Sitting pretty in the heart of southwest Colorado, it’s no surprise that Durango cooks up some seriously delicious Mexican food. With New Mexico at our doorstep and a tourist-friendly relationship with the inventors of Tex-Mex, Durango offers plenty of options to satisfy your fajita cravings.
If you’re wondering where to find the heaviest burritos, the thickest queso, the most wallet-friendly carnitas or best top-shelf margaritas, then you’ve come to the right place at the right time. We’re celebrating Hatch green chile season in the southwest, so Durango’s impressive resume of south-of-the-border chefs and culinary artists may surprise you.
Locations: 400 S. Camino del Rio and 3101 Main Ave.
With two locations in town and one more on the way, Zia Taqueria is your go-to for cheap, fast, healthy and delicious burritos. With the company’s emphasis on locally-grown produce, sustainable energy, and menu items made 100% from scratch, Zia is everything Chipotle wants to be and more. Expect fresh, high-quality dishes with reliable service any time, any day.
Beyond the burrito bar, Zia also serves up bowls, tacos, salads, soups, quesadillas and nachos. You’d be remiss to not sample the mango habanero salsa or a cup of from-scratch horchata with your meal. Pay attention to the daily special list, because weekends are reserved for heavenly homemade tamales. Even if the “baby” sized burrito is heavier than a toddler, we’re pretty confident that you can feel good about what Zia Taqueria is dishing out.
Ska-BQ at Ska Brewing
Location: 225 Girard St.
Ska Brewing Co. may not fit the description for authentic Mexican food, but they do know how to roast a mean barrel of green chiles, and that’s exactly why they’re here. It’s fall in Durango, a time when Mexican food cravings are completely synonymous with a need for New Mexican green chile spice. Ska Brewing Co. hosts a weekly Ska-BQ event on Thursdays in September, complete with chile roasting and live music. Whether you like it hot, medium, or mild, with or without seeds, pepper fiends need to get in on this action.
Location: 2525 Main Ave.
Named after the coastal state of Nayarit, Mexico, Durango’s own casual Mexican eatery shares recipes that have been handed down for generations. Known best for the seafood and street tacos, the restaurant of Nayarit perfectly captures the cuisine of its southern roots. Enjoy a line of street tacos from a well-endowed menu including lengua, cachete, tripas, carnitas, carne asade, and even tender cactus (nopal). Or, elevate your experience with an appetizer of oysters on the half shell, ceviche ala playa or a bowl of siete mares (soup with everything from the seven seas).
While all the corn tortillas are locally made, the salsa on your table traveled a little bit further. It’s made from chiles found in the Nayar Mountains of Mexico and you best believe it was worth the journey to get here.
Location: 552 Main Ave.
Made fresh daily, Nini’s Taqueria is a perfect lunch spot for the downtown shopper. You’ll find nap-inducing burritos, a variety of meat and vegetable tacos and some drool-worthy quesadillas. The menu is simple and clean, while the atmosphere is decidedly funky and eclectic. Enjoy the buzz of energy, along with a famed mango margarita.
Mountain Taco & Tequila
Location: 741 Main Ave.
If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, Mountain Taco is the wrong place to start. However, if you’re interested in experimenting in new, modern twists in the world of taco making, then you’ve come to the right place. Mountain Taco, run by the same beloved owners of Fired Up Pizzeria, serves a variety of healthy (and deliciously less healthy) tacos on flour, corn, or fresh jicama. Find the traditional favorites like grilled steak, chicken fajita, and achiote grilled chicken, or go a little wilder with southwest cheesesteak, fried chicken or the absolutely to-die-for BBQ Korean short rib tacos.
Half the fun of dining at Mountain Taco is in the name. After all, a restaurant that boasts its love for tequila better deliver. The tequila side of the menu alone makes this restaurant worthy of your attention. With ten variations on the margarita and nearly fifty different premium tequilas in stock, prepare yourself for a seriously great time. You’re already here, so you might as well dive into a custom tequila flight to pair with your meal.
Macho’s Fast Mexican Food
Locations: 1485 Florida Rd. and 275 E. 8th Ave.
You just hiked out of the mountains, finished an off-roading excursion, or paddled your way through the entire lower Animas River. You are starving for some Mexican food and this is exactly where you need to go.
For reasons both known and uncertain, Macho’s is one of the best post-adventure restaurants. They serve up some of the best nachos, chimichangas and quesadillas around at a fraction of prices elsewhere. Pay attention to the unbeatable deals on the Daily Specials list, offering $2 Taco Night on Thursday and $5 margaritas on Tuesday. If you’re feeling bold, try the avocado margarita or take on the Beto’s Challenge, where if you manage to eat the hefty “Nachos Machos” in less than 60 minutes, you’ll earn a place on their wall of fame, a t-shirt and free meal.
Location: 1150 Main Ave.
Cantera made quite the noise after opening in fall of 2017. You may recognize the owner, Mexico native Beto Navarro, by his other local restaurant, Macho’s Fast Mexican Food. However, these two establishments couldn’t be more different, and we mean that in the best way possible.
While Macho’s focuses on the fast, cheap and delicious, Cantera approaches food with a more elevated perspective. Navarro wanted to introduce a unique side of his culture not often seen in the states: gourmet cuisine focusing on dishes like steak and seafood, willing the devote 24 hours or more to marinades and spices. You’ll find the traditional tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas on the menu, but they sit alongside entrees like the Birria, a Jalisco delicacy of beef seasoned in Guajillo paste, and the Milanesa, a Sonora-style Arrachera breaded steak topped with grilled onions and jalapenos.
Now coming up on its first year anniversary, we’re excited to say that Cantera has found its place in the Durango community. Though we’re not sure what the secret is, their mouthwatering tres leches, tableside guacamole cart, and two-paged, double-sided cocktail list may play a role.
Location: 431 East 2nd Ave.
A family-founded and family-run business, Gazpacho celebrated farm-to-table before it was cool. You’ll find proof of that in the savory dishes dished up daily. Enjoy enchiladas, sopapillas, tacos, tamales, queso and taquitos all served with a New Mexican flair. Now going on its 27th year of operation, the restaurant has become an integral part of our community, supporting local charities and events whenever possible.
If you haven’t heard of Gazpacho’s humanitarian work, you may have heard of their involvement with Hatch chiles. Every year, the team travels down to Hatch, New Mexico, to grab a hefty bag of the beloved red and green chiles. You can smell their Annual Chile Roast in August from a mile away and you’ll definitely want to take part.
Location: 948 Main Ave.
Finding a no-bells, no-whistles, quintessential Tex-Mex destination isn’t always easy, unless you have Tequila’s. Sometimes you just need and deserve a sizzling pile of fajitas with bottomless chips and a blended margarita. There’s nothing wrong with a late night bite of enchiladas polbanas or a deep bowl of seafood soup. It may not be the healthiest dinner option, but if you hail from a southern border state, Tequila’s will taste like home.