Restaurant Guide–El Paso

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Note: Effective Oct 30, 2020 the El Paso County Judge has banned all indoor dining for a period of two weeks. However, the Governor’s office and State Attorney General have stated that the Judge had no authority to implement this ban, and the matter is in dispute. For now it may be a matter of contacting each restaurant directly concerning whether they have takeout, indoor dining, etc.


Canutillo

Flautas Tepalca–6994 Doniphan Dr. (Mexican) Open Daily. One of the best flautas in the El Paso area (or really anywhere in the U.S. I have tried them).  However, this and a couple of other items are the entire menu except for “nieves” (ice cream) and aguas frescas. (Now has two locations in El Paso–5198 Doniphan and 500 N. Zaragoza Rd.) (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Little Diner–7209 7th St. (Mexican) Closed Wed.  Has New Mexico style enchiladas (spicy). Chiles rellenos are very good. Gorditas are some of the best anywhere. Another favorite item is Christmas tamales (order a few days ahead of time and pick up on Christmas eve). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Lupita’s Tamales–6860 Doniphan Dr. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Take out only. Red chile tamal is excellent. Chile con queso tamal and tamal dulce are very good to go with it. (Takeout only 7-19-20)

Maracas–900 Talbot Ave. (Puerto Rican) Closes at 6 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  OK, it’s a novelty in El Paso to find Latin American food that is not Mexican, but reviewers say this place is really good (especially the Cuban and Philly sandwiches). (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Peppe’s–6761 Doniphan Dr. (New Mexican) Open daily (lunch only). This is one of the Griggs family restaurants (the others are La Posta in Mesilla, NM and El Pinto in Albuquerque). Peppe’s is small and not a tourist attraction like the other restaurants, and I believe the food is more true to the Griggs family recipes. My favorite items include the tostada compuesta, green enchiladas, chile relleno, and cole slaw. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

El Paso

Amigos–2000 Montana Ave. (Mexican) Open daily except Mon dinner.  I think this is one of the top Mexican restaurants in El Paso (the recipes and cooks are from the old La Hacienda Restaurant). My only caution is that it is spicier than most places in town (if you do not like it this spicy, avoid items with red chile). Chile relleno is excellent and I think not too spicy. Red enchilada is also excellent but more spicy. Many other items on the menu are excellent (and they have a more extensive menu than most restaurants). (Yelp says it may be closed 8-22-20)

Cafe Central–109 N. Oregon St. (Fine Dining) Closed Sun.  More expensive than I usually put on this list, but I think their Mexican dishes are really worth the money (such as the puntas de filete). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Cafe Italia–6705 N. Mesa St. (Pizza) Closed Sun-Mon.  Wood fired pizza that is literally the best I’ve ever had. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Cafe Mayapan–2000 Texas Ave. (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Authentic Mexican from different regions of Mexico. I am impressed not only by the variety of food, but also the quality. (Takeout only 8-22-20)

El Jacalito–2130 Myrtle Ave. (Mexican) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun). Probably the definitive place in El Paso for inexpensive, real Mexican style lunches (I like the Mexican plate or the chile verde). El Jacalito is one of the best places in town for Lent specials (Fridays during Lent and the Thursday before Easter). (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Forti’s–321 Chelsea St. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  A local favorite, but I find it to be a little inconsistent (my tip is to go during their busiest times because I think these are when their best cooks are on duty). Tampiquena and red enchiladas are my favorites here, but for first time visitors I would recommend the combination plate. The red sauce may be the best in El Paso (and I have tried a lot of them). (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Han Il Gwan–9477 Dyer St. (Korean) Closed Sun (open daily according to Yelp).  El Paso has several good Korean restaurants, but this is my favorite. Has a good selection of items, and I don’t have problems with MSG. (Dining room is apparently open 8-22-20)

Hello Pizza–1071 Country Club Rd. (Pizza) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Sat & Sun.  New York style, that people have told me is as good or better than in NY (and it is so good I believe them). (I don’t know if dining room is open 8-22-20)

H&H Car Wash–701 E. Yandell (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Breakfasts are excellent (I like the huevos rancheros). I don’t care for the lunches so much. (I don’t know if dining room is open 8-22-20)

Julio’s Cafe Corona–8050 Gateway Blvd. East (Mexican) Open daily (breakfast on Sat & Sun).  Originated in Ciudad Juarez, and many things here are more authentic Mexican than El Paso style. Everything here, though, is among the best in the city. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

L&J Cafe–3622 E. Missouri Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & Mon. Open since the 1920’s, it is famous for being located across the street from the graveyard. Some good items include the red enchilada, green enchilada, caldillo, salsa, and lemonade. Lately, though, it has become very popular and I think it has lost some of its “kick” (it is not as spicy as it once was and some items I tried recently were not as flavorful as before). A combination plate, though, will probably be the best bet here. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Las Palmas–1605 George Dieter Dr. (Mexican) Open daily (breakfast on Sat & Sun).  This is a relatively new discovery for me, but I think the Mexican food here rivals anywhere in town (enchiladas, chiles rellenos, etc.). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Marina’s German Bakery–2033 Trawood Dr. (Bakery) Closed Sun.  This is my number one spot in town for freshly baked bread. Also serves bratwurst for lunch, and I particularly like the one here. (Dining room is open but it is self service 7-27-20)

Matsuharu–4886 Hercules Ave. (Japanese) Dinner only (Open Tue-Fri only).  All around excellent Japanese food, but I especially like the ramen, tempura udon, salmon teriyaki, and fish specials (the specials change in accordance with what can be flown in). (Takeout only & reviewers say right now they don’t have sushi 7-27-20)

Mi Piaci–5411 N. Mesa St. (Italian) Closed Sun. Upscale Italian with very good food, prepared properly. (Italian and Middle Eastern have traditionally been the two best ethnic foods in El Paso besides Mexican food). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Peter’s German Grill–255 Shadow Mountain (German) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  The menu is small and it specializes in schnitzel and bratwurst. It also has very good German pastries and bread. My favorites of these are the Black Forest and the cranberry and walnut bread. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Red Lantern–1841 N. Zaragoza Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  A good proportion of their customers want authentic Cantonese food, so they tend to have more selection than other restaurants. Prices are reasonable also. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Saigon Taste–6940 N. Mesa St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  This is one of El Paso’s very good authentic Asian restaurants. My favorite items include the banh xeo and clay pot tofu. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Santa Cecilia–5500 El Paso Dr. (Mexican) Open daily (dinner on Fri & Sat only). To me these are almost unbelievably good tacos al carbon (the ones that should be the pattern for all other restaurants). Located at the intersection of Paisano Dr. & El Paso Dr., just north of Alameda Ave. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Su Casa–2030 E. Yandell Dr. (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  These are some of my favorite red enchiladas in town. Also available are several Middle Eastern items (my favorites are the spinach pie and tabouli). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Sun Garden–6600 N. Mesa St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Authentic Cantonese food is available from the menu. I like the ma po tofu and Szechuan pork (neither of these are Cantonese but they are very good). You can special order some authentic Cantonese dishes such as tomato and scrambled egg. (Takeout only 7-27-20)

Tabla–115 S. Durango (Spanish) Closed Sun.  Tapas. (Temporarily closed 8-22-20)

Tara Thai–2606 N. Mesa St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This is some of the best Thai food I have had anywhere in terms of flavor (I am very impressed with the way they do Thai food). There are some down sides, though–parking is terrible, the dinner menu is a little too expensive for me, and the lunch menu is a little limited (but the food here is really worth it if you want high quality Thai). (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Tasty Kabob–6110 N. Mesa St. (Persian) Closed Tue & closed Sun evening.  Very good ghormeh sabzi, and I am anxious to try other items as well. (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Viet–1700 N. Zaragoza Rd. (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Very good Vietnamese food on the east side. The only problem is that you have to request mint with the vermicelli dishes (they will give it to you, but you have to know to ask for it). Still, though, the food is very good (just ask for it to be Vietnamese style and assume that otherwise it might be somewhat Americanized). (Dining room is open 7-27-20)

Villa del Mar–7988 Gateway Blvd. East (Mexican) Open Daily.  I think it’s the best in town for Mexican style seafood. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Zino’s–7040 N. Mesa St. (Greek) Closed Mon.  I have only gone once but it was one of my best experiences for Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern food in El Paso. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Fabens

Cattleman’s Steakhouse–Ranch Road 793 about 4 mi. north of IH-10 (Steakhouse) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  Nationally famous destination restaurant. I think the steaks were not quite up to par for a while, but many people report that they are now as they were before. (Dining room is open 6-18-20)

Socorro

Sofia’s–11800 Glorietta Rd. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  The address of this restaurant is in San Elizario but it is actually located in Socorro. This is one of the few remaining “old time” Lower Valley restaurants with the traditional flavor I have loved since I have been here. Mexican plate is a good place to start. For enchiladas it goes against the general trend in El Paso in that the green enchiladas are best (at most restaurants it is the red). (Takeout only 6-18-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Sources:

Chowhound (El Paso)

Culture Trip (El Paso)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (El Paso)

Zomato (El Paso)

 

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