Food & Drink

5 min read

Unearth Local Fiesta Flavors: Top 15 US Mexican Eateries

Craving authentic Mexican flavors but stuck stateside? Good news: a fiesta of taste is closer than you think! Let's unwrap the top 15 Mexican restaurant chains where spice meets convenience—no passport needed!

Tobi Miles
September 4, 2022

When it comes to Mexican food, there is no shortage of options in the United States. In fact, there are so many Mexican restaurant chains that it can be hard to decide where to eat. That is why we put together a list of the 15 best Mexican restaurant chains in the U.S.!

If you are looking for an easy grab-and-go experience, Taco John's or Del Taco may be your speed.

Are you looking for something a bit more formal? Uncle Julio's and On the Border are an ideal place to sit down, relax, and enjoy a margarita.

Chipotle and Baja Fresh are the perfect options for those looking to keep their meal on the healthy side.

Whether you are looking for a quick taco fix or want to enjoy a delicious meal at a sit-down restaurant, we have got you covered.

1. Chipotle

Credit: Exchange at Gwinett

When you walk into Chipotle, you are greeted by the fresh smell of ingredients. The first thing you see is the line where you can customize your burrito or burrito bowl with all your favorite toppings. There is something for everyone at Chipotle.

The next thing you will notice is how clean and bright the restaurant is. The open kitchen allows you to see the fresh ingredients being prepared for your meal. As you order your meal, you will see a team-member prepare your food fresh, directly in front of you.

Chipotle is one of the best Mexican restaurants because it breaks the fast food mold. The food is fresh and healthy, and the restaurant is clean and bright. If you are looking for a quick, delicious meal, Chipotle is the place for you.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Carnitas Burrito

Cuisine: Mexican

2. Qdoba Mexican Eats

Credit: Loyola Marymount University

If you are looking for a delicious, customizable Mexican meal, then look no further than Qdoba Mexican Eats. Founded in 1995 in Denver, Colorado, Qdoba has since expanded to over 600 locations across the United States.

Whether you are in the mood for a burrito, bowl, tacos, or salad, Qdoba has something to fit every taste. Plus, with their wide variety of salsas, dips, and toppings, you can make your meal as spicy or mild as you like. Not to mention, Qdoba is also accommodating to those with special dietary needs, offering keto, gluten-free, and vegetarian-friendly options.

Next time you are looking for a delicious Mexican meal, especially if you have dietary restrictions, be sure to head to your nearest Qdoba Mexican Eats.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Grilled Chicken Burrito

Cuisine: Mexican

Related Read: 15 BEST Fast Food Places That Are Open Late

3. Taco Bell

Credit: Taco Bell

There is nothing quite like digging into a delicious Taco Bell taco. The savory ground beef, crispy lettuce, and gooey cheese all come together to create a fast food classic. Plus, when you add in their signature sauces – hot, mild, or fire – it is an unforgettable experience.

But Taco Bell is about more than just tacos. They offer a wide variety of Mexican-inspired dishes that are sure to satisfy any craving. From their famous Burritos Supreme to their Nachos BellGrande, there is something for everyone at Taco Bell. Not to mention the iconic Baja Blast!

Select locations called “Cantinas” even serve up boozy beverages like a boozy Baja Blast.

With over 7,000 locations worldwide, it is easy to find a Taco Bell near you. So whether you are in the mood for a quick snack or a full meal, Taco Bell is always a great option.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Burrito Supreme

Cuisine: Mexican

4. Del Taco

Credit: Visit Stillwater

Del Taco is a chain of fast-food restaurants originating in Yermo, California. They are known for their cheap tacos and their mix of Mexican and American cuisine. The restaurant offers a variety of Tex-Mex tacos with shredded cheese and grilled meats, as well as traditional tacos with chopped onion and cilantro. There are currently 547 Del Taco locations across 16 states.

The dining experience at Del Taco is fast and casual. The restaurant is usually crowded, but the line moves quickly. The tacos are reasonably priced, and the quality of the food is good. The service is friendly and efficient. Overall, Del Taco is a great choice for a quick and affordable meal.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: The Del Taco

Cuisine: Mexican

Related Read: The 15 Best Breakfast Restaurants In America

5. El Pollo Loco

Chico El Pollo Loco

The El Pollo Loco restaurant chain is the only one on our list that originated in Mexico, so you can rest assured that you are getting the real deal when it comes to the food.

The focus here is on fire-grilled chicken, which is marinated in a blend of fresh herbs, orange and lime juices, and plenty of spices before being cooked over an open flame. This results in chicken that is packed with flavor and always super juicy.

Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, El Pollo Loco is sure to satisfy your cravings. With nearly 500 locations across the United States, there is bound to be one near you.

So what are you waiting for? Give El Pollo Loco a try today!

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Mexican-Style Grilled Chicken

Cuisine: Mexican

6. Taco John's

Credit Visit Cheyenne

If you are looking for a fast, tasty, and affordable Mexican meal, Taco John's is the place for you. This Midwestern-based chain specializes in "West-Mex" food and offers a wide variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and bowls.

Taco John's is also famous for being the first restaurant to use the phrase "Taco Tuesday," and they even trademarked the term! Whether you are in the mood for a quick lunch or a late-night snack, Taco John's is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Potato Ole

Cuisine: Mexican

Related Read: Fast Food Restaurants That Serve Breakfast All Day

7. Baja Fresh

Credit: Baja Fresh

If you are looking for a delicious and fresh Mexican dining experience, look no further than Baja Fresh. This popular restaurant chain first opened in 1990 in California and has been serving up authentic Mexican cuisine ever since.

Baja Fresh prides itself on its commitment to using only fresh and non-processed ingredients – all of which come directly from the farm. This means that there are no cans, microwaves, freezers, or MSG allowed on the premises.

The menu at Baja Fresh is simple yet tasty, with options like burritos, salads, quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, and nachos. One of the most popular items on the menu is the Baja Bowl – a deconstructed burrito with rice, beans, meat, or fish protein, and your choice of salsa. The salsas are especially delicious at Baja Fresh, with options like mango salsa, 6 Chiles, salsa verde, and Molcajete available.

With over 200 locations around the United States, it is easy to find a Baja Fresh near you. Next time you are in the mood for some fresh and delicious Mexican cuisine, be sure to check out Baja Fresh.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Baja Taco

Cuisine: Mexican

8. Torchy's Tacos

Credit: What Now Orlando

If you are in the mood for some delicious Mexican food, there is no better place to go than Torchy's Tacos. This popular restaurant chain started out as a humble food truck in South Austin, Texas, but it has since grown to 75 locations with plans to open an additional 80 locations by 2023.

Torchy's tacos are not your average two-ingredient tacos; they are unique, elaborate, and enormous tacos with at least seven ingredients and silly names like the Dirty Sanchez and the Trailer Park. They also have delicious sides like authentic Mexican Street corn, which is grilled corn topped with spicy mayo, lime juice, and cotija cheese.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $

Specialty Dish: Trashy Torchy's Tacos

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Related Read: 15 Best & Most Popular Buffet Restaurants in America

9. Moe's Southwest Grill

Credit: WHSV

Moe's Southwest Grill is known for its fresh ingredients, humanely raised meat, and cute publicity campaigns. Moe's also has a variety of vegan options, making it a great choice for diners with dietary restrictions.

One of the most unique items on the menu is the stack, which is a sort of Mexican lasagna. The stack is layered with tortillas, beans, cheese, and salsa and can be made with either chicken or tofu. Moe's also offers a wide variety of sides, including chips and guacamole, rice and beans, and corn on the cob. Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, Moe's Southwest Grill is a great option for Mexican food.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $S

Specialty Dish: Homewrecker

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

10. Chuy's

Credit: Visit Prince William

Chuy's is the perfect place to enjoy a tasty and inventive Tex-Mex meal. The restaurant chain is known for its fun and quirky atmosphere, which is inspired by Austin's "Keep Austin Weird" motto. From the moment you step inside a Chuy's restaurant, you will be transported back in time with retro memorabilia, Mexican decorations, and '50s-style vinyl booths and chairs.

The menu features all of your favorite Tex-Mex dishes, including enchiladas, fajitas, chile rellenos, quesadillas, burritos, and bottomless baskets of chips, salsa, and their famous creamy jalapeno dip. No matter what you are in the mood for, Chuy's has something to satisfy your appetite.

Of course, do not forget to save room for dessert! The restaurant's signature dessert is the Deep Dish Cookie, a warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is the perfect way to end your meal.

If you are looking for a fun and unique dining experience, be sure to check out Chuy's. You will not be disappointed.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $S

Specialty Dish: Steak Burrito

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

11. Pappasito's Cantina

Credit: Visit Houston Texas

Pappasito's Cantina is considered one of the best Mexican restaurant chains in the U.S., and it is easy to see why. The food is top-notch, and the family-style dining experience is second to none.

Interestingly, the chain was founded by a Greek family. However, their Mediterranean heritage has not stopped them from creating one of the most beloved Mexican restaurant chains.

The signature dish at Pappasito's is the sizzling mixed grill fajita plate, which is cooked to perfection and served with fresh, made-to-order guacamole. The guacamole is prepared tableside by your server, and it is absolutely delicious.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Cost: $$

Specialty Dish: Softshell Tacos

Cuisine: Mexican

12. Wahoo's Fish Tacos

Credit: Eater Las Vegas

Wahoo's Fish Taco is a popular Mexican restaurant chain that was founded in 1988. It is best known for its fish tacos, which are a fusion of Brazilian, Hawaiian, and Asian flavors.

Additionally, the menu changes depending on the state in which the restaurant is located. This allows for a unique dining experience filled with fresh and local ingredients no matter where you visit Wahoo's.

However, the restaurant is not only limited to tacos. They also serve enchiladas, burritos, and other Tex-Mex items. No matter what you order at Wahoo's, you are sure to enjoy a delicious meal.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $$

Specialty Dish: Outer Reef Burrito

Cuisine: Mexican

13. On the Border

Credit: Menu and Price

On the Border is a restaurant chain that specializes in Tex-Mex cuisine. The restaurant was founded in 1982 in Dallas, Texas, and is named after the border of Texas and Mexico. On the Border has nearly 120 locations in 29 states across the U.S.

The menu features a variety of mesquite-grilled dishes, including their Mexican Surf and Turf, Spicy Chorizo Quesadillas, and Monterey Ranch Chicken. The restaurant also offers a variety of margaritas, beers, and wines.

On the Border is a great choice for diners looking for a casual dining experience with generous portions of flavorful Tex-Mex food. The mesquite-grilled dishes are a highlight of the menu, and the margaritas are a perfect complement to the meal.

The restaurant is also a great choice for groups, as it can accommodate large parties. Whether you are looking for a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner, On the Border is a great option for Mexican food lovers looking for a night out with friends.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $$

Specialty Dish: Fish tacos

Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex

14. Uncle Julio's

Credit: Open Table

If you are in the mood for some authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, then you need to head on over to Uncle Julio's! This restaurant chain specializes in scratch-made Tex-Mex dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. With 30 locations across the United States, there is bound to be an Uncle Julio's near you.

From the moment you step into an Uncle Julio's restaurant, you will feel like you have been transported to Mexico. With its rustic décor and Mexican-inspired architecture, Uncle Julio's creates a truly authentic dining experience. And, of course, the food is absolutely unbeatable.

Some of the must-try items on Uncle Julio's menu include their famous fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, and bowls. Be sure to order one of their signature margaritas to complete your meal! Whether you are dining in or taking out, Uncle Julio's is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $$

Specialty Dish: Steak fajitas

Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex

15. El Torito

Credit: El Torito

If you are looking for an authentic Mexican dining experience, look no further than El Torito. This California-based restaurant has been serving up delicious Mexican cuisine since 1954, and it is easy to see why it has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike for so many years.

El Torito is best known for its flame-grilled fajitas, which are served sizzling hot and topped with all your favorite toppings. Other popular menu items include enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and the Create Your Own Combo plate, which allows you to mix and match some of the most popular dishes.

No matter what you order, you are sure to enjoy a delicious and authentic Mexican meal at El Torito. So next time you are in the mood for some good Mexican food, be sure to check out this beloved restaurant chain.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cost: $$

Specialty Dish: Carne asada and shrimp

Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex


Whether you are in the mood for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos, there is sure to be a Mexican restaurant on this list that will satisfy your cravings. So next time you are in the mood for some good Mexican food, be sure to check out one of these 15 best Mexican restaurant chains in the U.S. Bon appetit!

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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