Discovering Tampa's Tex-Mex Dining Scene

Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in Tampa, FL

A Little History of Tex-Mex

Tex-Mex cuisine dates back to the early days of the American west and the cattle industry. It is a combination of Mexican and American foods. During this time, beef and cheese were added to Mexican flavor because of its availability. Some Tex-Mex dishes that evolved from this era are Chili, the Fajita, and BBQ that has that smoked-spicy Tex-Mex flavor.

When looking for that Tex-Mex flavor, it can be found in just about any Mexican-American restaurant in the United States. Tex-Mex dishes have become an American favorite and are part of the American culture. Chili can be found in most any restaurant in the United States, for example: sports pubs, bars and grills, steak and BBQ houses all serve some type of Tex-Mex flavor.

We will look at some of the top rated, or Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in Tampa, FL, but since Tex-Mex is a South Western cuisine, we will be looking at restaurants that serve Tex-Mex food along with other Spanish and American dishes.

These ratings reflect the views on Yelp forum, we will list them according to the star rating, but also the amount of reviews. A restaurant may have 5 stars, but only a few reviews, so we are listing according to the number of reviews with the star rating.

 #7) Chili’s 

This is a franchise restaurant that has locations all over the United States and in several cities globally. They receive a low rating of 3-1/2 out of only 33 reviews. This however should not reflect the Chili’s overall quality of food.

I have included Chili’s in this review to show that big corporate chains do not always beat out smaller local establishments, and they are one of my favorite places to eat.

Chain restaurants have an advantage when it comes to being away from home. They have a menu plan that is consistent, and you can be assured to get the same quality food in Tampa, that you did in Knoxville.

Chili’s has a great selection of American-Mexican, and Tex-Mex flavors with a bar and grille atmosphere, it is a great place to dine and have a good time.

#6) Catrinas

Located in South Tampa this restaurant receives 4 stars out of 112 reviews. This bar and grill has American style with South American flair. It is small local establishment with one owner, and an established clientele. The reviewers rave about the fresh ingredients in the great food at a reasonable price.

#5) The Green Lemon

Although technically a Mexican restaurant, this restaurant receives 4 stars out of 302 reviews. The Green Lemon serves a combination of American, Mexican, and South American flavor, and it is a favorite among the locals.

The Green Lemon has a bar and grill type atmosphere to match the atmosphere of the great food. Crispy avocado wedges served with a light and creamy spicy ranch dipping sauce is a favorite at the Green Lemon.

#4) Tacoson 

This one is number four on our list because it has a high rating of 4-1/2 stars out of 117 reviews. Tacoson is more of a takeout type restaurant, but also offers a dining room.

Tacoson is a “mom and pop” type establishment with home-style service and hospitality. The reviews rave about the authentic Mexican dishes and the great American home-style service.

#3) Senor Tequila Mexican Grill 

With locations in Winter Springs, and Tampa Florida, it receives a 4 star rating out of 80 reviews.

They have an authentic Mexican family friendly style atmosphere done the American way. Enjoy all your Mexican, American, and Tex-Mex dishes in one great family friendly place.

#2) Miguel’s Mexican Seafood & Grill

Started in 1972 by “Mamma Ninfa”, in Houston Texas, the restaurant eventually opened another location in Tampa Florida in 1992. They are proud of their humble beginnings with a home-style tradition that carries on today.

Although seafood is not exactly a Tex-Mex dish, the Texas heritage certainly qualifies them as an authentic Tex-Mex establishment.

Miguel’s Mexican Seafood & Grill has a great selection of American-Mexican flavors with a bar and grill atmosphere, it is a great place to dine for brunch, lunch, or diner.

#1) Tijuana Flats

Number one on our list with three locations in the Tampa Florida area, Tijuana Flats is a great place for Tex-Mex cuisine, and is the only restaurant that is Tex-Mex specific. It receives 4 stars out of 51 reviews.

Tijuana Flats was started by a young entrepreneur by the name of Brian Wheeler. The restaurant has grown to 100 stores throughout the United States. Mr. Wheeler created his own sauces that made the restaurant famous.

Although now a corporate chain, they still maintain their small beginnings with great quality food and service.

Tijuana Flats is a great place to get together with your friends after a hard week at work; enjoy some Margaritas, nachos, and some good times with Tex-Mex flavor.

Category: Healthy Food

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