Special Report

The Best Mexican Restaurants in Every State

Source: Courtesy of El Camino Real via Facebook

Kansas
> Restaurant: El Camino Real
> Location: Kansas City
> Yelp rating: 4.5

Yelp reviewers hail this casual, colorful little place for serving “the best tacos in Kansas City” (it’s on the Kansas side of the metropolis). “Tortillas made fresh right in front of you and al pastor tacos from a giant spit,” enthused one fan. “What more could you want!” Another wrote “Very picky about my Mexican and will tell you this is authentic.”

Source: Courtesy of The Mayan Cafe

Kentucky
> Restaurant: Mayan Café
> Location: Louisville
> Yelp rating: 4.5

This restaurant’s chef, Bruce Ucán, is a Mayan from Yucatán, and his menu includes dishes from his home region not often seen in U.S. Mexican restaurants. Sikil-pak is a dip of pumpkin seeds and roasted tomatoes; cochinita pibil is slow-roasted pork in achiote (annatto seed) sauce; tikin-xic is silver carp in achiote-lime sauce. And customers rave about the tok-sel lima beans, cooked with green onions, parsley, lime juice, and ground roasted pumpkin seeds. Ucán closed the restaurant on March 16 but reopened on June 22. “We welcome you back,” said a statement on his website, “inside our (socially distanced) building and onto our (constantly sanitized) patio.”

Source: Courtesy of El CABO VERDE

Louisiana
> Restaurant: El Cabo Verde
> Location: Shreveport
> Yelp rating: 5

Using gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients, local and organic when possible, El Cabo Verde serves pork tamales wrapped in banana leaves, quesadillas made with housemade corn tortillas, Louisiana Gulf shrimp with mojo sauce, and other specialties that avoid the usual Mexican-restaurant clichés. “Food was delicious, prices are reasonable, and service was on point,” wrote one Yelp reviewer.

Source: Courtesy of Taco Escobarr

Maine
> Restaurant: Taco Escobarr
> Location: Portland
> Yelp rating: 4

This is probably one of the few places in the Northeast that serves San Antonio-style puffy tacos (the tortillas are deep-fried raw so they balloon up), as well as the more conventional soft and crispy varieties. Three meat fillings, two seafood choices, and two vegetarian ones are available (the latter including avocado slices fried in panko breading). Beyond tacos, Yelp reviewers have reported that “the chipotle sweet potato taquitos…were perfect,” the El Nino nachos were “stacked high with chips and tons of toppings,” and the avocado salad “was refreshing and fulfilling.”

Source: baltimoreheritage / Flickr

Maryland
> Restaurant: Clavel
> Location: Baltimore
> Yelp rating: 4.5

This family-owned taquería and mezcalería makes its own corn and flour tortillas and serves an assortment of simple but imaginative tacos — carnitas with crispy pork cracklings and green sauce, lamb cooked in Mexican coffee and Negra Modelo beer, lightly battered cod with pickled cabbage slaw and habanero cream, etc. There are also ceviches, queso fundido with chorizo (or vegetables, or shrimp), and quesadillas, among other things. According to the Clavel website “Outdoor seating is now open! Masks required. Order through food truck and find a seat after you’ve ordered, gracias.”