One of the best food experiences to have in New York is Street Food – from a hole in the wall, a street vendor or a market, there are so many options for super tasty street food across the city. When it comes to street food, you can’t beat the trusty taco. A soft tortilla loaded with flavoursome fillings and finished off with delicious toppings with exciting textures- pure pleasure for your tastebuds!
New York is a great place to build up your food experiences and explore different types of Tacos. From authentic Mexican, Tijuan, asian fusion, or a modern twist on a classic, there is plenty of variety of tacos to choose from. But with so many different places offering tacos, how do you know which ones are worth a visit? We have put together a list of the best tacos in New York, and provided our recommendations for what you should order for a truly mouthwatering taco experience.
There are multiple locations of this New York based taco chain, but the best one is probably the one at Chelsea Market. If you want to skip the queue, then head to the store in Times Square in the afternoon after the lunctume rush has finished. This Tijuana style street food will blow your mind and excite your taste buds. While you are waiting in the queue, you will see the chefs grilling steaks or rolling out masa balls.
The corn and flour tortillas are freshly made and they spit-roast their pork with vinegar and chilli. Some of the most popular menu items are the crisp fried arbol chillies, grilled cactus, and the singy chicken. But the juicy adobada pork taco is the ultimate crowd pleaser served ‘con todo’ with all the toppings.
Tacos Los Poblanos in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is part of a taco truck business that has been extremely popular across New York. Their green salsa with cubed avocado is delicious spooned on top of hot tortillas loaded with juicy, fragrant chunks of beef birria.
They also do an incredible salted beef, which is just the right amount of chewy, and covered in finely diced red onion that really lifts the flavour. If you want Tacos to go, with a lovely view, then go to their truck at Sunset Park.
This East Harlem hole in the wall has been serving up excellent Tacos since 1990. Crisp meat is served on fresh corn tortillas with chunks of sharp, juicy pineapple.
You can choose from a range of fillings like chipotle chicken, pig ears, mushrooms, or slow cooked marinated pork, all with the perfect ratio of tortilla to filling. Our recommendation is the Barbacoa de chivo – slow braised goat with a zingy green salsa. This place isn’t fancy, but it sure is tasty!
This West Village venue is the perfect place for a proper New York style Taco experience, with an original menu of ever-changing specials. It attracts taco enthusiasts and foodies from far and wide. From Tempura fish tacos to short rib pastrami beef with mustard seed salsa, you will be blown away by the flavour combinations at Empellon Taqueria.
We can recommend the red chile duck taco with tender meat and shredded radish. The beer braised pork tongue taco is a trio of tasty pig meat, with chorizo and bacon, all spiced with fiery salsa. If you are looking for a meat-free option then check out the brussel sprout taco. It has a herby flavour, creamy and crispy textures, and is finished with slivered almonds- a real veggie treat!
Taqueria El Mezcal
This rustic taco joint on Sunset Park offers up some incredible double layer tortillas with fresh salsas with a bright, clean flavour. The guacamole is amazing, and the perfect accompaniment to spicy crumbly chorizo. We recommended the griddled shrimp which are sweet and very juicy.
The decor is basic and the dining room is certainly not spacious, but this place is still worth a visit so pull up a chair and tuck into some authentic, delicious tacos.
This Mexican Speakeasy opened in 2018 and quickly developed a strong following. You won’t find a traditional street food experience here – the menu reinvents Mexican classics and provides a unique setting.
The El Gringo con Bone Marrow is a firm favourite with ribeye, bone marrow, smoked cheddar, and sour cream served on a soft handmade tortilla. The Chicken Al Pastor taco is also very popular, with adobada chicken thighs and crispy bacon bits. Our recommendation is the Birria, made with melt in your mouth oxtail and topped with caramelized onions.
El Paso Taqueria has been providing the Upper East side with tasty tacos for over a decade. They offer all the classic menu items, but we strongly recommend going for something a bit different and trying the octopus tacos. The octopus is fresh and cooked to perfection, flavoured with garlic and chipotle.
The tacos are topped with pickled onions and shredded cabbage, and the combination of all of the flavours in your mouth will not disappoint. If you aren’t a fan of seafood, then the chorizo taco is another great option- just the right blend of juicy and crispy.
There are multiple locations where you can pick up a takeout taco from Taqueria Diana – East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.
This business was created by Californian chefs who wanted to provide an authentic Mexican flavour experience, and they have done a great job. With house pressed tortillas, spit-roasted pork, and tasty garnishes like fresh crema and crumbly cheese, you will love every mouth watering bite.
Tacombi has several locations across the city, all with a great street-food vibe and rustic charm. The wide range of menu items makes it a great place to come with friends, as there will be something for everyone. If you want something meat-free, then you could try the avocado tostada or the black bean and sweet potato taco.
If you fancy some seafood then the baja fish taco is a real crowd pleaser, bursting with beer battered Alaskan cod and spicy pickled cabbage slaw. Those who are seeking a bit of spice should order the Mexico City style Al Pastor taco with crunchy diced onions. Some food critics look down on Tacombi, but we can’t understand why! It has everything you want out of a taco, with a lovely atmosphere.
You can get yourself some top quality food from La Esquina in Soho. Midtown, or the Upper East Side, but keep in mind that the menu can vary between different locations. La Esquina has been a popular choice with New Yorkers for over 10 years and it’s not hard to see why. The rotisserie chicken tacos are a popular choice, but there are plenty of other winning dishes on the menu.
The Bisteq Con Queso is particularly flavoursome- sliced ribeye steak with crispy cheese, smoky salsa, cilantro and onion. If you prefer something fishy, then the Taco de Camaron could be right up your street, with grilled shrimp, cabbage, avocado salsa, chipotle mayo and pickled red onions. For a more straightforward seafood taco, order the skewered mahi mahi tacos with shredded cabbage and salsa verde. Whatever you order from La Esquina, you won’t be disappointed and you will find yourself coming back for more.
This hole in the wall in the East Village will have you coming back again and again. Their tacos are some of the best in the city, with fresh, pillowy soft tortillas and delicious toppings. The barbacoa is especially tasty, with spicy chicken and rich tomato flavours.
Top it with the habanero sauce if you want some extra spice and a squeeze of fresh lime to lift the flavours. It has a casual atmosphere, with chunky wooden tables and benches so you can sit down and socialize whilst you enjoy your food. This place is definitely worth a visit if you are a taco enthusiast.
This popular restaurant in the East Village is so busy that they opened a second location near Union Square. Their soft corn tortillas and fuss-free fillings are super tasty. Each option on the menu is equally well prepared and delicious, so it is difficult to choose a favorite, but their steak taco is one of the best in New York.
They also offer a barbacoa lamb taco with deep, smoky flavours which are incredibly satisfying. Lamb is not as common as other meats for taco fillings, so this is a real treat. Everything on the menu is perfectly seasoned and balanced- you can tell that a lot of thought and effort has gone into creating this menu.
This unique restaurant in Brooklyn fuses Latin cuisine with influences from India and Vietnam to create some truly original tacos. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, with rustic wooden tables, tequila bottle lamps.and a large bar space.
To make the most out of this menu, bring your friends and mix and match to get a taste of lots of different dishes. We recommend ordering the chimichurri pork neck, tortilla soup with chinese dumplings, and the carnita tacos with shredded slow-roasted pork, pickled onion slices and cubes of pineapple.
Cosme is considered to be one of the best Mexican restaurants in New York, with a wide range of dishes on the menu including tacos. The duck carnitas are cooked incredibly well, with crisp, salty skin and melt in your mouth fatty meat.
Their tortillas are made fresh every day, over 7000 of them! We also love the leg of lamb, slow roasted for 10 hours and served with a fresh, spicy salad. This is a great place to go if you love Mexican food and you fancy a top quality sit down meal.
This restaurant chain with multiple locations across the city has an extensive menu. You can play it safe with chicken tinga or chorizo tacos, or you can be more adventurous with pig ear (oreja) or pig stomach (buche).
We love the tacos placeros, with fried potato or beef cutlets topped with chopped boiled egg. This place opens at 7am, so whether you are still staggering home from the night before or up bright and early for the day, you can satisfy your taco craving at breakfast time.
Hopefully this list has given you some inspiration to help you choose where to get your next taco fix.
There are a few other places that are worth a mention. Ricos Tacos does an excellent Taco Arabes, inspired by Arabic cuisine. Spiced, spit-roasted pork is loaded up onto a flour based flat-bread, similar to pita, and topped with caramelized onions.
For a succulent shrimp taco, head to Pampano Taqueria, or you can go to Alta Calidad for a crispy tempura shrimp taco. If you love Asian fusion food then check out Kimchi Taco– their pork shoulder taco is delicious, with fermented cabbage slaw and a scoop of fresh kimchi. Toloache has an indulgent lobster taco on their menu. The buttery lobster is poached, and served on a flour tortilla with creamy avocado and chipotle mayonnaise.
Whatever kind of taco you are after, this list has you covered. For the ultimate street food experiences then head to Los Tacos No 1. If you want to impress your date, then take them to Cosme for mind-blowing Mexican food. For a fun night out with friends, book a table at Borrachito and enjoy a mix and match of taco dishes with some cocktails. If you fancy breakfast tacos then head to Taqueria Izucar.
Hopefully you get the chance to try out all of the options on this list. If the queues are too long then have a browse for some other taco restaurants, but we recommend going for somewhere that makes their own tortillas in house to ensure they are soft and fresh. It’s also ideal if you can find somewhere that has an option for slow cooked meat that they prepare themselves overnight.