Dine on Mama Ninfa’s legendary fajitas, tasty margs, and satisfying queso at the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation in the East End.

Founded in 1973 by “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo when she began grilling skirt steak and serving it up in tortillas, the Original Ninfa’s remains a beloved institution for all things Tex-Mex and beyond.

A landmark in the historic East End near Downtown, the casual Tex-Mex eatery cranks out more than 3,000 handmade tortillas a day for a crowd that runs the gamut, including Downtown professional, neighborhood locals, and the faithful from outside the loop.

Thanks to an ever-evolving, chef-driven menu (that still includes an abundance of fajita choices), guests can enjoy mouth-watering dishes like tamales and Tex-Mex combo plates alongside gourmet items from the new wood-burning grill and oven, including seasonal specials.

Ninfa’s on Navigation Exterior | Photo courtesy of Legacy Restaurants

Taking it Beyond Fajitas with Chef Alex Padilla 

The restaurant was purchased by Legacy Restaurants in 2006, with several expansions since for the property itself and for the menus via the talents of Executive Chef Alex Padilla, whose Mother worked as a line cook for Mama Ninfa.

Prior to his return to Houston to take the reins at Ninfas in 2006, Chef Padilla spent 18 years in San Francisco, working in fine dining under the tutelage of James Beard Award-winning chef Nancy Oakes.

This experience inspired him to introduce new dishes and improve upon historic recipes with upgraded ingredients like fresh, local produce, Gulf seafood, and grass-fed beef.

Seafood Enchiladas | Photo: Cooper+Ricca

The Latest Upgrades

Thanks to enhancements like a wood-burning grill and oven, you’ll find new taco choices like Texas Redfish, roasted octopus, and adobo rabbit.

Looking to spice up your life? Try the Mole-Grilled Salmon featuring wood-oven-grilled wild caught salmon with a mole spice rub, organic stone-milled grits, and roasted poblanos.

This dish is a great example of the new heights Chef Alex Padilla is taking Tex-Mex, while demonstrating the fun he’s having with his new equipment.

Ninfarita | Photo: Cooper+Ricca

Margaritas, Tequila Flights & Mezcal

The original “Ninfarita” (available by the glass or pitcher) is an easy and popular choice among eight other specialty margarita choices, four different combinations of tequila “flights”, 30+ tequilas/mezcals (all of which can be turned into a margarita).

If margaritas aren’t for you, there are plenty of signature cocktails, draft and bottle/can beer, micheladas, wines by the bottle or glass, and even dessert wines.

Tacos al Carbon | Photo: Cooper+Ricca

Hitch a Free Ride Before the Big Game

Free shuttle service to and from all Astros, Rockets, and Dynamo games is a great way to enjoy dinner before your event and avoid parking hassles. 

Just park or valet at the restaurant and hop on the shuttle, which begins making runs one hour before and stops running one hour after the game concludes.

Tres Leches | Photo: Cooper+Ricca

The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

Ninfa’s on Navigation Kitchen | Photo courtesy of Legacy Restaurants
Previous articleDevelop your photog skills & see striking shots at Houston Center for Photography
Next articleCelebrate Independence Day Weekend at 4th of July family events around Houston
Jodie Eisenhardt
Jodie Eisenhardt is a marketing consultant, food writer and dog rescue advocate in Houston, Texas. Passionate about all things culinary, canine and song, she loves to travel in search of the perfect bite, followed by a performance by one of her favorite bands on tour. Find Jodie on Instagram and Twitter @foodiehouston.