9 Restaurants with the Best Mexican Food in Nashville

Ask anyone what comes to mind when they think of Nashville, and country music is likely the first thing they’ll mention. 

But beyond the cowboy hats and boot-stomping honky tonks lies a city brimming with diversity—especially when it comes to cuisine. 

Namely, Nashville is fast becoming recognized as a standout destination for extraordinarily delicious Mexican food.

From tiny taco counters dishing up handmade tortillas and sizzling fajitas to colorful cantinas pouring goblet-sized margaritas, Music City delivers on Mexican fare spanning sticky sweet Tex-Mex combo plates to authentic regional specialties hailing from Puebla to Oaxaca.

We’ve compiled the Ultimate Guide to Nashville’s 9 Best Mexican Restaurants currently setting local palates ablaze with gloriously vibrant flavors. Let’s explore what exactly makes them such standouts!

The Flavorful Landscape of Nashville’s Mexican Food Cuisine Scene

While Nashville only orbits a 14+ hour drive from Mexico’s nearest border, the local passion for tacos, enchiladas, tamales and other South of the border specialties burns bright. 

In fact, the metro area now boasts over 100 Mexican restaurants, taquerias and cantinas, up from barely 50 options just four years ago.

From mom-and-pop shops keeping ancestral cooking traditions alive to award-winning chefs putting fresh twists on classics, Nashville delivers an impressively varied Mexican food landscape. 

Whether craving $2 no-frills tacos or $50 multi-course experiences, there exists a Mexican eatery perfect for every palette and budget.

What exactly catalyzed Nashville’s meteoric rise as a topnotch Mexican food destination?

A huge factor stems from shifting Nashville demographics. Over the past decade, Nashville saw its Latino population nearly double in size. 

This influx naturally elevated demand for authentic homestyle cooking. Taquerias and carnicerias catering specifically to Latino communities initially popped up mainly off Nolensville Pike.

As local palates developed an appreciation for traditional flavors, Mexican cooking culture permeated deeper into mainstream Nashville. 

Taco and tequila lounges took over trendy East Nashville before infiltrating downtown’s bar scene.

 Celebrity chef outposts like Maneet Chauhan’s Chaatable and Sarah Gavigan’s Otaku South further glamorized Mexican cuisine through supporting inclusion initiatives like the “Turnip The Beet” dinner series spotlighting minority chefs.

Today the Music City dining sphere brims with Mexican restaurants spanning beloved neighborhood classics to hyped hot spot openings like the 200-seat Downtown Sporting Club

Mainstays and new kids on the block alike dish out phenomenal flavor. But a special standout selection rises above them all…

Savoring Nashville’s Top Mexican Eateries

Savoring Nashville's Top Mexican Eateries

After extensive research gathering local recommendations, reviews and our own tasting journeys to Nashville’s best Mexican restaurants, we present the #1 spots cooking up supremely sabroso plates sure to ignite the deepest cravings.

Grabbing a seat at any of the following 9 restaurants promises next-level tacos, vibrant vegetarian plates, sizzling fajitas, tender carnitas and other specialties done right. Let’s explore what exactly gives them such an edge!

1. Rosepepper Cantina

The energy hits high gear every evening at Rosepepper Cantina’s colorful Germantown locale decked out in glittering string lights and Day of the Dead inspired art.

Festive surroundings set the stage for elevated yet playful Mexican plates alongside Rosepepper’s acclaimed margaritas swirled with fresh fruit purees and spice-infused salts on each glass’s rim.

House specialties like the Veracruz-style red snapper immerse sweet, briny seafood flavors in a vibrant tomato-jalapeño broth. 

Their mole negro sauce also excellently balances bittersweet chocolate against ancho chilis and sesame, especially lovely coating falling-off-the-bone lamb shank.

While more traditional entrees satisfy, Rosepepper’s contemporary tacos and gorditas overdeliver on intrigue. 

The Korean beef gordita pockets gochujang’s pleasant heat into a crispy masa shell, contrasted by chilled kimchi and scallion relish. 

Their Baja fish tacos also award the perfect medley of textures from crunchy batter to creamy aioli tied together by tender whitefish.

Every visit should conclude with an order of churros: golden tubes of fried dough tossed in cinnamon sugar served with spicy chocolate and dulce de leche dipping sauces.

Whether stopping by for their daily happy hour specials or an evening filled with margarita pitchers + Tacos al Pastor washed down by one of Nashville’s Best Mexican Restaurants, the party lasts long at Rosepepper.

Key Info:

  • Location: Germantown
  • Price Range: $$-$$$
  • Specialties: Tacos, gorditas, churros
  • Top Dishes: Baja Fish Tacos, Lamb Shank in Mole Negro
  • Drinks: Margaritas

2. Saint Añejo

Shinning neon cacti guide the way to Saint Añejo’s stylish cavelike Gulch domain celebrating traditional Mexican cooking through a thoroughly modern lens—and impressive tequila list.

With over 140+ tequilas and mezcals to flow freely in custom cocktails, by the glass or straight up, Saint Añejo stocks small batch spirits not found anywhere else in town. 

Their in-house tequila steward Maegan even leads dedicated tasting classes like a “Tour of Tequila” highlighting production differences between Highland, Lowland and Valley distilleries.

Bar nibbles like Elote dressed in smoky aioli, tangy cotija cheese and chili pepper kick start meals with fun pops of flavor.

 Giant seafood towers delivering fresh oysters, citrus-dressed shrimp and Hawaiian Kanpachi ceviche provide drama plus refreshing bites.

From there, signature plates like Costillas de Puerco en costra de chile ancho meaning pork ribs lacquered in ancho chili sauce contrast sticky sweet and spicy notes.

We also adore Saint Añejo’s Duck Carnitas Tacos piled with succulent confit pulled duck between crispy shells, then finished withminted pineapple relish. They properly balance richness with bright acidic cuts.

Whether popping by just for happy hour guac and gambas or pulling up a seat for an Asado feast with steak, chicken and sides, Saint Añejo’s vibrant yet polished plates masterfully honor tradition through selective innovation. 

The deep drink menu provides further excuse to stay a while. Just expect waits even on weekdays—this place stays packed!

Key Info:

  • Location: The Gulch
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Specialties: Craft tequilas, ceviche, tacos
  • Signature Dishes: Pork Ribs, Duck Carnitas Tacos
  • Drinks: Tequila flights

3. Cilantro

At Cilantro’s no-frills ordering counter draped with multicolored piñatas, know flavor takes the front seat over flashy ambiance. 

This family-owned mom and pop shop sticks to the basics through standout renditions of tamales, tacos, tortas and other homemade Mexican staples.

Top billing goes to their tender pork and smoky chile verde tamales made in-house daily steamed to order in banana leaf wrapping instead of corn husks. 

Every batch sells out quickly so arrive early! For the best value, opt for tamales by the half or full dozen doused with signature red and green salsas also prepared fresh daily.

Beyond tamales, combo plates allow mixing-and-matching classic fillings like shredded beef, ground chorizo and chipotle chicken across enchiladas, tacos, tostadas and tortas loaded with beans, lettuce, tomato and melty cheese. 

Balancing crispy and soft textures while incorporating various sauces and salsas into each bite keeps every flavor dynamic.

Don’t sleep on daily lunch specials like Pozole stew brimming with hominy and pork or weekend offerings of goat birria tacos with dipping consommé. 

And for refreshment, ice cold horchata and tamarindo hit the spot every time.

Cilantro keeps shining the spotlight on homemade Mexican cooking done right. Just check your fanciness at the door and come with an empty stomach! You’ll no doubt leave satisfied.

Key Info:

  • Location: East Nashville
  • Price Range: $
  • Specialties: Tamales, homemade salsa
  • Top Dishes: Tamale combo plates, Chile verde
  • Drinks: Horchata, Tamarindo

4. Mas Tacos

Incredible things come in very small packages at Mas Tacos, a pint-sized East Nashville walk-up taco counter slinging out of this world authentic al pastor, barbacoa and veggie tacos for under $3 a pop.

The compact space means chefs focus strictly on perfecting just six taco varieties rather than stretching themselves thin across a broad menu. 

Mas Tacos even makes its own corn tortillas fresh daily ensuring every bite tastes exceptionally fresh.

Despite limited indoor seating beyond a handful of picnic tables, half the magic lies in assembling tacos to-go for breezy patio enjoyment or Riverside strolls. 

Customizing each taco with a variety of vibrant salsas, pickled onions, cilantro and lime allows crafting new flavors with every order.

While rudimentary at its core, Mas Tacos spotlights talent tapering menus down to just wildly craveable tacos done to absolute perfection. When flavors and preparation shine this bright, nothing else matters.

Key Info:

  • Location: East Nashville
  • Price Range: $
  • Specialties: Street-style tacos
  • Top Dishes: Al pastor, huitlacoche tacos
  • Drinks: Horchata, Mexican Coke

5. Las Palmas

The unassuming Las Palmas Carniceria marketplace off Nolensville Pike packs a mighty punch when it comes to superlative tacos hidden behind the grocery store’s produce aisles. 

Their petite taco counter Lilitas Tacos slings Mexican street food goodness through griddled soft corn and crispy flour tortillas overflowing with al pastor, chorizo, cecina (salt cured beef) and authentic cow tongue.

Watching the trompo roast layer succulent slices of chile-marinated pork before getting finely chopped onto steaming tortillas right before your eyes brings serious satisfaction. 

Their al pastor easily rivals the city’s top taquerias in terms of depth of flavor. Las Palmas also nails textural contrasts between crispy, chewy and soft.

Beyond world class tacos, tortas loaded with the protein of choice never disappoint either. 

And while seating remains scarce save for a few cramped tables along the wall, prices hover below $10 for a hearty feast of 4-5 top notch tacos making Las Palmas an amazing everyday value.

Don’t let holes in the wall deter—Las Palmas brings 5-star street taco excellence rivaling restaurants double the price. Come taste their impressive salsas while supplies last!

Key Info:

  • Location: Nolensville Pike
  • Price Range: $
  • Specialties: Tacos, al pastor
  • Top Dishes: Al pastor tacos, beef tongue
  • Drinks: Jarritos, horchata

6. El Fuego Mexican Taqueria

El Fuego’s modest storefront off Pleasant View Road looks enticingly low key from the outside with just a glowing facade sign visible through the windows. 

But inside transports straight into a cozy Mexico City style cafe pouring potent margaritas to accompany Tex-Mex favorites reconceived through traditional Mexican technique and flavor.

Their tableside guacamole beats out nearly every other restaurant rendition in town based on flawlessly ripe avocados whipped to ideal creamy texture then spiked with serrano chilis for a tongue tingling kick. 

With a base this good, El Fuego tacos demand doubling up on orders to enjoy maximum guacamole coverage over grilled veggie, chicken tinga or succulent carne asada varieties.

Beyond critter tacos, El Fuego’s tender beef cheek barbacoa served over springy Spanish rice reveals serious skill slowly braising meat to pull-apart tenderness. Seafood mains also impress overall like Chile Rellenos stuffed with crabmeat mousse under velvety egg batter then draped in rich sauce.

El Fuego cherishes vibrant yet comfortably familiar Mexican flavors focused fully on delivering big satisfaction through tried and true staples. 

Just save room for the giant Sweet Plantains Foster flung tableside with a rum fueled flare!

Key Info:

  • Location: South Nashville
  • Price Range: $$
  • Specialties: Tacos, Tex-Mex classics
  • Top Dishes: Carne Asada tacos, Barbacoa
  • Drinks: House Margaritas

7. Tequilas Mexican Restaurant

With neon lighting, vibrant folk art and festive interior touches like papel picado banners strung from rafters to tables, the family-owned Tequilas Restaurant chain perfectly sets the mood for enjoying generous portions of Tex-Mex stick-to-your ribs comfort food.

Their tableside guacamole service efficiently stuffs you with creamy green goodness right off the bat. Then a bottomless basket of crispy tortilla chips fuels app sampling through queso fundido, steak empanada bites and plump shrimp ceviche tostadas.

While the menu spans enchiladas, burritos, fajitas and more classic Entrée combos, greatest hits like sizzling steak or chicken Fajita towers never disappoint thanks to well-marinated meat and veggies firing up sensory excitement. 

Giant frosted margaritas in flavors like mango and strawberry wash it all down with icy sweetness and Mexican festivity.

With a lively yet relaxed family setting perfect for group outings, Tequilas generously feeds everyone without breaking budgets. 

Live music events like Salsa Night and daily food/drink specials like Taco Tuesday or Friday afternoon happy hour encourage repeat visits. It’s not hard to crave their comforts all over again soon.

Key Info:

  • Location: Thompson Lane
  • Price Range: $$
  • Specialties: Tex-Mex, family-friendly
  • Top Dishes: Fajita towers, Enchiladas
  • Drinks: Margaritas

8. Superica

Bridging the heart of downtown Nashville with the flavors of coastal Louisiana and Mexico, Superica’s stylish industrial digs cater to trendy downtown crowds through roots still anchored in tradition.

Their glistening seafood tower delivering spicy aguachile shrimp, Hawaiian Kanpachi crudo and chilled King Crab legs makes an instant scene-stealing statement, while also providing ultra fresh and vibrant bites.

From there, creative tacos like Korean beef short rib pair pleasant heat with crisp pickled veggies and chili lime crema. 

Showstopping specials also regularly debut like whole roasted cauliflower flaunting mole amarillo sauce’s rich nuts and chilis contrasted by pepita gremolata.

Every menu section shines bright here. Garlicky crab and spinach enchiladas drenched in reduced seafood broth satisfy classic cravings. 

Their burger special slathers beefy patties with pimento cheese and spicy chipotle mayo for a dynamic Southern/Mexican melting pot.

And to drink? Go big with shareable punch bowls or snag Superica’s namesake frozen marg topped with pops of chili salt. 

With intricate mural art and hanging vintage Mexican film posters setting a transportive mood made for celebrating, Superica fires things up proper.

Key Info:

  • Location: Downtown Nashville
  • Price Range: $$
  • Specialties: Tacos, gourmet Mexican fusion
  • Top Dishes: Tuna poke tostadas, mole cauliflower
  • Drinks: Frozen margaritas, punch bowls

9. Taco Mamacita

Rock music videos projected across brick walls, glittering holiday lights and buzzy crowds sipping margaritas by the pitcher set a playful backdrop for creative tacos and loaded burritos at Taco Mamacita.

Their signature Build Your Own Taco KitCondments Barr commands attention right from the entrance allowing DIY sauce and salsa topping flights across proteins like spiced chickpeas, Korean beef or tinga chicken. 

We also adore sinking teeth into Taco Mamacita’s brisket barbacoa soft shell crammed with tender smoky meat bits plus cooled by avocado relish and lime crema.

Burritos here also pack comfort as seen through cheesy green chili chicken or five cheese varieties with roasted veggies. 

lighter appetites find satisfaction devouring street corn tossed in lime crema and cotija cheese or chewing through crunchy empanadas oozing Oaxaca and jack cheese. 

Mamacita’s famed margarita towers sporting multiple taps for flavors like blood orange and blackberry mezcal margs does wonders for amplifying the fiesta.

With rock and roll attitude aligning with flavors, Taco Mamacita energizes Nashville’s Mexican food scene through creative fusion approaches grounded in tradition. Tacos and margs never tasted so punk rock.

Key Info:

  • Location: Midtown
  • Price Range: $$
  • Specialties: Tacos, creative flavors
  • Top Dishes: Barbacoa tacos, Custom taco kits
  • Drinks: Margarita towers

An Invitation to Savor Nashville’s Mexican Delights

The music may take center stage in Nashville, but the local Mexican food scene sings an equally impressive range hitting notes spanning street style $2 tacos to James Beard commended $100 prix fixe experiences.

With so many phenomenal Mexican restaurants and taquerias to choose from, make exploring Music City’s Mexican food landscape a top priority for your next visit. 

From families wanting a casual Chip night to friend groups thirsty for flashes of culinary adventure, Nashville now caters to every Mexican food craving out there through diverse eateries united by common exceptional flavor.

So bring your appetite, round up your squad and get ready to exclaim “¡Qué delicioso!”as you bite into Nashville’s most vibrant and craveworthy Mexican plates. 

The food scene here continues ascending—and these 9 restaurants lead the pack when it comes to glorious and satisfying Mexican cuisine. ¿Listo para un festín? Nashville’s ready to feed your soul.

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