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Great Mexican food options are endless in Las Vegas

Mexican food has been one of the most popular cuisines around the Las Vegas Valley for a long time, and the appetite for south-of-the-border flavors has enabled a fascinating expansion and evolution. There are plenty of restaurants where you can find your favorite dishes, and many more that are serving up interesting innovations and craveable variations on Mexican fare.

The homegrown Tacotarian (702.780.4816) just opened its fourth location in town on Blue Diamond Road in southwest Las Vegas, complementing its busy eateries downtown, in Henderson and way out west on Fort Apache Road. It’s known and loved for its scrumptious plant-based Mexican food, but you won’t miss the meat or any of your favorite flavors when feasting on tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and more. Try the imaginative cauliflower ceviche, a hearty torta with your choice of fillings, a birria platter made with a blend of jackfruit and Beyond Meat, or the spicy mushroom asada tacos.

Acclaimed Los Angeles chef Ray Garcia’s vibrant cuisine is on display at ¡VIVA! (702.676.6020) at Resorts World. The newest destination on the Las Vegas Strip is drawing excited visitors with its vast array of dining experiences, and ¡VIVA! is at the heart of that enthusiasm, thanks to its brilliant take on familiar dishes crafted with incredible ingredients and a fresh perspective. Don’t miss the snapper zarandeado, tasty wood-grilled fish in bold citrus adobado, or the chicken mole enchiladas served with squash blossoms.

!VIVA!’s food has a lighter touch, and the same can be said for neighborhood favorite Milpa (702.247.4147), conveniently located near the Lakes neighborhood at Flamingo and Durango. Heirloom corn is used to make the in-house, stone-ground masa and tortillas here, adding authentic old-world charm to the simple menu of tacos and bowls and traditional favorites like chilaquiles, ceviche and tetelas—pockets of masa stuffed with vegetables, cheese, savory black beans and more. For brunch, try the blue corn pinole pancakes with berry compote and piloncillo syrup; for lunch, it’s all about short rib barbacoa, slow-roasted with pasilla and guajillo chili peppers.

Hola Mexican Cocina & Cantina (702.202.6489) is one of the newest restaurants in this genre to grab its share of local buzz, satisfying residents in the Southern Highlands neighborhood and attracting other curious culinarians. The modern Mexican menu puts an interesting twist on family recipes, offering up vibrant dishes like dirty guacamole with crispy chorizo and chicharrones; quesadillas stuffed with steak and chimichurri; and a pork belly and carnitas burrito augmented with guac and serrano chilies. Say hello to some fabulous cocktails, too, including a cherry-lime mezcal margarita or a classic grapefruit paloma.

The city has off-Strip restaurants that attract Vegas visitors, but the resorts along Las Vegas Boulevard also offer Mexican eateries that local residents love to visit as well. At Aria, Javier’s (702.590.3637) fits that bill, so much so that you’ll probably run into some local restaurant, nightlife or hospitality workers when you sidle up to the bar for a scratch margarita and a quick bite of queso fundido or chicken taquitos during happy hour. This hot spot is definitely worth a reservation for the full experience, as it boasts one of the most distinguished dining rooms on the Strip. Start with octopus or ahi tuna ceviche, share some skirt steak fajitas with the table, and explore the other seafood specialties such as Dungeness crab enchiladas in tomatillo sauce, wild Mexican white prawns in garlic and butter or scallops sautéed with asparagus in a creamy chipotle sauce. You’ll leave Javier’s recognizing you’ve never had Mexican food like that before.

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