With summer here, it only makes sense to take a look at all of the fantastic spots in town to enjoy the best heat and spice and tequila that our fair city has to offer.
From long-standing restaurants to mobile food trucks, we have numerous businesses that can fulfill your craving for something spicy, cheesy, meaty or sizzling.
In no particular order, we suggest these Mexican eateries:
>> BEST OF DAYTON: Best tacos
>> BEST OF DAYTON: Best Mexican
>> BEST OF DAYTON: Best margaritas
Believe it or not, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Dayton can deliver anything from tacos to chimichangas to your car window in less than 10 minutes. Victor’s menu features a variety of Mexican specialties, including tacos, enchiladas, burritos, taquitos and tostadas, as well as omelets and breakfast burritos. Taco meat and burrito choices include Carne Asada (sliced beef), Carnitas (pork), Adobada (marinated pork), breaded fish, shrimp and grilled chicken. You have to try the big OH burrito and the housemade sauces— trust us.
1609 E. Third St., Dayton | (937) 258-2654
2190 Shiloh Springs Road, Trotwood
Taqueria Mixteca is inexpensive and tasty and a Best of Dayton winning destination for tacos and Mexican. The large burrito is large enough to feed two with leftovers, the authentic tacos are absolutely delicious and the guacamole is some of the best in town and an incredibly generous helping for the price. 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 the Trotwood location.
🌮Las Penas Mexican Grocery & Restaurant
215 Byers Road | 937-866-4457
What this no-frills restaurant lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for in taste. Their juicy, fresh tacos satisfy the biggest appetite with flavorful meats and spicy sauces. Regular tacos come on two corn tortillas with your choice of meat with a heap of fresh white onion and cilantro for $2.69 each. Taco meat choices include asada (beef); pollo (chicken); lengua (beef tongue); cabeza (beef head); tripa (beef intestines) (chorizo (Mexican sausage); barbacoa (braised beef); al pastor (marinated pork) and carnitas (braised pork).
🌮Taqueria Tres Hermanos
5392 Burkhardt Rd. | (937) 254-6645 | Facebook
Tres Hermanos (a.k.a. Three Brothers) opened as the former restaurant Taco Loco came to a close. But the food has remained top quality. The chicken quesadillas (1 lb, 4 oz), chorizo and carnitas are a MUST try.
🌮Fuzzy’s Tacos at The Greene
One thing that makes Fuzzy’s tacos stand out: the signature cheese choice, feta. Not a cheese you typically find on Mexican fare, the tangy and bright cheese makes for a fresh, vibrant flavor profile. Almost all tacos are also topped with their signature garlic sauce, which is made fresh in-house. You can’t miss — or beat — these flavors; the signature garnishments for the tacos make for a flavor combination you won’t find anywhere else.
2307 Valley Pike | (937) 235-9970
Like so many dining destinations, you can't judge a book by its cover. Burrito King has virtually no presence on social media and the exterior doesn't look like much, but this is a destination that will leave you full and happy you decided to visit. Start with the tacos and be ready for future visits when you decide you want to work your way through the menu. 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.
🌮La Michoacana #5 Mexican Market
748 Troy St. | (937) 220-9600 | Website
This is one of my absolute favorites to head to for street tacos and follow up with a little shopping for my next taco Tuesday. If you haven't been here, this is the spot on the list you should seek out. Their tacos, gorditas, tostadas and tamales are fantastic, but if you want to kick off Cinco de Mayo right, their breakfast is fantastic. Chilaquiles, hot cakes and huevos rancheros are a great way to wake up. 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.
🌮Pepe’s Mexican Flavors
6114 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights | (937) 233-2300 | Facebook
This Dayton gem just celebrated its first year in business. Head there for lunch for a Mexican sub and elote — Mexican-style corn on the cob slathered in mayonnaise, chili powder and cotija cheese. As the weather warms, consider this a stop for ice cream and desserts that are off the beaten path.
1822 Brown St, Dayton | (937) 938-7384 | Website
Located near the University of Dayton, Rusty Taco has plenty of its namesake tacos to offer, the best by far being the breakfast tacos. The next time you are debating on where to go to brunch, give this some consideration. They can make you a bloody Mary, but their margaritas are so good it would be a shame to pass them up.
🍽️STAY A WHILE
🌮Chuy’s Mexican Food
• 10445 Innovation Drive at Austin Landing in Miami Twp. |
The Tex-Mex food is decent, but the quirky, colorful decor, fresh cocktails and awesome patio make it worth the trip. The Austin, Texas-based chain has been expanding across the country. The food is reasonably priced, but they'll get you on the drinks starting with the cool and refreshing Perfect Margarita made with fresh lime juice. 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.
>> FROM THE ARCHIVES: Our first look at Dayton’s first Chuy’s
• Elsa’s On the Border, 1227 Wilmington Ave., Dayton | 937-938-7372
• Elsa’s East Restaurant & Cantina, 3618 Linden Ave., Dayton | 937-252-9635
• Elsa’s Kettering Sports Grill, 1216 E. Stroop Road, Kettering | 937-294-9210
• Elsa’s South Restaurant & Cantina, 6318 Far Hills Ave., Centerville | 937-439-3897
• Elsa’s Corner Cantina, 6204A Wilmington Pike, Sugarcreek Twp. | 937-310-1373
Two words — Bad Juan. An aptly named margarita that becomes exponentially badder with each one ordered. The restaurant's famous margarita is the one menu item that makes worth the trip. The food's fine, but this is a mean cocktail that will make those enchiladas or whatever you decide to order taste that much better.
🌮Chiapas Mexican Grill
298 N. Main St, Centerville | 937-949-3390 | chiapasmexicangrill.com
This authentic destination has a whole lot to like on this menu, but the show stopper is the fajita de seafood featuring a large tilapia filet, grilled shrimp, small scallops and crab along with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes served alongside the traditional rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, tortillas and pico de gallo. This is a dish that could easily be shared along with an appetizer depending on how hungry you are. One of Dayton’s most recent Mexican additions has certainly made a name for itself since opening.
6290 Chambersburg Rd., Huber Heights | (937) 235-8634 | Facebook
When you’re in the mood for a frozen margarita 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.
• 710 Gardner Road, Springboro
• 4421 Ohio 725, Bellbrook
• 894 S. Main St., Centerville
• 2335 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Miamisburg
• 9190 N. Main St., Englewood
• 1375 N. Fairfield Road, Beavercreek 2915 Harshman Road, Dayton
• 448 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek 2100 S. Limestone St., Springfield
• 8321 Old Troy Pike, Huber Heights
• 6770 Miller Lane, Dayton
• 794 Northwoods Blvd., Vandalia
• 2017 N. Bechtle Ave., Springfield
There’s a reason El Toro continues to rank high with voters in the Best of Dayton polls. With a full menu to choose from and a number of locations that are nearly as plentiful as the dishes that are offered, there's never an El Toro too far away. Consider trying the El Toro Molcajete featuring tender slices of steak, chicken, chorizo and shrimp grilled with green onions and Nopales (cactus). Drizzled with green sauce and covered with melted cheese, if you are looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in a big way, this is a solid option.
With one of the best patios in Dayton this is the spot that will be throwing one of the best parties in honor of Cinco de Mayo. It's a fantastic option to zero in on for Cinco de Mayo celebrations and any others you have happening this year. With a menu of dishes they are known for as well as a robust menu of featured specials, there's always something both familiar and new to enjoy. Their tapas menu is practically iconic, their patio space is huge and their house-brand tequila makes one good margarita. They also host a fleet of three food trucks that bring big flavor to businesses, events and more. Go for the Chilean salmon stack ($29), Manchego cheese puffs ($10 for 12, $7 for five) and chicken tortilla soup (small $7, large $10). Don’t miss the food truck version this festival season!
🌮Las Margaritas Mexican Bar & Grill
5526 Airway Rd., Riverside | (937) 252-2092 | Facebook
This Riverside spot specializes in margaritas and Tex-Mex fare. In addition to a long list of lunch and dinner combination platters, a bevy of house specialties like carne asada, pork chimichangas, tacos al pastor and shrimp diablo are offered as well. They have a number of margarita options should you find yourself in the mood. Ole!
Once a combo food truck with the famous Drunken Waffle, now permanently located at Toxic Brew, this food truck is now solely focused on serving up deliciously twisted tacos at festivals and special events.
🌮Taqueria Garcia Mobil
1914 E. 3rd St., Dayton | Facebook
With nearly a perfect rating on Facebook, this is clearly one food truck you won’t want to miss in Dayton. From what reviewers say, the tongue tacos are impeccable. The prices can’t be beat, either.
🌮Taqueria la Lomita truck
2721 Linden Ave., Dayton
Another top-rated choice, this authentic food truck turns out some of Dayton’s best-loved Al Pastor tacos.
WORTH THE DRIVE
🌮Guerra’s Krazy Taco
Some tacos are just loco. Others are so “krazy” good that they will make you hop in your car for a quick trip to Springfield. That’s the case with Guerra’s Krazy Taco, a quirky taco shop and bar about 30 minutes from Dayton.
— Amelia Robinson, Allegra Czerwinski, Vivienne Machi and Alex Perry contributed to this guide.