10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Denver, A Zesty Fiesta for Your Tastebuds
By Diana Rowe
Denver Local Expert
Do you love Mexican food? We do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy Mexican cuisine in Denver. We've diligently scouted out only the también el restaurantes, the creme de la tequila of Mexican joints, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of Denver restaurants. We take your Mexican restaurant journey seriously. We suggest great places to hang out or take out, located throughout the neighborhoods of Denver, so you can explore the Mile High City’s Hispanic culinary influences wherever you live and play. We share the places that get great buzz, like Lola Denver in Highlands. and its Coastal Cuisine, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like digging into the salsa-inspired Mexican grub while listening to the mariachi bands at the authentic El Tejado. We mix in the new ones, such as Chef Sandoval’s creations at La Sandia Stapleton. For Happy Hour, follow the locals to Mezcal, east of Downton on Colfax. Find your hangover cure during breakfast at Benny's Restaurante y Tequila Bar. How about kicking back on the patio of the long time favorite Blue Bonnet Café in South Denver on Broadway? When the Mexican craving hits, we'll make sure you get your fix!
10 Playa Azul Mexican Restaurant
Playa Azul features the best of authentic Mexican style cuisine making this place a great one to bring your friends and family. The restaurant is a neighborhood favorite, and offers a casual, friendly dining atmosphere that you are sure to enjoy. Playa Azul also features a friendly, professional staff of great people, who will make sure you enjoy your visit and that Playa Azul lives up to its reputation for pleasant dining and superb cuisine. The menu offers an inspired array of selections that will satisfy anyone looking for authentic Mexican style cuisine. Be sure to ask your server about our new selections, daily specials, and special chef's creations. Whether you're in the mood for casual dining or a special occasion, Playa Azul is sure to please! (3039759871)
9 Benny's Restaurante y Tequila Bar
As twilight falls over the gently sloped streets of Capitol Hill, it's not unusual to see a crowd lingering at Seventh and Logan at Benny's Restaurante y Tequila Bar. Put your name in for a table at this ever-lively Mexican eatery and you'll soon be part of the throng. Happily, food and drink are worth the wait -- well-stuffed enchiladas, crispy sopapillas with honey, and delicious frozen strawberry margaritas by the pitcher. Friendly, attentive waitstaff move the evening along smoothly, and authentic Mexican fare continues to please Denverites after nearly 20 years. Judging by the hungry crowds every night, Benny's is just getting started. (303-894-0788)
Within its simply-adorned space, Taqueria Patzcuaro, a 33-year-old Highland landmark, offers delicious eats for a bargain. Whet your appetite with one of their signature fruit drinks, and munch on complimentary chips and salsa. Then, peruse the menu and try to come to a decision, faced with the selection of tacos, chiles rellenos, burritos, and enchiladas. Although it may be tough to make up your mind, know that you can't go wrong, no matter what you choose! Patzcuaro is also home to the traditional Mexican Paloma, served the way his father prepared it with fresh pressed lime juice, salt, Cazadores Tequilla, and Mexican Squirt. (303-455-4389)
7 El Tejado
Enjoy live mariachi music at El Tejado, and indulge in authentic Mexican goodies with friends. The place isn't exotic, but it does promise consistent food, affordable prices, and fun atmosphere. Seafood dishes are the specialty, especially huachinango (garlic-marinated fried red snapper) and campechana (shrimp, oysters, and octopus in a cool, tangy sauce). All the usual suspects can be found as well, including a weekend pozole (pork and hominy stew). Brunch is also a fun time at El Tejado as the mariachi band gears up to entertain the family. For concerned Bronco fans, the mariachis are also fans, and they're known for taking more frequent breaks during the game. (303-722-3987)
6 Jack-N-Grill Mexican Cantina Restaurant
With three Denver metro locations, chances are a Jack-n-Grill Mexican restaurants is just around the corner, such as their newest location in Westminster. You might recognize the Jack-n-Grill's name as the home of the infamous 7-lb.burrito from the Travel Channel's Man Vs Food" episode -- or any of their other 50 some awards over the years. Jack-n-Grill dishes their family recipes, including two choices of chili: flavorful smoky, slightly spicy red chili and/or traditional green, not too hot. In fact chef/owner Jack says, "Comida sin chile, no es comida," or "A meal without chili is not a meal." One taste, and you'll agree too. Our favorite dishes include the Grilled Coastal Shrimp Tacos and the Carne Adovado Quesadilla, an appetizer big enough for main entree. The Mexican dishes are tasty, and the ambiance is family-friendly, with a price point to make everyone happy! (303-428-4788)
Yet another of the pleasant surprises Colfax Avenue has to offer, Mezcal is known for top-shelf margaritas and reasonably priced portions of no-frills, south-of-the-border cuisine. Two types of lime combined with high-quality triple sec and tequila make for a perfectly crafted 'rita that's topped several local "best-of" lists. Soft tacos, gigantic burritos, and hearty pozole are oft-ordered entrees, but there's much to love on the menu. Equally appealing as a spot for a lingering lunch or a late dinner after a show at the Bluebird Theater across the street, Mezcal is a neighborhood favorite. (303-322-5219)
4 Blue Bonnet Cafe
One of the oldest family owned and operated restaurants in Denver is the Blue Bonnet and one of the best restaurant patios in Denver. Located on South Broadway, the tasty made-from-scratch Mexican dishes are complemented by unique sauces with a kick-ass bite: Pineapple Haberno, Roasted Tomato, and Raspberry, and their equally exceptional margaritas: strawberry basil and cucumber fire roasted jalapeno! Ask for a gluten-free menu and you'll not be disappointed either! Co-owners are brother and sister team, Marci Rosenberg and Gary Mobell, and along with their 18-year veteran head chef, Luis Galvez, weather-permitting join them on the open patio or in their restaurant anytime. ((303) 778-0147)
A rooftop deck that affords gorgeous views of the Front Range makes Tamayo a natural after-work gathering spot. Nationally-renowned chef Richard Sandoval's offering in Denver, this sleek, contemporary Mexican restaurant is appreciated equally for its to-die-for margaritas and tequilas and its unexpected, delicious takes on old standards. Here, the chile relleno is a single roasted pepper, artfully arranged amid shrimp, Spanish cheese, and sour cream. Carnitas de puerco (pork tenderloin with avocado puree and salsa) and mole poblano are popular dinner choices. The in-house pastry chef concocts scrumptious sweets worth saving room for. (720-946-1433, 646-285-0796)
2 Lola Denver
Garnering high praise in its early years, Lola quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Innovative Mexican and Latin American fare, an emphasis on seafood, and a near-comprehensive selection of tequilas ensure a quality experience. Try fresh guacamole prepared tableside, sample seafood enchiladas, or choose from a wide variety of fish, grilled to perfection and adorned with tasty sauces. Desserts include homemade sorbet and blackberry almond masa cake. Lola is open Tues--Fri 4pm--6pm, Sat & Sun 2:30pm--5pm. Dinner served nightly at 5pm. If you're looking for brunch, stop by Sat & Sun 10am--2pm for the surprising creations, like Chicken Fried Steak sweet potato hash, chorizo gravy. (720-570-8686)
1 La Sandia Stapleton
Located in north Denver's exciting new shopping, dining and entertainment complex, Northfield Stapleton, La Sandia Tequila Cantina is a sexy Denver Mexican restaurant serving south-of-the-border Latin fusion with style, refined by owner-chef Richard Sandoval. Chef Richard Sandoval has gained an international reputation for his contemporary Latino Cuisine (Tamayo and Zengo fame), and Sandoval continues to dish Latin fusion in Denver at La Sandia Tequila Cantina. La Sandia's menu is Cantina-style Latin fusion, not your typical Denver Mexican restaurant. Menu items worth sampling are tableside guacamole, Shrimp Ceviche, Chile Relleno, Chicken Zarape, and Achiote Salmon. (3033739100)
About Diana Rowe
Diana Rowe landed in Denver more than 25 years ago and has never tired of exploring the Mile High City with her family, her husband, or on her own. The nooks and crannies of Denver’s neighborhoods are as exciting as the tried-and-true attractions, and Denver is always an adventure waiting to happen. As a travel writer for more than 14 years, Diana has explored many local and international destinations. But home is where the heart is, and Denver is forever etched as one of Diana’s favorite destinations.
Read more about Diana Rowe here.