The Absolute Best Nachos In The U.S.

A fresh plate of nachos piled high with crunchy chips, assorted toppings, and ooey-gooey cheese, is just about one of the best ways to sate a craving for salty food. For starters, at their most classic, the combination of ingredients satisfies multiple levels of flavor and texture. And once you start getting carried away with customizations? There's practically an endless variety of nachos waiting to be made. According to Mental Floss, the original dish was in fact made in Mexico — for Americans, that is — but since its invention in the 1940s, it has expanded to include ingredients you'd never find in Mexican food.

While you could indeed buy the components to make your own batch, there's nothing like going to a restaurant and getting nachos as an appetizer or perhaps ordering them as the main event. Whether you're sharing them with friends or hoarding your own plate, knowing exactly where to get the best nachos is essential if you want to avoid ending up with a pile of dry ungarnished tortilla chips. We've gathered up a selection of the absolute top spots in the U.S. to get your nacho fix, so you had better take some notes and start lining up your reservations.

Brewery Vivant - Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you like your nachos with a definite luxe factor, you had better make your way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and go to Brewery Vivant. The establishment was once a church, now converted into a working brewery that specializes in Belgian and other European-style beers. As you're sipping away at a cold ale, the varied food menu is filled with enticing options to pad your stomach. Whatever else you choose to order, do yourself a favor and get the nachos, which are listed under the appetizers. The brewery's executive chef tells Gordon Food Service that the nachos were originally intended as a one-off weekend special, but seeing the response, the owners decided to add them to the menu.

Tortilla chips are topped with duck confit, brie cream, caramelized onions, tomatoes, chives, and lemon zest. The combination is rich, decadent, sweet, and then surprisingly fresh and bright with the addition of chives and lemon zest. The brewery has a solid fanbase, and amidst the compliments, Yelp reviewers say that "The duck nachos alone are worth the trip." The serving size is described as generous, so you might just skip the rest of the menu and focus on the pile of chips, melted cheese, and gourmet toppings.

Gracias Madre - Los Angeles

On top of having an admirable selection of agave spirits and being dedicated to protecting the plant, Gracias Madre has a fully organic and vegan kitchen. The L.A. restaurant has locations in Newport Beach and West Hollywood, so you're never too far from a plant-based delight. Luckily for you, the trendy eco-friendly spot has the vegan nacho game down, and they're available on the menu all day except at brunch. There's even a basic version on the happy hour menu in case you need a salty snack.

So, what's used to substitute the meat and cheese topping of a standard plate of nachos? Tortilla chips are loaded up with soy chorizo, cauliflower, guacamole, beans, and the creamiest cashew-based nacho cheese you could imagine. Chef Alan Sanz tells The Beet that in fact, many small Mexican communities consume mainly vegan diets based around fresh local ingredients, which is what he wants to display in his cuisine. It's pretty much everything you could want from nachos, plus there are extra nutrients from the vegetables and healthy fats. Wash them down with a flight of agave and call it a night.

El Barrio - Birmingham, Alabama

Sometimes, the best nachos completely turn your concept of the dish upside down. El Barrio in Birmingham, Alabama is a restaurant focused on Mexican cuisine from a variety of regions, with a special focus on fresh seasonal products and sustainable farming. You can bet that it's a winning combination at the dining table, with an assortment of familiar ingredients in ever-changing variations.

As for the nachos, who said nachos need to include tortilla chips? At El Barrio, plantain ribbons are swapped in for a decidedly sweet and crunchy element to the dish. Next, the crispy plantains are topped with roasted pork, pickled jalapeños, ancho chile, cotija cheese, and lime crema. These nachos are perfect if you're aching for a bit of heat, and the fresh cotija and tangy lime crema keep the flavors bright. Bham Now spoke with the restaurant's chef Neville Baay, who explained that the kitchen had been working on a plantain-based appetizer for a few years before coming up with this winner. Thanks to the perfect balance between classic elements and a creative twist, this nacho dish is one to remember.

Point Break Poke House - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

With a name like Point Break Poke House and beachy Florida locations, get ready to be surprised by this take on nachos. A few overlapping ingredients make these sort of recognizable, yet the pipeline nachos featured on the menu use wonton chips as a base. True to its Poke House name, customers can choose either salmon or spicy tuna as a protein. Pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado mousse, and aji amarilla (yellow chili), hint at the origin of this delicious rendition of nachos. Occasionally, baby kale makes it to the mix, but we're also happy keeping our nachos free of leafy greens. Fresh and light-ish, Poke House has created the perfect nacho creation to enjoy the beachfront.

According to Hedonist/Shedonist, if you're not currently devouring an order of pipeline nachos, then you're already behind. If you're prone to hyperbole, then you'll appreciate the outlet's description that "These are to die for." You'll want to stick it out at least long enough to enjoy a plate of this poke nacho hybrid, accompanied by the charred pineapple sake infusion — yes, you read that right.

Takorea - Atlanta

Listed under its specialties, Takorea serves up delicious nachos that combine Korean and Mexican cuisines. The restaurant has two Atlanta locations, one in Hankook and the other in Dunwoody. It's important to know that the two restaurants serve up a different nacho recipe because, for research purposes, you will obviously have to try them both.

On the Hankook menu, the nachos are made with regular tortilla chips, topped with protein (options include beef bulgogi, calamari, shrimp, fish, chicken, pork, tofu, and vegetables), queso, sesame soy salad, a spicy Korean BBQ sauce, jalapeños, and sour cream. Talk about fusion! As for the Dunwoody location, the Gogi nachos consist of tortilla chips loaded up with your choice of protein (similar options), Jack cheese, jalapeños, tako salad (lettuce, cilantro, onion, and a sesame soy vinaigrette), sweet and sour cream sauce, and gochujang sauce. The combination pretty much sums up to an explosion of flavors, and with good reason, the dish was featured on Travel Channel's "Food Paradise." If you're itching for world flavors and a totally new spin on nachos, give these a taste; you won't regret it.

Bar Amá - Los Angeles

Nacho fans should make a beeline for Bar Amá in L.A., and enjoy the Super Nacho Hour every afternoon from Tuesdays to Sundays. We're talking about the best combination of nachos and happy hour with margaritas, festive drinks, tacos, and super nachos on the menu. Made for nacho lovers, tortilla chips, are loaded up with queso, salmorejo (a tomato and garlic sauce), crema, and avocado. Then, pick between carne guisada (simmered beef), ranchero chicken, chicken picadillo, or soyrizo to complete this epic nacho feast.

Customers know to come for the Super Nacho Hour, and as Yelp reviewers note, the portion is hefty: "I mean like the type of portion size that you can share with an army of people." Plan accordingly, and be sure to settle down with a few friends so you can enjoy the nachos and other snacks, or perhaps, skip the rest and focus on the important stuff: a salty margarita and a cheesy plate of nachos with the works.

Nacho Hippo - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

With a promise to be the best nachos and margaritas in Myrtle Beach, Nacho Hippo actually delivers. By having countless options — and better yet — allowing customers to personalize their very own nachos, satisfaction is guaranteed. With almost ten nachos on the menu, including macho nacho, bangin' shrimp, hipponachomus, and tree hugger, Nacho Hippo caters to anyone with a passion for giant piles of flavor. Whether you're looking for more of a standard experience with chili, cheese, queso, lettuce, and pico de gallo (macho nacho), or want to throw on extra meat by adding taco beef, and shredded chicken (hipponachomus), Nacho Hippo has you covered.

If the coastal location has you inspired, try the bangin' shrimp which features fried shrimp, spicy sauce, mango pico de gallo, queso, cheese, shredded lettuce, and pico de gallo. Missed out on last night's barbecue? Try the BBQ'd Oinker: slow-roasted pork with chipotle bbq sauce, cheese, queso, corn, black beans, and pico de gallo. Vegetarians will appreciate the aptly named tree huger nachos which are piled high with vegetables, corn, black beans, queso, cheese, olives, lettuce, and pico de gallo. And if this assortment of mouthwatering toppings is leaving you undecided, mix and match to design your own nachos with the exact flavors you're craving.

Blarney Stone - North and South Dakota

If you consider nachos to be the ultimate pub grub, wait until you take a look at Blarney Stone's menu. The authentic Irish pub has locations in North and South Dakota and identifies as being family-friendly, so gather the troops and head over for a pint and a plate of nachos. Blarney Stone's offers Irish Nachos and Traditional Pub Nachos, and the best plan is to get them both and take a vote.

If all Irish nachos start with a base of waffle fries, then we might have to relocate. The crispy potato base is loaded up with beef or chicken, warm gooey melted Jack and cheddar cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and green onion. Spicy black beans can be piled on for extra, and the lot is served with their signature Dublin dip (don't ask, just taste) and salsa. The traditional pub rendition has a familiar tortilla chip base, topped with beef or chicken, melted cheese, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, and jalapeños. You'll have to forego the Dublin dip here and instead, eat your nachos with sour cream and salsa. Whichever version you choose, this mountainous pile of salty goodness will be exactly what you want along with a cold brew.

Sweet Liberty - Miami

With the slogan "pursuing happiness," you can bet that whatever you have from Sweet Liberty's menu will be satisfying. Enjoy your nachos with a cocktail from their self-professed world-renowned cocktail menu and you might find yourself coming back for more. The Miami eatery regularly holds events and is the perfect place to have a party — especially if the cauliflower nachos will be free-flowing. Before you turn your nose up at the sometimes stinky brassica, wait until you taste the magic that is taking place here. Condé Nast Traveler attests that these are a must, enthusiastically describing the "melt-in-your-mouth bites of cauliflower."

The hearty portion is geared toward sharing, and you might even have to fend off roaming hands when this nacho concoction lands at your table. To give you an idea of the bliss that awaits, the title of one review on Tripadvisor is "Cauliflower nachos are heaven." Warm tortilla chips are loaded up with a blend of cheese, sautéed cauliflower, avocado crema, radishes, pickled jalapeños, and pomegranate seeds. Keep it vegetarian or pile on a portion of grilled chicken or steak to get your protein fix.

Tacoria - New Jersey

If you're the type of person who likes to have nachos as often as possible, go ahead and order them twice in a row at Tacoria — as the main course and for dessert. The New Jersey eatery focuses on Mexican cuisine with a personalized twist. Everything is made fresh on a daily basis, and the restaurant takes pride in having zero freezers. Viva la Nachos is Tacoria's take on the endlessly appealing dish, and consumers get multiple options to customize them to taste.

The base starts with hand-cut tortilla chips, black beans, salsa, cheese, crema, and escabeche peppers. Top it with your choice of grilled steak, pineapple pork, spicy citrus chicken, spicy pulled chicken, fried avocado, roasted corn and poblanos, charred Brussel sprouts, chorizo, or beyond tacorizo (a plant-based take on chorizo), and add some guacamole for good measure. As for the dessert nachos, we have one word for you: Nutella. It's hard to argue with the rich unctuous hazelnut cream, especially when it's drizzled over flour tortillas with sugar and cinnamon. And that's how you eat nachos twice in one meal!

Nacho Daddy - Las Vegas

With over ten nacho options and three categories (traditional, Mexican American collision, and exotic), you'll undoubtedly get your fix at Nacho Daddy. Its multiple Las Vegas locations are no doubt packed with nachophiles tasting as many creations as possible, and it's truly an experience just picking an option from the menu. Plus, they make all of their nacho chips from scratch!

If you're looking to start tame, stick to the selection of traditional (though by no means boring) nachos. Choose between fiesta, fajita, enchilada, chicken tinga, or supreme tostada nachos. Featured toppings include chicken, ground beef, filet mignon, Jack cheese, queso, salsa, refried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. Nothing wildly original but these nachos are well-executed classics that do not disappoint. The Mexican American collision category boasts similar toppings in unique combinations, and expect delicious options like the house-made pork carnitas, popcorn chicken, roasted tomatillo salsa, and pickled peppers.

As for the exotic nachos, here's where things get funky. Butter poached lobster and crab with white queso, chilis, and mango pico de gallo, anyone? The spicy garlic shrimp nachos are perfect if you like your ingredients fresh with a bit of heat. Or, skip the seafood and try the Thai spiced chicken breast with vegetables, sweet chili sauce, pickled jalapeños, and white queso, garnished with peanuts and sesame seeds for a true cultural melting pot. For gourmet foodies who like their nachos with meat, the filet mignon option is definitely the right choice.

Nacho Mama's - Maryland

While it might not be the most authentic Mexican restaurant around, Nacho Mama's in Maryland is all about bringing delicious flavors together. Amidst a variety of Tex-Mex and East coast specialties on the tempting menu, customers will also find a selection of nachos, which vary between the two locations. Come with an appetite and a dining companion or two, as Yelp reviewers note that the portions are huge.

The basic formula consists of tortilla chips topped with beans, cheese, and jalapeños served with the requisite salsa and sour cream. Delicious that's for sure, but the extra add-ons are where these nachos really shine. Choose between chicken, blackened chicken, or steak, or go all out and get the crab nachos which feature a mound of jalapeño crab dip over chips, two types of cheese, extra jalapeños, salsa, and sour cream.

The Towson location has a couple of extra specials on the menu, and meat-eaters will be eager to sample the Birria Nachos: slow-cooked beef short rib in Adobo sauce with pinto beans, onion, cilantro, cheese, avocado green sauce, and more avo for good measure. Plus, if you've developed a taste for dessert nachos, you'll have to finish off your meal with the s'mores nachos.

The Rum House - New Orleans

The Rum House in New Orleans is exactly the kind of place that invites you to come in, order a flashy cocktail, and enjoy a plate piled high with food for the ultimate relaxing experience. "Escape from the ordinary" is at the forefront of the restaurant's mission, and you'll indeed feel far from it all as you're devouring their Damn Good Nachos. It's quite the self-endorsement and yet there's no better way to describe this richly satisfying pile of deliciousness.

Pulled pork, black beans, jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion, lime cream, cilantro, and melted cheese come together for a savory, tangy, and fresh rendition of this classic dish. Who needs ground beef when pulled pork is on the table? Customers rave about these nachos, calling them "ridiculously good," "the best nachos we've ever had," and asserting that "these nachos are the bomb." You'll want to consider embarking on a road trip to get a taste of these flavor combinations, as they are definitely "worth the drive." Don't take other people's word for it and head over to polish off a plate of damn good nachos yourself (maybe with a friend in tow if you're feeling generous enough to share).

Little Goat Diner - Chicago

With James Beard and Food & Wine best chef awardee, Stephanie Izard at the helm, Little Goat Diner in Chicago is putting a delicious spin on old classics. The menu showcases all of your diner favorites while giving them an upgrade with top-notch ingredients and global inspiration. When it comes to the snacks you have to try, the macho nachos are high on the list. House masa chips are layered with chorizo, pickled peppers, black beans, and cheddar, with a healthy dollop of sour cream and some avocado on top.

Nacho lovers are obsessed, and in a review, one person wrote that being half Mexican and living in California, they had enjoyed their fair share of nachos all over, but the ones at Little Goat Diner were the best: "I will go back to Chicago just for these and take my kids so they too can know the pinnacle of nachos." Another couple who recounts rating nachos across the US recommended the macho nachos as number one, explaining that 'The masa chips made all of the difference." With so many happy customers you had better get in line and wait for your turn to devour this layered explosion of flavors.

Datz - Florida

With multiple locations in Florida, Datz has a menu loaded up with comfort food favorites, enhanced with the type of extras that will have your mouthwatering. Plus, they sell mimosa pitchers to wash it all down. Their take on nachos is cleverly named Datchos, with the description "datz-a-classic!" keeping the cheesy play on words alive.

From the start, these nachos are unlike any others you've probably tried in the recent past. Homemade sweet-n-salty potato chips make up the base of this layered dish, with chili, cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream piled on top. A blue cheese drizzle and a sprinkle of scallions make these nachos — ahem datchos — pop with flavor. For an added cost you can throw on some pulled pork, chicken, or short rib.

Per the Food Network, the datchos are "indulgent," which is pretty much everything we want our nachos to be. The portions are generous so be sure to make these the star of your meal, or come with a crowd and share dishes. Some customer reviews comment on the fact that the bottom potato chips get a bit soggy, so keep that in mind and polish these off without lingering.

Cora's 471 Grill - Castroville, Texas

Per its website, Cora's 471 Grill has been known to have the best nachos in Texas for decades. Enjoy flavor-packed nachos with a side of history in this almost centenarian establishment. The family-founded restaurant is dedicated to preparing fresh dishes on a daily basis to satisfy the hunger for a well-made meal loaded with flavor. Amidst the steaks, seafood specialties, and sandwiches on the menu, you'll find their famous nachos. There are no gimmicky tricks here, and the three options are cheese, bean, or super (with jalapeños, tomatoes, onion, and beef).

The serving sizes come in extra-large (served on a cafeteria tray), large, or small so be sure to choose wisely. The Trip Advisor reviews are filled with titles indicating the Texas eatery is "Nacho Heaven," and one happy customer writes, "we are now Cora Nacho Snobs and truly believe the best ever are HERE." If you can't get enough of the nachos but want a bit of variety, the Alamo burger patty is "infused" with their nacho fixings.

JaJaJa - New York City

JaJaJa serves up delicious plant-based Mexican cuisine in multiple New York locations. With a palate for fresh vibrant flavors that showcase the best of their internationally inspired dishes, a meal here doesn't disappoint. You can get to the tacos, bowls, and all-day brunch after, but first, order the nacho starter for a succulent beginning to the experience. Tortilla chips are loaded up with the house chorizo (vegan of course), fermented black beans, turmeric queso fundido (cashew-based), and sour cream. An extra guacamole add-on is obviously a must.

These nachos consistently get top reviews as being the best vegan nachos around, and they've certainly made a name for themselves. As one fan notes, "Are you even a vegan New Yorker if you haven't had the nachos at Jajaja?" Meanwhile, if you're looking for more than just nourishment from your food, one Yelp reviewer comments, "Get the nachos. They'll change your life." The large portion size means you can share these with your friends — vegan or not — as plenty of people claim these are better than nachos with actual cheese and meat.