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Three tortillas folded over shredded chicken.
Tinga tacos from Panzón in Greenpoint.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

30 Outstanding Tacos to Try in NYC

With al pastor, barbacoa, beef and goat birria, and more, New York’s tacos hold their own

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Tinga tacos from Panzón in Greenpoint.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tacos now compete with slices of pizza as the culinary mainstays of New York City. Over the last four decades, we’ve learned to love the southern Mexican style 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 strayed toward the hardshell variety, which are still available. Luckily, other types of tacos have landed in the five boroughs in profuse numbers.

Like your tacos rolled? Or tiny? With beans and cheese? A dab of guacamole? Freighted with organs? Filled with rice and boiled eggs? Or wrapped in a flour tortilla like shawarma? This city has them all, and more. Here are 30 of the most essential tacos around New York City.

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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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 and taken on picnics.

Canasta and Gobernador tacos Taqueria Sinaloense Bronx Marble Hill
Tacos canasta and gobernador at Taqueria Sinaloense.
Robert Sietsema/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 Mott Haven restaurant is known for its Oaxacan moles and tlayudas, with some 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 (referring to the filling, not the dish), al pastor, chorizo, and a 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

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 to know which taco to get. It’s one of the best tacos in town. Watching the carver at work makes the taco twice as tasty, and there’s an impressive array of 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

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 (chicken, steak, pork), are 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. (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 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 an unfussy sort of way, overstuffed and garnished only with chopped cilantro and onions. And the pair of salsas that accompany, if not made on the premises, are at least carefully chosen and full of flavor. At Salerno, chorizo and tongue tacos are the standouts.

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 annexed the next-door storefront, turning it into a full-blown restaurant where customers can wash down tacos with beer. Check out the rolled and deep-fried taco dorado, stuffed with chicken, beef, or cheese.

A rolled and fried taco coated with red sauce and topped with sour cream and dried cheese.
A 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 bigger tacos placeros (“market tacos”) than at this bodega taqueria in Corona, Queens. 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.

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 tacos placeros to New York, stuffed with startling combos of rice, boiled eggs, sautéed chiles, chiles relleno, and potato patties. Since the place has a liquor license, you can do a shot of tequila after you finish your tacos.

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

Los Amigos

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This long-established Mexican restaurant in the Jersey City Heights looks like a dance hall with its yellow walls and colorful papel picado (lacy paper party banners). More to the point, it offers some rarely seen tacos, including el hombres (giant flour tortillas wrapping rice, beans, and a main filling) and tacos quillos (steak and caramelized onions inside well-oiled corn tortillas, something like a basket taco). Also watch out for Oaxacan memelas.

Four rolled glistening tacos with shreds of steak sticking out.
Steak tacos quillos at Los Amigos.
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 spectacular carnitas are fried and tortillas made right in the front window. Over the weekend, barbacoa is offered by the pound, with a DIY taco kit that includes outsize corn tortillas, 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 additional branches. 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 smaller 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

Bagel Buffet

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Bagel Buffet is a cramped storefront way north in the Village that, as the name suggests, slings bagels and cream cheese, but it also serves so much more, including hero sandwiches, pancakes, omelets, burgers — and tacos, which are quite good. Our favorite is carne enchilada, but the chorizo tacos are also especially good. Limited seating (one table inside), but the tables outside offers great views of the Chelsea border, and you can sit and eat your tacos like border guards.

A pair of tortillas with red strips of meat and green guacamole.
Bagel Buffet’s carne enchilada taco, and the guac is free.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Zaragoza

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Zaragoza sets itself apart as one of the few remaining Mexican-owned delis in lower Manhattan, serving a short menu of enchiladas, burritos, and tamales assembled right at the front counter. Order tacos with whatever meats are available that day (the selection rotates); keep an eye out for the chorizo with potato strewn over two blue corn tortillas. 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

Panzón

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Panzón (“pot bellied”) is the facetious name for a new mezcal bar in Greenpoint serving Mexico City-style drinking snacks. Thus there are chicharrones de harina made from wheat topped with cheese and tajin, a smoky condiment, and machetes, an elongated quesadilla. But there are also tuna tostadas, chorizo gorditas, and some great chicken tinga tacos made on homegrown tortillas and bulging with chipotle-slathered pulled poultry,

Three tortillas folded over shredded chicken.
Panzon’s tinga tacos come three to an order.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taco Village

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It was inevitable that Pueblan-style tacos would join the crazy mix of cuisines on MacDougal Street near the NYU campus. The place cultivates a Day of the Dead theme, and luckily, the tacos here are very good. A favorite is the al pastor taco, sporting plenty of pineapple, though carnitas and carne asada are other good choices. Mulitas are available, too.

Two tacos filled with meat and bright yellow chunks of pineapple.
The al pastor tacos at Taco Village.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Taqueria Ramirez

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This counter-service taqueria in Greenpoint 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: These tacos are worth whatever the wait. The tortillas here are smaller than most, making it possible to eat a taco in two to three bites.

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

Yes, there are squash blossom and hake tacos available at this nominally Oaxacan clubstaurant, but absolutely don’t miss the birria tacos, made on heirloom corn tortillas of a rough hewn sort and squirted with something called guacamole mousse. Don’t be deterred, these may be the only goat birria tacos in town.

Two small glistening tacos on the right, a bowl of dark soup with diced vegetables.
Goat birria tacos at Ixta, served with consomme.
Robert Sietsema/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. On the chalkboard menu find lamb birria and a vast range of other taco fillings, running from cabeza (cow head) to potatoes or a 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 meaty consomé – on the map in New York City. In Jackson Heights, where Birria-Landia got its start, the lines remain fierce, but this second location in Williamsburg (there’s now a third on Houston Street near NYU) is lower key and every bit as good.

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 full Mexican menu as a sideline, available for carryout or dining in at the lone communal table. 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, salted and dried beef, 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 historic bodega taquerias of Bushwick, from the super graphics on the walls, to the open theater of a kitchen. The al pastor remains one of the city’s lushest, particularly when deposited with pineapple on a volcan, 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. 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

Xochitl Taqueria

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Xochitl Taqueria is a small and charming Mexican cafe with locations in Cobble Hill and Clinton Hill. The tamales, available every day at lunch and dinner, are a must-try but don’t miss the tacos. Seven fillings are available (the chipotle-mayo-dabbed pescado is best) and the barbacoa is always available — not just on weekends.

Two double-corn-tortilla tacos heaped with shredded lettuce.
Barbacoa and shrimp tacos at Xochitl Taqueria.
https://xochitlnyc.com/

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 visit the mothership for a longer menu with more tacos. Miniature tacos pequeños are the specialty, 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 steak and chorizo. A charred and sweet-tasting green onion comes as a bonus.

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

Ricos Tacos

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When this taqueria was founded over 20 years ago, it took over the sprawling premises from a Dominican restaurant, serving one of the most complete taco menus in town. 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 configurations, including tacos dorados, tacos arabes, and tacos placeros.

Two corn tortilla tacos on a white plate with red and green salsa in the background.
Tacos from Ricos 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 of 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 stuffed with chile rellenos and rice, an absolute delight when doused with both red and green salsa.

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

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 oreja (pig ear) and buche (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 of 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 goat barbacoa served on weekends. Get it in taco form, or try the excellent carne enchilada (pork in chile sauce). Rice can be added to any taco for an added cost.

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

Taqueria Sinaloense

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 and taken on picnics.

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

Xochimilco Family Restaurant

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

This Mott Haven restaurant is known for its Oaxacan moles and tlayudas, with some 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 (referring to the filling, not the dish), al pastor, chorizo, and a 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

Taco Mix

There’s no need to look further than the beautiful twirling cylinder of pork al pastor in the window to know which taco to get. It’s one of the best tacos in town. Watching the carver at work makes the taco twice as tasty, and there’s an impressive array of 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

Burger One

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 (chicken, steak, pork), are 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. (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

As 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 an unfussy sort of way, overstuffed and garnished only with chopped cilantro and onions. And the pair of salsas that accompany, if not made on the premises, are at least carefully chosen and full of flavor. At Salerno, chorizo and tongue tacos are the standouts.

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

Tulcingo del Valle

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 annexed the next-door storefront, turning it into a full-blown restaurant where customers can wash down tacos with beer. Check out the rolled and deep-fried taco dorado, stuffed with chicken, beef, or cheese.

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

La Duena Mexican Deli 2

It would be difficult to find bigger tacos placeros (“market tacos”) than at this bodega taqueria in Corona, Queens. 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.

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

This institution started out as a humble cart on Roosevelt Avenue, eventually morphing into a full-blown Mexican gastropub. The cart introduced tacos placeros to New York, stuffed with startling combos of rice, boiled eggs, sautéed chiles, chiles relleno, and potato patties. Since the place has a liquor license, you can do a shot of tequila after you finish your tacos.