Craving quick Mexican, but also wanting to avoid a long stomachache? We’ve got you covered. Below are the top 10 best Mexican fast food joints for fresh, fast, and delicious meals, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your wallet or your health with low-quality options.
1. Chipotle Mexican Grill
The Chipotle menu is well-known for its Mexican fast food, not only for their delectable dish options but also for their high-quality ingredients. Their menu consists of burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads, all using fresh veggies and meats from animals that roam open pastures and are free from hormones and antibiotics.
You can get a burrito, salad, bowl, or taco filled with chicken, steak, barbacoa, organic tofu, carnitas, combined with your choice of rice, beans, fajita veggies, guacamole, and salsas of varying spiciness.
2. On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina
On the Border specializes in “border style” classics such as mesquite-grilled meats and fajitas loaded with fresh ingredients. They were also founded in San Diego, so the company knows what it’s doing when it comes to border-food.
On the Border also specializes in house-made margaritas, Border Bowls brimming with rice, beans, and veggies, enchiladas, burritos, chimmichurries, and even desserts.
3. El Pollo Loco
Every morning, El Pollo Loco counts their 147 chickens.
That’s right – according to their website, that’s about how many fresh chickens they fire-grill each day at their locations. They also hand chop 347 tomatoes each day and only chop fresh serrano peppers (never frozen) for every dish.
As you can see, El Pollo values its ingredients and cooking process, so you know you’re getting the freshest Mexican. Their menu items range from the traditional burritos, tostada salads, and stuffed quesadillas to options like family meals and individual chicken meals, as well as “Under 500 Calorie” and “Healthier” menu sections.
4. Moe’s Southwest Grill
From the first shout of “Welcome to Moe’s!” you’ll hear the second you enter any Moe’s location across the nation, you’ll feel welcomed and surrounded by not only fresh food, but fresh attitudes.
Moe’s Southwest Grill specializes in making everyone feel right at home with their bright colors and witty aesthetic, which includes naming their burritos and tacos things like “Homewrecker” and “Joey Bag of Donuts.” You can expect a wide range of Tex-Mex options, including chicken clubs, quesadillas, nachos, salads, and (of course) Moe’s famous queso they term “liquid white gold.”
5. Chevy’s Fresh Mex
Chevy’s prides itself on its made-fresh-daily ingredients straight from the farm. “Mesquite-fired California flair” is how they describe their cuisine, which features starters like nachos and “fresh-mex” samplers of chicken fajita nachos, chicken quesadilla, buffalo chicken tenders, and crispy chicken flautas, along with steak and shrimp (and even burgers!) options straight from their mesquite grill.
You can also find grilled salmon on their menu, along with wine, margaritas, soups, and salads.
6. Del Taco
Del Taco specializes in “American-style” Mexican cuisine, serving up a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, churros, and “fresco bowls,” which feature lighter fare. In addition, they also offer traditional American food options like burgers and fries and milkshakes.
Wondering why you never pass a Del Taco on the way to work? Well, the fast food chain is almost exclusively a west-coast business (kind of like the Mexican version of In-N-Out). And while Del Taco’s locations may be fewer than that of a Taco Bell or Chipotle, they have a loyal cult following that swears by the deliciousness of their food.
7. Qdoba Mexican Grill
Qdoba offers the traditional Mexican fare, but also with unique dishes like loaded tortilla soups (where the soup comes served in a giant tortilla bowl), breakfast burritos, and chicken diablo tacos. They also hand-dice their pico-de-gallo and hand-mash their guacamole, so you know you’re getting fresh ingredients in all of their bowls and burritos.
Another great thing about Qdoba? You can add their guacamole and queso to every entree at no extra cost.
8. Baja Fresh
The next Mexican fast food joint, Baja Fresh has you covered for traditional Mexican fare as well as a fan favorite: fish tacos. In addition, they also feature Fresh Catch bowls like their Mango Chipotle Wahoo bowl and their Chili Lime Shrimp bowl, as well as burritos, tacos, taquitos, and even salads as a filling, healthier option.
Be sure to add their Spicy Street guacamole to your dish: it contains freshly chopped serrano peppers for a burst of hot flavor.
9. Taco Bell
We all probably think of Taco Bell as the beginning of Mexican fast food, but there’s a reason they’re still around and going strong. Not only do they offer a huge variety of unique taco and burrito options such as their Doritos Locos Tacos and Grande Sample breakfast burritos, but they also have a variety of desserts and bowl options.
With a giant menu and low prices, Taco Bell caters to the late-night snacker or and bargain hunter. Moral of the story – everyone’s in love with Taco Bell whether you care to admit it or not.
10. Chuy’s Tex-Mex
Chuy’s does Tex-Mex at the highest level. Their menu is filled with fresh options like their Mexi-Cobb salad, Baja tacos, “stacked” enchiladas with hand-pulled chicken, cheese & Tomatillo sauce, and even fajitas, appetizers, and vegetarian options. You can also grab unique combos, like The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo containing the Beef Tex-Mex enchilada, cheese Ranchero enchilada, chicken Tomatillo enchilada, a seasoned ground sirloin crispy taco and homemade tostada chips dipped in chile con queso. Talk about a mouthful.
As you can see, modern Mexican fast food options are plentiful and offer much more than the standard burrito or rice and beans. If you don’t know which place to pick, see what people think of the dual between Chipotle and Taco Bell.