tasting experience allows diners to savor the complexity and depth of Oaxacan cuisine, from the rich and earthy mole negro to the smoky and spicy mole coloradito.
  • Tlayudas: For those seeking a unique and satisfying dish, Xochi offers Tlayudas—large, thin Oaxacan-style tortillas topped with an assortment of flavorful ingredients. Tlayudas are a beloved street food in Oaxaca, and Xochi’s rendition ensures a delicious and authentic experience.

Price Range

Xochi offers a range of pricing options to ensure that guests can enjoy a high-quality dining experience while accommodating different budgets. Here’s an overview of their pricing:

Price RangeDescription
Main CoursesStarting at $25Xochi’s main courses begin at $25, underscoring the restaurant’s dedication to offering top-tier Oaxacan cuisine without compromising on quality. This pricing ensures that patrons can explore the diverse menu options while staying within budget.


One of Xochi’s notable specialties is its extensive selection of Mezcal, a distilled alcoholic beverage originating from agave plants. Mezcal is deeply intertwined with Oaxacan culture and is celebrated for its unique flavors and artisanal production. At Xochi, you can explore a curated collection of Mezcal offerings, allowing you to savor the diverse and nuanced profiles of this traditional Mexican spirit.

3. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, an iconic establishment in Houston, holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts for being the birthplace of the famous ‘Fajitas.’ This historic restaurant offers a unique dining experience characterized by its casual and lively ambiance, a menu filled with delectable Mexican dishes, and signature Ninfaritas that should not be missed.


The ambiance at The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation is a quintessential blend of casual and lively elements. As soon as you step inside, you are greeted with the tantalizing aroma of grilled meats wafting through the air. The restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere is perfect for both casual gatherings and special occasions. With its warm and vibrant ambiance, it’s no wonder that Ninfa’s has been a beloved dining destination for generations of Houstonians.

Menu Highlights

Ninfa’s menu is a testament to its rich culinary heritage, featuring a wide array of Mexican dishes prepared with care and authenticity. Here are some menu highlights that capture the essence of the restaurant’s offerings:

  • Fajitas: The star of the show, Ninfa’s Fajitas, are a legendary creation that has earned worldwide recognition. These fajitas feature marinated and grilled skirt steak, served alongside warm tortillas and a medley of toppings that allow you to customize each bite to your liking. The sizzling presentation and savory flavors make Ninfa’s Fajitas an absolute must-try.
  • Tamales de Puerco: Another standout dish, Tamales de Puerco, consists of tender pork tamales topped with a rich chili meat gravy. This traditional Mexican delicacy showcases the restaurant’s dedication to preserving authentic flavors.

Price Range

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation offers a range of pricing options to cater to various preferences and budgets. Here’s an overview of their pricing structure:

Price RangeDescription
FajitasStarting at $18Ninfa’s Fajitas, the restaurant’s signature dish, begin at a budget-friendly $18. This pricing ensures that diners can enjoy the iconic dish without straining their wallets, catering to a diverse range of patrons.


One of the standout specialties at Ninfa’s is their signature Ninfaritas. These cocktails are renowned for their exceptional taste and quality. Ninfaritas are a perfect complement to your meal, offering a refreshing and delightful way to enhance your dining experience. Be sure to explore the variety of Ninfaritas available to find the perfect match for your palate.

4. El Tiempo Cantina

El Tiempo Cantina

El Tiempo Cantina is a Tex-Mex dining establishment that prides itself on delivering a remarkable culinary experience rooted in the use of high-quality ingredients. This restaurant offers a spacious and vibrant ambiance, making it an ideal choice for family gatherings and social outings.


El Tiempo Cantina boasts a spacious and vibrant atmosphere that is perfect for a variety of occasions, particularly family gatherings. The restaurant’s welcoming decor and lively ambiance create an inviting and enjoyable dining environment. Whether you’re celebrating a special event or simply enjoying a meal with loved ones, El Tiempo Cantina’s atmosphere enhances the overall dining experience.

Menu Highlights

El Tiempo Cantina’s menu is a testament to the flavors and traditions of Tex-Mex cuisine, featuring a diverse selection of dishes prepared with care and attention to detail. Here are some menu highlights that showcase the restaurant’s commitment to quality and taste:

  • Carne Asada: A standout dish at El Tiempo Cantina, Carne Asada features a grilled ribeye steak served with enchiladas, creating a flavorful and satisfying combination of savory flavors. The tender and juicy steak is complemented by the enchiladas, offering a delightful Tex-Mex experience.
  • Ceviche: For those seeking a refreshing and seafood-forward option, El Tiempo Cantina offers Ceviche. This dish features fresh seafood marinated in lime juice and spices, resulting in a zesty and tangy flavor profile that is perfect for those looking for a lighter option.

Price Range

El Tiempo Cantina is committed to providing quality Tex-Mex cuisine at accessible prices. Here’s an overview of their pricing:

Price RangeDescription
EntreesStarting from $15El Tiempo Cantina provides a selection of entrees, with prices beginning at a reasonable $15. This pricing strategy allows diners to relish delectable Tex-Mex dishes without straining their finances, appealing to a broad spectrum of customers.


One of El Tiempo Cantina’s notable specialties is its wide variety of Tequilas. Tequila enthusiasts will appreciate the restaurant’s extensive selection, which allows guests to explore different brands, ages, and flavor profiles of this beloved Mexican spirit. Whether you prefer sipping tequila straight or indulging in tequila-based cocktails, El Tiempo Cantina’s Tequila offerings are sure to satisfy your palate.

5. Picos

Picos, conveniently situated on Kirby Drive, is a renowned dining establishment that invites patrons to embark on a remarkable culinary journey through the diverse and flavorful world of regional Mexican cuisine.


Picos prides itself on offering an ambiance that seamlessly blends elegance and vibrancy, effectively reflecting the richness of Mexican culture. As you step into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by a captivating decor that celebrates the vibrant colors, textures, and artistry of Mexico. The elegant yet lively atmosphere makes Picos an ideal choice for a special evening out or a celebration of Mexican culinary heritage.

Menu Highlights

The menu at Picos is a treasure trove of regional Mexican flavors, featuring an array of dishes that showcase the authenticity and diversity of Mexican cuisine. Here are some menu highlights that epitomize Picos’ commitment to culinary excellence:

  • Zarandeado Fish: A standout dish at Picos, the Zarandeado Fish offers a taste of coastal Mexico. This grilled snapper is expertly marinated in achiote and spices, creating a harmonious blend of smoky, savory, and aromatic flavors. It is a culinary journey to the shores of Mexico, right on your plate.
  • Mole Poblano: Picos honors tradition with its rendition of Mole Poblano, a classic Mexican dish. This rich and velvety mole sauce, made with a complex blend of ingredients including chocolate, is paired with tender chicken, resulting in a harmonious combination of sweet and savory notes that epitomizes the depth of Mexican cuisine.

Price Range

Picos is committed to offering an exceptional dining experience while ensuring affordability for its guests. Here’s an overview of their pricing structure:

Price RangeDescription
Main DishesStarting at $22Picos offers main dishes with prices commencing at $22, ensuring accessibility for diners in search of an authentic regional Mexican culinary experience while upholding a commitment to quality.


A standout specialty at Picos is its award-winning margaritas. These meticulously crafted cocktails have earned acclaim for their exceptional taste and quality. Whether you prefer a classic margarita or one with a creative twist, Picos’ margaritas are designed to complement and enhance your dining experience. They are the perfect accompaniment to the rich and diverse flavors of the menu.


Houston’s best Mexican restaurants offer an array of flavors, experiences, and culinary delights. From Hugo’s authentic dishes to the innovative Oaxacan cuisine at Xochi, the iconic fajitas at The Original Ninfa’s, the Tex-Mex flavors at El Tiempo Cantina, and the regional specialties at Picos, Houston’s Mexican restaurant scene caters to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these top 5 Mexican restaurants in Houston are must-visit destinations for anyone looking to indulge in the best Mexican cuisine the city has to offer.


Q: What are the price ranges for these restaurants?

A: Prices vary, with appetizers starting around $10 and main courses ranging from $15 to $25 and up.

Q: Do these restaurants offer vegetarian options?

A: Yes, each of these best Mexican restaurant Houston choices provides vegetarian dishes, ensuring all diners can enjoy their offerings.

Q: Are reservations required for these restaurants?

A: While not always necessary, reservations are recommended, especially for weekend dining.

Q: Do these restaurants offer takeout or delivery options?

A: Most of these restaurants offer takeout, and some have delivery options through third-party services.

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