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A gloved hand holds a tortilla filled with suadero and crumbled longaniza meat
Taco meats are plucked from a choricera at Taqueria Ramirez.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

30 Outstanding Tacos to Try in NYC

With al pastor, barbacoa, and now beef and goat birria, NYC tacos hold their own

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Taco meats are plucked from a choricera at Taqueria Ramirez.
| Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Tacos have nearly taken over slices of pizza as the culinary backbone of New York City. Over the last four decades, we’ve learned to love the southern Mexican style version of two white-corn tortillas folded over a meaty filling, sprinkled with onions and cilantro. But it wasn’t that long ago that our idea of tacos included the hardshell variety. Luckily, other types of tacos have landed in the five boroughs.

During the pandemic, two major shifts have occurred: taco trucks have become more numerous, many in far-flung places. Accordingly, we have featured them in this list for the first time. Meanwhile, beef birria — in the Tijuana style — has gone from being relatively unknown to a wildfire hit almost overnight.

Like your tacos rolled? Or tiny? With a flour tortilla? A dab of guac? Freighted with organs? Filled with rice and boiled eggs? Or “árabe” style, wrapped in a flour tortilla like shawarma? We’ve got ’em all, and more. Here are our favorite taquerias, curated by Eater critic Robert Sietsema. And nothing on upscale tacos, fusion tacos, or tacos made by chains — they have their place! — but this collection is reserved for the more classic specimens across NYC.

New to this map are Greenpoint taco senstation Taqueria Ramirez, the Birria-Landia food truck in Williamsburg, and the East Village’s old-school Mexican deli Zaragoza.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Taqueria Sinaloense

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With inspiration from the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Taqueria Sinaloense mainly serves a pan-Mexican menu in Marble Hill, a picturesque Bronx neighborhood overlooking the Harlem River. Two unique tacos are available, including tacos gobernador (“governor’s tacos”) loaded with shrimp and hot green chiles, and tacos de canasta, with the tortillas dipped in oil as a sort of temporary preservative that allows them to be sold from baskets by street vendors, hence the name. Birria tacos available, too.

Canasta and Gobernador tacos Taqueria Sinaloense Bronx Marble Hill
Tacos canasta and gobernador at Taqueria Sinaloense.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Estrellita Poblana III

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Despite its unexpected location in the midst of the Bronx’s Little Italy, this informal sit-down “Little Star of Puebla” (founded 1999) has some of the tastiest organ meat tacos in town. Don’t miss out on the lengua (long-braised tongue). In fact, nearly all the tacos are top notch — though skip the shrimp — and the salsas are homemade. Mixed drinks available.

A red storefront with arched windows, the name of the restaurant emblazoned across the top.
Estrellita Poblana III is located on the main drag of the Bronx’s Little Italy.
Layla Khabiri/Eater NY

Xochimilco Family Restaurant

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Xochimilco is a sweet spot in the Melrose section of the South Bronx, named after a neighborhood of Mexico City that boasts canals, artificial islands, and gondola-type boats called trajineras. The restaurant specializes in molotes — fried tacos made from hand-patted masa something like San Antonio’s famed puffy tacos. The choice of fillings include cheese, chicken, or chorizo and potatoes, with the latter preferred.

A couple of tacos with deep fried shells that make them look puffy, filled with potato cubes.
Three potato-stuffed molotes at Xochimilco Family Restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Morada

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This relentlessly purple Mott Haven restaurant has become famous for its Oaxacan moles and tlayudas, with some pan-Southern Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Cal-Mex thrown in. The standard roster of two-corn-tortilla soft tacos are available in excellent renditions, including a seriously spicy chicken enchilada, al pastor, chorizo, and a particularly noteworthy bistec asado.

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.”
La Morada’s dining room.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Santa Clarita

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This absolutely killer taco spot joins a decades-old dining room to a broad taco window through which you can see the kitchen. A sign lets you know that this restaurant, now faded like a red rose, was founded back in 1971 — though then it was a Puerto Rican and Dominican joint with a dance floor. Now, take your clue from the al pastor cylinder rotating in the window, for some of the finest tacos of that sort you’ve ever tasted, served with green onions charred from the grill.

A hand pinches a taco bulging with charred red meat.
Al pastor taco at Santa Clarita.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taco Mix

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There’s no need to look further than the beautiful twirling cylinder of pork al pastor in the window, well-rubbed with spices and oozing juices, to know which taco to get. It’s one of the best al pastor tacos in town. Watching the carver at work makes the taco twice as tasty, and there’s an impressive array of taco toppings, running to dried red chiles, chiles in oil, pickled jalapenos, and an array of colorful salsas. Miniature tacos and a wide variety of traditional fillings are also available.

A man saws away at the al pastor meat cylinder.
Al pastor vertical rotisserie at Taco Mix.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Paso Taqueria

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Founded 13 ago and now looking pleasantly worn, this Carnegie Hill taqueria on the Upper East Side located midblock on a quiet street offers a full Mexican menu with antojitos particularly well represented, from Pueblan huaraches and sopes, to Mexican-American burritos and nachos. But the tacos at El Paso are easily the neighborhood’s most distinguished, with some wonderful lesser-seen specimens, including octopus tacos that have a nice snappy texture come topped with shredded cabbage and chopped tomatoes.

Three tacos stuffed with octopus and vegetables and sauces are linked up on a white square plate with a lime wedge on the side.
Octopus tacos at El Paso Taqueria.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Burger One

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This old-fashioned Upper East Side lunch counter was taken over by a Mexican proprietor, who still offers all the expected items — like hamburgers and toasted cheese — but the menu has been built out with tacos and burritos. The taco fillings form a short list (chicken, steak, chorizo, and carnitas), but they’re all good, and a special features two tacos sharing a plate with an order of french fries, which feels like a genius cross-cultural genius move (also, put the french fries inside the taco).

Two meat tacos with french fries crowding them on the plate.
The taco and french fry combo at Burger One.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Salerno Pizza

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As some Mexican immigrants have taken over pizza parlors in Astoria, Woodside, and Jackson Heights, they’ve added tacos and other antojitos to their menus. The tacos are often good in a unfussy sort of way, overstuffed and garnished only with chopped cilantro and onions. And the pair of salsas that accompany, if not housemade, are at least full of flavor. At Salerno, chorizo and tongue tacos are the standout choices.

A two tortilla taco with a slice of pepperoni pizza.
Chorizo taco at Salerno Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tulcingo del Valle

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Named after a village in southern Puebla, this place started out as a deli, added some seating for an informal taqueria in front, and eventually the owners annexed the next-door storefront, turning it into a full-blown restaurant where customers can wash your tacos down with beer. Check out the rolled and deep fried taco dorado, a Pueblan specialty, stuffed with chicken, beef, or cheese.

A rolled and fried taco coated with red sauce and topped with sour cream and dried cheese.
Taco dorado at Tulcingo del Valle.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Duena Mexican Deli 2

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It would be difficult to find a bigger taco placeros (“market taco”) than at this bodega taqueria. The one stuffed with an entire chile relleno, oozing white cheese, is as big as the hand of a lumberjack, perfectly breaded and resting on a bed of yellow rice. Strips of sizzling chiles complete the gorgeous picture. Check out the inventory of snacks on the counter, which are also worth getting.

A close-up photo of a chile relleno taco placeros in a white takeout box.
Chile relleno taco placeros at La Duena Mexican Deli 2.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tacos Morelos

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This institution started out as a humble cart on Roosevelt Avenue, eventually morphing into a full-blown Mexican gastropub. The cart introduced the taco placeros to New York, stuffed with startling combos of rice, boiled eggs, sautéed chiles, chiles relleno, and potato patties. This is one of the few taquerias licensed to serve liquor, which means you can wash the tacos down with shots of tequila.

A tortilla with rice and a round fried potato patty.
Taco placeros stuffed with rice and a potato patty.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Espiga

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On weekdays, all the usual tacos are available at this Corona stalwart located in a semi-subterranean space where the carnitas are made right in the window. Over the weekend, the place comes alive when barbacoa is offered by the pound, with a DIY taco kit that includes outsize corn tortillas made on the premises (also right in the window, who could resist?), chopped onions and cilantro, lemons or limes, and two kinds of salsa. It’s a feast!

A giant tortilla with a line of dark greasy meat down the center, with a bigger mass on the upper right on a green plate.
La Espiga’s barbacoa tacos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Los Tacos No. 1

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Generating long lines, Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market is one of the city’s foremost taquerias, and now there are further branches in Noho, Times Square, near Grand Central, and in Tribeca. The idea was to recreate a seaside taco shack near Tijuana, and the design aspirations are faithfully executed. So is the slender menu, offering four choices on just-made corn or flour tortillas, of which the best is adobada, which is very much like pork al pastor. Best deal are the mulas, which are like California quesadillas.

A pair of tortillas stuck together with meat and cheese, with the flap on the top one being pulled up.
Adobada mula.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Gloria

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Though also serving regular deli stuff like wraps and sandwiches, Gloria’s excels at tacos. The carnitas (fried pork tidbits) are best, rich and crisp; the lengua is appropriately spongy and flavorful. The ground beef picadillo adds a Latin Caribbean flair to the taco. Crisp tacos dorados, four to an order and heaped with greenery, are also especially good (order chorizo con papas). Three thick salsas provided.

Three meat filled tacos in a styrofoam container, one being pulled out by a hand.
Carnitas tacos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Zaragoza

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Zaragoza sets itself apart as one of the last remaining Mexican-owned delis in lower Manhattan, serving a short menu of enchiladas, burritos, and tamales assembled right at the front counter. Tacos can be ordered with a selection of meats that rotates daily, and keep an eye out for the chorizo with potato, strewn over two blue corn tortillas and decorated with shredded lettuce. Enjoy them in the narrow back dining room, where an extroverted orange-and-black bodega cat holds court, or haul them to nearby Tompkins Square Park.

Crumbled sausage and orange potato cubes on a pair of soft bright blue corn tortillas.
A chorizo and potato taco on blue corn tortillas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Ramirez

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This counter-service taqueria has earned a following for its suadero and tripe tacos, prepared in the stainless steel vat of stewed meats known as a choricera. Don’t mind the line, which may well stretch to the end of the block at peak hours: Things moves quick, and these tacos are worth whatever the wait. The tortillas here are smaller than most of this list, making it possible to eat a taco in two to three bites — and get away with ordering one of everything on an empty stomach.

Two tacos piled high with meat appear on a light green plate with lime wedges.
A pair of campechano tacos.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

La Brujeria

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La Brujeria (“Witchcraft”) is a wonderful taqueria located in the back of a gas station, sandwiched between the Liberty Harbor and Communipaw neighborhoods in Jersey City. The exterior is colorfully muraled, and the interior offers no space for dining, but an elaborate chalkboard menu. On it find lamb birria, which should be enjoyed in tacos, and a vast range of other taco fillings, running from cabeza (cow head) to potatoes to a rather effete ribeye steak. Remember, you’re in a gas station.

Three tacos overstuffed with dark meat topped with chopped onions and cilantro.
Lamb birria tacos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Birria-Landia

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Before there was a birria boom, there was Birria-Landia. This small collection of taco trucks is credited with putting Tijuana-style birria — crunchy red tacos, dipped in a takeout container of meaty consomé – on the map in New York City. In Jackson Heights, where Birria-Landia got its start, the lines remain fierce and there’s now a bouncer to keep things moving, but this second location in Williamsburg is lower key and every bit as good. Order one of everything, including a large cup of consomé for proper taco dunking.

Three mulitas stuffed with beef birria and cheese.
Birria-Landia is credited with putting Tijuana-style birria tacos on the map in New York City.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Guadalajara De Dia II

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This Mexican storefront in a pleasant Ridgewood residential neighborhood remains mainly a grocery store, with a fully realized Mexican menu as a sideline, to be carried out or eaten at a single long communal table. Brilliant! The food couldn’t get any fresher, and the list of tacos is prodigious. Our favorite is pollo asado (you can smell the chicken grilling), with cecina, the salted and dried beef that is a favorite of Pueblans, a close second.

The interior of Guadalajara De Dia II, with people sitting around a long communal table set up in the middle of a grocery store.
Guadalajara’s big table.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Al Pastor

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Opened just before the virus hit town like a ton of bricks, Taqueria Al Pastor seemed very new and modern among the numerous historic bodega taquerias of Bushwick. There were super graphics on the walls, a limited menu of meats, including a twirling cylinder of al pastor that was the center of attention, and an ordering system and open kitchen to be enjoyed like theater. The al pastor remains one of the city’s lushest, particularly when deposited with lots of pineapple on a volcan, a Mexico City specialty that consists of a tortilla turned up at the edges and deep fried.

A taco shell piled high with shredded meat and cubed pineapple.
The taqueria’s al pastor volcan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Santa Ana Deli

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A couple of comfortable tables, a stenciled menu over the counter, and a side kitchen from which stream every manner of freshly made corn-based antojitos — that’s Santa Ana, a taqueria that’s spawned a full service restaurant a blocks east on Irving Avenue (stick with the original bodega taqueria). The chipotle-sauced tacos árabes are the things to get, washed down with a colorful bottle of Jarritos.

A pair of cone shaped tacos wrapped in white paper spilling out meat and orange sauce.
Tacos árabes come topped with chipotle sauce and guac.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Tepango

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Hidden in plain sight near Pratt Institute, Taqueria Tepango boasts one of the city’s greatest collections of taco types. Sure, there are the soft double-corn-tortilla tacos of southern Mexico, but also find hardshell tacos and tacos placeros — loaded with rice and other ingredients like boiled eggs and grilled jalapeños. The place also offers a creation of its own called the super taco: grilled chicken, onions, and crema stuffed in a big flour tortilla and smothered in melted cheese.

A rolled flour tortilla smothered in cheese, almost a burrito.
A “super taco” from Taqueria Tepango.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tacos El Bronco Restaurant

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This comfortable Sunset Park restaurant launched a famous taco truck that parks at 37th and 5th avenues, but go to the mothership not far away for a longer menu with more tacos. Miniature tacos pequeños are the specialty of the house, a tortilla that’s easier to maneuver but not lacking in fillings. El Bronco’s tripe (small intestine rather than honeycomb stomach) is legendary, but be sure to try the campechanos, a mixture of several meats, usually including steak and chorizo. A charred green onion comes as a bonus, and the taste is sweet.

An overhead photograph of a trio of tripe tacos tucked into a takeout container with green onion.
A trio of tripe tacos tucked into a takeout container.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ricos Tacos

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When this taqueria was founded in 2001, it took over the sprawling premises from a Dominican restaurant, serving one of the most complete taco menus in town from a nostalgic setting. The cabeza (beef cheek and other face meat) taco is particularly fine, and the picadillo de res is good if you want something that tastes Tex Mex. Tacos can be ordered in a number of preparations, including tacos dorados (flautas), tacos árabes, and tacos placeros.

Two corn tortilla tacos on a white plate with red and green salsa in the background.
Assorted tacos
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rancho San Miguel

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Named after a neighborhood in the city of Puebla, this small bodega stocks groceries, but half the space is taken up by a kitchen whose specialties include dozens of burritos, along with quesadillas and sopes. One of the best offerings is a complete list of tacos placeros (“market tacos”), including one overstuffed with chile rellenos and rice, an absolute delight when doused with red or green salsa (or both).

A massive tortilla stuffed with a deep fried chile held open by a hand.
The chile relleno taco from Rancho San Miguel.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria El Gallo Azteca

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This long-running Tompkinsville landmark, which took over a pizzeria on Victory Boulevard long ago, is the taqueria closest to the ferry terminal. The tacos are of the overstuffed variety, and extensively braised tongue is the preferred filling, with al pastor and carne enchilada a close second and third. Add Oaxacan cheese or sliced avocado to any taco for a small extra charge, or go for a taco Azteca with cactus and caramelized onions.

A blue interior with a few stools along a counter and a woman seen in sunlight at the right.
Taqueria El Gallo Azteca and its striking blue walls.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Puebla

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Staten Island has more than a few taquerias, including this bare-bones one in the Port Richmond neighborhood. In addition to the standard roster of fillings deposited in double corn tortillas, a cow eyeball taco is available; it’s the only place in town I know that serves this specialty. Other recommended tacos: maciza (cow’s head) and chorizo.

Eyeball taco with a jellylike eyeball and cilantro and onions.
An eyeball taco from Taqueria Puebla.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tacos Lupita

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Bensonhurst might not seem a likely location for a distinguished taco truck, but Lupita, parked at the major crossroads of 65th Street and 18th Avenue, attracts throngs of customers on weekends. The tacos are available in more than a dozen varieties, including the usual meats, plus a few harder-to-find fillings like oreja (pig ear) and buche (pig stomach). A number of other hand-patted Pueblan antojitos are also served, including quesadillas and huaraches.

An orange and green taco truck, Tacos Lupita, is parked on a sidewalk with its awning open for business.
Bensonhurst’s Tacos Lupita truck
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Jarochito

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Founded in 1993, the name at this Coney Island bodega taqueria means “Little Rude One” — a tip of the hat to cartoon character Speedy Gonzales, but also a riff on the nickname of residents of Veracruz — and the specialty of the house is weekends-only goat barbacoa. Get it in taco form, or pick the excellent carne enchilada (pork in chile sauce). For an extra 50 cents, rice can be added to any taco. Enjoy a taco or two, then stroll over to the beach.

A pair of rolled tacos with bulbous white onion with green shoots and glistening jalapeno.
Tacos come served with grilled green onions and jalapeno.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Sinaloense

Canasta and Gobernador tacos Taqueria Sinaloense Bronx Marble Hill
Tacos canasta and gobernador at Taqueria Sinaloense.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

With inspiration from the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Taqueria Sinaloense mainly serves a pan-Mexican menu in Marble Hill, a picturesque Bronx neighborhood overlooking the Harlem River. Two unique tacos are available, including tacos gobernador (“governor’s tacos”) loaded with shrimp and hot green chiles, and tacos de canasta, with the tortillas dipped in oil as a sort of temporary preservative that allows them to be sold from baskets by street vendors, hence the name. Birria tacos available, too.

Canasta and Gobernador tacos Taqueria Sinaloense Bronx Marble Hill
Tacos canasta and gobernador at Taqueria Sinaloense.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Estrellita Poblana III

A red storefront with arched windows, the name of the restaurant emblazoned across the top.
Estrellita Poblana III is located on the main drag of the Bronx’s Little Italy.
Layla Khabiri/Eater NY

Despite its unexpected location in the midst of the Bronx’s Little Italy, this informal sit-down “Little Star of Puebla” (founded 1999) has some of the tastiest organ meat tacos in town. Don’t miss out on the lengua (long-braised tongue). In fact, nearly all the tacos are top notch — though skip the shrimp — and the salsas are homemade. Mixed drinks available.

A red storefront with arched windows, the name of the restaurant emblazoned across the top.
Estrellita Poblana III is located on the main drag of the Bronx’s Little Italy.
Layla Khabiri/Eater NY

Xochimilco Family Restaurant

A couple of tacos with deep fried shells that make them look puffy, filled with potato cubes.
Three potato-stuffed molotes at Xochimilco Family Restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Xochimilco is a sweet spot in the Melrose section of the South Bronx, named after a neighborhood of Mexico City that boasts canals, artificial islands, and gondola-type boats called trajineras. The restaurant specializes in molotes — fried tacos made from hand-patted masa something like San Antonio’s famed puffy tacos. The choice of fillings include cheese, chicken, or chorizo and potatoes, with the latter preferred.

A couple of tacos with deep fried shells that make them look puffy, filled with potato cubes.
Three potato-stuffed molotes at Xochimilco Family Restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Morada

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.”
La Morada’s dining room.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

This relentlessly purple Mott Haven restaurant has become famous for its Oaxacan moles and tlayudas, with some pan-Southern Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Cal-Mex thrown in. The standard roster of two-corn-tortilla soft tacos are available in excellent renditions, including a seriously spicy chicken enchilada, al pastor, chorizo, and a particularly noteworthy bistec asado.

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.”
La Morada’s dining room.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Santa Clarita