Did you know that most of the ingredients found in today’s Mexican cuisine came from the Old World? Sí, the Spanish contributed rice, onions, garlic, many key spices, and the big two: meat and cheese. And before then dairy products were essentially unknown in pre-Columbian America, plus there were no domesticated cattle, pigs, goats, or chickens for our eating pleasure. After centuries of tweaking Mexican and Mexican-style food, today in the United States most of the “Mexican” food we enjoy (such as burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas) is actually “Tex-Mex” aka the fusion of flavor from Texan, Mexican, and American cuisine. Equally rich in history and flavor, both Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican foods can be found no matter where you live in Western New York. From downtown to the North and South Towns and all the way to Niagara and Orleans counties, we’ve got all your cravings covered. ¡Olé!
Lloyd Taco Truck/Factory/Factories
The great thing about these guys is that they’re literally everywhere. As Buffalo’s first official food truck Lloyd’s has cultivated a following that may near rival the Bills…and their unique recipes and fun approach to food are entirely to blame. Now equipped with a fleet of four operational food trucks making the rounds and a weekly schedule posted on their website, getting great creative taqueria-style eats any and every day is as easy as uno, dos, tres.
Deep South Taco
One word: nachos. Two words: three locations. The Deep South team serves up some of our favorite nachos in town, and if that’s your jam then this is where you want to be. They also have great tacos, margs on tap, and brunch!(!!!) Plus their newest location on Transit means you have 3x the chance of being near one of their restaurants. We’ll drink (and eat) to that~
Aguacates Mexican Bar & Grill
765 Elmwood Ave / Elmwood Village
Just an FYI, this has taken the spot of Agave on Elmwood- and it’s a total upgrade. This bar/grill has a super fun and inviting atmosphere that is vibrant and full of color. From the minute you walk in, you literally feel like you have stepped into Mexican culture (just go there- you’ll know). You’re definitely going to want to take a seat at the bar, because they’ve got THE BEST margaritas around (btw they’re 2 for 1 on Wednesdays between 2-6pm). And the options on the food menu are practically limitless (just expect every Mexican food imaginable). And whatever you do, don’t ever say no to their queso- it’s to die for.
P.S. They also have a patio right next to Elmwood #forthewin.
191 Allen Street / Allentown
(716) 551-0160 / SOB LISTING
Cantina Loco is one of those places that’s always busy – for a reason. Specializing in tacos and tequila, Cantina Loco serves up perfect portions in an ultra-cool setting that let you sample lots of different options without the food coma afterwards. If you’re a nacho fan, we highly recommend theirs. Plus they serve a mean fish taco sans lettuce and tomato. Did we mention if you get a Cantina Loco tattoo you can get free tacos every week for an entire year? Sounds extreme, but so is our love of tacos.
128 Genesee Street / Downtown
(716) 331-3869 / SOB LISTING
Eat casual on the first floor and take the steps for an upscale (yet affordable) Mexican bar and dining experience. Every meal prepared here is absolutely GORGEOUS and the unique, rich flavors make for some pure culinary art- and it’s no different for the cocktails. If you’re vegetarian- good news- they’ve got plenty of options for for you to enjoy. Did I mention they also do brunch? Yup, that’s right-both Saturdays AND Sundays. During the summer, you can enjoy your meal on the lovely patio outside.
73 Allen Street / Allentown
(716) 885-2501 / SOB LISTING
Every day of the week the Don at Don Tequila’s serves up amazing specials, from $3 margaritas to discounted food favorites and everything in between. If you’ve got a group of friends and you’re looking for a good time (or even if there’s just a few of you #judgementfreezone) try one of their Margarita Towers. And if you’re there for a birthday make sure to let a member of their staff know and they’ll supply the birthday boy or girl with a shot of tequila and the largest sombrero you’ve ever seen. Feliz cumpleaños indeed.
1465 Hertel Avenue / Hertel
(716) 837-6703 / SOB LISTING
Their slogan says it all: “Tired of the same old food? Why not put a little spice in your life!” Treat yo’self to the taste of Gramma Mora’s cherished recipes that have been handed down through generations. And if you still need more after you’re done, they offer their own handmade frozen food specialties which can be purchased and eaten whenever the mood strikes. Mexicana in the morning, Mexicana in the evening, Mexicana at suppertime.
2896 Delaware Ave / North Buffalo
(716) 447-8989 / SOB LISTING
This is not your typical Mexican restaurant. It’s actually a Mexican grocery store and taco stand, so don’t expect anyone to pull a chair out for you. BUT, do expect to bite into the most DELICIOSO taco (and probably the cheapest, may we add). They’ve got a few options to choose from: Ground Beef, Pastor – pork with pineapple, Asada – steak, Chicken, and Carnitas – shredded pork. You’re going to want to try them ALL.
385 Rhode Island St / Buffalo
(716) 807-1141 / SOB LISTING
Owned by 2018 James Beard-nominated Chef Victor Parra Gonzalez, this upscale Mexican cuisine restaurant is serving up some of the best food in Buffalo. Every (literally every) dish is gorgeous and creative. Btw, it’s a small space, so make sure you call ahead for a reservation!
7530 Transit Road / Williamsville
(716) 565-0105 / SOB LISTING
One step inside La Tolteca and you’ll fall in love. The seating is plentiful, the décor makes you feel like you’re in your abuela’s house, and the smell is in a word: heavenly. Chow down on some delicious Tex_mex options and wash it down with a cool cerveza. After all, La Tolteca boasts that they have “the best beer in town”, and there’s only one way to find out if they do.
9780 Main Street / Clarence
(716) 320-5830 / SOB LISTING
Referred to as a “hidden gem” by its followers, it’s no secret that fans of El Ranchito love this place. From the food to the service to the atmosphere, El Ranchito seems to have won the hearts of everyone who walks through its doors. Stop in for lunch, dinner, dessert, or drinks and enjoy the likes of a Burrito Villa, Oreo Churros, Cilantro-Jalapeño Margarita, or even an El Fantástico. No need to translate that.
951 Niagara Falls Blvd / Amherst
(716) 446-9206 / SOB LISTING
El Palenque may not look like much on the outside but it is bursting at the seams with lunches and entrees made from scratch and 64 oz. margaritas on the inside. Family owned and operated, all of their dishes are made using their own homemade Mexican family recipes and “only the finest ingredients”. Can you really ask for anything more?
Taqueria Los Mayas
3525 Genesee St / Cheektowaga
(716) 906-3730 / SOB LISTING
Known for their crazy good authentic Mexican tacos and HUGE menu, Taqueria Los Mayas may be one of the best Mexican places in town. They’ve got so many options- from breakfast to dessert (and of course, margaritas). AND, they have a fresh salsa bar with pretty much everything you have ever wanted to put on a taco. We can assure you that your first time will not be your last.
507 E Center St / Medina
40 Riley Street / East Aurora
(716) 714-9176 / SOB LISTING
If the sounds of sizzling platters, the aroma of fresh spices, and the sight of beautifully prepared food isn’t enough to entice you then perhaps the extensive Tequila list will. Everyday Arriba Tortilla “prepares fresh food from scratch with recipes derived from traditional Hispanic cookbooks from various regions of Mexico”, then fuses them with Tex-Mex and other American fare to create a unique style of Mexican cuisine. It’s like everything you can want rolled into a giant tortilla. Relatively speaking, Arriba has a fantastic margarita list so if you’re looking for drink options, this is a great choice. Check out their new location, complete with quaint back patio.
36 Main Street / Hamburg
(716) 649-1837 / SOB LISTING
One of the most notable restaurants in the village of Hamburg, Coyote Café offers buffet-style, sit-down, Mexican inspired stations, take out, catering, and even banquet hosting. Say that diez times fast. With umpteen options on their menu, a drink menu with oodles of Happy Hour options, and accommodations for any (literally, any) occasion you can think of, it’s no wonder the Coyote Café is a local favorite.
(716) 768-0845 / GET DIRECTIONS
Don Juan Mexican Bar & Grill
(716) 768-0845 / SOB LISTING
Expect some real good, authentic Mexican cuisine, and some darn good margaritas. Everything on the menu is DELISH. And whatever you do, DO NOT leave without dessert- fried ice cream #getinmybelly. FYI: tacos are .99 on Thursdays, and margaritas are just $3 on Wednesdays.
3670 McKinley Pkwy / Hamburg
They say you should judge a Mexican restaurant by its tortilla chips, and it’s been said that El Canelo passes the chips-and-salsa test “with flying jalapeños”. Their bright, eccentric décor and extensive menu hit the spot after a long day of shopping across the street at the mall (or even if you’re not shopping, YOLO). The food takes a bit longer to prepare but it’s well worth the wait, and you’ll probably/definitely have leftovers to take home and enjoy later.
Left Coast Taco
603 Oakwood Ave / East Aurora
These aren’t just any old tacos here. These San Diego-inspired tacos are loaded with good stuff- and they gear toward the creative side, rather than traditional. There’s not too much seating inside, so it makes for the perfect take-out food, or meal on-the-go. They do more than just tacos… Roots Kitchen also caters off and on site for 42 North Brewing Co. and for anyone with catering needs of any kind.
Aguacates Mexican Restaurant
5674 S Transit Rd / Lockport
(716) 280-3785 / SOB LISTING
This is the original Aguacates; the other location is on Elmwood. This authentic little Mexican restaurant has a giant menu, so you’re going to have some big decisions to make. Also, just for sitting down in the restaurant, you get chips and their homemade salsa that is delish- but don’t eat too much because the plates are extremely filling- we’re talking leftovers galore. FYI, you will not regret getting the enchiladas. And they also have an outdoor patio- so what’s not to love?
8215 Niagara Falls Blvd / Niagara Falls
(716) 283-0005 / SOB LISTING
Now situated in their new location near the intersection of Military Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard, La Galera is back and better than ever. Enjoy the new brightly-colored booths that offer lots and lots of seating and their hu(uuu)ge new parking area while still getting the same friendly service and great food. It’s rumored that they have the best guacamole in town, and we like any excuse to eat guacamole.
Mariachi de Oro
11417 Maple Ridge Road / Medina
(585) 798-8961 / SOB LISTING
Mariachi de Oro was once the closest authentic Mexican restaurant in the area. Nestled in the heart of historic downtown Medina, the Rosario family has been serving top-notch cuisine and service to all who have entered their doors since 2011. At Mariachi de Oro you can order from a large menu of traditional favorites and authentic Mexican dishes made from recipes that have been passed down through the Rosario family from generation to generation. We’ll tell you right now: the hardest part of eating at Mariachi de Oro will be deciding what to eat first.
QOTD: Do you prefer authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex? If we missed your favorite place to get your fix in Western New York, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org