You know how we always say the Houston trifecta is composed of barbecue, burgers and Tex-Mex? Yeah, well Tex-Mex is clearly the victor, as more than 2,000 of you voted in our poll to determine the most underrated Tex-Mex restaurant in town.
And the same thing that happened with the barbecue poll happened again: The first and second place winners are separated by ONE VOTE. Madness! These two spots also got more than double the third place restaurant, indicating a clear preference.
Some of you took to the comments to argue that spots like Spanish Village are clearly not underrated and therefore shouldn't be part of the poll, and it seems like most people agreed, as even lesser-known spots received the most votes.
So who gets the dubious honor of being named most underrated among the best Tex-Mex joints in the country?
Here are your choices.
5. La Tapatia Not only did La Tapatia make it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 for creating a humongous taco, the local chain has also grown to six locations across town over the past 25 years. It's known for strong margaritas and traditional Mexican food like pozole, menudo and cabrito, not always found at Tex-Mex establishments.
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4. Andy's Home Cafe While commenter Anse lamented a recent poor meal at Andy's, Anse also waxed nostalgic about previous dinners at the 37-year-old cafe: "It's like a time capsule...Tex-Mex as it was in the 70's. Simple yellow-cheese combo plates, a mild but savory enchilada gravy, the classic Velveeta-type queso." The décor and recipes both seem to be unchanged since Andy's opened in 1977, but why meddle with success, right? The Heights diner is open 24 hours, seven days a week, too, meaning no matter what time your craving for fast, cheap old school Tex-Mex strikes, Andy's will satisfy.
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3. Chuy's Chuy's began in Austin--a history that tends to rub us Houstonians the wrong way, but in this case, we have to embrace it because, well, the drinks are strong and the salsa is hot. As commenter KristopherJ put it, "Why have people not mentioned Chuy's? The creamy jalapeño [sauce] alone is enough to get it on the list, surely!" Clearly that jalapeño and Hatch green chile sauce--A Chuy's original--is enough to get it on the list, as are the Elvis shrines in every restaurant. Yep, Chuy's, your Austin is showing.
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2. Los Tios Mexican Restaurant As justification for Los Tios being one of the most underrated Tex-Mex spots in town, commenter BP88 wrote simply, "They've been doing the same thing forever." In some cases, that doesn't work, but for Los Tios, it really, really does. The local chain opened 44 years ago (to some that seems like forever), and like Molina's, it claims to have brought the frozen marg to Houston. Regardless of who was first, Los Tios makes a great classic frozen margarita, and the combo platters--a must at Tex-Mex restaurants--are consistently delicious.
1. Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe And, with just ONE VOTE more than Los Tios, Teotihuacan has the proud distinction of being the most underrated Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston. No one in the comments had anything specific to say about Teotihuacan, though. All you folks said was the name, as if that was enough. So I can only speculate as to why you hold it in such high esteem. Could it possibly be the mixed parrillada platters, complete with smoky grilled meats? The wide variety of Tex-Mex seafood dishes prepared with varying degrees of spice? The strong but tasty margaritas? The stuff-yourself-silly-then-go-back-to-bed brunch? The homemade salsa? It's likely all of this, and the hot pink exterior of the outpost on Airline, which is just so inviting you've got to stop in for a margarita and a cup of queso.