5. Chipotle Mexican Grill
This chain overcame its tongue-tripping name to become ubiquitous with a Subway-like concept where you see your big-ass burrito get stuffed in public. If only the food were as great as the idea. (If you can’t get queso right, you’re not getting high up on this list.)
4. Taco Bell
Open late, super cheap, hits the spot when you’re drunk or haven’t eaten all day, generous with sauce packets. This place is never going away, so stop feeling guilty about your patronage. RIP Gidget.
3. Qdoba Mexican Eats
A better iteration of Chipotle, with a little more heat around dishes like the Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken. We’d ding them for a menu that doesn’t favor beef dishes, but we’re too busy wolfing down these chicken street tacos.
2. On The Border
Typically, a little better than you expect, with a menu a mile long and lots of combo options if you want to, say, eat beef empanadas alongside a house salad. (Seriously, though?) Their supermarket chips and dips aren’t bad, either.
Excellent, not-super-expensive food, more dipping sauces for tortilla chips than should even be possible, and a funky Elvis-meets-junkyard-chic aesthetic that lets you know this is a place for fun, margaritas, and enchiladas as long as your forearm. Any heartburn generated here is worth it.