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Plate of griddled tacos with salsa and lime wedges
Tacos at Comal Heritage Food Incubator.
Ruth Tobias

Where to Find Denver’s Most Satisfying Mexican Food

From tacos and burritos to regional specialties, here are 17 spots to get started

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Tacos at Comal Heritage Food Incubator.
| Ruth Tobias

Reflecting both Colorado’s settlement history and current demographic trends, Mexican food is as vital to the Denver dining landscape as, say, craft beer and homegrown beef. Restaurants run the gamut from mom-and-pop taquerias to modern, upscale hot spots; the regional styles they represent do too, from Baja to Oaxaca on up to the Southwestern U.S. The following 17 spots showcase this diversity — though it should be noted that the current scene is so dynamic as to exceed the scope of this fixed-point map. Also worth seeking out are such highly acclaimed food trucks and pop-ups as Kiké’s Red Tacos and barbacoa purveyor El Borrego Negro (whose chef is just about to open the city’s first pozoleria, La Diabla).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Comal Heritage Food Incubator

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Also ranked among the current Eater 38, this RiNo project of the nonprofit Focus Points Family Resource Center gives aspiring women entrepreneurs from local immigrant and refugee communities the tools to run their own kitchen — matching its mission to the quality of its food. Though dishes from other countries sometimes enter the rotation, Mexican food is Comal’s daily bread and butter (or handmade tortillas and salsa, as the case may be); the menu on any given day may feature chicken in spicy pumpkin-seed sauce, pork shoulder in salsa verde, or chipotle shrimp taocs.

Blue-corn tostada with agua fresca
A tostada with agua fresca at Comal.
Adam Larkey Photography

Mr Peralta Mariscos

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Among the leaders of Denver’s surprisingly solid pack of Mexican seafood specialists, this casual Sunnyside hideaway does it all with a small but kind and hard-working staff: aguachile, cocteles, botanas, ceviche, caldos, molcajetes, and more positively brimming with mariscos, as well as grilled and fried fish dishes. (Bonus points for the irresistible goat birria tacos.)

Mexican-style cold seafood tower
Mr Peralta’s torre de mariscos.
Ruth Tobias

Tortas ATM

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One of two top-notch torterias on this map, Tortas A Toda Madre (to use the full name) in West Highland packs its sandwiches with the standard variety of meats, cheeses, and condiments, plus a few ingredients not typically found elsewhere — including the cut of beef called suadero and colito de pavo, or turkey tail.

Torta Cubana with diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs
ATM’s torta Cubana features diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs.
Ruth Tobias

Los Carboncitos

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This family-run Highland fixture (with outposts in Villa Park and Aurora) puts the culinary traditions of Mexico City front and center on its wide-ranging menu. Highlights include the huaraches — oblong masa flatbreads — which come topped with everything from steak and cactus to chicken and mushrooms — and alambres, mixed grills of meat or seafood, veggies, and cheese accompanied with tortillas.

Alambre al pastor
Alambre al pastor at Los Carboncitos.
Ruth Tobias

Bellota

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The closure of Acorn last fall came as a shock to Denver’s dining system, but the restaurant’s owners may actually have outdone themselves with its replacement. Helmed by Monterrey-born talent Manny Barella, the kitchen turns out artful and complex versions of even the simplest classics, be it tacos topped with king trumpet mushrooms al pastor and charred pineapple or the blue-corn quesadilla filled with requéson, onions, and epazote in jalapeño-cilantro vinaigrette. The pumpkin-seed dip called sikil pak is a must to start, paired with a suave agave spirit-based cocktail like the Mexico City Martini.

Chile relleno over charred-tomato salsa
Bellota’s chile relleno with charred-tomato salsa.
Courtesy of Bellota

Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro

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Run by a couple from Chihuahua, this Golden getaway offers a seemingly straightforward menu of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and the like day to day, but its secret to success is in its steady stream of creative specials. One day that might mean tacos dorados filled with mashed sweet potatoes, queso Oaxaca, and blistered chiles; the next, tamal-stuffed tortas; and the one after that, hibiscus-peach tacos with coconut and chipotle. They also bottle their own infused mezcals and margaritas in flavors like jalapeño-cilantro and kiwi-tamarind.

Takeout carnitas burrito in green chile
Xicamiti’s green chile–smothered carnitas burrito.
Ruth Tobias

Lola Coastal Mexican

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This LoHi pioneer has long focused on coastal Mexican cuisine, but when esteemed Tijuana-born chef Javier Plascencia joined the team as a partner in 2019, the seasonal menu began evolving to reflect his Baja-Med style. Think grilled oysters garnished with serrano ponzu and machaca; roasted spatchcock chicken in Manzanilla olive mole; lobster enchiladas with arroz verde; and parfaits of jackfruit, green strawberry, and makrut lime.

Tostada with raw tuna, pork floss, avocado, and red onion
Dishes like this surf-and-turf tostada define Lola’s seasonal menu.
Ruth Tobias

Chili Verde

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The family who runs this colorful, artsy Jefferson Park charmer (complete with a lovely back patio) hails from Puebla, and it shows on a menu built around the region’s specialties. If “poblano” is in the dish description, be it mole or chicken-stuffed crêpes, it’s guaranteed to be worth a try, though the kitchen’s ultimate claim to fame is its festive chile en nogada — a roasted pepper stuffed with beef, fruit, and nuts beneath a pomegranate seed–sprinkled walnut cream sauce.

Burrito with green chile, rice, and beans
A burrito platter at Chile Verde.
Ruth Tobias

Zocalito Latin Bistro

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Chef Michael Beary has spent years working directly with farmers in Oaxaca to import ingredients otherwise hard to find in the U.S., including rare chiles, so dishes that showcase them are the natural highlights of this downtown destination. Cases in point include chicken tamales wrapped in the leafy herb called hoja santa and served with taviche chile mole; shrimp-octopus salad in lemon-chilcosle dressing; and pork belly tacos with negro chilhuacle salsa.

Chile relleno stuffed with black beans and cheese in mole
Zocalito’s pasilla chile relleno is stuffed with black beans and cheese over chilhuacle mole.
Ruth Tobias

Tacos El Paisa

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Consider this place the Mexican equivalent of a roadside diner: Comfy, friendly, and supremely reliable, it’s got something for everyone so that no craving goes unfulfilled morning, noon, or night. A full slate of tacos and burritos? Of course. Seafood staples like shrimp-octopus cocktail and caldo de siete mares alongside Tex-Mex classics like fajitas and chimichangas? Sure. Huevos rancheros for dinner — why not?

Plate of assorted tacos
Tacos al pastor at El Paisa.
Ruth Tobias

Las Delicias Uptown

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Among the many old-school purveyors of what has come to be known as Den-Mex cuisine, this one continues to live up to the reputation it established for itself back in 1976. Its four locations have got hearty, generously portioned comfort food down pat — whether smothered in thick green chile, queso, or both.

Platter of three small burritos stuffed with pork rinds, topped with cheese and green chile
Burritos de chicharrones at Las Delicias.
Ruth Tobias

La Machaca de Mi Amá

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Like its seafood-centric sibling El Coco Pirata — known for its Sinaloan-style sushi — this Aurora spot pays tribute to the traditions of the owners’ home region, though the menu here runs a much larger (and meatier) gamut. Look for items that mention either Sinaloa or the cities of Culicán or Mocorito by name — for instance, sopitas con huevos, which are similar to migas; chilaquiles with the simmered pork called chilorio; and shrimp-filled tacos el gobernador, not to mention soups and stews galore. Of course, the eponymous machaca (dried, shredded beef) also plays a role in several dishes.

Eggs scrambled with beef on a plate with refried beans and fried potatoes
Eggs scrambled with machaca at La Machaca de Mi Amá, which come with handmade corn tortillas.
Ruth Tobias

El Taco de México

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From its singular green chile and impeccable beans and rice to its famous chile-relleno burrito and, of course, textbook-level tacos, there are myriad reasons this decades-old institution in the Santa Fe Arts District not only counts among Denver’s best Mexican restaurants but also ranks on the Eater 38 — and boasts an America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation to boot.

Carne asada tacos with rice and beans
El Taco de Mexico’s carne asada taco platter.
Ruth Tobias

La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas

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This cheery Alameda taqueria has cracked the current Eater 38 for equally good reasons, above all the sheer abundance of expertly prepared meats it offers atop its tacos — which go far beyond carne asada and carnitas to include chivo (goat); cueritos (pork skin); cabeza (literally “head,” but typically beef cheek); and more. A wide array of zingy salsas seals the deal.

Plate of four tacos with lime
La Calle offers a wider range of toppings than most taquerias.
Ruth Tobias

Tarasco’s New Latino Cuisine

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Michoacán native Noe Bermudez combines the traditions of his home region with his own penchant for nutrition on an herbivore-friendly menu that’s supplemented by a vibrant selection of juice blends, aguas frescas, and smoothies. Signatures include the deeply savory sopa Tarasca (bean soup), tamales de elote, and seven-chile mole, but Bermudez’s vegetarian huaraches and enchiladas — loaded with the likes of cactus, carrots, potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and/or mushrooms — warrant mention too.

Bowl of bean soup with roasted cactus, salsa, and lime
Tarasco’s signature bean soup with a side of cactus salad.
Ruth Tobias

Garibaldi Mexican Bistro

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Named for the famous plaza in Mexico City where mariachi bands congregate, this surprise hit is located inside, of all places, an Englewood gas station. It’s known for its elongated, chicharrón-filled quekas; tostadas, enchiladas, and more featuring blue corn and cactus; and specials like quesadillas stuffed with squash blossoms or huitlacoche and quesabirria tacos.

TK
TK
facebook.com/Garibaldimexicanbistro

La Reyna Azteca Tacos y Tortas

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Though it also offers tacos, gorditas, and weekend menudo, this Aurora quick stop is a torteria first and foremost — and a superlative one at that. The torta whizzes behind the counter whip up some 20 different sandwiches complete with mayo, frijoles, tomato, onion, thinly sliced avocado, pickled carrots, and jalapeños, yet somehow, even monsters like the Super Cubana with breaded steak, chorizo, hot dog, ham, pierna (pork leg), egg, and two types of cheese hold together.

Torta with pork, steak, and cheese
La Reyna Azteca’s namesake torta features three types of pork — pierna, ham, and head cheese — plus carne asada and both fresh and melted queso.
Ruth Tobias

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Comal Heritage Food Incubator

Blue-corn tostada with agua fresca
A tostada with agua fresca at Comal.
Adam Larkey Photography

Also ranked among the current Eater 38, this RiNo project of the nonprofit Focus Points Family Resource Center gives aspiring women entrepreneurs from local immigrant and refugee communities the tools to run their own kitchen — matching its mission to the quality of its food. Though dishes from other countries sometimes enter the rotation, Mexican food is Comal’s daily bread and butter (or handmade tortillas and salsa, as the case may be); the menu on any given day may feature chicken in spicy pumpkin-seed sauce, pork shoulder in salsa verde, or chipotle shrimp taocs.

Blue-corn tostada with agua fresca
A tostada with agua fresca at Comal.
Adam Larkey Photography

Mr Peralta Mariscos

Mexican-style cold seafood tower
Mr Peralta’s torre de mariscos.
Ruth Tobias

Among the leaders of Denver’s surprisingly solid pack of Mexican seafood specialists, this casual Sunnyside hideaway does it all with a small but kind and hard-working staff: aguachile, cocteles, botanas, ceviche, caldos, molcajetes, and more positively brimming with mariscos, as well as grilled and fried fish dishes. (Bonus points for the irresistible goat birria tacos.)

Mexican-style cold seafood tower
Mr Peralta’s torre de mariscos.
Ruth Tobias

Tortas ATM

Torta Cubana with diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs
ATM’s torta Cubana features diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs.
Ruth Tobias

One of two top-notch torterias on this map, Tortas A Toda Madre (to use the full name) in West Highland packs its sandwiches with the standard variety of meats, cheeses, and condiments, plus a few ingredients not typically found elsewhere — including the cut of beef called suadero and colito de pavo, or turkey tail.

Torta Cubana with diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs
ATM’s torta Cubana features diced beef, breaded steak, marinated pork, ham, and hot dogs.
Ruth Tobias

Los Carboncitos

Alambre al pastor
Alambre al pastor at Los Carboncitos.
Ruth Tobias

This family-run Highland fixture (with outposts in Villa Park and Aurora) puts the culinary traditions of Mexico City front and center on its wide-ranging menu. Highlights include the huaraches — oblong masa flatbreads — which come topped with everything from steak and cactus to chicken and mushrooms — and alambres, mixed grills of meat or seafood, veggies, and cheese accompanied with tortillas.

Alambre al pastor
Alambre al pastor at Los Carboncitos.
Ruth Tobias

Bellota

Chile relleno over charred-tomato salsa
Bellota’s chile relleno with charred-tomato salsa.
Courtesy of Bellota

The closure of Acorn last fall came as a shock to Denver’s dining system, but the restaurant’s owners may actually have outdone themselves with its replacement. Helmed by Monterrey-born talent Manny Barella, the kitchen turns out artful and complex versions of even the simplest classics, be it tacos topped with king trumpet mushrooms al pastor and charred pineapple or the blue-corn quesadilla filled with requéson, onions, and epazote in jalapeño-cilantro vinaigrette. The pumpkin-seed dip called sikil pak is a must to start, paired with a suave agave spirit-based cocktail like the Mexico City Martini.

Chile relleno over charred-tomato salsa
Bellota’s chile relleno with charred-tomato salsa.
Courtesy of Bellota

Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro

Takeout carnitas burrito in green chile
Xicamiti’s green chile–smothered carnitas burrito.
Ruth Tobias

Run by a couple from Chihuahua, this Golden getaway offers a seemingly straightforward menu of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and the like day to day, but its secret to success is in its steady stream of creative specials. One day that might mean tacos dorados filled with mashed sweet potatoes, queso Oaxaca, and blistered chiles; the next, tamal-stuffed tortas; and the one after that, hibiscus-peach tacos with coconut and chipotle. They also bottle their own infused mezcals and margaritas in flavors like jalapeño-cilantro and kiwi-tamarind.

Takeout carnitas burrito in green chile
Xicamiti’s green chile–smothered carnitas burrito.
Ruth Tobias

Lola Coastal Mexican

Tostada with raw tuna, pork floss, avocado, and red onion
Dishes like this surf-and-turf tostada define Lola’s seasonal menu.
Ruth Tobias

This LoHi pioneer has long focused on coastal Mexican cuisine, but when esteemed Tijuana-born chef Javier Plascencia joined the team as a partner in 2019, the seasonal menu began evolving to reflect his Baja-Med style. Think grilled oysters garnished with serrano ponzu and machaca; roasted spatchcock chicken in Manzanilla olive mole; lobster enchiladas with arroz verde; and parfaits of jackfruit, green strawberry, and makrut lime.

Tostada with raw tuna, pork floss, avocado, and red onion
Dishes like this surf-and-turf tostada define Lola’s seasonal menu.
Ruth Tobias

Chili Verde

Burrito with green chile, rice, and beans
A burrito platter at Chile Verde.
Ruth Tobias

The family who runs this colorful, artsy Jefferson Park charmer (complete with a lovely back patio) hails from Puebla, and it shows on a menu built around the region’s specialties. If “poblano” is in the dish description, be it mole or chicken-stuffed crêpes, it’s guaranteed to be worth a try, though the kitchen’s ultimate claim to fame is its festive chile en nogada — a roasted pepper stuffed with beef, fruit, and nuts beneath a pomegranate seed–sprinkled walnut cream sauce.

Burrito with green chile, rice, and beans
A burrito platter at Chile Verde.
Ruth Tobias

Zocalito Latin Bistro

Chile relleno stuffed with black beans and cheese in mole
Zocalito’s pasilla chile relleno is stuffed with black beans and cheese over chilhuacle mole.
Ruth Tobias

Chef Michael Beary has spent years working directly with farmers in Oaxaca to import ingredients otherwise hard to find in the U.S., including rare chiles, so dishes that showcase them are the natural highlights of this downtown destination. Cases in point include chicken tamales wrapped in the leafy herb called hoja santa and served with taviche chile mole; shrimp-octopus salad in lemon-chilcosle dressing; and pork belly tacos with negro chilhuacle salsa.

Chile relleno stuffed with black beans and cheese in mole
Zocalito’s pasilla chile relleno is stuffed with black beans and cheese over chilhuacle mole.
Ruth Tobias

Tacos El Paisa

Plate of assorted tacos
Tacos al pastor at El Paisa.
Ruth Tobias

Consider this place the Mexican equivalent of a roadside diner: Comfy, friendly, and supremely reliable, it’s got something for everyone so that no craving goes unfulfilled morning, noon, or night. A full slate of tacos and burritos? Of course. Seafood staples like shrimp-octopus cocktail and caldo de siete mares alongside Tex-Mex classics like fajitas and chimichangas? Sure. Huevos rancheros for dinner — why not?

Plate of assorted tacos
Tacos al pastor at El Paisa.
Ruth Tobias

Las Delicias Uptown

Platter of three small burritos stuffed with pork rinds, topped with cheese and green chile
Burritos de chicharrones at Las Delicias.
Ruth Tobias

Among the many old-school purveyors of what has come to be known as Den-Mex cuisine, this one continues to live up to the reputation it established for itself back in 1976. Its four locations have got hearty, generously portioned comfort food down pat — whether smothered in thick green chile, queso, or both.

Platter of three small burritos stuffed with pork rinds, topped with cheese and green chile
Burritos de chicharrones at Las Delicias.
Ruth Tobias

La Machaca de Mi Amá