Tacos have a day dedicated just to them and their own social media hashtag #tacotuesday. Originating from Mexico, tacos have evolved from a simple tortilla filled with meat and cheese to a versatile meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Billions of tacos are eaten by Americans every year, and we are positive everyone is consuming them at all hours of the day (they make a great late-night snack).
A New York Taco Tour
While many believe that the West Coast has more of a robust Mexican food scene, New York undoubtedly has many authentic taco offerings in just about every borough. Local chefs are packing the tortillas with inventive, flavorful ingredients that will rival the taste of any taco in California. From the classic al pastor to the ever-popular birria taco, we are spilling the beans on the best taco spots in New York City.
Los Tacos No. 1
If you are looking for authentic tacos, there is no need to hop on a plane to Mexico. The authentic taste that Los Tacos No. 1 brings to every taco comes from the fresh ingredients and family recipes from one of the owners, Christian Pineda, whose family hails from Tijuana. The menu is straightforward. The tacos are available with flour or gluten-free corn tortillas with chicken (Pollo Asado), steak (Carne Asada), pork (Adobada) or cactus (Nopal) filling options. The “Adobada” is a customer favorite stuffed with delicious marinated pork, onions, cilantro, salsa and guacamole, all on a handmade tortilla. The pork is cooked to perfection, with the meat being both tender and crispy. Every bite has a slight kick of heat balanced with creamy guacamole for the most Mex-cellent taco experience. Los Tacos1 is located in Chelsea Market, Times Square, Grand Central and Tribeca.
The list would not be complete without adding at least one food truck that serves Birria tacos. Birria-Landia has been receiving taco-lades since they opened in the summer of 2019. A review in the New York Times and the booming trend on TikTok in 2020 helped catapult Birria-Landia to spec-taco-lar success. They now have trucks located in both Queens and Brooklyn. The menu is short and easy. They have one type of taco, which is the Birria taco. Each has just the right amount of seasoning, which includes chili peppers, garlic and bay leaves. They are also served with onion, cilantro and lime. They use Tijuana-style stewed beef and the taco shell is first dipped in consommé then fried to a crisp. You must also order a cup of consommé to dip your taco. It is good enough just to eat alone, and its deep, tangy flavor takes your taco to a whole new level. The shredded pieces of meat you will find at the bottom of the consomme cup are hidden gems.
Taco Mix started two decades ago as a food cart and now has restaurants in East Harlem, Delancey, Industry City and The Bronx. The “Al Pastor” is what everyone is “taco-ing about.” The Pastor is slow-cooked on a spit with slices of meat delicately cut for each taco. The tacos are a delicious blend of both a sweet and pepper flavor garnished with just the right amount of onions and cilantro. Slow-roasted pineapple is also mixed in for the sweet taste. Be sure to order the habanero salsa if you want to add some extra heat to your tacos. Locals love the sizeable portions and the price points at Taco Mix.
Borrachito started as a speakeasy-style taqueria located at the back of The Garret East, a cocktail bar in the East Village. It was a ‘secret’ taqueria until finally getting its own street-facing façade last year. The menu consists of traditional taco flavors but with a twist. Corn or flour tortilla options are available for unique flavors like “El Gringo.” The taco is served with ribeye, bone marrow, and smoked cheddar and the “Chicken Al Pastor” is filled with adobo chicken thighs and bacon bits. We recommend trying their version of the famous birria taco. It is stuffed with oxtail, topped with caramelized onions and is the “taco’ the” town.
For over a decade, La Superior has been “Michelin Guide” recommended and a staple of Williamsburg Brooklyn. In response to a lack of authentic Mexican street food in New York City, chef Felipe Mendez-Candelas, a native of Mexico City, brought his culinary know-how to create classic Mexican street tacos and flautas. We love that the La Superior brunch, lunch and dinner menus all have tacos options on them. There are vegan options like the “Rajas y Hongos,” made with grilled poblano and mushrooms. Be sure to get a side of nachos with every taco. They are not to be missed.