Let’s be clear about this: we're no snooty foodies. We like cheese, gooey cheese, even the kind that may harbor a few unrecognizable ingredients. The best Tex-Mex in Austin is a product of the delicious melting pot that is Texas, and maybe we shouldn’t think about the details too much. Let’s eat!
Our hands-down favorite Tex-Mex dish is Josie’s enchiladas. It’s a mildly spicy blend of cheese-stuffed enchiladas with chili, onions and more cheese on top. It’s even better if you sop up the excess cheese with flour tortillas. Yeah, that’s right, we said flour; corn tortillas are tasty, but they fall apart upon contact with cheese sauce. Our waiters are always amazed at how clean our plate is when we're done. We don't believe in wasting cheese. Maudie's Tex-Mex: 1212 South Lamar Boulevard; (512) 440-8088.
The classic Tex-Mex enchiladas at Chuy’s are not quite as cheesy as Maudie’s enchiladas, but they pack an oniony punch that always brings us back for more. The extra-spicy green chile burrito is a close second on my list of Chuy’s favorites. Third place goes to the veggie enchiladas, which are covered in cheese and packed with crunchy red bell peppers, zucchini, onions and corn. Chuy's Tex-Mex: 1728 Barton Springs Road; (512) 474-4452
For breakfast, the best dish is the migas plate, without a doubt. It’s made of eggs scrambled with serrano peppers, three cheeses, corn tortilla strips and tomatoes. Plan on taking a nap afterwards. At dinner, our guilty pleasure is the stuffed avocado. The avocado is breaded and smothered with chicken, Suiza sauce, and cheese. Avocados are good for you, right? Trudy's: 901-C Little Texas Lane; (512) 326-9899
The chipotle enchiladas have a double whammy of cheesy goodness and an extra-spicy kick. We prefer the pork version, but you can also choose beef, chicken or cheese enchiladas. The large tortilla soup with chicken, cheese, and avocado is one of our favorites, too. The Backstage is the restaurant's mid-sized live music venue, which hosts regional acts such as Joe Ely and Patricia Vonne. El Mercado Restaurant: 1302 South 1st Street; (512) 447-7445
The overstuffed tacos often fall apart in our hands, but the ugliness doesn’t last long as we wolf down every last morsel. The Dirty Sanchez with creamy poblano sauce is just ridiculously delicious. If you want even more spice, the Brushfire taco is packed with Jamaican jerked chicken and fresh jalapenos. The South 1st location gained national attention in March 2016 when President Obama stopped in for some tacos before his SXSW speech. To keep it bipartisan, he ordered The Republican, The Independent and The Democrat.
We'd be impressed if he ate all three -- these tacos are massive. Torchy's Tacos: 2809 South 1st Street; (512) 444-0300
Guero’s Taco Bar
Despite the restaurant’s wild popularity, the quality of the food has remained steady for years. We usually order the appetizer version of tacos al pastor. You can get a huge plate full of bite-size tacos at a bargain price at happy hour. It’s not spicy or cheesy, but the tangy pork and pineapple always hits the spot. The charro beans are also consistently fantastic. To get your cheese fix, order the shredded chicken enchiladas with red sauce. Guero’s Taco Bar: 1412 South Congress Avenue; (512) 447-7688.