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A view over Monterrey, Mexico
The view over Monterrey, Mexico
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The 22 Essential Restaurants of Monterrey, Mexico

Beef is king and grilling is elevated to the point of fine art in this Mexican city

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The view over Monterrey, Mexico
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Despite its stunning location in the beautiful Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, Monterrey hasn’t yet attracted too many tourists. But out-of-towners do come here — it’s a well-known commercial hub and university town — and a vibrant restaurant scene has sprung up to cater to the influx. Between the tables of raucous students and suits toasting business deals, though, you’ll still find a lot of local families sharing heaping orders of ribeye tacos and grilled vegetables.

With hot weather nearly year-round, Monterrey long ago developed a deep barbecue tradition. Chefs venerate open-fire cooking, diners regularly get together around steak, and grilled beef and cabrito (baby goat) have become synonymous with eating in the city.

While that tradition runs strong, vegetarians shouldn’t be discouraged. The restaurant scene has grown immensely in the last two years, both in the restaurant hub in San Pedro García Garza and elsewhere, as a few chefs branch out with exciting concepts across town. Steakhouses make room for ramen spots, taco joints join artisanal bakeries, fine dining stalwarts meet French bistros.

So settle in beside the automotive execs and Tecnológico de Monterrey kids, order up a steak (or escargots or eggplant chicharrón), and really get to know Monterrey. Here are the city’s essential restaurants.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 176 pesos (Less than $9 USD)
$$ = 196 - 490 pesos ($11 - $25 USD)
$$$ = 510 - 981 pesos ($26 - $50 USD)
$$$$ = More than 1,000 pesos ($51 USD and up)

Liliana López Sorzano is a food and travel writer based between Mexico City and Bogotá, Colombia, where she contributes to local and international media. She is a former editor-in-chief at Food & Wine in Spanish.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Koli Cocina de Origen

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Eje exterior #10-L1, Nuevo León, Via Cordillera, Sin Nombre de Col 25, 66197 Santa Catarina
N.L., Mexico

Brothers Patricio, Rodrigo, and Daniel Rivero — a sommelier, chef, and pastry chef, respectively — run this intimate, 20-seat fine dining restaurant located in the Santa Catarina neighborhood. “Koli” means grandfather in Nahuatl, one of several indigenous languages in Nuevo Leon, a fitting name for the brothers’ homage to the land and culinary heritage of Northeastern Mexico. Try mole with suckling pig and fresh cheese, or dine on grilled beef with yucca, black garlic, cauliflower, and onion. [$$$$]

A black cake ribbed with crevices and dusted with powdered sugar stands on a white surface with clumps of sugary topping scattered around it in a black vaccuum
Brasa (semi-bitter chocolate cake with fermented pricky pear)
Koli [Official Photo]

2. Benell

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66240, Plutarco Elías Calles 427, Zona Tampiquito, 66240 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

Chef Chuy Elizondo serves artisan, long-fermented bread without additives or preservatives from a small bakery tucked inside a garage. The space also offers breakfast, including indulgent French toast topped with pineapple, caramel, coffee-infused honey, and bacon. While the restaurant predictably focuses on house-made bread (a slice is served with nearly every dish), diners also rave about the green chilaquiles with chicharrón from La Ramos. [$ - $$]

A crispy slice of french toast, piled with caramelized fruit and bacon and doused in several sauces and powdered sugar, sits on a white plate in front of a blurred dining room
French toast

3. Carnes Ramos

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Avenida Humberto Lobo 574, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

One of the most traditional butcher shops in the city, Carnes Ramos always draws crowds across several locations. The butcher is one of the places to buy beef in a region known for barbecue, but even out-of-towners should visit to taste the shop’s famous chicharrón, served in restaurants throughout the city under the name “chicharrón de la Ramos.” For a souvenir, pick up some machaca, dried meat often added to scrambled eggs for umami and explosive flavor. [$ - $$]

The exterior of the Carnes Ramos butcher shop with large letters built into the second floor facade above windows plastered with posters advertising meat sales
Outside Carnes Ramos

4. Gallo 71

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Avenida José Vasconcelos 71, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

This charming, high-end restaurant evokes a grocery store in design, but it’s a wonderful place to delve through classic Northern Mexican dishes, such as prime cuts of juicy grilled meat, as well as inventive tacos. Start with scallop crackers, then go for the sirloin milanesa taco stuffed with french fries, the beefsteak and bone marrow taco, or the beet tostada with chile morita sauce. Save room for the pistachio cake for dessert. [$$$]

Two tacos loaded with crispy meat from the trompo, sliced onions, a bit of cilantro, and creamy white sauce on a slate serving platter
Tacos al pastor

5. Taqueria Orinoco

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Río Orinoco 101, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

This casual taqueria has two locations in Monterrey and a bustling outpost in Mexico City. Choose from three types of meat: trompo (pork marinated al pastor style with dried chiles and spices), beef (top sirloin sliced thin), and Northern Mexican chicharrón (crispy, juicy pork cheek). Order one of each, but don’t forget the specials, like the campechana, an extra-large flour tortilla filled with beef, pork from the trompo, cheese, avocado, cilantro, onions, and corn chips. Although beer will pair perfectly with anything, it’s worth trying the restaurant’s own Jamaica agua fresca with cinnamon and guava. [$ - $$]

A display case containing a mound of chicharron with the word “chicharron” written in bold red letters on the glass
Chicharron

6. Señor Latino

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Rio Mississippi 235, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

This unpretentious cafeteria franchise, loved by locals, is well known for traditional, regional breakfast staples such as chilaquiles divorciados with green and red sauce, or scrambled eggs with chorizo and migas (thin strips of fried tortilla). Diners embrace the restaurant’s slogan, “Eat like you are at home,” enjoying simple, homey dishes like pork shoulder tamales or the machacado, scrambled eggs mixed with dried meat, tomato, onion, and chile. [$ - $$]

A server holds plates of tacos with diced onion, cilantro, and lime wedges, as well as a separate plate of avocado in front of a crowded, light-filled dining room
Tacos and avocado

7. Los 13 Puercos de Soto

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Local 7, Río Orinoco 171, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

The Rivero brothers (Patricio, Rodrigo, and Daniel, who also own Koli) run this deli, where they proudly display their porchetta, pork leg, and spice-rubbed pastrami on the counter. The fast-casual venue serves tacos and tortas featuring the roasted meats, as well as meatless options with cheese and mushrooms. Daily specials add even more exciting options, from cochinita pibil to a BLT to German sausages. [$ - $$]

A butcher’s station with a large hunk of meat halfway sliced on a buter block with knives sitting nearby, beneath heat lamps. Behind, a white tiled wall with shelves holding supplies
Meat on the butcher block

8. La Nacional

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Av San Jerónimo 1106, Miravalle, 64634 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

Opened in 2003, this emblematic, white-tablecloth Mexican steakhouse is celebrated equally by politicians, execs, and families. Begin with fideo seco tacos filled with pasta in tomato-chile sauce, head next to grilled artichokes, and don’t leave without trying the salted ribeye. As at almost everywhere in the city, dishes are designed to be shared. [$$$$]

A plate with five thin tacos stacked on one another overflowing with small noodles in a red sauce with a large sprig of rosemary laid over the tortillas
Fideo seco tacos

9. Milk Pizzeria

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Río Orinoco 211a, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

Pizza lovers will find amazing pies at Milk, but the restaurant also serves great meatballs, salads, and gnocchi. The project, from the team at Bread Panaderos, features the bakers’ ideal pizza: thin dough with puffy brown crusts and well-balanced tomato sauce. The team make porchetta, sausages, yogurt dip (for focaccia and for potatoes with chorizo), breads, and desserts in-house. Look out for special dinners every other month, when Milk brings in Mexican chefs to take over the pizza parlor. [$$ - $$$]

As seen from above, a full sliced pizza dotted with slices of salami, sausage, onion, and serrano peppers, on a marble tabletop next to small china plates, glassware, and silverware
Salami, sausage, blue cheese, onion, and serrano pizza

10. Kadoya Monterrey

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Río Colorado 201, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

Entrepreneur Sergio “Checo” Gutiérrez teamed up with Edo Kobayashi, the restaurateur largely responsible for elevating Japanese cuisine in Mexico, to create this combination casual ramen spot and upscale 10-seat sushi counter. Sushi Kadoya serves a high-quality omakase and excellent a la carte options, while diners on the ramen side can combine 19 hearty, flavorful ramen options with appetizers like gyoza or fried Brussels sprouts with tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes. [$$ - $$$]

As seen from above, a bowl of broth, pork, greens,  hard boiled egg, and a few visible noodles, on a wooden tabletop
Kadoya ramen

11. Pinto Bar

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Av. del Roble 300, Residencial Santa Barbara, 66266 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

For a drink and some snacks, head to this dark, wood-paneled bar where the playlist features the Strokes and Stevie Wonder. Pinto Bar serves a great list of mezcals and tequilas, but it also offers the opportunity to drink other Mexican liquors, such as bacanora and sotol. Cocktails and natural wines join the agave spirits on the menu. If you feel hungry, opt for the Pinto potatoes, extra-thin fries with chile, lemon, and Parmesan. Or go for the hamburguesa aplastada, a smash burger that resembles the patty melt of your dreams. [$$ - $$$]

Hands squish a cheeseburger (served on thin, well-fried buns) until cheese oozes onto a plate, beside a dish with another cheese-dusted food item and a bottle of sauce off to one side
Hamburguesa aplastada
Pinto Bar [Official Photo]

12. Cara de Vaca

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Río de la Plata 448, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

The name of this upbeat, fun restaurant, which translates to “cow face,” is playfully spelled out in emojis on the menu, and the lovely interior is decorated in light wood, greenery, and lots of natural light. But over in the kitchen, the team works seriously with open-fire cooking. Keep an eye out for tacos tiesos, a dish inspired by tamales regios (northern-style pork tamales). Pork-filled tortillas are fried and doused with three sauces made with guacamole, tomatillo, and red jalapeno. Continue with cachetada de ribeye, a flour tortilla oozing melted cheese, guacamole sauce, and bits of fried tortilla. You can’t go wrong with any of the well-prepared steaks either, and be sure to wash your order down with any of the natural wines on offer. Last but not least, the guava pie deserves your utmost attention. [$$ - $$$]

A server leans over a table holding a slate bowl to the camera with three fried tacos beneath a heavy helping of brightly colored red and green sauces, with two spoons hanging out each side.
Tacos tiesos

13. Bardot

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W301, Av. del Roble 660 I, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

This French bistro has been around for more than a decade, but recently moved into a new, modern space. The consistent classics are still on the menu, though, including fresh oysters, a seafood platter, escargots a la bourguignonne, traditional beef tartare, and pan-seared duck breast with orange. On Sundays, diners pack the sunny terrace and dining room for brunch, enjoying French pastries, croissants, and breads, along with avocado toast, eggs Benedict, charcuterie, and short-rib chilaquiles. [$$$]

As seen from above, a handled cast iron pan filled with shakshuka (tomatoes, eggs, greens, and spices), with a slice of toast resting on the rim of the pan, all on top of a plate on a patterned table
Shakshuka

14. Blake

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Roble 660 W-304 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66266 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

Cocktail and beer lovers will love the vast menu at Blake, but anyone can appreciate the restaurant’s festive vibe. Australian chef Paul Bentley, who is well known in Guadalajara, designed the menu, which features Mediterranean influences on Mexican ingredients. With Middle Eastern, Italian, and other global inspiration, dishes range from roasted cauliflower in tahini-date dressing to margherita pizza to ribeye with chimichurri. Traditional Monterrey steaks are also on offer. [$$ - $$$]

A decorative blue ceramic plate loaded with slices of zucchini topped with a ground topping on a textured countertop beside dark folliage
Zucchini salad
Blake / Facebook

15. Pangea

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Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

Long recognized as a fine dining institution in Monterrey, Pangea has been in business for more than 20 years. The restaurant is the flagship of Grupo Pangea, a collection of 10 concepts across the city, all under the leadership of Guillermo González Beristáin, one of the most respected chefs in the country and undoubtedly the pioneer responsible for elevating the Northeastern gastronomic scene. At Pangea, head chef Eduardo Morali combines Mexican produce with French flair and impeccable execution. Choose from a la carte options or the tasting menu, which may feature a glorious duck breast with orange mole, kumquat, and cauliflower puree, or jurel fish from Baja California with spicy soy sauce, avocado, crispy rice, and miso emulsion. The restaurant has received many national awards, and it is a regular on the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list. [$$$$]

As seen from above, a stark white plate with two large slices of duck breast in a dark pool of mole with garnishes dotting the plate nearby
Duck with mole

16. Bread Panaderos Artesanales

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Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

The breads and pastries at Bread Panaderos aren’t just famous in Monterrey but all over the country. Alejandro Reyes and Bernardo Flores celebrate artisanal baking through natural ingredients and experimentation. The sourdough and butter croissants are the duo’s signatures, but they’ve also made bread using chapulin flour (from Mexican grasshoppers), among other experiments. The pastry menu features kouign amann, conchas (Mexican sweet breads), pains au chocolat, and muffins. The bakery serves breakfast, lunch, and even dinner, when they offer cocktails alongside pizzas and open-faced sandwiches. Inside the bakery you’ll also find Café Pistola, where expert baristas pour coffee and espresso made from specialty Mexican beans. [$ - $$]

As seen from above, a wooden table spread with two pastries on gray plates, alongside two trays of coffee-based drinks on dark trays
Pastries and coffee

17. Libertad Cocina Nuestra

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Parque Arboleda Av. Roble #660 - W301 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

Located in the elegant Parque Arboleda shopping complex, a gastronomic hub in the city, Libertad boasts a big, beautiful space decorated with old newspapers as wallpaper. The menu mixes staple Mexican dishes with hints of international flavors in taquitos al albañil (fried corn tortillas filled with chorizo and beans, served with melted white cheese) or duck barbacoa, slow-cooked with tamarind and chile sauce. The vegetable section is equally exciting, with an especially tasty eggplant chicharrón served with herbs and jocoque (sour cream), as well as roasted beets with chipotle honey and pumpkin seeds. Plus, tostadas act as the bread service, which is exactly as amazing as it sounds. [$$ - $$$]

A cast iron pan filled with singed taquitos and a rosemary sprig beside a handled cast iron full of melted cheese with a spoon sticking out
Taquitos al albañil

18. Grand Cru

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local C-9, Av. de la Industria 300, Veredalta, 66279 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

Owner and sommelier Ludovic Anacleto wanted to meld his Parisian background with his new home in Monterrey. His French restaurant, tucked away in a residential area, is known for beef Wellington and chicharrón risotto, but mostly for an impressive, well-curated wine list with more than 700 bottles. The wine program has rightfully earned Grand Cru national and international recognition. [$$$$]

A server ladles sauce from a spoon into a swirl on a white plate around a large slice of beef Wellington and other geometric decorations with sauces
Beef Wellington
Grand Cru / Facebook

19. Restaurante San Carlos

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Av. Ignacio Morones Prieto 2803 Pte, Loma Larga, 64710 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

If you’re after grilled baby goat, one of the most traditional dishes of Northeastern Mexican cuisine, head to one of the outlets of this old-school restaurant chain run by third-generation family owners. The vertical grill sits in plain sight from the dining room, making it easy to watch the goats slowly cooking. San Carlos also serves crowd-pleasing beef, particularly the rib-eye aguja (exceedingly tender rib-eye cap) served with flour tortillas, beans, totopos (toasted, salted-masa chips), and sauces. [$$]

Whole baby goats spit roasting over a trough of charcoal on vertical spits, beside smaller spits of other meats and a cook in the background preparing another spit
Cabritos grilling over charcoal

20. Tacos el Compadre

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Nicolás Bravo S/N, Maria Luisa, Centro, 64000 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

Better known as Tacos del Muerto for its proximity to the Dolores Cemetery, this street cart has been in operation for over 48 years, attracting an eclectic crowd for mañaneros (morning tacos) from 7 a.m. until close at 3 p.m. Choose from the short list of fillings: gooey cabeza; pork shoulder; picadillo; beans with bacon, egg, and chorizo; or chile relleno stuffed with cheese or meat. Feel free to order any of the options as a torta if you prefer, and when the server asks you if you want to add beans spread with pork fat, you say, “Yes, please.” Spoon on the powerful salsa borracha (drunken sauce) made from tomato cooked with chile and onion. [$]

As seen from above, a rectangular dish with two tacos, pockmarked from the grill, laid over one another, beside a bowl of stewy vegetables and a small bowl of caperberries, all on a wood table.
Cabeza and pork shoulder tacos

21. El Gran Laszlo Loszla

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Privada Lic. Verdad 947, Centro, 64000 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

Four young partners in the club business decided to open this adventurous contemporary bistro in the Purisima neighborhood, a short hop from the usual restaurant circuit in San Pedro García Garza. On the first floor of a 1920s-era house, you’ll find fare from chef Joaquin Cardoso, originally of Mexico City, as well as an enchanting backyard patio. Opt for the roasted leeks with cotija cheese; rice with charred avocado, market greens, and pistachios; or the pork chop with couscous. Then head upstairs to the second floor, where you’ll find a bar featuring natural wines and classic cocktails with Mexican twists.  [$$ - $$$]

Sunny outdoor tables beneath a covering of trees with lanterns hanging from branches
The enchanting patio

22. El Jonuco

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Mariano Abasolo 102-A, Cabecera Municipal (Apodaca), Apodaca Centro, 66600 Cd Apodaca
N.L., Mexico

If you’re passing through the Monterrey airport, make sure you make time for a meal at El Jonuco, located 10 minutes away in the industrial neighborhood of Apodaca. Banker-turned-chef Hugo Guajardo highlights the regional cuisine of Northeastern Mexico with modern twists. He combines recipes from his past, like his grandmother’s pear tart, with traditional local dishes like wedding rice (popular throughout Nuevo Leon; in this case, a chicken stock-fortified version from Zuazua studded with raisins and poblanos). Go for the empalmes, sandwiches of atropellado (dried meat with tomato, chile, and onion) between crispy tortillas. Or try the criollo avocados, meant to be eaten peel and all, or the glorious grilled panela cheese with agave honey and chile piquin sauce. Be sure to stop by on Sunday to try the succulent, grilled cabrito (baby goat). The restaurant setting is entirely casual, and meals are accompanied by the accordions of Northern Mexican music. [$$ - $$$]

From above, five crisp tortillas folded around meat and vegetables sit in a stone bowl with hot coals
Empalmes

1. Koli Cocina de Origen

Eje exterior #10-L1, Nuevo León, Via Cordillera, Sin Nombre de Col 25, 66197 Santa Catarina, N.L., Mexico
A black cake ribbed with crevices and dusted with powdered sugar stands on a white surface with clumps of sugary topping scattered around it in a black vaccuum
Brasa (semi-bitter chocolate cake with fermented pricky pear)
Koli [Official Photo]

Brothers Patricio, Rodrigo, and Daniel Rivero — a sommelier, chef, and pastry chef, respectively — run this intimate, 20-seat fine dining restaurant located in the Santa Catarina neighborhood. “Koli” means grandfather in Nahuatl, one of several indigenous languages in Nuevo Leon, a fitting name for the brothers’ homage to the land and culinary heritage of Northeastern Mexico. Try mole with suckling pig and fresh cheese, or dine on grilled beef with yucca, black garlic, cauliflower, and onion. [$$$$]

Eje exterior #10-L1, Nuevo León, Via Cordillera, Sin Nombre de Col 25, 66197 Santa Catarina
N.L., Mexico

2. Benell

66240, Plutarco Elías Calles 427, Zona Tampiquito, 66240 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A crispy slice of french toast, piled with caramelized fruit and bacon and doused in several sauces and powdered sugar, sits on a white plate in front of a blurred dining room
French toast

Chef Chuy Elizondo serves artisan, long-fermented bread without additives or preservatives from a small bakery tucked inside a garage. The space also offers breakfast, including indulgent French toast topped with pineapple, caramel, coffee-infused honey, and bacon. While the restaurant predictably focuses on house-made bread (a slice is served with nearly every dish), diners also rave about the green chilaquiles with chicharrón from La Ramos. [$ - $$]

66240, Plutarco Elías Calles 427, Zona Tampiquito, 66240 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

3. Carnes Ramos

Avenida Humberto Lobo 574, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
The exterior of the Carnes Ramos butcher shop with large letters built into the second floor facade above windows plastered with posters advertising meat sales
Outside Carnes Ramos

One of the most traditional butcher shops in the city, Carnes Ramos always draws crowds across several locations. The butcher is one of the places to buy beef in a region known for barbecue, but even out-of-towners should visit to taste the shop’s famous chicharrón, served in restaurants throughout the city under the name “chicharrón de la Ramos.” For a souvenir, pick up some machaca, dried meat often added to scrambled eggs for umami and explosive flavor. [$ - $$]

Avenida Humberto Lobo 574, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

4. Gallo 71

Avenida José Vasconcelos 71, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
Two tacos loaded with crispy meat from the trompo, sliced onions, a bit of cilantro, and creamy white sauce on a slate serving platter
Tacos al pastor

This charming, high-end restaurant evokes a grocery store in design, but it’s a wonderful place to delve through classic Northern Mexican dishes, such as prime cuts of juicy grilled meat, as well as inventive tacos. Start with scallop crackers, then go for the sirloin milanesa taco stuffed with french fries, the beefsteak and bone marrow taco, or the beet tostada with chile morita sauce. Save room for the pistachio cake for dessert. [$$$]

Avenida José Vasconcelos 71, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

5. Taqueria Orinoco

Río Orinoco 101, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
A display case containing a mound of chicharron with the word “chicharron” written in bold red letters on the glass
Chicharron

This casual taqueria has two locations in Monterrey and a bustling outpost in Mexico City. Choose from three types of meat: trompo (pork marinated al pastor style with dried chiles and spices), beef (top sirloin sliced thin), and Northern Mexican chicharrón (crispy, juicy pork cheek). Order one of each, but don’t forget the specials, like the campechana, an extra-large flour tortilla filled with beef, pork from the trompo, cheese, avocado, cilantro, onions, and corn chips. Although beer will pair perfectly with anything, it’s worth trying the restaurant’s own Jamaica agua fresca with cinnamon and guava. [$ - $$]

Río Orinoco 101, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

6. Señor Latino

Rio Mississippi 235, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A server holds plates of tacos with diced onion, cilantro, and lime wedges, as well as a separate plate of avocado in front of a crowded, light-filled dining room
Tacos and avocado

This unpretentious cafeteria franchise, loved by locals, is well known for traditional, regional breakfast staples such as chilaquiles divorciados with green and red sauce, or scrambled eggs with chorizo and migas (thin strips of fried tortilla). Diners embrace the restaurant’s slogan, “Eat like you are at home,” enjoying simple, homey dishes like pork shoulder tamales or the machacado, scrambled eggs mixed with dried meat, tomato, onion, and chile. [$ - $$]

Rio Mississippi 235, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

7. Los 13 Puercos de Soto

Local 7, Río Orinoco 171, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A butcher’s station with a large hunk of meat halfway sliced on a buter block with knives sitting nearby, beneath heat lamps. Behind, a white tiled wall with shelves holding supplies
Meat on the butcher block

The Rivero brothers (Patricio, Rodrigo, and Daniel, who also own Koli) run this deli, where they proudly display their porchetta, pork leg, and spice-rubbed pastrami on the counter. The fast-casual venue serves tacos and tortas featuring the roasted meats, as well as meatless options with cheese and mushrooms. Daily specials add even more exciting options, from cochinita pibil to a BLT to German sausages. [$ - $$]

Local 7, Río Orinoco 171, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

8. La Nacional

Av San Jerónimo 1106, Miravalle, 64634 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
A plate with five thin tacos stacked on one another overflowing with small noodles in a red sauce with a large sprig of rosemary laid over the tortillas
Fideo seco tacos

Opened in 2003, this emblematic, white-tablecloth Mexican steakhouse is celebrated equally by politicians, execs, and families. Begin with fideo seco tacos filled with pasta in tomato-chile sauce, head next to grilled artichokes, and don’t leave without trying the salted ribeye. As at almost everywhere in the city, dishes are designed to be shared. [$$$$]

Av San Jerónimo 1106, Miravalle, 64634 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

9. Milk Pizzeria

Río Orinoco 211a, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a full sliced pizza dotted with slices of salami, sausage, onion, and serrano peppers, on a marble tabletop next to small china plates, glassware, and silverware
Salami, sausage, blue cheese, onion, and serrano pizza

Pizza lovers will find amazing pies at Milk, but the restaurant also serves great meatballs, salads, and gnocchi. The project, from the team at Bread Panaderos, features the bakers’ ideal pizza: thin dough with puffy brown crusts and well-balanced tomato sauce. The team make porchetta, sausages, yogurt dip (for focaccia and for potatoes with chorizo), breads, and desserts in-house. Look out for special dinners every other month, when Milk brings in Mexican chefs to take over the pizza parlor. [$$ - $$$]

Río Orinoco 211a, Del Valle, 66220 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

10. Kadoya Monterrey

Río Colorado 201, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a bowl of broth, pork, greens,  hard boiled egg, and a few visible noodles, on a wooden tabletop
Kadoya ramen

Entrepreneur Sergio “Checo” Gutiérrez teamed up with Edo Kobayashi, the restaurateur largely responsible for elevating Japanese cuisine in Mexico, to create this combination casual ramen spot and upscale 10-seat sushi counter. Sushi Kadoya serves a high-quality omakase and excellent a la carte options, while diners on the ramen side can combine 19 hearty, flavorful ramen options with appetizers like gyoza or fried Brussels sprouts with tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes. [$$ - $$$]

Río Colorado 201, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

11. Pinto Bar

Av. del Roble 300, Residencial Santa Barbara, 66266 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
Hands squish a cheeseburger (served on thin, well-fried buns) until cheese oozes onto a plate, beside a dish with another cheese-dusted food item and a bottle of sauce off to one side
Hamburguesa aplastada
Pinto Bar [Official Photo]

For a drink and some snacks, head to this dark, wood-paneled bar where the playlist features the Strokes and Stevie Wonder. Pinto Bar serves a great list of mezcals and tequilas, but it also offers the opportunity to drink other Mexican liquors, such as bacanora and sotol. Cocktails and natural wines join the agave spirits on the menu. If you feel hungry, opt for the Pinto potatoes, extra-thin fries with chile, lemon, and Parmesan. Or go for the hamburguesa aplastada, a smash burger that resembles the patty melt of your dreams. [$$ - $$$]

Av. del Roble 300, Residencial Santa Barbara, 66266 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

12. Cara de Vaca

Río de la Plata 448, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A server leans over a table holding a slate bowl to the camera with three fried tacos beneath a heavy helping of brightly colored red and green sauces, with two spoons hanging out each side.
Tacos tiesos

The name of this upbeat, fun restaurant, which translates to “cow face,” is playfully spelled out in emojis on the menu, and the lovely interior is decorated in light wood, greenery, and lots of natural light. But over in the kitchen, the team works seriously with open-fire cooking. Keep an eye out for tacos tiesos, a dish inspired by tamales regios (northern-style pork tamales). Pork-filled tortillas are fried and doused with three sauces made with guacamole, tomatillo, and red jalapeno. Continue with cachetada de ribeye, a flour tortilla oozing melted cheese, guacamole sauce, and bits of fried tortilla. You can’t go wrong with any of the well-prepared steaks either, and be sure to wash your order down with any of the natural wines on offer. Last but not least, the guava pie deserves your utmost attention. [$$ - $$$]

Río de la Plata 448, Del Valle, 66220 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

13. Bardot

W301, Av. del Roble 660 I, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a handled cast iron pan filled with shakshuka (tomatoes, eggs, greens, and spices), with a slice of toast resting on the rim of the pan, all on top of a plate on a patterned table
Shakshuka

This French bistro has been around for more than a decade, but recently moved into a new, modern space. The consistent classics are still on the menu, though, including fresh oysters, a seafood platter, escargots a la bourguignonne, traditional beef tartare, and pan-seared duck breast with orange. On Sundays, diners pack the sunny terrace and dining room for brunch, enjoying French pastries, croissants, and breads, along with avocado toast, eggs Benedict, charcuterie, and short-rib chilaquiles. [$$$]

W301, Av. del Roble 660 I, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

14. Blake

Roble 660 W-304 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66266 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A decorative blue ceramic plate loaded with slices of zucchini topped with a ground topping on a textured countertop beside dark folliage
Zucchini salad
Blake / Facebook

Cocktail and beer lovers will love the vast menu at Blake, but anyone can appreciate the restaurant’s festive vibe. Australian chef Paul Bentley, who is well known in Guadalajara, designed the menu, which features Mediterranean influences on Mexican ingredients. With Middle Eastern, Italian, and other global inspiration, dishes range from roasted cauliflower in tahini-date dressing to margherita pizza to ribeye with chimichurri. Traditional Monterrey steaks are also on offer. [$$ - $$$]

Roble 660 W-304 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66266 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

15. Pangea

Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a stark white plate with two large slices of duck breast in a dark pool of mole with garnishes dotting the plate nearby
Duck with mole

Long recognized as a fine dining institution in Monterrey, Pangea has been in business for more than 20 years. The restaurant is the flagship of Grupo Pangea, a collection of 10 concepts across the city, all under the leadership of Guillermo González Beristáin, one of the most respected chefs in the country and undoubtedly the pioneer responsible for elevating the Northeastern gastronomic scene. At Pangea, head chef Eduardo Morali combines Mexican produce with French flair and impeccable execution. Choose from a la carte options or the tasting menu, which may feature a glorious duck breast with orange mole, kumquat, and cauliflower puree, or jurel fish from Baja California with spicy soy sauce, avocado, crispy rice, and miso emulsion. The restaurant has received many national awards, and it is a regular on the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list. [$$$$]

Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

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16. Bread Panaderos Artesanales

Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a wooden table spread with two pastries on gray plates, alongside two trays of coffee-based drinks on dark trays
Pastries and coffee

The breads and pastries at Bread Panaderos aren’t just famous in Monterrey but all over the country. Alejandro Reyes and Bernardo Flores celebrate artisanal baking through natural ingredients and experimentation. The sourdough and butter croissants are the duo’s signatures, but they’ve also made bread using chapulin flour (from Mexican grasshoppers), among other experiments. The pastry menu features kouign amann, conchas (Mexican sweet breads), pains au chocolat, and muffins. The bakery serves breakfast, lunch, and even dinner, when they offer cocktails alongside pizzas and open-faced sandwiches. Inside the bakery you’ll also find Café Pistola, where expert baristas pour coffee and espresso made from specialty Mexican beans. [$ - $$]

Av. del Roble 660, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

17. Libertad Cocina Nuestra

Parque Arboleda Av. Roble #660 - W301 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A cast iron pan filled with singed taquitos and a rosemary sprig beside a handled cast iron full of melted cheese with a spoon sticking out
Taquitos al albañil

Located in the elegant Parque Arboleda shopping complex, a gastronomic hub in the city, Libertad boasts a big, beautiful space decorated with old newspapers as wallpaper. The menu mixes staple Mexican dishes with hints of international flavors in taquitos al albañil (fried corn tortillas filled with chorizo and beans, served with melted white cheese) or duck barbacoa, slow-cooked with tamarind and chile sauce. The vegetable section is equally exciting, with an especially tasty eggplant chicharrón served with herbs and jocoque (sour cream), as well as roasted beets with chipotle honey and pumpkin seeds. Plus, tostadas act as the bread service, which is exactly as amazing as it sounds. [$$ - $$$]

Parque Arboleda Av. Roble #660 - W301 Col, Valle del Campestre, 66265 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

18. Grand Cru

local C-9, Av. de la Industria 300, Veredalta, 66279 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
A server ladles sauce from a spoon into a swirl on a white plate around a large slice of beef Wellington and other geometric decorations with sauces
Beef Wellington
Grand Cru / Facebook

Owner and sommelier Ludovic Anacleto wanted to meld his Parisian background with his new home in Monterrey. His French restaurant, tucked away in a residential area, is known for beef Wellington and chicharrón risotto, but mostly for an impressive, well-curated wine list with more than 700 bottles. The wine program has rightfully earned Grand Cru national and international recognition. [$$$$]

local C-9, Av. de la Industria 300, Veredalta, 66279 San Pedro Garza García
N.L., Mexico

19. Restaurante San Carlos

Av. Ignacio Morones Prieto 2803 Pte, Loma Larga, 64710 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
Whole baby goats spit roasting over a trough of charcoal on vertical spits, beside smaller spits of other meats and a cook in the background preparing another spit
Cabritos grilling over charcoal

If you’re after grilled baby goat, one of the most traditional dishes of Northeastern Mexican cuisine, head to one of the outlets of this old-school restaurant chain run by third-generation family owners. The vertical grill sits in plain sight from the dining room, making it easy to watch the goats slowly cooking. San Carlos also serves crowd-pleasing beef, particularly the rib-eye aguja (exceedingly tender rib-eye cap) served with flour tortillas, beans, totopos (toasted, salted-masa chips), and sauces. [$$]

Av. Ignacio Morones Prieto 2803 Pte, Loma Larga, 64710 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

20. Tacos el Compadre

Nicolás Bravo S/N, Maria Luisa, Centro, 64000 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
As seen from above, a rectangular dish with two tacos, pockmarked from the grill, laid over one another, beside a bowl of stewy vegetables and a small bowl of caperberries, all on a wood table.
Cabeza and pork shoulder tacos

Better known as Tacos del Muerto for its proximity to the Dolores Cemetery, this street cart has been in operation for over 48 years, attracting an eclectic crowd for mañaneros (morning tacos) from 7 a.m. until close at 3 p.m. Choose from the short list of fillings: gooey cabeza; pork shoulder; picadillo; beans with bacon, egg, and chorizo; or chile relleno stuffed with cheese or meat. Feel free to order any of the options as a torta if you prefer, and when the server asks you if you want to add beans spread with pork fat, you say, “Yes, please.” Spoon on the powerful salsa borracha (drunken sauce) made from tomato cooked with chile and onion. [$]

Nicolás Bravo S/N, Maria Luisa, Centro, 64000 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

21. El Gran Laszlo Loszla

Privada Lic. Verdad 947, Centro, 64000 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
Sunny outdoor tables beneath a covering of trees with lanterns hanging from branches
The enchanting patio

Four young partners in the club business decided to open this adventurous contemporary bistro in the Purisima neighborhood, a short hop from the usual restaurant circuit in San Pedro García Garza. On the first floor of a 1920s-era house, you’ll find fare from chef Joaquin Cardoso, originally of Mexico City, as well as an enchanting backyard patio. Opt for the roasted leeks with cotija cheese; rice with charred avocado, market greens, and pistachios; or the pork chop with couscous. Then head upstairs to the second floor, where you’ll find a bar featuring natural wines and classic cocktails with Mexican twists.  [$$ - $$$]

Privada Lic. Verdad 947, Centro, 64000 Monterrey
N.L., Mexico

22. El Jonuco

Mariano Abasolo 102-A, Cabecera Municipal (Apodaca), Apodaca Centro, 66600 Cd Apodaca, N.L., Mexico
From above, five crisp tortillas folded around meat and vegetables sit in a stone bowl with hot coals
Empalmes

If you’re passing through the Monterrey airport, make sure you make time for a meal at El Jonuco, located 10 minutes away in the industrial neighborhood of Apodaca. Banker-turned-chef Hugo Guajardo highlights the regional cuisine of Northeastern Mexico with modern twists. He combines recipes from his past, like his grandmother’s pear tart, with traditional local dishes like wedding rice (popular throughout Nuevo Leon; in this case, a chicken stock-fortified version from Zuazua studded with raisins and poblanos). Go for the empalmes, sandwiches of atropellado (dried meat with tomato, chile, and onion) between crispy tortillas. Or try the criollo avocados, meant to be eaten peel and all, or the glorious grilled panela cheese with agave honey and chile piquin sauce. Be sure to stop by on Sunday to try the succulent, grilled cabrito (baby goat). The restaurant setting is entirely casual, and meals are accompanied by the accordions of Northern Mexican music. [$$ - $$$]

Mariano Abasolo 102-A, Cabecera Municipal (Apodaca), Apodaca Centro, 66600 Cd Apodaca
N.L., Mexico

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