From mainstream Tex-Mex spots to traditional taquerias and marisquerias (seafood restaurants), Atlanta has Mexican restaurants as varied as its population; of the more than 5 million residents in the metro area, more than 750,000 are Hispanic. Whether you're craving made-from-scratch tacos or tamales, giant burritos or fresh grilled seafood, here are the best Mexican spots in the city.
Located inside the bustling Ponce City Market mixed used development, the Atlanta outpost of Minero offers upscale casual Mexican fare. Try the charcoal grilled chicken wings or one of the tacos, like the taco al pastor, served on tortillas made in-house. Snag a patio seat, weather permitting.
This Tex Mex spot from chef/restaurateur Ford Fry means “where sunshine spends the winter,” and is located in Krog Street Market in the Beltline-adjacent Inman Park. Order the smoked short rib, the whole gulf red snapper, the tacos al carbon and Fry's "Tex Mex" cookbook, so you can replicate these recipes at home.
Bone Garden Cantina
This Day of the Dead themed restaurant is tucked inside an office park on the bustling Westside, but don't be fooled by the low key locale. The margaritas are strong, the salsa has kick and the food is as vibrant and lively as the interior. Try one of the tamales, like the Azteca pork, steamed with red chiles, garlic and onion in a banana leaf and served with a side of salsa verde.
Taqueria La Oaxaqueña
Have a long layover at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport? Make the 10-minute drive down to Jonesboro for the real deal: heaping plates of Mexican staples like tacos, huaraches, tamales and burritos plus a salsa bar with all the fixings. Don't miss the restaurant's Oaxacan specialty, the tlayuda: a grilled tortilla topped with cheese, avocado, refried beans, lettuce and your choice of meat. You won’t find jumbo sized margaritas here, though; the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol.
El Rey del Taco
Skip Taco Bell when you have a late night craving and head to El Rey del Taco, located on the multicultural strip of Buford Highway, instead. The restaurant is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 4:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and lives up to its name (which means "king of tacos"), offering several varieties of tacos from goat meat barbacoa to chorizo (Mexican sausage) as well as tortas, quesadillas and several seafood options.
Taqueria del Sol
With outposts in Decatur, Cheshire Bridge, Chamblee and the Westside, Taqueria is a fast casual, family friendly spot serving a tightly curated menu of tacos, enchiladas, simple sides and some of the city’s best cheese dip. Don’t miss the weekly chef’s special and special tacos, where chef/owner Eddie Hernandez prepares dishes that incorporate seasonal Southern ingredients.
Mariscos El Sazon del Kora
Mexican food is more than tacos and chips and salsa. This Mexican seafood restaurant, with locations in Smyrna and Doraville, specializes in the cuisine of Mexico’s coastal Nayarit region. While dining on the complimentary marlin fish ceviche tostada and the popular red snapper with a michelada (think a beer-based Bloody Mary) in hand, you’ll forget you’re in landlocked Atlanta.
This no-frills, family run spot in Grant Park is cheap, simple and satisfying. The friendly staff will keep you stocked with full pitchers of margaritas and hot, fresh chips while you feast on simple classics like tacos, enchiladas and heaping sides of rice and beans — without breaking the bank.
Tacos La Villa
From spicy lamb to beef tongue, this nondescript spot in Smyrna makes some of the city’s best tacos. The pozole, flautas, tostadas and nachos are also stellar, family friendly and easy on the wallet. Wash them down with a draft or bottled beer.
Bell Street Burritos
Yes, you can get tacos or enchiladas here, but it’s the namesake burritos — heralded by USA Today as some of the nation’s best — that are the real draw. With three Atlanta locations (Inman Park, Sweet Auburn Curb Market, and Midtown/Buckhead), you’re never far from one of the giant, steam-wrapped tortillas filled with pinto beans, melted jack cheese, rice, salsa fresca and your choice of beef. Or try one of the special burritos, like pork and green chile.