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Top 7 Mexican Restaurants in New Orleans for Cinco de Mayo

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.

Orange and Lime Margarita from El Gato Negro

Fresh Orange and Lime Margarita from El Gato Negro (flickr.com/missmeganphotography)

1. El Gato Negro

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.

Locations:
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

2. Superior Grill

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

3. Velvet Cactus

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

new orleans food

Patio: check. Margarita: check. Great food: check. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in NOLA at Velvet Cactus! (Photo courtesy of )

4. Felipe’s Taqueria

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.

Locations:
1. French Quarter – 301 N. Peters St
2. Uptown – 86215 S. Miro St
Hours: Vary by location, see website
Try: Queso, Nachos

5. Juan’s Flying Burrito

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

6. Taqueria Corona

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

7. Sarita’s Grill

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

P.S. If you’re dying to know more about the margaritas from El Gato Negro, check out our GoNOLA TV episode on El Gato Negro and recipe for the Pineapple Cilantro Lime Margarita.