The Mexican food in Little Rock is mostly non-authentic Tex-Mex. Even the "authentic" Mexican food isn't really. We hear quite a few complaints that the food isn't authentic enough (aside from our many taco trucks). On the other hand, we have pretty great Tex-Mex here. These are our faves of the many Mexican eateries in our city. To us, Tex-Mex is hot, spicy flavors and dishes like enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos. Authentic Mexican food is more bold than spicy and they have dishes like chile rellenos and carnitas. Some places serve both types of food, and we do have a few places serving up truly authentic Mexican food. You just have to know where to look.
Senor Tequila is an authentic Mexican restaurant. They have a lot of dishes that you won't find elsewhere and they make some very good sauces to go with them. They tend to be a favorite among people who don't really care for Tex-Mex. They have several locations in Little Rock.
Casa Manana has great food and a great deck. The food is more authentic than Tex-Mex and the service is always great. If the weather is nice, get a seat outside and enjoy a margarita. Located at 6820 Cantrell Road.
Local Lime is known for their tacos and margaritas. They have an innovative menu and great margaritas. They have several varieties of salsa you can order in a salsa sampler and excellent cheese dip. They are a local favorite. Located at 17809 Chenal Parkway.
Cantina Laredo has interesting food with some unique dishes. They are "upscale Mexican," which means they are kind of pricey, but the quality is pretty good. Located at 207 North University Avenue.
Reasonably priced authentic Mexican food. They have great salsa and cheese dip. Nice atmosphere on the inside. Located at 801 Fair Park Blvd.
Heights Taco and Tamale
Heights Taco and Tamale offers a unique take on Mexican cuisine. HT&T serves delta style tamales, complete with crackers and Southern-style tacos, including a fried catfish taco. Their tamales are great and they have unique salsa and taco flavors. Located at 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Chuy's is a chain that originates in Austin and they have a quirky menu, fresh ingredients, and a fun atmosphere. They make their tortillas by hand and most of their sauces are made fresh. Try the chicka-chicka boom-boom. Moderately priced. Located at 16001 Chenal Parkway.
Taqueria El Palenque
This is probably the most authentic Mexican restaurant in central Arkansas and it's kind of a hidden gem. Not a lot of locals even know about it. Think a great taco truck on steroids. You've got to try their chimichangas. Located at 9501 N Rodney Parham Rd.
The food is good at El Porton and it's not pricey. They have a large selection of authentic dinners to choose from. The atmosphere leaves a little to be desired but the food is great. Located at 12111 W. Markham St.
La Hacienda is a local favorite for authentic Mexican food. If you think "authentic" Mexican is bland, try their spicy green salsa. The rest of their food is great too. The service can be hit or miss. They are moderately priced and open 7 days a week. They are located at 3024 Cantrell Rd.