In west Texas, between New Mexico state and the Mexican border of Juarez, you’ll find the town of El Paso. The city is a cultural crossroads with a culinary scene to match. From authentic southern steakhouses and Tex Mex joints to inventive new restaurants, get a taste of what this border town has to offer with our ten top picks.
Most cities have restaurants that offer foods from all over the world. Options are rarely limited these days which means you are often spoilt for choice. When traveling you sometimes find a dish you have tried countless times in your life but never has it tasted so good as right there in that specific restaurant. El Paso, Texas has its fair share of one-of-a-kind restaurants and some delish ‘only in El Paso’ dishes!
Here’s my list of foods you absolutely must try in El Paso, Texas.
Best Restaurants and Foods to Try in El Paso
This isn’t meant to be a definitive list of the city’s best eats, but I think it’s a good beginning.
Steak – Cattleman’s Steak House, Indian Cliffs Ranch
There is only one restaurant that can start this list and it’s Cattleman’s Steak House. Seating up to 600 people, the Cattleman’s Steak House is legendary in El Paso.
You receive much more than just a dining experience here as the site has been used countless times as film sets for movies starring the likes of Chuck Norris, Jack Nicholson, and David Carradine. Keeping its historical character intact the Cattleman’s Steak House has traditional relics scattered around the place and has a range of animals on site.
The Cattleman’s Steak House is situated in Fabens and is 4.5 miles north of I-10. Being probably the freshest steak you can find, you could every eat Cattleman’s Steak House is slightly more expensive but worth every cent. Cooked to the exact preference, all steaks are served with the house special chili and pineapple coleslaw with the option of the largest baked potato you have ever seen.
Make sure to request a table near the rear decking where you can watch the sunset over the desert.
Opening times are 5-10pm on weeknights and 12.30-10pm on weekends.
Queso & a Texas Sized Margarita – Carlos & Micky’s
Carlos & Micky’s is an affordable Mexican restaurant with traditional décor and authentic tex-mex cuisine. They have live music on weekends, a great happy hour and outdoor seating. They are known for their classic Texan appetizer, “Chili Con Queso” that is made with chorizo and chilis. This rich cheese based special is a must when you visit El Paso.
You can also get your hands on, arguably the best margaritas in town which are available in three sizes – and of course one is the rather huge Texan size! If you think you’ve seen Texas-sized margaritas – think again. They offer traditional margaritas along with flavored ones including cherry, pomegranate, and mango and have a silently strong alcohol content, so be warned.
Served alongside warm tortilla chips, chile con queso is the unofficial dish of Texas. Most frequently referred to as just “queso,” at its simplest, it’s just a mixture of cheese and chile peppers. But especially in Texas, queso is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Avocado Toast – Block Table And Tap
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Highly rated by locals and tourists, the stylish Block Table And Tap offers a wide selection of food served throughout the day. A highlight on the menu is the avocado toast. This seems to be on menu’s all over the U.S. at the moment, and Block Table And Tap offers a great take on this simple combination. The restaurant is a tap house and has an extensive list of beverages including exotic cocktails and up to 30 different beers both local brews and stone beers. It will probably be more difficult choosing what to drink than choosing what to eat here. Serving brunch and breakfast right the way up to 3 pm the Block Table And Tap is ideal for those days that get off to a late start.
Fries – Salt And Honey
Run by a Lebanese family who has fashionably renovated the 1920’s Henry Trost building that has now become the Salt And Honey Bakery And Café. Serving breakfast and lunch, the famous “Londoner” breakfast is served here and it never disappoints. They add a slightly sweet twist to their fries by serving them with goats cheese (optional) and lightly drizzled with honey, delicious and not too overpowering. Salt And Honey also offer gluten-free options including breads and bagels. All the food on the menu are family recipes and they even cure their own salmon. The gorgeous set up of the premises provides tables for large and small groups with a coffee bar and study tables.
Machaca – L&J
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L&J opened in 1927 and is El Paso’s oldest family run restaurant and bar. The establishment is located down the street from Concordia Cemetery and legend has it, spirits roam the kitchen when the restaurant is closed. The extensive menu offers all things Mexican with reasonable prices and portion sizes that do not disappoint. Whipping up the most authentic tex-mex breakfast El Paso has to offer and creating an amazing MachacaL&J serves food from 9 am to 9 pm most nights. The bar area has a lively yet casual vibe but it does fill up fast so head out early.
Breakfast – The Downtowner At Hotel Indigo
The menu at the Downtowner is slightly smaller than your average one but the dishes that are on it are very well prepared. Since The Downtowner is part of Hotel Indigo they sure know how to cook a scrumptious breakfast. You can get an array of pancakes, French toast, sandwiches, and burgers, all of which are packed and filling, you won’t get mouthfuls of plain buns or bread here. The popular menu items are the pecan and bacon pancakes and the cheddar and bacon sandwich. The Downtowner serves genuine strong coffee to help start your day the right way.
Agua Fresca – El Super Market
If your looking to kick back and cook up your own feast during your stay in El Paso then El Super Market is the place to go for stocking up the fridge. They have a huge range of foods, some of which you won’t find in other supermarkets, with constant deals on fresh produce and meats. There is a food court inside if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat whilst doing your shop and they offer 10% military discount. Inside the supermarket, there is a fresh seafood section and a bakery where the Agua Fresca is out of this world. The locals head to El Super Market specifically for the fresh tortillas.
Horchata – Avila’s Mexican Food
Avila’s is a family run business that has impressively been around for over 65 years. As soon as you walk in you will see a wall splattered with awards and articles that Avila’s have collected over the years. The décor may well be dated but the food and beverages do not deceive. It’s my guess that the recipes have been handed down throughout the generations as the Horchata is simply perfect. Avila’s is full of its original character and is ideal for a relaxed meal.
Best Burger – Toro Burger Bar
Serving the mother of all burgers, Toro Burger Bar is quickly rising to the top, being ranked number 4 by Texas Monthly on the hunt to find, the best burger in the state. With the headliner being the Toro Burger you get a chunky Angus patty with melted pepper jack cheese, creamy avocado, and the top-secret Toro Sauce. All burgers are served with the stamp of approval presenting their logo, a toro bull, charred into the burger bun. The menu offers just about every formation of burger you can think of and if you do think of one that’s not on there, you have the option to “build your own burger.” Every month they create a new “Burger Of The Month” and every Wednesday they have $5 Toro Burgers. As if all that burger energy wasn’t enough, they also have a range of 40 beers on tap!
Paleta Popsicles – Flautas Y Paleteria Tepalca
Offering all kinds of authentic Mexican street food, Paleteria Tepalca comes highly rated for quick snacks and luxurious desserts. Shrimp cocktails and flautas are among their specialties with people raving about the flavors for weeks. Their Paleta Popsicles are in high demand in El Paso, they have the viscosity of ice cream and are handmade using real Mexican fruits, a refreshing treat to cool down from the Texan heat.
Pan Dulce – Bowie Bakery
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Bowie Bakery isn’t a sit-down and order from the menu type of joint, it is purely a bakery. This is probably down to the sheer quantity of customers that pass through its doors day in day out. Bowie Bakery offers everything you could think of in terms of baked goods and the star of the show is, of course, the Pan Dulce. This sweet Mexican bread is baked slightly larger here than in other bakeries giving you more for your money. Also offered at Bowie Bakery are an assortment of donuts, cupcakes, breads, cookies, tarts, flans, and even tamales and burritos.
Churros – Elotes Pepe Y Mas
Slightly tucked away and out of sight, Elotes Pepe doesn’t look like much from the outside but the churros certainly have a lot to offer. The classic churro is filled with caramel and dusted with cinnamon or you can turn it up a notch and go fully loaded with a churro split complete with cream, berries, and extra syrup. These dinky fried dough beauties are not overpoweringly sugared but are just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth. Elotes Pepe is a brilliant little fast food Mexican snack bar.
A Cocktail At Rosa’s Cantina
Rosa’s Cantina is legendary in El Paso and worldwide thanks to the shout out in the Marty Robbins song “El Paso”. Rosa’s Cantina offers a classic menu and is full of spirit with bartenders serving cocktails all night long. On weekends you can expect live music and an upbeat atmosphere, cheap prices, and the coldest beer around. Rosa’s Cantina is plastered with quirky memorabilia adding to its character, and if you feel like taking a keepsake home, they sell hats, t-shirts, and shot glasses.
What do you think about our list of top restaurants and foods to eat in El Paso, Texas? What did we miss? Please share your favorite restaurants and foods from El Paso in the comments.
Where To Stay In El Paso
During my trip to El Paso, I stayed at Hotel Indigo. The boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown El Paso. It’s an easy walk to many restaurants, bars, and landmarks. The hotel has a very hip vibe and mixes El Paso history through a great collection of art and photography with a modern updated feel. The 5th-floor bar is a great open-air space that looks onto the pool and skyline. The rooms are large and offer a great view of downtown El Paso. The hotel does a turndown service and offers a delicious breakfast, great happy hour snacks and drinks.
Read reviews for Hotel Indigo on TripAdvisor
Looking for more on El Paso, Texas? Check out fellow travel blogger, Bob Bales article on Things to Do in El Paso.
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A huge thank you to Visit El Paso for their generous hospitality. I enjoyed this visit as a professional blogger, but as always, all opinions my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.