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Rafa's on Lovers Lane.
Rafa's on Lovers Lane.
Rafa's Cafe Mexicano/Facebook

10 Essential Dallas Tex-Mex Restaurants

Where to get your enchilada and queso fix.

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Rafa's on Lovers Lane.
| Rafa's Cafe Mexicano/Facebook

Is the time-honored institution of combo plates and ranchero sauce known as Tex-Mex fading quietly into the night? Texas Monthly seems to think so — at least where Houston is concerned. Thankfully, here in Dallas traditional Tex-Mex seems to be going strong, even in the face of the modern Mexican trend that's swept the restaurant scene in recent years. Farm-to-table ingredients are great and all, but neon orange queso and ranchero sauce-smothered enchiladas will always have a special place in our hearts. Next time you're in the mood for a combo plate, check out one of these 10 essential Dallas Tex-Mex destinations.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Avila's

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4714 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 520-2700
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Just about every publication in Texas has bestowed Avila’s with Tex-Mex honors, and for good reason. The food here is a blend of authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex, and home to some of the best damn mole sauce in town. If you’re not planning on getting sloshed on margaritas — or even if you are — do order the impossibly refreshing cantaloupe agua fresca. [Photo: Mike S./Foursquare]

2. Herrera's Cafe

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3311 Sylvan Ave
Dallas, TX 75212
(214) 954-7180
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Hererra’s has been moving all over Dallas for some time, but the food has always been consistently great. Now that they’ve relocated to Sylvan Ave, you can still find those ridiculously good sour cream enchiladas that have a cult-like following in Dallas, and plenty of their highly-addictive salsa. If you’re really broke, maybe they’ll let you just eat bowl after bowl of that gratis borracho bean soup. Herrera's Cafe/Facebook]

3. Luna's Tortilla Factory

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8524 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75235
(214) 747-2661
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One of Tex-Mex’s greatest contributions to the food world is the little pockets of awesomeness that we call breakfast tacos, and Luna’s has some of the best. Founded in 1924, this place churns out some of the best tortillas in town, then fills them up with egg, chorizo, potato, and whatever other delicious fillings your heart desires. The pork tamales, available daily, are also perfect for when those masa-wrapped cravings strike. [Photo: Google Maps]

4. Manny's Uptown

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3521 Oak Grove Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 252-1616
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If you need a patio on which to drink copious margaritas, get thee to Manny’s. This quirky-looking establishment seems a little out of place in Uptown, but as soon as you try the food, you’ll understand exactly why it’s lasted so long. You can’t really go wrong with much on the menu at Manny’s but, the queso, margaritas, and brunch dishes are not to be missed. [Photo: Manny's Uptown/Facebook]

5. Mena's Tex-Mex Grill

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2810 E Trinity Mills Rd, Ste 197
Carrollton, TX 75006
(972) 478-5750
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Sure, you’ll have to drive to the 'burbs, but the Tex-Mex at Mena’s in Carrollton is thoroughly worth the drive. Just about everything here is good, but their house special salsa verde is particularly addictive, along with bomb queso and even better fajitas. Wash it all down with one of their famous guava margaritas. [Photo: Mena's/Facebook]

6. Mesero

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2822 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 891-6426
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Most Tex-Mex is decidedly (and delightfully) low-brow, but Mesero on Henderson Avenue is fancier than you might expect. This upscale spot from Mi Cocina founder Mico Rodriguez has three different kinds of queso, which is really all you should need in terms of convincing. You can also find fancied-up traditional combination platters, Oaxacan enchiladas, and American dishes like a Kobe beef hot dog for your blasphemous friends who abhor Tex-Mex.

7. Mia's

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4322 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 526-1020
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This Lemmon Ave staple is always packed, and for good reason. The Tex-Mex here oozes family tradition, down to the passed-down-from-Mama brisket tacos that make this place one of Dallas’ best Tex-Mex establishments. Ask for plenty of gravy to douse those tacos in, and you’ll finally understand why it’s so hard to get a table at Mia’s on Sunday afternoon. [Photo: Google Maps]

8. Pepe & Mito's

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2911 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1901
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Pepe’s & Mito’s has long been serving up their fresh tortillas, perfect chile rellenos, and other Tex-Mex awesomeness in Deep Ellum. The food is so good here that even pesky Guy Fieri couldn’t stay away. Swing by on the weekends for Tex-Mex brunch goodies, like migas and huevos rancheros. Oh, and plenty of margaritas.

9. Rafa's Cafe Mexicano

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5617 W Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 357-2080
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When a restaurant has been around for more than 20 years in a place as fickle as Dallas, you know they’re legit. Rafa’s has been open since 1994, and its owner has been a Tex-Mex staple in our city since the 1970s. The food here is straight-up Tex-Mex, like enchiladas and quesadillas, all of which is worth the copious amounts of grease you’ll be ingesting.

10. El Ranchito

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610 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-4238
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This Oak Cliff establishment focuses on Northern Mexican cuisine, with plenty of Tex-Mex influence. The fajitas here are always perfectly grilled and served on fresh, housemade tortillas. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, there are plenty of entrees here that you won’t find at typical Tex-Mex venues that are absolutely worth a try – particularly the whole roasted cabrito (baby goat). [Photo: El Ranchito]

1. Avila's

4714 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219
Just about every publication in Texas has bestowed Avila’s with Tex-Mex honors, and for good reason. The food here is a blend of authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex, and home to some of the best damn mole sauce in town. If you’re not planning on getting sloshed on margaritas — or even if you are — do order the impossibly refreshing cantaloupe agua fresca. [Photo: Mike S./Foursquare]
4714 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

2. Herrera's Cafe

3311 Sylvan Ave, Dallas, TX 75212
Hererra’s has been moving all over Dallas for some time, but the food has always been consistently great. Now that they’ve relocated to Sylvan Ave, you can still find those ridiculously good sour cream enchiladas that have a cult-like following in Dallas, and plenty of their highly-addictive salsa. If you’re really broke, maybe they’ll let you just eat bowl after bowl of that gratis borracho bean soup. Herrera's Cafe/Facebook]
3311 Sylvan Ave
Dallas, TX 75212

3. Luna's Tortilla Factory

8524 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235
One of Tex-Mex’s greatest contributions to the food world is the little pockets of awesomeness that we call breakfast tacos, and Luna’s has some of the best. Founded in 1924, this place churns out some of the best tortillas in town, then fills them up with egg, chorizo, potato, and whatever other delicious fillings your heart desires. The pork tamales, available daily, are also perfect for when those masa-wrapped cravings strike. [Photo: Google Maps]
8524 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75235

4. Manny's Uptown

3521 Oak Grove Ave, Dallas, TX 75204
If you need a patio on which to drink copious margaritas, get thee to Manny’s. This quirky-looking establishment seems a little out of place in Uptown, but as soon as you try the food, you’ll understand exactly why it’s lasted so long. You can’t really go wrong with much on the menu at Manny’s but, the queso, margaritas, and brunch dishes are not to be missed. [Photo: Manny's Uptown/Facebook]
3521 Oak Grove Ave
Dallas, TX 75204

5. Mena's Tex-Mex Grill

2810 E Trinity Mills Rd, Ste 197, Carrollton, TX 75006
Sure, you’ll have to drive to the 'burbs, but the Tex-Mex at Mena’s in Carrollton is thoroughly worth the drive. Just about everything here is good, but their house special salsa verde is particularly addictive, along with bomb queso and even better fajitas. Wash it all down with one of their famous guava margaritas. [Photo: Mena's/Facebook]
2810 E Trinity Mills Rd, Ste 197
Carrollton, TX 75006

6. Mesero

2822 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
Most Tex-Mex is decidedly (and delightfully) low-brow, but Mesero on Henderson Avenue is fancier than you might expect. This upscale spot from Mi Cocina founder Mico Rodriguez has three different kinds of queso, which is really all you should need in terms of convincing. You can also find fancied-up traditional combination platters, Oaxacan enchiladas, and American dishes like a Kobe beef hot dog for your blasphemous friends who abhor Tex-Mex.
2822 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

7. Mia's

4322 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219
This Lemmon Ave staple is always packed, and for good reason. The Tex-Mex here oozes family tradition, down to the passed-down-from-Mama brisket tacos that make this place one of Dallas’ best Tex-Mex establishments. Ask for plenty of gravy to douse those tacos in, and you’ll finally understand why it’s so hard to get a table at Mia’s on Sunday afternoon. [Photo: Google Maps]
4322 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

8. Pepe & Mito's

2911 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
Pepe’s & Mito’s has long been serving up their fresh tortillas, perfect chile rellenos, and other Tex-Mex awesomeness in Deep Ellum. The food is so good here that even pesky Guy Fieri couldn’t stay away. Swing by on the weekends for Tex-Mex brunch goodies, like migas and huevos rancheros. Oh, and plenty of margaritas.
2911 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226

9. Rafa's Cafe Mexicano

5617 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209
When a restaurant has been around for more than 20 years in a place as fickle as Dallas, you know they’re legit. Rafa’s has been open since 1994, and its owner has been a Tex-Mex staple in our city since the 1970s. The food here is straight-up Tex-Mex, like enchiladas and quesadillas, all of which is worth the copious amounts of grease you’ll be ingesting.
5617 W Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209

10. El Ranchito

610 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208
This Oak Cliff establishment focuses on Northern Mexican cuisine, with plenty of Tex-Mex influence. The fajitas here are always perfectly grilled and served on fresh, housemade tortillas. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, there are plenty of entrees here that you won’t find at typical Tex-Mex venues that are absolutely worth a try – particularly the whole roasted cabrito (baby goat). [Photo: El Ranchito]
610 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208

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