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Two tacos with crispy fried shells filled with meat and avocado and salsa sit on a white plate next to a bowl of orange consomé.
Many of the Twin Cities’ Mexican restaurants have been in operation for decades.
El Burrito Mercado

15 Fantastic Mexican Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Mole-smothered enchiladas, heirloom corn tortillas, and rich lamb birria

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Many of the Twin Cities’ Mexican restaurants have been in operation for decades.
| El Burrito Mercado

From Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul, to East Lake Street’s bustling restaurant corridor, to the arts-industrial neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis, and more, Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to a rich tapestry of Mexican restaurants. Head out for birria tacos served with savory cups of consomé, fluffy pork and sweet raisin tamales, and fiery bowls of pozole. From the chefs and owners who’ve been refining their menus for decades, to relative newcomers celebrating traditional preparations, the Cities have no shortage of marvelous options. Here’s a trail of excellent Mexican restaurants to explore.

Note that these restaurants are listed geographically.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

El Burrito Mercado

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El Burrito Mercado sits in a sun-drenched, inviting spot on Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul. Since owners Tomas and Maria Silva opened in 1979, the restaurant and market, now run by daughters Milissa Silva-Diaz (CEO of El Burrito Mercado) and Suzanne Silva, and granddaughter Analita, has become a pillar of Mexican cuisine in the Cities. There are a few ways to eat here: Hop in line at the cafeteria-style El Cafe Express, have a seat in the El Cafe Y Bar dining area, or choose from an array of hot and cold items in the deli. If you’re dining in, try the fluffy tamales or the molcajete Mexicano, which combines ribeye steak, chicken, chorizo, shrimp and vegetables in a hot stone mortar, to share.

Los Ocampo

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Restaurateurs Armando Ocampo and Lilia Zagal first opened Los Ocampo in 2003 — today, the couple operates seven restaurant sites around the metro, from sit-down options like this University Avenue location to express cafes at Midtown Global Market and City Center. Try the pozole, the tripa tacos, or the huarache, made with a handmade masa cake and refried beans plus your choice of meat — choose between Mexican sausage, lengua, chipotle beef, and more. Pair lunch with horchata or agua de jamaica.

Homi Mexican Restaurant

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Owners Hortencia Reyes and Miguel Lopez opened Homi (a combination of their names) in 2010. More than a decade later, their son chef Miguel Lopez leads the kitchen, serving family recipes in a sunny, recently updated space on University Avenue. The whole menu — from the chille relleno to the empanadas to the fried beans — is made from scratch. On the weekends, stop by with Hidalgo-style barbacoa de Borrego served with consomé; menudo and pozole are available every day of the week. Homi also works with Minnesota Central Kitchen to provide hundreds of weekly meals for those in need.

El Norteño Authentic Mexican

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El Norteño specializes in cuisine from the north of Mexico: Chefs and owners Estela and Clementina Serna, a sister duo, have been serving dishes from their hometown of Chihuahua in Minneapolis’s Longfellow neighborhood since 1996. Try the enchiladas with homemade mole sauce or the Norteño tacos (made with beef, bacon, pork, peppers, and onions), and save room for flan. The restaurant has a breezy patio and rain garden out back, set away from Lake Street’s busy traffic.

Tacos El Primo

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Tucked into a bright yellow and orange storefront on Minnehaha Avenue, Tacos El Primo is a marvelous spot for all kinds of Mexican dishes — from its namesake al pastor, chicharron, and carnitas tacos to calda de camaron, picaditas, flautas, and gorditas. Try the pambazo, made with bread that’s dunked in red guajillo pepper sauce and fried, then stuffed with potatoes and a choice of meat. Owner Maria Lorena Ortega Yepez also operates a food truck on East Lake Street.

Sonora Grill

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Chefs and owners Alejandro Castillon and Conrado Badilla opened Sonora Grill as a taco stand in Midtown Global Market in 2011, and attracted a following within months — a few years later, the pair moved into a permanent space on Lake Street. The restaurant’s Sonora-style tacos are notable: Try the pork guajillo with chipotle salsa, the shrimp tempura, or the veggie taco with roasted mushrooms and poblano peppers. Pair dinner with a “La Violeta” margarita, made with lavender syrup and creme de violette.

Taqueria y birrieria las cuatro milpas

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Reputed to be the first restaurant to bring birria tacos to Minneapolis and St. Paul, Las Cuatro Milpas is a mainstay of East Lake Street’s food corridor. Chef and owner Hector Hernandez, originally of Mexico’s Zacatecas state, serves cups of hot lamb, beef, and goat birria stew — the birria and quesabirra tacos are a must, and the pizzabirria, loaded with generous amounts of cheese, is worth sampling.

La Loma Tamales

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La Loma Tamales serves some of the best tamales in the Twin Cities. Chefs and owners Noelia and Enrique Garcia came to Minneapolis from Quebrantadero, a town in south central Mexico — today, they run several La Loma retail locations around the Cities. Their stand at Midtown Global Market on Lake Street also serves tacos and chilaquiles, but don’t walk away without one each of the chicken, pork and sweet corn tamales. For something sweet, grab a pineapple or sweet raisin tamale to go.

Tacos El Kevin

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Tacos El Kevin, owned by Saturnina Valdez and Estevan Olivares, serves some of the Cities’ best Mexican cuisine out of a small, brightly painted storefront in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn neighborhood. The taco menu here, led by chef Armando Dominguez, is immensely popular: Try the crispy tacos dorados, or the al pastor or carne, served with whole grilled green onions, and grab a cup of sliced mangos or a passionfruit shaved ice.

Andale Taqueria & Mercado

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Follow Nicollet Avenue all the way south to Richfield for a stop at Andale Taqueria & Mercado, one of the Cities’ most-loved taquerias. From the specialty menu, try the sopa de mariscos, made with crab legs, squid, and other seafood in a tomato-based broth, or crispy, golden chimichangas. Andale made an appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2020: Guy Fieri heartily endorses chefs and owners Fernando Mellado-Barboza and Jorge Rangel Castro’s al pastor tacos, made with dense blocks of achiote paste, guajillo peppers, cumin, and orange juice.

Manny's Tortas

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Manny’s Tortas was one of the first tenants at Midtown Global Market — years later, chefs and owners Manny and Victoria Gonzalez, a brother-sister duo, are still serving juicy tortas on Lake Street. Try the Manny’s Special, a hefty torta filled with grilled steak, onion, mushroom, tomato, and jalapeño all grilled together, then topped off with ham and cheese. Save room for sweet arroz con leche and flan.

Owner Isela Perez Pacheco first opened Maya Cuisine on Central Avenue in 2012: Stop by for elotes, pozole, and tacos. The restaurant has both cafeteria-style and sit-down dining options in a colorful, courtyard-like space — don’t miss out on the extensive salsa bar, or the popular Sunday brunch, which offers everything from tamales, buttered codfish, and sopa de mariscos to pancakes, French toast, and desserts.

El Taco Riendo

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El Taco Riendo is a mainstay of Northeast Minneapolis’s Central Avenue. During the pandemic, the restaurant was burned down in a fire — it’s since been resurrected in full form. Owner Miguel Gomez’s menu features standouts like massive chimichangas, crispy flautas, chile relleno, tacos dorados, and caldo de res, a red Mexican beef soup. Catch the lime green food truck out and about in the warmer months.

A casual, industrial-chic restaurant in Minneapolis’s Northeast neighborhood by co-owners Jose Alarcon and Jami Olson, Centro is a great spot for creative tacos (think papas with escabeche vegetables, or cured cactus with mushrooms, kale, and caramelized onions). Chef Jose Alarcon also serves a notable brunch on Sundays: Come for the pescado tortas, the guava glitter rolls, and the passion fruit frozen margaritas. If you’re on the go, grab some masa cookies or chocolate mole cupcakes from the bakery.

Nixta Tortilleria & Mexican takeout

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Chef Gustavo Romero preserves and celebrates heirloom corn varieties at this tortilleria and takeout operation in Northeast Minneapolis. Romero’s tortillas are stunning shades of slate blue, pale yellow, and rosy brown — hand-shaped and fried, they make an excellent base for adobo pork belly tacos, tostadas with head cheese and black bean puree, and camote frito: fried sweet potatoes with piloncillo glaze and escabeche relish. Check Nixta’s Instagram page for the latest updates on takeout offerings.

Three tacos, one on a yellow corn tortilla and two on blue corn tortillas, sith in a square container. They’re filled with meat and veggies and garnished with cilantro and salsa. Two hands are visible in the corner of the frame.
Tacos from Nixta.
Tyson Crockett

El Burrito Mercado

El Burrito Mercado sits in a sun-drenched, inviting spot on Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul. Since owners Tomas and Maria Silva opened in 1979, the restaurant and market, now run by daughters Milissa Silva-Diaz (CEO of El Burrito Mercado) and Suzanne Silva, and granddaughter Analita, has become a pillar of Mexican cuisine in the Cities. There are a few ways to eat here: Hop in line at the cafeteria-style El Cafe Express, have a seat in the El Cafe Y Bar dining area, or choose from an array of hot and cold items in the deli. If you’re dining in, try the fluffy tamales or the molcajete Mexicano, which combines ribeye steak, chicken, chorizo, shrimp and vegetables in a hot stone mortar, to share.

Los Ocampo

Restaurateurs Armando Ocampo and Lilia Zagal first opened Los Ocampo in 2003 — today, the couple operates seven restaurant sites around the metro, from sit-down options like this University Avenue location to express cafes at Midtown Global Market and City Center. Try the pozole, the tripa tacos, or the huarache, made with a handmade masa cake and refried beans plus your choice of meat — choose between Mexican sausage, lengua, chipotle beef, and more. Pair lunch with horchata or agua de jamaica.

Homi Mexican Restaurant

Owners Hortencia Reyes and Miguel Lopez opened Homi (a combination of their names) in 2010. More than a decade later, their son chef Miguel Lopez leads the kitchen, serving family recipes in a sunny, recently updated space on University Avenue. The whole menu — from the chille relleno to the empanadas to the fried beans — is made from scratch. On the weekends, stop by with Hidalgo-style barbacoa de Borrego served with consomé; menudo and pozole are available every day of the week. Homi also works with Minnesota Central Kitchen to provide hundreds of weekly meals for those in need.

El Norteño Authentic Mexican

El Norteño specializes in cuisine from the north of Mexico: Chefs and owners Estela and Clementina Serna, a sister duo, have been serving dishes from their hometown of Chihuahua in Minneapolis’s Longfellow neighborhood since 1996. Try the enchiladas with homemade mole sauce or the Norteño tacos (made with beef, bacon, pork, peppers, and onions), and save room for flan. The restaurant has a breezy patio and rain garden out back, set away from Lake Street’s busy traffic.

Tacos El Primo

Tucked into a bright yellow and orange storefront on Minnehaha Avenue, Tacos El Primo is a marvelous spot for all kinds of Mexican dishes — from its namesake al pastor, chicharron, and carnitas tacos to calda de camaron, picaditas, flautas, and gorditas. Try the pambazo, made with bread that’s dunked in red guajillo pepper sauce and fried, then stuffed with potatoes and a choice of meat. Owner Maria Lorena Ortega Yepez also operates a food truck on East Lake Street.

Sonora Grill

Chefs and owners Alejandro Castillon and Conrado Badilla opened Sonora Grill as a taco stand in Midtown Global Market in 2011, and attracted a following within months — a few years later, the pair moved into a permanent space on Lake Street. The restaurant’s Sonora-style tacos are notable: Try the pork guajillo with chipotle salsa, the shrimp tempura, or the veggie taco with roasted mushrooms and poblano peppers. Pair dinner with a “La Violeta” margarita, made with lavender syrup and creme de violette.

Taqueria y birrieria las cuatro milpas

Reputed to be the first restaurant to bring birria tacos to Minneapolis and St. Paul, Las Cuatro Milpas is a mainstay of East Lake Street’s food corridor. Chef and owner Hector Hernandez, originally of Mexico’s Zacatecas state, serves cups of hot lamb, beef, and goat birria stew — the birria and quesabirra tacos are a must, and the pizzabirria, loaded with generous amounts of cheese, is worth sampling.

La Loma Tamales

La Loma Tamales serves some of the best tamales in the Twin Cities. Chefs and owners Noelia and Enrique Garcia came to Minneapolis from Quebrantadero, a town in south central Mexico — today, they run several La Loma retail locations around the Cities. Their stand at Midtown Global Market on Lake Street also serves tacos and chilaquiles, but don’t walk away without one each of the chicken, pork and sweet corn tamales. For something sweet, grab a pineapple or sweet raisin tamale to go.

Tacos El Kevin

Tacos El Kevin, owned by Saturnina Valdez and Estevan Olivares, serves some of the Cities’ best Mexican cuisine out of a small, brightly painted storefront in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn neighborhood. The taco menu here, led by chef Armando Dominguez, is immensely popular: Try the crispy tacos dorados, or the al pastor or carne, served with whole grilled green onions, and grab a cup of sliced mangos or a passionfruit shaved ice.

Andale Taqueria & Mercado

Follow Nicollet Avenue all the way south to Richfield for a stop at Andale Taqueria & Mercado, one of the Cities’ most-loved taquerias. From the specialty menu, try the sopa de mariscos, made with crab legs, squid, and other seafood in a tomato-based broth, or crispy, golden chimichangas. Andale made an appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2020: Guy Fieri heartily endorses chefs and owners Fernando Mellado-Barboza and Jorge Rangel Castro’s al pastor tacos, made with dense blocks of achiote paste, guajillo peppers, cumin, and orange juice.

Manny's Tortas

Manny’s Tortas was one of the first tenants at Midtown Global Market — years later, chefs and owners Manny and Victoria Gonzalez, a brother-sister duo, are still serving juicy tortas on Lake Street. Try the Manny’s Special, a hefty torta filled with grilled steak, onion, mushroom, tomato, and jalapeño all grilled together, then topped off with ham and cheese. Save room for sweet arroz con leche and flan.

Maya

Owner Isela Perez Pacheco first opened Maya Cuisine on Central Avenue in 2012: Stop by for elotes, pozole, and tacos. The restaurant has both cafeteria-style and sit-down dining options in a colorful, courtyard-like space — don’t miss out on the extensive salsa bar, or the popular Sunday brunch, which offers everything from tamales, buttered codfish, and sopa de mariscos to pancakes, French toast, and desserts.

El Taco Riendo

El Taco Riendo is a mainstay of Northeast Minneapolis’s Central Avenue. During the pandemic, the restaurant was burned down in a fire — it’s since been resurrected in full form. Owner Miguel Gomez’s menu features standouts like massive chimichangas, crispy flautas, chile relleno, tacos dorados, and caldo de res, a red Mexican beef soup. Catch the lime green food truck out and about in the warmer months.

Centro

A casual, industrial-chic restaurant in Minneapolis’s Northeast neighborhood by co-owners Jose Alarcon and Jami Olson, Centro is a great spot for creative tacos (think papas with escabeche vegetables, or cured cactus with mushrooms, kale, and caramelized onions). Chef Jose Alarcon also serves a notable brunch on Sundays: Come for the pescado tortas, the guava glitter rolls, and the passion fruit frozen margaritas. If you’re on the go, grab some masa cookies or chocolate mole cupcakes from the bakery.

Nixta Tortilleria & Mexican takeout

Three tacos, one on a yellow corn tortilla and two on blue corn tortillas, sith in a square container. They’re filled with meat and veggies and garnished with cilantro and salsa. Two hands are visible in the corner of the frame.
Tacos from Nixta.
Tyson Crockett

Chef Gustavo Romero preserves and celebrates heirloom corn varieties at this tortilleria and takeout operation in Northeast Minneapolis. Romero’s tortillas are stunning shades of slate blue, pale yellow, and rosy brown — hand-shaped and fried, they make an excellent base for adobo pork belly tacos, tostadas with head cheese and black bean puree, and camote frito: fried sweet potatoes with piloncillo glaze and escabeche relish. Check Nixta’s Instagram page for the latest updates on takeout offerings.

Three tacos, one on a yellow corn tortilla and two on blue corn tortillas, sith in a square container. They’re filled with meat and veggies and garnished with cilantro and salsa. Two hands are visible in the corner of the frame.
Tacos from Nixta.
Tyson Crockett

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