12 Awesome Mexican Restaurants in Columbia | by locals

There are so many great Mexican restaurants in Columbia. While some you may have heard of, several of the ones on this list are hidden gems located a bit out of town. And actually, a few are hidden gems located right under your nose.

Each restaurant highlighted on this list has awesome, authentic Mexican food and is reliably fantastic.

We have highlighted what we love about each restaurant, what to order and even details on parking and takeout options.

There are so many great eateries in the area worth trying, so be sure to check out our list of over 20 awesome restaurants in Columbia. But if you’re specifically looking for Mexican in Columbia, read on!

What You’ll Find In This Article

This guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Columbia is divided into categories to help you easily navigate. See below for an overview!

  1. Map of Mexican restaurants
  2. Hidden gem spots
  3. Other authentic Mexican restaurants
  4. Popular Mexican restaurants

Map of Mexican Restaurants in Columbia, SC

Hidden Gem Mexican Restaurants in Columbia

This section includes restaurants that we consider hidden gems. You don’t hear about them as much as the others, but they are wildly delicious.

If you are looking for awesome tacos in Columbia, head to Tacos El Puebla! It’s a hidden gem Mexican restaurant located near the Cross Hill Market shopping center.

Not only are their tacos delicious, but they also have tortas, chimichangas, quesadillas, gorditas and huaraches. Choose from beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, shredded beef, pork rinds, beef tongue or beef tripe. Quite the selection! Their menu is pretty cool because it’s divided by price– there’s a $5 section, a 3 for $9 section and $2 tacos and dobladitas y empanadas.

Prior to opening up their brick-and-mortar taco shop, Tacos El Puebla operated as a food truck. Be prepared for a tight parking lot, but it’s worth it! 

If you are looking for authentic Mexican food, don’t miss Taqueria Jalisco! It’s in West Columbia and is definitely worth the drive.

Though we love all of their fresh Mexican dishes, their fajitas are the star of the show. Specifically the Fajitas Jalisco with steak, chicken and shrimp.

Jalisco is tucked away in the Ashland Park Shopping Center on St. Andrews Road just off I-26. They have some outdoor seating 

A Mexican restaurant and grocery all in one! And boy, is it delicious. All of their dishes are prepared in the authentic Mexican style and everything is super fresh.

We recommend trying one of their delicious burritos. And if you are around on Tuesdays, head to La Estrella for their $1.50 Taco Tuesday special. While you’re there be sure to check out the grocery section – there are so many fun finds!

La Estrella is definitely considered a hidden gem Mexican restaurant. It’s actually out in Cayce but is only a 10-minute drive from downtown Columbia. It’s really close to the airport.

Primarily a takeout restaurant, Family Fresh Mex is a great spot for grab-and-go Mexican food in downtown Columbia. They have some of the best tacos in Columbia and even serve breakfast!

You’ll find their chalkboard menu at the counter displaying all their delicious hand-made tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare they have to offer. We love their quesadillas on their delicious corn tortillas!

If you are there for breakfast, try their tacos with eggs + chorizo, their huevo rancheros or their chilaquiles. They even have a breakfast quesadilla! It’s the perfect spot if you work downtown or are staying at one of Columbia’s downtown hotels.

Even though it’s located downtown on Gervais Street across from the SC State House, it’s somehow still a hidden gem. Family Fresh Mex is on ground floor of the new Moxy Marriot Hotel that is under construction.

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Other Authentic Mexican Restaurants in Columbia

This section of our guide to where to get Mexican food in Columbia highlights the area’s classic Mexican restaurants. While these aren’t considered hidden gems, they do have great, authentic dishes in an equally authentic setting.

Coco’s & Beer is a great Mexican restaurant near Fort Jackson. It’s located just next to the Cross Hill Market (the Whole Foods shopping center.)

Their portions are huge which is always a plus in our book! And the atmosphere is festive with both indoor and outdoor seating available. We prefer outdoor dining there if the weather allows!

Not only is it a great place to dine in, but they have easy online ordering for Mexican takeout. Coco’s & Beer has a second location in Northeast Columbia on Sparkleberry Lane.

Moctezuma’s Taqueria is a hole-in-the-wall authentic Mexican restaurant in Columbia. It’s located on Beltline near Midlands Tech and Devine Steet. It’s just down from Cross Hill Market (where they actually used to have a second location, but it closed in January 2023.)

They have a full menu with all of the delicious Mexican food you’d expect. Quesadillas, street tacos, enchiladas, burritos and a full margarita list. You’ll find everything from a skinny margarita to a chocolate margarita! And, of course, a house margarita. Their cheese steak burrito is a crowd favorite and don’t skip out on their queso.

They are located near Devine Street and Cross Hill Market. Moctezuma’s also has a food truck that makes appearances around town.

El Salto is a classic Mexican restaurant in Northeast Columbia. It’s located just off Two Notch near the entrance to Sesquicentennial State Park.

They have all of the standard Mexican fare you know and love. You’ll get chips and salsa upon arriving and the menu is intense but full of delicious food. We love their fajitas and quesadilla Mexicanas! Their corn tortillas are made fresh and you can absolutely tell a difference.

El Salto also has a dedicated section to vegetarian entrees, pasta and a few kids’ meals. There’s something for everyone!

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We hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite Mexican restaurants in town. This one was especially fun to put together because each place is so different and all are really scattered around Columbia.

If you enjoyed this list, make sure to check out our other articles on where to eat in Columbia.

Disclaimer: Hours, pricing, menus, etc. may have changed since we last updated this post, so make sure to confirm all of this directly prior to visiting any business or attraction listed on our site. When In Columbia does not accept sponsored posts. All opinions are our own. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.