Joe T. Garcia's | Ninfa's On Navigation

The 11 Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in Texas Are Iconic for a Reason

I don't know about you, but I basically grew up eating Tex-Mex. I loved all of it - the chips and queso, huevos rancheros with refried beans, chipotle chile nachos, chile relleno burritos smothered in sour cream, chicken fajitas, and chicken enchiladas. These foods are the cornerstones of Tex-Mex cuisine, and the best Tex-Mex restaurants are right here in Texas. Yes, you can find these comfort foods in Mexican restaurants across the nation, but they originated right here in the Lonestar state. The best Tex-Mex in Texas could be right in your neighborhood!

The votes are in for USA Today's 2018 Readers Choice awards for the best Tex-Mex in Texas, and the results will be announced soon. We wanted to get ahead of the game and put together our list of the best places for Tex-Mex in Texas. And, because it's so hard to narrow the list down to a single favorite, we ordered or favorites in alphabetical order by city. We just couldn't choose the best of the best!

Is your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant on this list? Give us a shout in the comments if we missed it - and don't forget to tell us why you love it!

1. Tacos Garcia in Amarillo

What started as a tiny taco stand quickly turned into a must-stop destination when you're in the Panhandle. The husband and wife team opened with a 20-seat Mexican cafe that only served burritos before quickly rising to meet the demand.

Today, they serve up all the Tex-Mex favorites (like a killer tortilla soup). Make sure to stop by on a Friday to snag one of their famous green chile chicken tamales!

2. El Tejavan in Amarillo

Look no further than El Tejavan if you want one of the best tacos of your life. The tacos al pastor at El Tejavan are legendary, thanks to the super juicy beef raised right around the corner. If for whatever reason tacos aren't your thing (which, must make you crazy, right?), their tortas are out-of-this-world good.

2. Fonda San Miguel in Austin

Austin's Fonda San Miguel has had the same chef since they opened - over 30 years ago! No wonder their food is so consistently good. You won't find a better mole sauce (which was once rumored to be made from dried chiles smuggled across the border) and their chile relleno is dazzlingly good.

4. Cuquita's in Dallas

If you're looking for the freshest corn tortillas and bacon-flavored refried beans, this is the place. The corn tortillas are so fresh they're still piping hot when they reach the table!

In addition to the Tex-Mex standards, you'll also find a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes like super rich mole, perfectly cooked chilaquiles, and gorditas filled with poblanos and queso.

5. L&J Cafe in El Paso

There are a lot of great Mexican restaurants in El Paso, but none of them live up to our classic Tex-Mex standards like the L&J Cafe. It was originally known as "Tony's Place" in the 1920s, where they served up home brew during Prohibition. Today, they're serving up homemade Tex-Mex comfort food, and their salsa is so good you can get a bottle to-go!

6. Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth

This Fort Worth staple has been in business since 1935. Not much has changed since then - including their cash-only payment method! It's completely worth it to hit the ATM before heading over to Joe T. Garcia's, though. You'll fall in love with their mouthwateringly good fajitas and enjoy a few margaritas on the spacious patio.

7. The Original Ninfa's in Houston

Ninfa's on Navigation is on everyone's Mexican restaurant list - and for good reason. Mama Ninfa is the center of legend and lore, one of the original Mexican restaurants to bring beef fajitas to the mainstream public. She called her fajitas "tacos al carbon" or "tacos al ninfa" and we've never looked back. You'll find all your Tex-Mex favorites here, done right.

8. Hugo's in Houston

Hugo is living the American dream - after crossing the border, he worked his way up from being a dishwasher to becoming a chef and restaurant owner. He wanted to bring people authentic Mexican food with a Texas spin.

They use beef ribeye for their carne asada, making this nopales salad-topped dish completely unique. Their presentations are gorgeous and the flavors are on point. You won't have a bad meal at Hugo's!

9. Ms. G's Tacos N' More in McAllen

This south Texas destination couldn't be any more classic Tex-Mex. The owner of this counter-service restaurant is making scratch-made menu items, just like her grandmother did.

You'll find everything from breakfast tacos to quesadillas to family-style portions of chile con carne. Considering that they have a drive-through window, this is definitely quality fast food done right!

10. Mi Tierra Cafe in San Antonio

You'll get more than just a meal at this 24-hour San Antonio restaurant: just walking in those doors is quite the experience! Get serenaded by the mariachi band as you chow down on chilaquiles at 3 in the morning, or enjoy a bowl of menudo to nurse your hangover the next morning.

No matter what time it is, you'll be able to walk into those doors, become submersed in their display of bright lights, and get a classic Tex-Mex meal.

11. The Original Blanco Cafe in San Antonio

You can't go wrong with a place that got voted the best enchiladas in San Antonio five years in a row! The corn tortillas retain their texture as they're stuffed full of ooey, gooey cheese and melted to perfection. Top it off with a just-spicy-enough red sauce and you have a winner!

Don't see your favorite on the list? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what it is - and why!

Watch: The 10 Best Chicken Fried Steaks in Texas