There have been over a dozen Austin taco guides that have been published over the last several years. With nearly a hundred food trucks, restaurants and cafes serving their own version of tacos throughout the city, I dare anyone to name a publication or a major food blog that hasn’t produced their own taco guide. With all due respect to BBQ pitmasters in central Texas, it looks like tacos is Austin’s favorite food.
Preparing a vast list of our favorite taco joints in Austin is no small feat. Doing the research (eating all the tacos) is a hell of a lot of fun, but finding the greatest tacos in town is seemingly endless task. Since there’s virtually a never ending shortage of excellent tacos in Austin, we’ll be continually adding dozens of tacos to this list each month until we pass out or die from taco fatigue. Until that day comes, check out volume one our list of Austin’s best spots for tacos.
1704 East Cesar Chavez | What started as a modest sno-cone stand in 1989, eventually lead to the empire of Austin’s most exceptional taco truck we love today. Their famous Migas Taco features a flour-dusted tortilla filled with a mishmashed medley of soft-scrambled eggs, melted cheese and sliced avocado and your choice of salsa. Hint – go for the green stuff and thank me later. If you’re a true taco lover you won’t limit yourself the migas only. You’ll probably wait in a long line, so make the experience worth the wait.
11500 Manchaca Rd | Miguel Vidal has blessed Austin with his Tex Mex style BBQ in so many ways. Not only can you get get smoked meats by the pound like every other spot in Texas, but getting it in the form of the most glorious tacos in Austin inside of homemade lard tortillas makes it worth a drive to the southern point of Austin. Valentina’s flagship taco, is layered with refried beans, two fried eggs, potatoes, a single slice of moist brisket, a strip of bacon and a touch of serrano salsa. Behold, The Real Deal Holyfield taco, which is served daily from 8am – 11am.
4905 Airport Blvd. | You had me at all-day breakfast tacos. Located in Austin’s funky little Airport blvd. corridor, Tyson’s Tacos is has been known as the friendly neighborhood taco joint created by Taquero Tyson Blankemeyer who focuses on delivering “Authentically Austin” tacos to the masses 24/7.
7301 Burnet Rd. | Not only are the Taco Deli’s tacos on point, but that green (D sauce! Since opening in 1999, Taco Deli has been one of Austin’s most prolific spots for tacos that one could truly blame on the success of it’s infamous creamy Doña sauce as well as their incredible best selling Cowboy taco (made with beef tenderloin, grilled corn, onions, roasted poblano, guacamole, and queso fresco) and Frontera Fundido taco as well as over a dozen daily and weekly specials loaded with beef, pork and seafood. Vegetarians and vegans will also find solace in over half-dozen options, just don’t forget about that green sauce!
1412 S Congress Ave | Güero’s Taco Bar has been a staple on South Congress Ave since 1995. Locals and visitors have made this a go-to spot for hand-shaken margaritas, just about any Mexican beer you name and their infamous taco bar. Their corn tortillas are fresh and handmade setting up the flavor for the entire taco. Go for their long time favorites like the Do de Pollo and Tacos al Pastor and don’t be shy with the chips and queso.
Multiple Locations in Austin| One can argue that Torchy’s “damn good tacos” is the one that started Austin’s modern taco revolution over a decade ago when they opened their original location in a food truck. Therewas almost nothing considered “classic” about their tacos. Instead they focused on creating their own menu that fit into something more authentically Austin. With menu items like the Republican, the Democrat and the Trailer Park, they have always aimed to tickle the quicky taco fancy of Austinites and our endless quest of keeping it weird. Speaking of weird, can you believe that some still don’t realize the existence of the secret menu? Oh and don’t get me started on that queso!
5520 Burnet Rd | Open since 2014, Taco Flats serves over a dozen tacos on their menu filled with several familiar toppings – the pastor, pollo asado, carnitas, barbacoa etc. The Pirata is among the favorites featuring tender beef fajitas with refried black beans, grilled onions and cilantro, on corn and flour homemade tortillas.
To be continued…
214 W. 4th Street | San Antonio chef, Jason Dady has delivered his spin on casual tacos to downtown Austin and so far it’s does not disappoint. The menu boasts a few classics like carne asada, carne guisada, tongue-n-cheek (beef tongue and barbacoa) and some tasty newbies that have become my new addiction, like Duck Confit Carnitas, and the Pork Belly Adobado. These are all excellent but should be considered as just a warm-up for their double-decker, Tacos Chispas taco, featuring two flour tortillas topped with black beans, wrapped in two crispy shells, filled with barbacoa, slaw, lime crema, cilantro, cheese gravy, and queso.
To be continued…
1800 E 6th St | If masa has a home, it’s at Suerte, where the menu is based in honoring Oaxacan cuisine, with a menu laden in their fresh corn tortillas combined with fresh ingredients to produce one of Austin’s most elevated taco dishes. The suadero tacos features their in-house masa tortilla stuffed with the super tender confit brisket, black magic oil, and avocado salsa cruda. For brunch enjoy their Tacos & Things menu featuring a few street tacos like the El Governator made with a red chile tortilla, snapper and quesillo.
110 San Antonio St Suite 170 | ATX Cocina gracefully exceeds traditional taco boundaries by elevating their menu with a modern approach to Mexican cuisine with dishes that meshes the traditional flavors of Mexico with ultra-fresh ingredients to create health-conscious and sophisticated pairings using tortillas and maize products made in-house from organic, non-GMO, and heirloom corn from local farmers’ markets and purveyors of humanely raised meats. My favorites include the Pork Belly (Friday Lunch) with creamy salsa verde, onion and cilantro; and the Patos Tacos with duck carnitas, citrus mojo and cilantro salad.
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Have you had your #VitiminaD lately? #Repost @bonappetitmag ・・・ Wild Boar! Al pastor! Kind of sounds like it could be a cheer for your high school football team, if your high school football team were a taco. Oh yeah, @vincentcross also got a venison barbacoa taco too. #BAstaff
110 San Antonio St Suite 170 | This is what raising the taco game in Austin looks like. The famous butcher shop from Manor rd. opened their taco spot downtown in Fareground food hall. Chef Gabe Erales craftily throws down with game meats like wild boar pastor, bison picadillo and venison barbacoa. both their breakfast tacos and regular menu. Tortillas and masa are made in house with Mexican heirloom corn milled on site.
400 W 2nd St A| La Condesa has been an upscale downtown staple for ten years, offering a selection of modern-interior Mexican menu items, like the griddled Gulf snapper taco with green cabbage, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo wrapped in their daily, housemade flour and corn tortillas.
1220 S Congress Ave | Joann’s Fine Foods is a hip South Congress neighborhood spot produced from the team that brought us Perla’s and June’s All Day, with their new take on a classic American diner. The menu is a testimate and a tribute to the retro diner culture and the vibe of a road trip vacation, featuring healthy Tex-Mex and California inspired favorites. The tacos are made on daily house-made corn and flour tortillas filled with locally sourced fresh ingredients, featuring barbacoa, beef picadillo, chicken tinga, grilled grouper, migas and avocado tacos.
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"I miss tacos" is what I said to @thedanicreative during one of our meals on our 5-day food tour in California. So she took me to her fav breakfast taco spot, El Primo, and the tacos are 👌🏻. Love how the cheese gets crispy from being cooked on the flat top and the salsa is 🔥! #kokoapproved #tacosforever
2001 S. First St. | If we were ranking who made the best tacos in Austin, El Primo would undoubtedly be in the top 3. For a little food truck sitting on S. 1st, El Primo produces some of the finest tacos this side of the Colorado River. Boasting about migas anywhere else would normally be a formality, but El Primo crushes it.
1319 Rosewood Avenue | Discada has managed to become one of the most impressive taco trucks in town. Using their traditional method based out of Northern Mexico which has been used for generations, Discada prepares their tacos using a “Cowboy-wok”, which is a tractor plow disc providing even heat displacement to all of the ingredients during the cooking process. After all of the ingredients are prepared they’re placed in eight small corn tortillas topped with chopped pineapple, cilantro and onions.
2427 Webberville Rd | Trill Taqueria is owned and operated full time by chef Nick Belloni, formerly of Eden East and North Italia. Tortillas set up the entire flavor for most tacos, but Belloni has taken the creation of his tacos to an entirely new level and technique, making them by hand with cornmeal dough every morning. Each tortilla is filled with an outstanding mix of traditional an not-so traditional ingredients like smoked brisket, pork, chicken and lamb. For vegetarians, Belloni focuses on locally raised produce to create unique and flavorful tacos like tempura fava leaves with black beans; and potato and turnip has topped with fresh cilantro. To finish it off each taco can be topped off with a delicious mole-like pecan salsa.
1308 E 6th Street | The Smokin’ Rose Taco Joint serves up homestyle Tex-Mex tacos made with a few old school family recipes using quality proteins and toppings. If you’re a fan of doughy, fluffy homemade flour tortillas, you’ll immediately find romance in heart and bulk of Smokin’ Rose’s hearty tacos. If you’re normally prepared to crush two or three tacos, fair warning, you might only be able to eat one. These babies are huge and will likely crush you first. Go for the Puerca Roja Taco – Pork shoulder slow simmered in guajillo and citrus, with cheese and serrano cream.
1106 E 11th St | Located in the heart of East Austin, Cosmic Taco is a friendly neighborhood trailer taco stand serving up deliciously simple tacos made from scratch, prepared by a mother and son duo and arguably the best breakfast tacos in the east 11th street neighborhood.
MOBILE TRUCK | Rosarito produces some of the best Mexican Pacific street food with an emphasis on Baja California style tacos and burritos. Their two trucks each specialize in different styles of street food. One focuses on Tacos, and the other primarily serves ceviche, each using fresh ingredients. Their taco specialty is the battered crispy white fish tacos tacos that are perfectly seasoned and topped with house slaw on flour tortillas.
To be continued…
909 W Mary St. | Not long ago, Chef/Owner Jam Sanitchat created her spin on a classic breakfast taco with some of the same ingredients she uses in her lunch and dinner menus, in the form of an omelette between a pair of tortillas. The only problem I have is deciding on on my favorite, out of the Spicy Shrimp Omelet taco or the Pork Belly and Eggs taco. Then again, there’s always the Curried Potatoes & Eggs taco or the Pork Thai Omelet taco.
Multiple Locations in Austin | Chi’lantro might be better known for their infamous kimchi fries and gigantic chicken wings, but shame on you if you forget about their badass tacos. For several years, owner Jae Kim and his crew have set the standard for street food in Austin, with their signature mix of delicious Korean & Mexican flavors. Chi’lantro’s tacos are stuffed with savory Korean BBQ meats like the rib-eye bulgogi, spicy Chicken, or pork with soy vinaigrette salad, cilantro, onions, Chi’Lantro salsa, sesame seeds, and lime wedges served on double layered corn tortillas.
5520 Burnet Rd #100 | I don’t know one person in Austin that doesn’t love Peached Tortilla. If there is such a person, they must be from California (no offense). Peached has been serving up their delicious versions of Southern-Asian Fusion out of their award winning food truck and brick and mortar spot on Burnet Rd for six years. Their tacos are full of flavor and color much like the branding of their restaurant and food truck. Get peached!
To be continued…