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Who knows tacos and tamales better than the executive chef at one of the city's most iconic Tex-Mex restaurants? We asked Alex Padilla, head honcho at the Original Ninfa's on Navigation, to recommend his top Houston spots for a fajita fix. From the perfect tortilla to the best enchiladas, here are his favorite places around town:

Favorite Tacos | Alamo Tamales & Taco

"It's a very earthy Mexican place, super busy on the weekends. I like their Barbacoa tacos with cilantro, onions and green salsa."
809 Berry Road. 713-692-6363.

Favorite Enchiladas | Los Cucos & Irma’s

“Believe it or not, Los Cucos has a great chicken enchilada verde. They have a huge menu, but they have two or three things that are really, really good. If you don’t want to go to Los Cucos, I like Irma’s downtown. She has really good chicken enchiladas verdes.”
Los Cucos: Multiple locations
Irma's: 22 N. Chenevert St., 713-222-0767

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Chef Alex Padilla of the Original Ninfa's on Navigation. 

Image: Ninfa's

Favorite Fajitas: Ninfa's on Navigation

“That’s a tough one. I don’t really have a favorite place for fajitas. I eat too many of them at Ninfa's.”
 2704 Navigation Blvd., 713-228-1175

Favorite Tamales: Doña Tere

“It’s a hole-in-the-wall that has been around for a while, and they sell great pork tamales with tomatillo salsa. Everybody knows those tamales.”
8331 Beechnut St. Ste B., 713-270-8501

Favorite Empanada: Americas

"The executive chef, David Cordúa, is a good buddy of mine. His beef empanadas have ground beef, raisins, peppers and olives in there, and they give you a little bit of chimichurri on the side.”
2040 W. Gray St., 832-200-1492

Favorite Nachos: Escalante’s

“This is what my bartenders tell me, and they would know. That’s where they go after hours just about every day after they finish their shifts at Ninfa’s.”
Multiple locations

Favorite Tortilla: La Espiga De Oro

“This is my favorite for both corn and flour tortillas. They make them fresh every day. That’s what makes them special.”
1202 W. 15th St., 713-861-4200

Favorite Queso: El Real & Picos 

“I also like the queso at Picos. I think Arnaldo Richards is one of the greatest chefs in Houston.”
El Real: 1201 Westheimer Rd., 713-524-1201
Picos: 3601 Kirby Dr., 832-831-9940

Favorite Guacamole: Hugo’s

“Hugo Ortega is another longtime buddy of mine. He makes it like real Mexican guacamole with a lot of lime, cilantro, onions and tomatoes. You can’t beat that.”
1600 Westheimer Rd., 713-524-7744

Favorite Salsa | Gorditas Aguascalientes

“They’ve been becoming pretty popular lately. The chile de arbol y morita salsa that they give you with your chips on the table is my favorite one—but be careful—it’s spicy.”
3810 Irvington Blvd., 713-697-7888

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Editor’s Pick

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 2704 Navigation Blvd.

The matriarch of Tex-Mex in Houston is still going strong in its original home on Navigation, where Mama Ninfa Laurenzo started a 10-table restaurant in the ...

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