Your Guide to Mexican Eats in Charlotte
In the market for a margarita? Got an appetite for authenticity? Charlotte’s vast array of Mexican restaurants offer unique flavors, vibes and dishes to have you covered no matter what dish you’re craving.
by Wynee Bermudez
Located in an unassuming shopping center, Anita's serves deliciously authentic Mexican dishes with counter-style service. Fill up on your favorites from carne asada to camarones.
Neighborhood: Rock Hill
In the mood for Mexican fusion? Ay Papi’s specialty is street tacos, seasonal flavors and craft cocktails (including an extensive margarita menu) all in the heart of downtown Rock Hill.
With more than 20 years in the industry, this family-style restaurant has mastered traditional Mexican food. Stop in for enchiladas, pollo poblano and burritos, and stay for the extensive dessert menu.
Birritaco is a must for Birria taco lovers. Try the chicken tinga and creamy poblano tacos and sip a hand-shaken margarita. Discover birria fusions like the birria or Mexican pizzas with a side of birria fries.
Inspired by the flavors brought to Baja, California, by Mexican surfers, Cabo Fish Taco has been a local favorite since its 2001 NoDa opening. Dishes like the namesake fish tacos have garnered national attention, drawing inFood Network’s Guy Fieri making this local eatery one of many Charlotte staples to make its way into “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
A Charlotte favorite since 2004, Cantina 1511 offers upscale Mexican dishes, like barbacoa and tamales, with house favorites including cactus and al pastor. Enjoy cast iron fajitas served sizzling as you share a pitcher of the Mama Grande margarita made with Patron Reposado, Chambord and house-made sour, topped off with a splash of champagne.
Neighborhood: University City
From its ticket counter, this hidden-gem taqueria serves tacos and authentic dishes including barbacoa and chicharones. Ely’s is a must for authentic Mexican favorites.
For over 20 years, Johnny Burrito has been serving the Uptown lunch crowd from its walk-up counter on the lower level of the Wells Fargo 2 building. Watch as your burrito is made-to-order with picadillo, marinated meats or a zucchini/squash blend and topped with any of the house-made salsas. Open only during weekday lunch hours, this line-out-the-door spot is at the top of the burrito bucket list.
Neighborhood: South End
Mole and carne asada make multiple appearances on the menu at La Capital MX, a streetside upscale restaurant whose airy interior transports guests from the South Boulevard corridor to the Mexican countryside. Enjoy chile lime shishito peppers with a selection of Mexican brews, craft cocktails and extensive tequila and bourbon offerings.
Neighborhood: South Charlotte
Maria’s specializes in birria, slow-cooked beef stew folded into corn tortillas with onions and melted cheese, served alongside beef broth for dipping and serves from an expansive and innovative menu including birria ramen, enchiladas, chilaquiles, Mexican stew and much more. Skip the beef with chicken, shrimp or mushroom birria options and enjoy beverages from the bar from micheladas to mimosas.
Neighborhood: West Charlotte
Located a bit off the beaten path, Miguel’s, a partially-open-air Mexican food destination, serves authentic Mexican dishes from an impressive menu that includes enchiladas, burritos, ceviche, chile rellenos and more.
A James Beard award-winning chef-driven restaurant, Paco’s Tacos & Tequila serves Tex-Mex cuisine and features over 100 tequilas, making it a must for those in the market for margaritas and Mexican food with a Texas twist.
Street tacos and comfort food combine forces at this cantina and tequila bar. Enjoy margaritas and mojitos as you dine on flautas, empanadas and tortas, and indulge in desserts like tres leches and churros. Stop in from brunch for a brunch torta, Mexican benedict or huevos rancheros.
Neighborhood: Myers Park
Start with dips, nachos or calamari at this Mexican restaurant drawing influences from Latin, Greek, Korean and American cuisine. The unique menu combines unexpected global flavors, lending itself to experimentation that draws eager guests to this upscale terrace-style dining destination.
Neighborhood: South End
A SoCal-inspired restaurant with a bright and colorful open-air dining space, Southbound makes for an excellent night out or weekend brunch. Elote and tostadas are menu staples, with plenty of tacos and classic dishes to choose from. Share a pitcher of margaritas on-tap, sip mezcal or enjoy a bottle of Jarritos Mexican soft drinks.
A nostalgic dining experience, Superica’s Charlotte locations bring the renowned Tex-Mex flavors found at this Atlanta-based restaurant to the heart of the city with a menu centered on street tacos, enchiladas and house specials. Sip on horchata or michelada and stop in for brunch.
Combining modern and classic Mexican flavors, Mal Pan is a nod to family-style cooking and influence with a chef-driven menu. Burritos, bowls, specialty enchiladas and an irresistible taco menu pair well with mezcal, house cocktails and craft beer in this beautiful dining room in the heart of SouthPark.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Serving Charlotte since 2010, Three Amigos serves a faithful following from its dining room in a small shopping strip just outside of Plaza Midwood proper. Enchiladas are one of Three Amigos biggest draws, with the authentic flavors of salsa verde, mole and salsa roja. Leaning into Dominican influences, the yaroa are a must as a starter, while the tres leches cake is the ultimate note to end on.