The Most Underrated Tex-Mex Restaurants in Houston...According to You

don3.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Don Carlos makes some mean Tex-Mex and isn't always mentioned in critics' roundups.
We have a joke here at the Houston Press that if we want people to read our stories, we need only to put "burgers," "barbecue" or "Tex-Mex" in the headline. Houstonians are very loyal to the trifecta that makes up what's arguably our signature cuisine: Meat, meat and Mexican food.

We've already asked you to vote on underrated burgers and barbecue, so now it's time to complete the sacred triangle. With the incredible number of Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston, this is no easy task. Where to begin?!

I have a suggestion, if I may, that may sound strange. Houstonia Magazine just published a list of the 15 best Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston, and while I hate to direct you away from our charming site, it's a damn good guide.

I'll also direct you to our own list of the ten best Tex-Mex restaurants in town from about a year ago. It's written by the same author of the Houstonia piece, so there may be some overlap, but that's also true because some restaurants just stand out as being the best of the best.

But we don't want to know about the same old popular spots. As we've said in the last few underrated posts, we consider an underrated spot or dish to be something that isn't often covered by local or national media. We want to know which places make really good food, but may not get enough credit because they're overshadowed by other, more media-friendly spots or because, simply, not many people know about them.

Alternatively, you could consider something underrated if many people know about it, but you think it's better than anyone gives it credit for. In the case of Tex-Mex, that might be a spot like Pappasito's. It's a local chain; most people know about it. But a lot of people discount it because it's a chain. Maybe you love it, though. That would make it underrated in your book.

Leave us a note in the comments here or on Facebook, or Tweet at us to let us know what you think is the most underrated Tex-Mex spot in town and why. If your comments are particularly eloquent, we might feature them in the final roundup. We'll then tally the votes and put it to a runoff poll.

So tell us, Houston: Which Tex-Mex restaurant is el mejor?

Location Info

Pappasito's

6445 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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71 comments
Alliey Roche
Alliey Roche

Tejas Restaurant in Alief!! My second home. Fair disclosure, I worked there for awhile. But my family ate there for years before that, and has continued to in the years after. It's an excellent little family-run neighborhood business. The food is awesome, especially the seafood Joe catches, and the beer is cold.

crystlehart
crystlehart

Mi Tierra on Fairbanks N. Houston does Tex-Mex Colombian food.  Great food, good prices in a little strip center.  Bravos at 290 was great, but they closed.  Cafe Red Onion does great fusion food too.

thereddog1
thereddog1

Casa Dominguez in Bellaire quietly and inexpensively does a great job !!!!

thereddog1
thereddog1

Casa Domingez in Bellaire quietly and inexpensively does a great job !!!

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Los dos amigos is pretty good, I do like el real (underrated it's not), sylvia's used to be good now it's overpriced and mediocre.  On my crap list we find El Tiempo, Anayas, and Lupe tortilla.

Hector Ayala
Hector Ayala

Andy's Home Cafe on 11th St. just off Studewood..24 hrs.!

TexasSpeechie
TexasSpeechie

Come on Oak Forest peeps, where is the love for Juanita's on T. C. Jester. I'll also second the vote for Tejas out in Alief.

HeightsFan
HeightsFan

Cyclone Anaya's! Love the crab nachos, margaritas, ceviche and their happy hour rocks!

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

El Jardin on Harrisburg, El Patio on Westheimer (the food, not the bar), Taqueria Del Sol on 45S

ktibbitt
ktibbitt

Mamacitas in Deer Park-food is always outstanding!!

BP88
BP88

Los Tios for sure. They've been doing the same thing forever,

Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson

Maybe not the most well known joint, but my personal favorite- Mi Sombrero (Garden Oaks).

johnatrisk
johnatrisk

El Paraiso...so much better than La Mexicana, and never crowded. The hot sauce alone is worth the trip.

Kendra Clemons
Kendra Clemons

La Hacienda on Memorial has the gooiest, cheesiest, bubbling hot enchiladas, at reasonable prices.

DaJarBot
DaJarBot

El-Tapatio in Independence Heights off Shepherd, it's a quiet nondescript place with awesome food and a really great value. It has that amazingly addictive spicy green sauce you only find at food trucks. Their Fajitas for 2 is enough to serve 4 and comes with all of the great fixings it should. 


http://www.yelp.com/biz/taqueria-el-tapatio-houston

Jason Moseley
Jason Moseley

Loma Linda off of Wayside Tony's off of Ella Blvd. La Mexicana off of Montrose

Evan Gabriel Bernard
Evan Gabriel Bernard

Andy's! I have heard people say many not-nice things about them, but their menudo kills me with it's deliciousness, and they serve it seven days a week! Their Colombian enchiladas are killer, too.

cukatero
cukatero

Proving that Hobbits are also an ethnically diverse population, I would offer the Hobbit Cafe as the most under-rated restaurant for supremely solid Tex-Mex food.  A whole "south of the border" section on the menu hints at the theme, but does the quality of the food no justice. The portions, even by Tex-Mex standards are enormous, and the guacamole is always served in over-generous portions. Ingredients are as fresh as each new LOTR movie, and don't leave you feeling like Bilbo Sag-gins. One taste of the mole on the enchiladas, and you'll be convinced that El Shire is the place to go for solid Tex-Mex. 

holly.faison
holly.faison

Romero's Las Brazas at TX6 and Longenbaugh

kennedygw
kennedygw

That's a nice reference to Houstonia's Mex piece, but the writers there basically rehash the stuff they wrote years ago for the Houston Press, and just add flashing lights, new doodads, loud bells and whistles. In other words, it's old news to most foodies, and some of the results from crowd-sourcing can actually be more interesting for finding new places that might have escaped the radar.

KristopherJ
KristopherJ

Why have people not mentioned Chuy's?  The creamy jalapeno alone is enough to get it on the list, surely!

Aggie06
Aggie06

Tejas Restaurant! Some of the best mexican food in Houston. It holds the title as the oldest restaurant in Alief.  I have been going here since I was a kid. Joe, the owner, catches his own sea food in the gulf every weekend and serves it on a weekly menu. You can't beat this place.


http://www.yelp.com/biz/tejas-restaurant-houston

nhcoleman
nhcoleman

La Hacienda on Memorial is El Mejor, don't understand why it did not make the 10 best list, my family goes there often, great prices, great portions, great service, awesome green sauce, the enchiladas are consistently excellent and I'm also a huge fan of their tacos al carbon and their rellenos. I'm a big guy and always leave there completely stuffed.

nguyenhm16
nguyenhm16

@cukatero Everything I've eaten at Hobbit Cafe seems to have come straight from Sysco, which is a shame because I loved it back when it was called the Hobbit Hole and located where the parking lot for Barnaby's River Oaks location now sits.

lexxiepup
lexxiepup

There's an El Ranchero in Houston - Meyerland area. Used to be one in Atascosita.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt editor

@kennedygw Fair question, though I have one of my own: If a place is truly good and truly worthy of attention, why should you not continue to write about it/cover it in relevant articles? I can tell you that we put a ton of research into our Mexican food feature, re-visiting old favorites (many of which were no longer considered good enough to make the cut) and checking out new places we'd never been (i.e., The Don'Key in Pasadena and Fiesta en Guadalajara on Irvington)—places that certainly don't get the attention they deserve. But all those in between places—the ones that show up on multiple lists—they're there for a reason. They're excellent examples of Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine and have stood the test of time.

txmxbancroft
txmxbancroft

@kennedygw I think that's her gist pointing out the Houstonia story, with exception of a couple new kids and taco trucks it's the same old same old list. And some have gone to hell and shouldn't be there still: Tampico jumps to mind.

Ybarra
Ybarra

@nguyenhm16 @cukatero this is getting old...is sysco supposed to be bad quality food, or evil or something else?

you know they probably serve well over 1/2 of all restaurants in the US

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@RoosterMcGee 

No, but Houstonia's "Houston's Top 15 Best Tex-Mex Restaurants" includes locations like Pasadena and Pearland. Generally "Houston" means Houston and the surrounding metropolitan area. 

txmxbancroft
txmxbancroft

@kshilcutt @kennedygw I'm not going to dispute that the same old wonderful Mexican places shouldnt' be on the list, that would be silliness squared. Just that this mostly years-old list shouldn't be the cover of your magazine, as though it's some ground-breaking piece of news.

nguyenhm16
nguyenhm16

@Ybarra It's not bad or evil or anything like that, it all just tastes the same to me. In a lot of instances, food from Sysco is recognizable in taste, like anything fried. Plus, chain restaurant grade food doesn't jive with the image they're trying to project, so I feel a little hoodwinked to be honest.

Clarendon
Clarendon

@txmxbancroft @kshilcutt @kennedygw


You sorely misunderstand the mission of Houstonia, if you think it is to deliver Houston 'news'. It's more boosterish, celebrating the best among us, whether its Tex Mex, Dentists, Doctors, Suburbs, Lawyers etc. 

kshilcutt
kshilcutt editor

@txmxbancroft @kennedygw It isn't meant to be ground-breaking news—just a fun guide to awesome food around the city. Thanks for reading!  :)

Ybarra
Ybarra

@nguyenhm16 @Ybarra they sell food that can be cooked and seasoned as you see fit, just like HEB or Viet Hoa

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