Great Mexican food is a necessary part of a well-balanced and fulfilling life. It ranks up there with air, water and friendship. And Tulsa has its fair share of great Mexican restaurants. Now, the bits that make these establishments great are subjective. And so is this list. But start here and see what happens.
El Rio Verde, 38 N. Trenton
It really doesn't get any better than El Rio Verde. The Wet Burrito rocks, the Fish & Shrimp Tacos are out-of-sight and the Tortas and Horchata…really, I could go on and on. I eat here at least twice a week. And so do a zillion other people. It's that good. The space is a little chaotic but don't let that fool you. It's a fun little dance and when you see an open seat and you're next in line, take it! And one more little tip…try the cheeseburger.
Cancun, 705 S. Lewis
Oh, man. Cancun. Cancun has been a staple in Kendall Whittier for more than 15 years and with good reason. Favorites are the Chile Verde Burrito (it's what I compare all chili verde), Posole (available Saturday and Sunday only), Fish Stew, the whole fried fish and anything seafood. I rank Cancun's salsa the freshest, most delicious out there. Cancun was my first attempt at an authentic Mexican restaurant (remember Casa Bonita?) and it changed my life.
Cafe Olé, 3509 S. Peoria
The patio. The white queso. The Blue Corn Stacked Enchiladas. The famous margaritas. Olé has been around for decades and has a fiercely loyal following. New ownership has brightened the menu and the patio with its wood-burning fireplace is amazing year-round. Oh, and fair warning about the margaritas: have the Uber app downloaded and ready.
Calaveras, 2326 E. Admiral Blvd
Calaveras is picking up heat in the local Mexican food scene. The Fish Tacos are the bomb, as is the Red Chile Verde. Start your meal with the green avocado salsa from the salsa bar. Get your Mexican food fix and then head next door to Circle Cinema for a flick.
Tacos Don Francisco, 4008 E. 11th
There's nothing like a late night rendezvous with Don Francisco. Serving authentic and delicious Mexican street tacos, the joint is open until midnight week days and until 4 a.m. on weekends. Mariachi music occasionally adds to the already festive scene. Also, be sure to check out the fresh Mexican juice bar, Jugos Don Francisco, on 11th and Harvard in the Stadium Shopping Center.
Pollo Al Carbon Food Truck, 2405 1/2 E. Admiral Blvd.
A testament to the revitalization of the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, it used to be that to send someone to the Pollo Al Carbon you'd say "it's the food truck in the parking lot behind the AA and the nudie bar." Today, you'd say "it's the food truck in the parking lot behind Fair Fellow Coffee Co. and the graphic design company." It's all about the chicken and the magically delicious green sauce here. Simple and amazing. Don't let the razor wire enclosure scare you. This is the real deal.