10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

Andrew Ehlert
Written By Andrew Ehlert
Andrew has called Raleigh home for over 20 years and loves to explore everything that the city has to offer. From exploring the local restaurants, diving into the Raleigh art scene, and everything in between.

Embark on a culinary journey through Raleigh, where the vibrant flavors of Mexico come alive in every bite. The city’s Mexican dining scene is a treasure trove of authentic cuisine, blending centuries-old traditions with a modern twist. From classic favorites to inventive creations, Raleigh’s Mexican restaurants are a testament to the rich tapestry of flavors that Mexican cooking has to offer, inviting you to explore a taste experience that’s as diverse as it is delicious.

Our 10 Favorite Mexican Restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina

Although the Triangle area has dozens of incredible Mexican restaurants, our team here at We Raleigh Magazine have compiled our list of our 10 favorite Mexican restaurants based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of food
  • Price
  • Customer service
  • Reader voting & recommendations

We recommend trying out as many different Mexican restaurants as possible so you can put together your own list of favorite restaurants in the Raleigh area!

1. Torero’s Mexican Restaurant

Background & Description:

Torero’s Mexican Restaurant, nestled on Atlantic Avenue, is a cornerstone of Raleigh’s Mexican dining scene, offering a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine in a vibrant, festive atmosphere. As soon as you step inside, you’re welcomed by the warm colors of its decor and the inviting aromas of traditional Mexican cooking. Torero’s has been a family-run establishment for years, priding itself on its dedication to authenticity, quality ingredients, and recipes passed down through generations.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

There’s something about Torero’s that just feels like a celebration. Whether it’s the friendly staff, the lively music, or the colorful, mural-adorned walls, dining here is an experience that goes beyond just eating out. Their extensive menu offers everything from sizzling fajitas and hearty enchiladas to fresh ceviches, each dish more delicious than the last. It’s the kind of place where memories are made, over shared meals and laughter.

What Makes Them Unique:

Torero’s stands out for its commitment to traditional Mexican flavors and techniques. Unlike places that cater to a more Americanized palate, Torero’s stays true to the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine. Their homemade salsas, hand-pressed tortillas, and secret family recipes bring a slice of Mexico to Raleigh, making every meal an authentic culinary adventure.

2. Salt & Lime Cabo Grill

Background & Description:

Salt & Lime Cabo Grill brings the vibrant flavors and laid-back vibe of Cabo San Lucas to the heart of Raleigh. Located on Falls of Neuse Road, this restaurant is a sunny, spirited escape from the everyday, where modern Mexican cuisine meets the relaxed charm of a coastal retreat. With its bright, airy decor and an open kitchen that fills the space with the sights and smells of cooking, Salt & Lime invites guests to savor the moment and indulge in a culinary journey.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

Salt & Lime Cabo Grill captures the essence of beachside dining with its innovative dishes, refreshing cocktails, and an ambiance that’s all about enjoying life. The menu is a creative blend of traditional Mexican flavors and contemporary culinary techniques, with highlights including their signature tacos, inventive seafood dishes, and mouthwatering guacamole prepared tableside. It’s the perfect spot for both casual lunches and special dinners, offering a taste of the Baja coast right here in Raleigh.

What Makes Them Unique:

What sets Salt & Lime apart is its dedication to creating a dining experience that feels like a mini vacation. Their commitment to freshness is evident in every dish, with ingredients sourced locally and seafood brought in daily. The restaurant also boasts an impressive tequila and mezcal selection, encouraging guests to explore the depth and variety of Mexico’s iconic spirits. Salt & Lime isn’t just a meal; it’s a getaway.

3. Centro

Background & Description:

Centro, situated in the heart of downtown Raleigh, is where the vibrant essence of Mexico City’s streets meets the culinary sophistication of modern Mexican cuisine. This restaurant is a love letter to the rich traditions and innovative spirit of Mexico, offering a menu that’s both a tribute and a reinvention. Walking into Centro, guests are enveloped in an atmosphere that combines rustic charm with contemporary elegance, making it a standout destination for Mexican dining in Raleigh.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

Centro captivates with its ability to balance tradition and innovation. The menu features classic dishes reimagined with a modern twist, showcasing the depth and diversity of Mexican cuisine. From mole poblano that tells a story with every bite to tacos that are a canvas for culinary creativity, Centro offers an unforgettable dining experience. The restaurant’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients further enhances the flavors and supports the community.

What Makes Them Unique:

What sets Centro apart is its dedication to celebrating Mexican culture in all its forms. The restaurant not only serves exquisite food but also acts as a cultural hub, hosting events that highlight the arts, music, and traditions of Mexico. Additionally, Centro’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, including support for local charities, reflects a deep-rooted ethos that dining can be both delicious and meaningful.


4. Jose and Sons Bar and Kitchen

  • Address: 4112 Pleasant Valley Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612
  • Website: joseandsons.com

Background & Description:

Jose and Sons Bar and Kitchen offers a heartfelt fusion of Mexican flavors with a distinct Southern twist, located in Raleigh’s bustling Pleasant Valley area. This family-operated establishment prides itself on blending the warmth and hospitality of the South with the bold, festive flavors of Mexico. The result is a unique dining experience that feels both familiar and entirely new, set in a space that’s as inviting as a family gathering.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

There’s an undeniable warmth to Jose and Sons, where every dish served is a celebration of heritage and innovation. The restaurant’s fusion menu, featuring items like chorizo-stuffed hush puppies and jalapeño mac ‘n’ cheese, perfectly embodies the culinary dialogue between Southern and Mexican cuisines. It’s this inventive approach, combined with a lively atmosphere and genuine hospitality, that makes dining here a joyous affair.

What Makes Them Unique:

Jose and Sons stand out for their daring culinary fusion and deep-rooted family values. Their commitment to authenticity and quality is evident in every plate, with ingredients sourced from local farms and recipes that have been passed down through generations. The restaurant’s vibrant decor, featuring elements inspired by both Mexican and Southern cultures, creates a backdrop that’s as dynamic as their menu. Moreover, their innovative beverage program, highlighting an array of tequilas and craft cocktails, adds another layer of excitement to the Jose and Sons experience.


5. San Marcos Mexican Restaurant Raleigh

Background & Description:

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant Raleigh brings the authentic taste of Mexico to the heart of North Carolina. With a commitment to authenticity, this family-owned gem offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere that’s perfect for family dinners, friendly gatherings, or a casual meal out. Known for its traditional decor and vibrant ambiance, San Marcos is a place where every meal is a celebration of Mexican culture and cuisine.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

What draws us to San Marcos is its dedication to serving genuine Mexican dishes crafted from time-honored recipes. The menu is a delightful exploration of Mexico’s diverse culinary regions, from hearty tacos and enchiladas to exquisite seafood dishes and savory moles. Plus, their homemade salsas and tortillas add an extra layer of authenticity and flavor to every bite.

What Makes Them Unique:

San Marcos stands out for its vibrant celebrations of Mexican holidays and traditions, creating a cultural experience that goes beyond dining. Their special events, like live mariachi performances and traditional dance showcases, immerse guests in the richness of Mexican heritage. Furthermore, San Marcos’ commitment to using fresh, high-quality ingredients ensures that each dish not only tastes authentic but also highlights the best of Mexican culinary artistry.


6. El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant

Background & Description:

El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, nestled in downtown Raleigh, offers a vibrant escape into the flavors and festivities of Mexico. This lively spot is renowned for its dynamic atmosphere, colorful decor, and a menu that captures the essence of Mexican street food and traditional cuisine. El Rodeo is the go-to destination for those seeking an authentic Mexican dining experience, complete with all the warmth and hospitality Mexico is known for.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

El Rodeo enchants with its extensive selection of dishes that cater to all tastes, from spicy to savory and everything in between. The restaurant shines with its signature margaritas, enchiladas, and fajitas, each dish prepared with a level of care and authenticity that transports you straight to the heart of Mexico. The lively ambiance, friendly service, and consistent quality make every visit a memorable one.

What Makes Them Unique:

El Rodeo’s unique appeal lies in its ability to blend traditional Mexican flavors with a modern dining experience. Their outdoor patio offers an ideal setting for enjoying Raleigh’s beautiful evenings, while the indoor dining area, with its festive decorations, sets the stage for a fun and engaging meal. Additionally, their commitment to providing a great value, with generous portions and reasonable prices, ensures that El Rodeo is a place where everyone can enjoy the best of Mexican cuisine without breaking the bank.


7. La Santa Modern Mexican Food

  • Address: 222 Glenwood Ave #107, Raleigh, NC 27603
  • Website: lasantanc.com

Background & Description:

La Santa Modern Mexican Food is a culinary gem nestled in Raleigh’s Glenwood South neighborhood, offering a contemporary twist on traditional Mexican cuisine. This stylish eatery is celebrated for its innovative menu, chic decor, and vibrant atmosphere, making it a favorite among those seeking an upscale dining experience. La Santa’s commitment to authenticity is evident in every dish, blending classic flavors with modern culinary techniques.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

La Santa captivates with its unique approach to Mexican cuisine, offering dishes that are both familiar and refreshingly new. The restaurant’s signature dishes, including creative tacos, modern ceviches, and inventive entrees, are made with locally sourced ingredients and presented with artistic flair. The lively bar scene, featuring an extensive selection of tequilas and mezcals, complements the dining experience, making La Santa a go-to spot for foodies and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

What Makes Them Unique:

What sets La Santa apart is its dedication to creating a memorable dining experience that goes beyond the plate. The restaurant hosts regular events, including tequila tastings and live music, adding an extra layer of excitement to the dining experience. Moreover, La Santa’s modern, artful ambiance provides the perfect backdrop for a night out, making every visit feel like a special occasion.


8. La Rancherita

  • Address: 4325 Glenwood Ave #3000, Raleigh, NC 27612
  • Website: laranchnc.com

Background & Description:

Situated in the bustling Crabtree Valley area, La Rancherita offers a slice of Mexican culture and cuisine in a warm, family-friendly setting. This beloved Raleigh institution is known for its hearty portions, friendly service, and a menu that features a wide array of traditional Mexican dishes. La Rancherita’s inviting atmosphere and commitment to quality have made it a staple for both locals and visitors seeking authentic Mexican flavors.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

La Rancherita wins hearts with its classic Mexican fare, served up in a casual yet vibrant environment. From sizzling fajitas and rich mole dishes to fresh guacamole prepared tableside, the menu offers something for everyone. The restaurant’s emphasis on family dining, with options that cater to all ages, makes it an ideal spot for gatherings and celebrations.

What Makes Them Unique:

La Rancherita stands out for its genuine commitment to tradition and quality. The restaurant takes pride in its recipes, passed down through generations, offering diners a taste of true Mexican hospitality. Additionally, La Rancherita’s location within Crabtree Valley Mall makes it a convenient dining destination for shoppers and movie-goers, offering a delicious escape from the day’s activities.


9. El Tapatio Restaurante

Background & Description:

El Tapatio Restaurante, located on New Bern Avenue, is a local favorite for those in search of an authentic Mexican dining experience in Raleigh. This vibrant restaurant is celebrated for its lively atmosphere, colorful decor, and a menu that pays homage to the rich culinary traditions of Mexico. With a focus on authenticity and a passion for hospitality, El Tapatio offers a welcoming space where families and friends can gather to enjoy traditional Mexican dishes and drinks.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

El Tapatio charms with its extensive menu of Mexican classics, from succulent tacos and enchiladas to hearty burritos and sizzling fajitas. The attention to detail in every dish, using only the freshest ingredients and traditional cooking methods, ensures a genuine taste of Mexico with every bite. The friendly staff and festive ambiance add to the overall experience, making every visit feel like a celebration.

What Makes Them Unique:

What sets El Tapatio apart is its commitment to providing an immersive Mexican dining experience. The restaurant frequently hosts live mariachi music, adding an extra layer of authenticity and entertainment to your meal. Additionally, their outdoor patio offers a delightful al fresco dining option, perfect for enjoying Raleigh’s beautiful weather while indulging in delicious Mexican cuisine.


10. Las Marias

Background & Description:

Tucked away on Ronald Drive, Las Marias is a hidden gem within Raleigh’s Mexican restaurant scene, offering a cozy retreat for those seeking traditional Mexican fare in a more intimate setting. This family-owned restaurant prides itself on its warm, inviting atmosphere and a menu that features authentic dishes inspired by the family’s roots in Mexico. At Las Marias, every meal is served with a side of genuine hospitality, making guests feel right at home.

Why We Love This Mexican Restaurant:

Las Marias captures the essence of Mexican home cooking, with a focus on simplicity, flavor, and tradition. The menu, though modest, is meticulously crafted, featuring everything from street-style tacos to complex moles that speak to the depth of Mexican cuisine. The restaurant’s casual, homely vibe makes it an ideal spot for casual lunches, cozy dinners, or simply a place to unwind with friends and family over good food.

What Makes Them Unique:

The charm of Las Marias lies in its ability to transport diners to Mexico through its culinary offerings and ambiance. The restaurant stands out for its dedication to authenticity, from the decor that reflects Mexican culture to the use of traditional ingredients and recipes. Moreover, Las Marias’ commitment to family and community is evident in its service, creating a dining experience that’s both personal and memorable.

Andrew Ehlert

Andrew Ehlert

Andrew has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for over 20 years and loves to explore everything that the city has to offer. From reviewing local businesses and restaurants, exploring the Raleigh art scene, or staying up to date with local news, Andrew is always connected with the community. Andrew strives to provide We Raleigh Magazine with the best reviews and news directly from the mind of a local!

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