Best Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas
Let’s get this over with: Yes, El Dorado is next to a strip club on a less-than-scenic stretch of Vegas roadway. But don’t let its salty environs deter you from digging into the fresh Mexican plates coming from the kitchen—dishes like the chicken mole sampler with three varieties of the distinctive sauce or the Yucatán-style cochinita pibil pork marinated in achiote. And with an emphasis here on GMO-free, organic ingredients, you can feel a little better about absolutely stuffing your face.
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, formerly of TV’s Too Hot Tamales, offer a refined-yet-approachable take on Mexican cuisine at the Mandalay Bay and Forum Shops locations of Border Grill. Start with one of the numerous margaritas and some guac and ceviche to share, then dig into dishes like Veracruz-style snapper or short-rib enchiladas. Don’t miss Sunday brunch, when $35 gets you an unlimited parade of cooked-to-order small plates.
This petite east-side eatery doesn’t look like much from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. Step inside and you’re welcomed into a delicious crash course in Poblano-style cooking. Among the familiar dishes here, you’ll find options like chanclas, a sliced roll filled with chicken and avocado smothered in chorizo sauce, or chicken enchiladas in rich mole Poblano. If you have room for dessert, consider the churros de cajeta, fried pastry stuffed with caramelized goat’s milk.
Blink and you’ll drive right past this petite West Charleston eatery, where the menu is vast, the vibe is friendly and there may be a band wedged into one corner, serenading you while you chow. Coastal cuisine is the specialty, so opt for whole fried tilapia with your choice of sauce, juicy langoustines or, if you’ve brought a crowd, the seafood mixed grill, a heaping feast of oceanic awesomeness. Paired with a couple frosty Coronas, you’ve got a transportive meal that tastes fresh from the playa.
The first sign that this tiny restaurant is the real deal is the clientele: predominately Mexican with tables full of tacos, bowls of menudo and other tasty plates. The second sign: the menu, devoted to authentic D.F.-style fare. Step up to the counter and order the cochinita pibil or tinga tacos, a tasty torta or a bowl of the consomme loco—a chicken soup with rice, cilantro and avocado that feels positively curative.
You can get tacos and fajitas anywhere. But a bubbling cauldron full of tender meat, strips of nopal, jalapeños, green onions, chunks of crumbly cheese and half an avocado? That’s why you come to Los Molcajetes, where the signature dish comes with your choice of protein, warm tortillas and a drink umbrella jutting from the overflowing goodies. It’s a meal that serves at least two and is best washed down with a chilled Mexican beer. If you happen to stop by on a night when mariachis are making their rounds, all the better.
Las Vegas’s favorite neighborhood Mexican, Lindo’s three locations are busy at virtually all times of day, slinging solid, filling fare for purists and picky eaters alike. The lunch specials are good value, but dinner is a better bet, with the menu of standards—including goat stew, chile colorado and a full slate of beef tongue dishes—brought to life by an atmosphere that’s never less than lively.
When you want authentic street tacos that are fast, cheap and lick-your-fingers good, you want Tacos El Gordo. There’s nothing fancy at this San Diego-born taquería, and that’s the point. Just step up to the counter and order tacos, sopes, mules and quesadillas with a full range of meaty fillings, from carne asada and adobada to lengua (beef tongue) and sesos (beef brains).
The prices are good and there are two convenient locations, but Doña Maria’s is popular with the city’s large Mexican community for one reason above all others: tamales. Come Christmas time, the place is popping with locals picking up orders for holiday celebrations, but you can devour the mild pork, spicy chicken or cheese and green chili tamales all year long.