Special Report

The Best Mexican Restaurant in Every State

Colman Andrews
Source: Courtesy of Antojitos Izcalli

Alabama
> Restaurant: Antojitos Izcalli
> Location: Tuscaloosa
> Yelp rating: 5

Tacos (including versions with calf’s head, tripe, or beef tongue, as well as other meats) on freshly made tortillas are a big draw here. There are also quesadillas, tostadas, gorditas, and carne asada, among other dishes — but, warns the menu, chips and salsa are not available. There’s no alcohol either — because the restaurant is small and, according to a statement from the owner on Yelp, “adding alcohol to our menu would lead to longer waiting time for an available table.” Nonetheless, the food is rated as “wonderful,” “outstanding,” and “delicious.”

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Source: Courtesy of Serrano's Mexican Grill - Anchorage

Alaska
> Restaurant: Serrano’s Mexican Grill
> Location: Anchorage
> Yelp rating: 4

House-made chorizo and salsas and signature beers are among the selling points at the two locations of this Anchorage hotspot. The menu offers everything from tiger prawn ceviche and cheddar cheese queso to fajita burritos and tortas (Mexican sandwiches) served with cilantro-parmesan fries.

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Source: Courtesy of La BAMBA mexican grill restaurant

Arizona
> Restaurant: La Bamba Mexican Grill Restaurant
> Location: El Mirage
> Yelp rating: 5

“Street Tacos,” “Mexican Food,” and “Only Cash For Now” read the signs in the window of this bare-bones storefront place in El Mirage, northwest of Phoenix. The blackboard menu is short, offering a small selection of bargain-priced tacos, quesadillas, a salad and a torta, plus occasional specials, but the food is the real deal — simple and, according to Yelp, “amazing.”

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Source: Photo by Erin J. via Yelp

Arkansas
> Restaurant: Taquería El Palenque
> Location: Little Rock
> Yelp rating: 4.5

“Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it,” wrote one Yelp reviewer. Six variations on fajitas and ten shrimp dishes are among the specialties, and the barbacoa tacos get raves.

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Source: Courtesy of Guelaguetza

California
> Restaurant: Guelaguetza Restaurante
> Location: Los Angeles
> Yelp rating: 4

The late, legendary L.A. restaurant critic Jonathan Gold called this “one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in the country.” Mole, Oaxaca’s most famous culinary creation, is a specialty at this cavernous 25-year-old institution, available in six varieties and as part of numerous dishes (like the massive chicken tamale with black mole). In addition to more standard dishes, the menu includes authentic regional fare like chapulines (grasshoppers) with jalapeños and Oaxacan cheese, pizza-like tlayudas with various toppings, and squash blossom empanadas. The list of mezcals, another Oaxacan specialty, is encyclopedic.

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