Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana Brings Mexico City to Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 14th 2020 6443 0

If you’re tired of your usual Tex-Mex spot, don’t need a bucket of queso today, and want to try some fresh, tasty Mexican food “just like you would find in Mexico City”, then Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana is the place for you.

Let’s get a few things out of the way first: chef and owner Pepe Magallanes is not messing around, and it’s his way or the highway. He doesn’t serve cheese dip or fajitas or burritos and whatever you do, do not ask for sour cream!


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In fact, there are signs up around the restaurant to explain that the staff doesn’t care where you’re from or what kind of Mexican food you’re used to this is their shop, and that if you just give it a try, you’ll love it.

Authentic Mexican Food In Germantown and Memphis

It sounds a bit much, as do the prices, but this little restaurant has been extremely popular for many years, and there’s a reason that people just keep coming back: the food is great.

When I went, I had an order of fish tacos made with red snapper topped with cilantro, avocado, and some creamy, spicy green sauce wrapped in palm-sized corn tortillas. There are no flour tortillas here, of course. The tacos came with a side of chips, pico de gallo and more of the tasty green sauce.

Las Tortugas prides itself on serving the sort of authentic dishes that you would find at an upscale taqueria or torteria in Mexico City. Instead of the usual Tex Mex fare, the restaurant serves tacos and tortas, elote, frescas, a perfect tortilla soup, a chicken tostada (pictured above)

The tiny, popular restaurant’s original location in Germantown and the East Memphis location  are run by the aforementioned Pepe and his son Jonathan. There are posters on the walls of Pepe skydiving, laminated copies of articles about the restaurant, and plenty of those “instructional” signs. It’s all part of the experience. Just go with it.



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Go There:

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

1215 South Germantown Road
Germantown, TN 38138
6300 Poplar Ave #115
Memphis, TN 38119
Show Comments


  1. Kalisa says:

    That green sauce is called “Tayde sauce.” It’s named after a girl named Tayde who was a St. Jude cancer patient from St. Jude that the Magallaneses knew. Oh why am I talking in past tense? Tayde is alive and well and beautiful and WORKS at St. Jude now!

  2. cara says:

    Wish they had vegetarian options…

  3. ADM says:

    They do have vegetarian options! The Tortuga Queso Fresco Oaxaca sandwich is totally veggie, and you can get it without the cheese if you want a vegan option – it’s just beans, avocado, tomato and queso fresco – and it’s fantastic!! I think I saw some veggie tamales on the specials menu last time I was there too….

  4. Elissa says:

    There are lots of Veggie options. The other day they had Balck Bean Tamales . . . yum!

  5. Barry S says:

    I am blind and use a guide dog. I was refused service because I require the use of my guide dog for mobility. I tried to explain to no avail that they were violating ADA laws. They were rude.

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