Few things fill my heart with joy more than a good Mexican restaurant. To be fair, my heart also skips a beat for decent and okay Mexican food. I am drawn to free chips and salsa, liquid cheese, margaritas, and anything from nachos to tacos, and anything in between! Thankfully, the good Lord blessed me with kids who, in spite of their picky eating habits, enjoy free chips and salsa, tacos, cheesy rice, and quesadillas.
The more I look for good places, the more places I find! This city has so many great options for food and there is no shortage of favorite Mexican food spots as well!
I’ve got some favorites, but I’m aware that I’ve not tried everything the city has to offer. I’ve asked for some recommendations as well, so hopefully you’ll find not only your favorite place, but also somewhere new to try as well!
El Metate – Signal Mountain, Hixson, Soddy Daisy
This place is my hands-down favorite. It’s 3 minutes from home, which is the first reason to love it. But the food is great too – they have a decent kids menu, plenty of a la carte options, and a daily special. Plus their happy hour is great! The staff is excellent, and we’ve had no trouble ordering from there during the pandemic – their takeout is fantastic.
Favorite items on the menu? Choriqueso, chicken wings (seriously, they are so good), tacos mexican style or tacos de pastor
Amigo Mexican Restaurant – Red Bank, Hixson, East Ridge, Brainerd, Harrison
Amigos is another great local chain. The restaurant is large, the menu is expansive, and I always leave full and happy! We also get good service, and my kids say they have the best cheese quesadillas around!
Favorite items on the menu? Anything nachos. They make their own tortilla chips for nachos and they are puffy, light and perfect.
El Meson – Hixson and Chattanooga (Hamilton Place area)
We stumbled upon the Hixson location one Friday evening, and there was live music! It seems that’s common on a Friday evening which adds to the ambience. Both locations are spacious and lively, and the food is good as well!
From the people who brought us Urban Stack, Milk and Honey, Community Pie, and Hi-Fi Clyde’s comes this Chattanooga powerhouse. Taco Mamacita specializes in “Fresh-mex” so you can find sloppy joe tacos, street corn, Memphis nachos, great vegan options and much more. The atmosphere is great, and with its downtown location, it’s a popular spot for a date or a girls’ night.
Favorite items? Sloppy joe taco, chicken tortilla soup, taco bowl…
Las Margaritas – Northshore
This was my favorite spot in college, and it’s still a favorite when I’m feeling nostalgic or need a quick lunch break during the work day. It’s on the upper level of a small shopping center, but the service is great – seriously the lady who seats you and takes payment is pure sunshine. Several years ago, they added a covered patio, so as long as the rain isn’t blowing sideways or it’s not below 50 degrees, that patio is where you would find me.
Favorite meal? Chicken acapulco. Chicken with ginger, orange and garlic spices with rice and beans. It has been my favorite for 20 years now.
TacoNooga is a simple location with killer food. They have a HUGE variety of tacos (as the name would suggest) in addition to some signature dishes. Not a lot of parking, but if you’re enjoying Coolidge Park or the Frazier Avenue area, it’s a great place to stop!
Favorite? Tacos… pick your poison.
OK, I am not including Subway-like franchises (looking at you Moe’s and Dos Bros), but Mojo Burrito is local and fresh and all the things good about assembly line style food. Fresh ingredients, vegan and vegetarian options, playful atmosphere – what’s not to love?
Favorite thing to order? Chicken Mountain Bowl or any burrito of your choice
Mexican Restaurants by part of town:
El Metate (Hixson and Soddy Daisy)
Amigo’s (Brainerd and East Ridge)
Mezcla!!!! The corner of Market and Frazier/Cherokee. I have tried nearly every place on your list and Mezcla beats the pants off 98% of them. I grew up in Texas and Mezcla is the closest thing I have found to home.
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