There's nothing quite like a good birria. Fragrant, savory, sweet, and a touch spicy, the Mexican meat stew is packed with so much flavor it's nearly impossible to try it once and not want to order it over and over again.
Originating in the Mexican state of Jalisco, this tasty dish is historically made using goat, beef, lamb, or chicken, which is then marinated in an adobo of vinegar, dried chiles, garlic, herbs, and spices. Traditionally, birria is served with bread or tortillas or even just eaten with your hands. Nowadays, it's often incorporated into various dishes, including tacos, quesadillas, and burritos.
In fact, the "quesabirria," a taco made with beef birria and melted cheese and served with dipping sauce, first gained momentum in North America in the 2010s after making its way over from Tijuana. Even cooler? At one point, popular fast food chains Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco both featured limited-time birria items on their menus.
Beef birria is still a hit today, often popping up on menus at Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants throughout the country. From full-service chains that serve beef birria platters filled with seasoned rice and beans to casual spots that whip up customizable beef birria tacos and burritos, here are seven restaurant chains that serve the best birria.
If you have a Tacombi near you, consider yourself lucky. Founded in 2006, the Mexican-themed chain has locations in seven U.S. states. Its menu is filled with incredible Mexican recipes, including a top-notch birria taco. This item features a savory, sweet, and spicy braised brisket seasoned with chiles, garlic, herbs, and spices, served in a taco with Chihuahua cheese and a consommé sauce on the side for dipping.
Moe's Southwest Grill
Head over to Moe's Southwest Grill if you want to enjoy your birria in quesadilla form. The limited-time dish is made with slow-cooked shredded beef, onions, cilantro, and shredded cheese and is served with complimentary chips and salsa as a side. Started over 20 years ago in Atlanta, Moe's Southwest Taco now has over 600 locations throughout the country, so chances are there's one not too far from you.
Chevys Fresh Mex
For a more filling birria option, try Chevys Fresh Mex, which offers this tasty dish as a platter, complete with sides. Chevys birria tacos feature handmade tortillas grilled with melted jack cheese and then stuffed with beef birria, onion, and cilantro. Each order comes with three tacos and is plated with black beans, rice, marinated red onions, and flavorful consommé, which is ideal for dipping. Order it with guacamole prepared tableside as an appetizer and cinnamon-crisp cheesecake as a dessert for a meal that hits the spot.
For a more customizable birria, check out Qdoba's "create your own" beef brisket birria burrito, available for about $13. It's prepared with juicy, shredded brisket birria that's been slow-cooked for 10 hours in a fragrant combination of chiles and garlic. The burrito also comes with beans, your choice of rice (choose from cilantro lime or seasoned brown or go half and half), and toppings (freshly made pico de gallo, chile corn salsa, pickled red onions, shredded cheese, and fajita veggies). Even better? Guacamole and queso are complimentary.
Founded in 1964, Del Taco is a popular Mexican restaurant chain with nearly 600 locations throughout the United States. The chain offers both beef birria tacos and quesadillas. The beef birria taco features tender, shredded beef brisket, fresh house-grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, and chopped cilantro, all piled between two warm corn tortillas. Meanwhile, the beef birria quesadilla is made with flour tortillas and a tangy green sauce. Each order comes with a side of warm consommé sauce, too.
On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
Leave it to the famous Tex-Mex restaurant chain On the Border to make a next-level beef birria taco. This chain's version of the delectable dish is made using beef barbacoa, Mexican cheese, chopped onion, and cilantro and served in crispy flour tortillas. That's not all, though. Each order comes with hot consommé, Mexican rice, and your choice of black or refried beans. On the Border currently has roughly 150 locations throughout the United States and South Korea.
Smaller New York City chain Dos Caminos excels at making hearty beef birria tacos. Prepared with a perfectly cooked braised short rib, this dish features cilantro, onion, and a spicy chile de arbol salsa. Dos Caminos' birria tacos are served with birria broth and queso dipping sauce, which helps create an out-of-this-world flavor combination. Dos Caminos currently has a handful of locations throughout NYC.