As a native Texan, I have an innate love and appreciation of Mexican food. Within the first few months of living in New Orleans, I took it upon myself to seek out the best local options, because, let’s face it: Cinco de Mayo doesn’t come around nearly as often as it should. After more than my share of hit or miss experiences, I have compiled a list of seven places I’ve found to be affordable, consistent, and (most importantly) able to serve up a great queso dip. In no particular order, here are my picks.
The French Market location is especially convenient for dining al fresco – not to mention, perfect for people watching. Plan a day of browsing the local vendors at the Market and walking around the area – there is a plethora of shops within walking distance on Decatur St.
1. French Quarter – 81 French Market Place (overlooking the French Market)
2. Lakeview – 300 Harrison Avenue
Hours: Monday: closed. Tuesday-Saturday: 11 – 2; 5 -10
Try: Fresh Fruit Margaritas, Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Expect to wait a bit if you are visiting Friday or Saturday nights, but it shouldn’t take too long and the super-strong drinks make it all worthwhile. Superior is right on the streetcar line, and offers both indoor seating and quasi-outdoor (covered patio) seating.
Location: Uptown – 3636 St. Charles Ave
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 – 10, Saturday 11 – 11, Sunday 11 – 10
Try: Fajitas, Uptown Quesadillas
This one is a relatively new addition to New Orleans (and my list), but offers a great patio and you’ll love the eclectic local artists’ work decorating the walls. Keep it in mind as a place to watch the Saints games this season!
Location: Lakeview – Intersection of Argonne & Harrison
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 4:30 – 10, Thursday-Saturday 4:30 – 11
Try: Chicken Mole, Guacamole
Fast, fresh, and assembly-line style production means you watch your meal come together right before your eyes. I love that the French Quarter location stays open late, so it’s available after shows or as a late-night option.
1. French Quarter – 301 N. Peters St
2. Uptown – 86215 S. Miro St
Hours: Vary by location, see website
Try: Queso, Nachos
This funky NOLA-style cantina has two locations – one in the Lower Garden District on Magazine and the other in Mid-City right off the Canal Street streetcar line. Try one of their namesake burritos, or opt for their generously-sized taco plates. They have plenty of veggie options, too!
Locations: Lower Garden District – 2018 Magazine St., Mid-City – 4724 S. Carrollton Avenue
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Try: Chorizo Queso, Blackened Redfish Tacos, Bacon Azul Quesadillas
This no fuss, casual spot has been an Uptown favorite for years — and once you visit, you’ll understand why. Mix-and-match tacos a la carte – they’ve got everything from standard beef, chicken and fish to more adventurous authentic Mexican cuisine offerings like tongue. Their platters are also generously filling, and offer a variety of options for those who want to try a little of everything, and their black bean soup is the best around.
Location: Uptown – 5932 Magazine St.
Hours: Lunch daily – 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Dinner – Monday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Try: Cebollitas, Black Bean Soup, Chorizo Tacos and Shrimp Flautas
Surrounded by several other well-known Freret Street restaurants, Sarita’s is a bit of a local secret, with an unassuming front door and invigorating wall decor. Every meal comes with complimentary chips and queso, and the staff is very accommodating of special requests. Definitely order a margarita or, if you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter, the mango tea is a refreshing treat.
Location: 4520 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 am – 2 pm, Monday – Thursday 5 pm – 9 pm, Friday 5 pm – 9:30 pm
Try: Fish Tacos, Margarita on the rocks