The 15 Best Tacos in America
Time for a tasty road trip
If it were up to us, every day would be Taco Tuesday. They’re portable, they’re ’grammable and nothing pairs better with a round of cold margs. What more could we ask for? Here are 15 of our favorites, from coast to coast.
Baja Fish Taco at Ricky’s (Los Angeles, CA)
Blink and you might miss Ricky’s, which operates out of a pop-up tent in a Silver Lake parking lot. There aren’t any frills, but there are the freshest, most exquisitely fried, whitefish tacos we’ve ever tasted.
3201 Riverside Dr., Los Angeles, CA; 323-395-6233
ARABICOS TAQUITOS AT LA CONDESA (Austin, TX)
Seared venison, chipotle harissa and fennel-pollen yogurt aren’t exactly standard Mexican fillings, especially in Austin, where tacos are practically a religion. But trust us on this one. (Oh, and did we mention the bacon-fat-fried tortilla?)
400 W. Second St., Austin, TX; 512 499-0300 or lacondesa.com
Panko Avocado Taco at Lolo (San Francisco, CA)
Fact: Everything tastes better with avocado, from toast to fries to the best damn tacos in San Francisco. Add in Oaxaca cheese, caramelized onions and Anaheim peppers and we’re practically swooning.
947 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA; 415-643-565 or lolosf.com
Carne Adovada Taco at Mary and Tito’s (Albuquerque, NM)
New Mexico might as well have two official state dishes: the green chile cheeseburger and pork adovada, which is slow-braised in a fiery red chile sauce. You’ll want the latter in your tacos, served best from this 50-year-old adobe legend.
2711 Fourth St. NW, Albuquerque, NM; 505-344-6266
Trailer Park Taco at Torchy’s (Multiple Locations)
This Texas and Colorado chain serves outrageous combinations of perfectly executed junk food, wrapped up in a flour tortilla. We like the Trailer Park—fried chicken breast with green chiles, lettuce, pico and poblano sauce. Make sure to order it “trashy” and they’ll replace the lettuce with warm queso.
Multiple locations throughout Texas and Colorado; torchystacos.com
Chorizo Taco at La Super-Rica Taqueria (Santa Barbara, CA)
Rumor has it that Julia Child was a loyal fan of this little retro beachside stand. And if it’s good enough for Julia, it’s good enough for us. The secret is the handmade masa tortilla, so almost any filling will do, but we especially like the spicy chorizo.
622 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, CA; 805-963-4940
Charcoal Grilled Chicken Taco at Minero (Charleston, SC)
Chef Sean Brock is best known for Husk, his ode to Southern cooking. At Minero, he incorporates some of those ingredients into Mexican favorites (i.e. hoppin’ John burritos). We love his take on the chicken taco, topped with mango, cotija cheese, onions and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.
Locations in South Carolina and Georgia; minerorestaurant.com
Al Pastor Taco at LOS GUACHOS TAQUERIA (COLUMBUS, OH)
Tacos made with slow, pit-roasted pork and grilled pineapple? Sign us up. Al pastor tacos are staples at countless taquerias, but Los Guachos in Columbus does them perfectly, with juicy, salty-sweet morsels of meat.
Locations in Ohio; los-guachos.com
Brisket Taco at Mia’s Tex Mex (Dallas, TX)
Texas is brisket country, so it’s no surprise to find it in plenty of tacos—it’s the ultimate Tex-Mex mash-up. At Mia’s, they’re served with Monterey Jack, grilled onions, poblano peppers and an irresistible savory gravy.
4322 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, TX; 214-526-1020 or miastexmex.com
Spicy Beef Fajita Taco at Henry’s Puffy Tacos (San Antonio, TX)
There’s always someone who has to be different, and in the case of tacos, that someone is the city of San Antonio. Tacos there have a puffed shell—a corn tortilla that’s been pressed and deep-fried into an airy, delicate shell. Puffy taco wars are rampant, and everyone has a favorite. Ours is the spicy beef fajita at Henry’s.
Two locations in San Antonio; 210-433-7833 or henryspuffytacos.com
Carne Asada Taco at Los Tacos No. 1 (New York, NY)
New York’s pizza and bagels are on point, but the Mexican food is hit or miss. Thankfully, two Californians and a Mexican have come to the Big Apple to save the day. Their Chelsea Market stand churns out hand-pressed tortillas with juicy, smoky carne asada and spicy, chile-braised pork.
75 9th ave., New York, NY; 212.256.0343 or lostacos1.com
Mole Poblano Taco at Guisado’s (Los Angeles, CA)
We love a plate of rich, nutty, chicken mole, especially in taco form. The menu at this Los Angeles mini chain is simple: just tacos and refreshing agua frescas (side note: cantaloupe is excellent with mole).
Locations throughout Los Angeles; 213-250-7600 or guisados.co
Green Chile Chicken Taco at The Shed (Santa Fe, NM)
This funky little Sante Fe favorite has been around since the 1950s. It grows and grinds all of its own chiles, making for some of the freshest, most flavorful enchiladas, burritos and tacos in the southwest.
113 E. Palace Ave., Sante Fe, NM; 505-982-9030 or sfshed.com
Trucha Taco at The Saint (Seattle, WA)
Chef Alvaro Candela, a native of Mexico City, started making his childhood favorite tacos at a Monday night pop-up in a Seattle bar. They got so popular—especially this addictive garlic-fried trout with slaw and pico—that he opened his own restaurant.
1416 Olive Way, Seattle, WA; 206-323-9922 or thesaintsocialclub.com
Mahi Taco at Sandbar Sportsbar & Grill (San Diego, CA)
San Diego’s fish taco game is tough to beat, with traditional fried baja-style taco stands on just about every beach. We appreciate this lighter take, with grilled mahi-mahi and melted cotija cheese.
718 Ventura Pl., San Diego, CA; 858-488-1274 or sandbarsportsgrill.com