West Texas and the Panhandle Restaurants

Due to a mix of geographic isolation and Hispanic heritage, the food is a redolent, sumptuous mix of north Mexican cooking and Southern home cooking, giving area dishes a very rich, heavy and spicy character. Sometimes the menus are in Spanish.

Tex-Mex, Mexican, and Southern cooking are what this region does best. In general, steer away from East Asian; stick with items like country-fried steaks, barbecue, and Mexican dishes like burritos, asado (a tangy dish, often pork, cooked in oil and ground-up chiles), chiles rellenos (raw green chiles that are stuffed with meat, cheeses, and spices and then baked; can be hot or mild), and barbacoa (slow-cooked beef seasoned with tangy marinade). (Note that some barbacoa is actually from the head of the cow [called barbacoa de cabeza].)

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  • 1. Big Texan Steak Ranch

    $$$$ | American

    They don't call this place "Big Texan" for nothing: if you can eat four-and-a-half pounds of steak plus a shrimp cocktail, baked beans, a...Read More

  • 2. Café Central

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    The old saw "evolve or perish" has served this restaurant well. In 1918 Café Central opened in Juárez and served alcohol (and tasty food) to...Read More

  • 3. Cattleman's Steakhouse

    $$$ | Mexican

    Twenty miles east of El Paso, this is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but it's worth the trip, as much for the quirky theme rooms as for...Read More

  • 4. Cochineal

    $$$ | American

    Think of the dining experience here as being akin to a party in a private home with 30 of your closest friends. The chef-owners welcome you...Read More

  • 5. Edelweiss Restaurant

    $$ | American

    Opened in 2003 by a native German brewmeister, the restaurant in the Holland Hotel offers ales that are as authentic as the spaetzle and schnitzel...Read More

  • 6. Food Shark Marfa

    $ | Mediterranean

    Keep your eyes peeled and your palate ready for the converted aluminum trailer that slithers under the pavilion between the railroad tracks...Read More

  • 7. Leo's

    $$ | Eclectic

    The Mexican food at Leo's four El Paso locations is repeatedly voted a favorite by locals. Enchiladas, tacos, combination plates, and fluffy...Read More

  • 8. Mando's Restaurant and Bar

    $ | Mexican

    You can't argue with a family-owned restaurant that's stayed in business for half a century by serving hearty portions of down-home food at...Read More

  • 9. The Magic Pan

    $$ | American

    They've got the magic stick—or, the magic touch at least. The chefs at the Magic Pan dish up fusion cuisine, like Tex/Italian blend mesquite...Read More

  • 10. The State Line


    Named for its position on the border of El Paso and New Mexico, The State Line is a popular place with those who relish its tangy barbecue....Read More

  • 11. Youngblood's Stockyard Café

    $ | American

    Eat like a pioneer at this landmark restaurant, once housed inside the livestock-auction building at the Amarillo stockyards. Now, you can belly...Read More

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