While there are countless Mexican restaurants up and down the Wasatch front, only a select few make the grade, but which are worth your dining dollars? The following is our pick of the very best Mexican restaurants in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas. Also be sure to check out our sister site for Mexican food near you now.
Alamexo & Alamexo Cantina
Hungry yet? Alamexo in downtown Salt Lake City is our pick for the best Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City; indeed it’s probably one of the best restaurants in Utah full stop. Alamexo is chef and owner Matt Lake’s ode to the cuisine he loves and breathes. Open for dinner six days a week, regulars love to start with guacamole – made fresh tableside in a lava rock molcajete. While you’re watching your server create your guac to spec, you might also want to sip on one of Alamexo’s great craft cocktails too.
From there maybe move onto Carne Asada Tacos ( adobo marinated flat iron steak, melted queso Oaxaca, pico de gallo & salsa de arbol) or Salmon Manchamanteles (slow cooked salmon filet with crispy bananas, pineapple pico de gallo & mole manchamanteles). This is cuisine everyone knows and loves, but crafted with refined precision and care. Whatever you select, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Lake and his crew make as much as they can in house, from daily salsas through complex moles and adobos – all sourced from top quality providers such as Niman Ranch.
Also worthy of note is Lake’s second outing, the more casual Alamexo Cantina in the 9th and 9th area. The menu retains Lake’s quality cuisine but is built around smaller plates for sharing and snacking. The outside patio at the Cantina seamlessly transitions from indoors to out in the warmer weather; couple that with ultra fresh guacamole, made table side to your spec, and a fabulous margarita – well – there are worse ways to spend a day…
Alamexo: 268 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 | (801) 779-4747
Alamexo Cantina: 1059 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105 | (801) 658-5859
Regulars come back time and again, and often for one item in particular: al pastor. Chunga’s luscious rotisserie roasted and seasoned pork is abatable in a range of dishes – burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas – even nachos. Chunga’s is open six days a week, at 11 p.m. on the weekends, for whenever those al pastor cravings hit.
80 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
This downtown SLC restaurant is one of the most popular downtown dinner spots. The menu is packed with favorites but also has a range of more adventuresome dishes such as mole, molcajetes and a parrillada platter of meats for two.
307 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
On the East side of Salt Lake City is this fast casual Mexican restaurant that is packed to the rafters at all hours. Locals flock here for the wallet friendly eats that are freshly made daily, and stacked high. It’s almost impossible to leave Hector’s hungry or with much less cash than you started. The restaurant also has a drive thru window as well. Side note, that’s always packed too.
2901 E 3300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
With multiple locations across the Wasatch Front, La Frontera has been making Utahns happy for decades. The concept is simple: the menu is huge, the prices are low, the service is quick. Stop by any La Frontera and you’re sure to find pretty much any dish you want. And if you can’t decide, yep, there’s plenty of combo options too.
Easily the most famous Mexican restaurant in town, if not Utah itself – is the Red Iguana. Featured on TV, and just about every single foodie publication worthy of merit, the Red Iguana, owned by the local Cardenas family, has served hungry Salt Lakers with award wining Mexican food for over two decades.
What brings regulars back time and again, causing queues lining up around the building? For one, a range of seven moles, each unique and spectacular in its own right. If you’re the indecisive type you can even get a free Red Iguana mole sampler plate before choosing. And that’s just the start – Chile Colorado ($11.49), Puntas De Filete A La Nortena ($15.99), Cochinita Pibil ($13.99) – the list goes on and on, just like the queues outside the front doors.
736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Taqueria 27 is the work of Todd Gardiner, former head chef of downtown SLC’s Z’Tejas restaurant. After years running the kitchen for the chain eatery, Gardiner struck out on his own terms. The 27 in the name derives from a Gardiner family lucky number, but luck is far from needed when you put out cuisine like Taqueria 27 does: elevated, refined and darned delicious.
While the menu covers many bases, the focus is on gourmet street style tacos. Choose from selections like
Citrus Pork Carnitas ($6 for two, slow roasted and shredded, charred tomatillo salsa, pickled red onion, cilantro and chicharones) or Duck Confit ($6.50 for two, succulent duck with fire roasted veggies, chipotle crema and crispy leeks) while musing over T27’s extensive tequila options.
1615 S Foothill Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84108