10 of Dayton's best Mexican spots

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10 of Dayton's best Mexican spots

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Staff photo by Jim Witmer
A spread of adventurous food at Taqueria Mixteca mexican restaurant at 1609 E. Third St., Dayton. Foreground shows Huarche, background left are three different meat tacos and on right in glass bowl is Seafood Cocktail.

Take it from this California native – the Miami Valley could do much, much worse for Mexican food.

When I first moved here two years ago, I was ready to resign myself to quelling my taco addiction with Chipotle (no offense to Chipotle; I love their food. But those are not authentic tacos). Luckily, I don’t have to, because from north to south, east to west, the Dayton area is home to some delicious and satisfying Tex-Mex with dishes that rival some of my favorite San Francisco haunts.

In no particular order, these restaurants will serve your burrito, taco, pozole, gordita, fajita, margarita, etc. etc. need:

Monster BurritoThe monster burrito from Taqueria Mixteca. ALLEGRA CZERWINSKI / STAFF

Taqueria Mixteca 1609 E. Third St. | (937) 258-2654 | taqueriamixteca.comFacebookTwitter 

Home of the two-pound “monster burrito,” Taqueria Mixteca also has some of the best pozole in town – it’s a shame you can only get it on the weekend. You can’t go wrong with their queso appetizer, and anything with chorizo on it will always be tasty. Grab some horchata at the East Third Street location (or grab a six-pack at the gas station next door – it’s BYOB), or indulge in a margarita at their Trotwood location.

Taco LocoTaco Loco's namesakes, Mexican-style tacos. Photo source: Facebook

Taqueria Tres Hermanos (Formerly Taco Loco) 5392 Burkhardt Rd. | (937) 254-6645 | Facebook

Formerly Taco Loco (RIP), this new joint stayed in the family. Go for the Mollejas (gizzards), Tripas (tripe) or Lengua (tongue) and thank me later. And though the complimentary chips are your typical Tex Mex fare, the green and red salsas that accompany the chips are a dream. Not to mention, you get the biggest bang for your buck here: we highly recommend splitting the quesadilla in two.

Burrito KingBurrito King's special. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Burrito King 2307 Valley Pike | (937) 235-9970

Don’t be fooled by the exterior or the lack of social media presence: This spot is beloved by locals who know the quality of the food can’t be beat. Especially loved are the breakfast options, from the breakfast burrito (with a side of delicious gravy) or the perfectly cooked huevos rancheros, but whether you come for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will leave perfectly satisfied.

Elsa'sThe enchiladas from Elsa's. Photo source: Angela W./ Yelp

Elsa’s  Multiple locations | elsas.net

We’ve said enough about Elsa’s “Bad Juan” Margaritas: Now let’s talk about Elsa’s Super Burrito: refried beans, your choice of meat, with a mild sauce, lettuce, Pico de Gallo and shredded cheese, in a 10-inch flour tortilla: it’s not for the faint of heart. Their fish tacos are refreshing and tasty and go down oh so well with a Bad Juan.

Chuys BeavercreekThe steak burrito, margarita, and sauces at Chuy's Mexican. VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

Chuy’s Mexican Food Multiple locations | chuys.comFacebook

Take our word for it – take it twice – Chuy’s fresh margaritas are paired so well with a spicy, delicious steak burrito, or the complimentary happy hour nacho bar. Chuy’s may be a chain, but the Austin-based chain knows Tex-Mex for the masses. And with a fresh, never frozen-except-for-French-fries-and-ice-cream philosophy, you can be sure that the guacamole you’re killing is never from a tub.

PozoleThe pozole from Chiapas. MARK FISHER / STAFF

Chiapas Mexican Grill 298 N. Main St., Centerville | (937) 949-3390

Dayton’s most recent Mexican addition has not disappointed so far – besides the four dishes we loved upon our first visit, (especially the pozole) we also recommend the verde enchiladas for those who love lots of cheese with a great kick. But really, we could eat a straight bowl of their refried beans and be completely happy.

AcapulcoAcapulco's tasty fare. SHERRI SINE / CONTRIBUTED

Acapulco 88 Xenia Towne Square, Xenia | (937) 374-0582 | acapulcomexres.com | Facebook

Don’t be fooled by the strip mall environment – Acapulco transports you away from 35 and into a gustatory Tex-Mex paradise. If you’re like me and you love cheese, and you love chorizo, then you must order the Chori-queso for the gooey, spicy, pepper-y dip of your dreams, perfect on a flour tortilla or honestly just licked up with a spoon. For huge portions, great combo platters for the indecisive diners, and unique plates (try the Burrito California with steak, chorizo, pineapple, and shrimp), Acapulco is worth the short drive east.

Las PiramidesThe Pollo Poblano from Las Piramides. CONNIE POST / STAFF

Las Piramides 6290 Chambersburg Rd., Huber Heights | (937) 235-8634 | laspiramidesdayton.com

When you’re in the mood for a frozen margaritas or some prime enchiladas, Las Piramides is your spot. Their fresh dishes are enhanced by the cheery and cantina-style ambiance and quality service at any time of the day or night. When you visit the Rose Music Center this summer, consider stopping by Las Piramides for a bite beforehand.

La MichoacanaDelicious dishes from La Michoacana #5. AMELIA ROBINSON / STAFF

La Michoacana #5 Mexican Market 748 Troy St. | (937) 220-9600 | michoacanamarket.com

Where else can you grab some delicious chorizo tortas, then buy the very same chorizo at the meat counter next door? La Michoacana is a true gem in the Gem City, a spot you’re surprised to find in the Midwest but are so happy you did. Any of their fajita skillets are worth an order, but the shrimp fajitas in particular are a real treat.

El ToroEl Toro's steak fajitas. Photo source: Jennifer K. / Yelp

El Toro Multiple locations | eltorobarandgrill.comFacebook

Voted by our readers as the best Mexican in town in our Best of Dayton contest, El Toro offers plenty of delicious options, from the seafood chimichangas, to “La Favorita” – tender grilled steak, shrimp, with caramelized onions and tortillas, rice and beans. And how can you resist a classic Flan for dessert? As with every Mexican place on this list, come with a heavy appetite or ready to split: portions are huge. 

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