Not a tourist trap: 8 Austin Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants to try
There's likely not a line of people outside the door. The wait to sit is often as long as it takes you to walk to a table. It's not that place your friend from out of town "read about online." They don't always top the lists of notable Austin restaurants, but they're here, and they have tacos.
If you're looking for a Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurant where the frills are hard to come by, but the queso flows easy, we have some places in mind:
Enchiladas Y Mas, 1911 W. Anderson Ln.
There are enchiladas. And there is more. At Enchiladas Y Mas it's all offered to you on a large oval dinner plate, a section of which is likely dedicated to chopped iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. The cheese enchiladas, what the place is known for, come smothered with, yes, cheese, but also meaty beef sauce and chopped onions.
La Posada, 6800 West Gate Blvd. #143 "You could be forgiven for thinking you'd landed in San Antonio when you enter," writes American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam of La Posada. The self-described "easygoing" joint serves the combination plates you're familiar with alongside staples like queso, menudo and a variety of breakfast dishes served until 1 p.m. everyday (the correct time).
Papalote Taco House, various locations Tacos, tacos, tacos. And tortas. And refreshing aguas frescas and breakfast served all day. Reviewers rave about the authenticity of Papalote's wide taco selection and the "beautiful basics" used to make them. With three locations across the city you'll hopefully find one close to home.
La Fruta Feliz, 3124 Manor Rd. La Fruta Feliz has a wide array of traditional Mexican dishes, like pambazo - a sandwich filled with potatoes and other goods and then drenched in salsa. Or barbacoa de chivo, or braised goat. But the menu also features plenty of other options like beef picadillo, carne guisada, pork al pastor and carnitas. All tacos ring up at between $1 and $3.
El Secreto de Abuela, 817 Airport Blvd. This menu is stacked with gorditas, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas and tortas. For breakfast, $2 gets you a two-ingredient taco. El Secreto de Abuela also serves up plates of 5 mini tacos, tostadas and seafood cocktails.
Hecho en Mexico, various locations Experience the flavors of interior Mexico with specialties here such as ceviche, huaraches, and moles. Try the mancha manteles dish for chicken drenched in a chile ancho mole and garnished with sesame seeds and plantain slices.
El Borrego de Oro, 3900 S. Congress Ave. This cozy joint offers seemingly endless choices of chicken, pork, beef and seafood entrees in taco, enchilada and plate forms. But don't pass up the soups and stews here, where your options range from menudo to cabrito (goat) and borrego (lamb).
Habanero Mexican Cafe, 501 W. Oltorf St. Find the classics here like flautas, enchiladas and fajitas and pair up with freshly made salsa with a kick. For dessert, try the sopapillas, and xangos, a cheesecake filling inside a fried pastry tortilla and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Make sure to pull some cash out for this spot.