L&J Cafe named Best Tex-Mex in Texas

Matt's El Rancho voted second place

Tex-Mex has gained popularity throughout the world as the ultimate comfort food, and its origins are as diverse as the dishes you might find on a typical menu. Ingredients like cumin and wheat flour were introduced by the Spanish long before the birth of the Lone Star State and began to find their way into Tejano home cooking. During the 1880s, the "chili queens" of San Antonio began slinging tamales and chili con carne in plazas to the hungry masses and famous figures from around the country; for some this was their first taste of spicy food. By 1900, the combo plate was born at The Original Mexican Food Restaurant in San Antonio, adding the classic sides of rice and beans that are now a fundamental component of the Tex-Mex lexicon. The trend spread. Today, Tex-Mex is characterized by big portions and heavy use of cumin, cheese, pork, beef and spices, whether it be in the form of fajitas, enchiladas, nachos, breakfast tacos or chili con queso. 

  • Mi Dia From Scratch
    Grapevine

    Traditional Tex-Mex flavors and Mexico City recipes make for a happy marriage on the menu of Mi Dia From Scratch in Grapevine. Options include chipotle bacon quesadillas, fajita nachos, tableside guacamole and a range of Tex-Mex combos served with guajillo rice and refried beans.
    Photo courtesy of Mi Dia From Scratch

  • Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia
    San Antonio

    Located in San Antonio's vibrant Market Square, Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia is known for its 24/7 Mexican and Tex-Mex specialties, including fajita tacos, bean and cheese nachos, cheese enchiladas and excellent margaritas.
    Photo courtesy of bryan... / Flickr

  • Garcia's Mexican Food
    San Antonio

    The Garcia family has been serving Tex-Mex to hungry San Antonio diners for half a century. The brisket nachos are a highlight, as is the tender and spicy chile verde. The place is small but well worth the wait.
    Photo courtesy of Garcia's Mexican Food / Facebook

  • Enchiladas Ole
    Fort Worth

    The kitchen at Enchiladas Ole in Fort Worth uses no additives, preservatives or lard in preparing their Tex-Mex menu, which includes half a dozen types of enchiladas, including the Texican with smoked brisket, cheddar cheese and ancho chili sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Enchiladas Ole / Facebook

  • El Manantial Restaurant
    Amarillo

    Diners are never lacking for choice when browsing the sizable menu at El Manantial Restaurant in Amarillo. Kick off the day with a breakfast of migas or chilequiles, and at lunch or dinner, go for the barbacoa tacos or homemade enchiladas. It's hard to go wrong.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / GemaBlanton

  • Rosario's
    San Antonio

    Local favorite Rosario’s has enjoyed fame far beyond San Antonio in recent years, thanks in large part to its contemporary Tex-Mex menus. Nachos come in several varieties, and the excellent cheese enchiladas come in traditional Texas fashion with chile con carne and cheese.
    Photo courtesy of Rosario's Mexican Cafe y Cantina

  • Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
    Austin

    Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin has combined two Texas favorites, Mexican food and barbecue. The Tex-Mex menu features dishes like cerveza beef fajitas with tomato serrano salsa and sea salt lime guacamole, or smoked carnitas with caramelized onions and tomatillo habanero salsa. Smoked corn and red potato salad are just as welcome as charro beans and Mexican rice on the side.
    Photo courtesy of Rose McIntyre

  • Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant
    Fort Worth

    Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant has been a Fort Worth institution since it first opened its doors in 1935. Today, diners still enjoy Tex-Mex classics, like beef tenderloin fajitas, chile con queso and fresh-made guacamole.
    Photo courtesy of Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant

  • Matt's El Rancho
    Austin

    Opened in 1952, Matt's El Rancho is one of Austin's oldest Tex-Mex restaurants. Diners in the know kick things off with the Bob Armstrong Dip, made with melted cheese, seasoned beef and guacamole. Sizzling fajitas are always a favorite, while the No. 1 Dinner satisfies big appetites with a beef taco, beef enchilada, pork tamale, Spanish rice and refried beans.
    Photo courtesy of Matt's El Rancho

  • L&J Cafe
    El Paso

    L&J Cafe, originally called Tony's Place, opened for business near the Texas-Mexico border in 1927. The fourth generation now runs the restaurant, known for dishes like chile con queso with green chile strips, chicken and beef fajitas and shredded beef tacos.
    Photo courtesy of L&J Cafe / Facebook

The top 10 winners in the category Best Tex-Mex in Texas are as follows:

  1. L&J Cafe - El Paso
  2. Matt's El RanchoAustin
  3. Joe T. Garcia's Mexican RestaurantFort Worth
  4. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ - Austin
  5. Rosario’sSan Antonio
  6. El Manantial Restaurant - Amarillo
  7. Enchiladas Ole - Fort Worth
  8. Garcia's Mexican Food - San Antonio
  9. Mi Tierra Cafe y PanaderiaSan Antonio
  10. Mi Dia From Scratch - Grapevine

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Cynthia J. DrakeJessica DupuyMichael Hiller (EscapeHatchDallas.com), Ilene Jacobs (10Best), Susan Lanier-Graham (WanderWithWonder.com), June Naylor and David & Rebekah Schroeder (From Texas to Beyond) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the state's food scene.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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Cynthia J. Drake

Cynthia J. Drake is an Austin-based freelance...  Read More

Cynthia J. Drake is an Austin-based freelance travel and food writer for Texas Highways, Texas Journey, Family Vacation Critic and others, and she is the author of Budget Travel for the Genius. Read up on her latest adventures on her website, or follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Cynthia J. Drake

Cynthia J. Drake is an Austin-based freelance travel and food writer for Texas Highways, Texas Journey, Family Vacation Critic and others, and she is the author of Budget Travel for the Genius. Read up on her latest adventures on her website, or follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Jessica Dupuy

Jessica Dupuy

Michael Hiller

Michael Hiller

Ilene Jacobs

Ilene Jacobs

Susan Lanier-Graham

Susan Lanier-Graham

June Naylor

June Naylor

David & Rebekah Schroeder

David & Rebekah Schroeder