Special Report

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Every State

Source: Courtesy of Taqueria "el gallo rosa"

Hawaii
> Restaurant: El Gallo Rosa
> Location: Kailua
> Yelp rating: 4

With this counter-service restaurant near Honolulu, writes a critic for the Frolic Hawaii food and travel website, “Hawaii finally gets a taste of elevated Mexican fare.” The modest menu offers just six tacos, five quesadillas or sincronizadas (two-tortilla quesadillas), four “snacks,” and one dessert. The relatively small choice didn’t stop one local resident from telling Yelp readers that the place served her “PROBABLY THE TASTIEST FOOD I’VE EVER EATEN.”

Source: Courtesy of Pueblo Lindo Mexican Restaurant Meridian

Idaho
> Restaurant: Pueblo Lindo
> Location: Meridian
> Yelp rating: 4.5

The extensive menu here includes plenty of seafood and vegetarian dishes, as well as chicken, beef, and pork in various guises (chicken breast in chipotle sauce, carne asada tacos, pork carnitas, etc.). “Excellent menu, great service, and good food,” enthused a fan from Boise on Yelp. Still serving both dine-in and take-out meals, the restaurant assures potential patrons on its Facebook page that “We are still hanging in there, trying to keep our customers and staff safe while following the state and city COVID guidelines.”

Illinois
> Restaurant: Frontera Grill
> Location: Chicago
> Yelp rating: 4

Rick Bayless is the country’s leading non-Mexican authority on Mexican food, and this is his flagship. Roasted poblano gazpacho, Veracruz-style fresh corn tamales, grilled swordfish with squash blossom crema, and crispy carnitas tacos are among the current menu offerings. Cochinita pibil — achiote-marinated sucking pig roasted in banana leaves — is a Saturday night special. Bayless’ more upscale restaurant immediately next door, Topolobampo, is temporarily closed, but is offering fixed-price tasting menus upstairs in the restaurant library, currently dubbed Topolo 2.0.

Source: Courtesy of Festiva

Indiana
> Restaurant: Festiva
> Location: Indianapolis
> Yelp rating: 4.5

Yelp reviewers love the costillas here — honey-and-guajillo-braised pork ribs with chipotle crema. Also on the menu are the “best guacamole in town” (according to the restaurant), as well as several taco variations, carne asada, and an unusual preparation of whole rainbow trout with morita chile salsa. Festiva currently offers “limited socially distanced seating on our covered patio and picnic tables” as well as takeout and delivery — and requires that customers wear masks.

Source: Courtesy of El Bajio Mexican Restaurant

Iowa
> Restaurant: El Bajio Mexican Restaurant
> Location: Cedar Rapids
> Yelp rating: 4.5

The large menu here ranges from ceviche-like aguachiles and shrimp soup through both Mexican- and “Texano”-style tacos in numerous variations and all the way to hearty pork stew or stuffed poblano chiles served with house-made tortillas. Grilled meats are also a focus, with marinated flame-grilled steaks in several forms filling out the ample choice of dishes.