What makes a great taco, exactly? The best ones tend to be simple, with clean, vibrant, and varied flavors, each component good enough to stand on its own. A perfect taco is balanced in flavor, and isn’t loaded down by superfluous add-ons. The tortilla (traditionally corn in Mexico, but often flour around the U.S. today) should be super fresh and, ideally, handmade where it will be served. The filling should be made with an eye for balance in taste and moisture level. The toppings, be they traditional onions and cilantro or new-wave chipotle harissa, should brighten, heighten, and tie the whole taco together into a cohesive, delicious dish.
We published our third attempt at ranking the country’s best tacos, and this year we looked to our readers to help us identify more of the best. We put out a call to action, asking them to comment on our site or our social media pages, or to email us with their nominations for the best tacos in the country. Additionally, we asked our knowledgeable Daily Meal staff and City Editors to weigh in with their picks. We gathered these nominees together and added them to all the tacos that were considered last year. In the end, we had a list of about 330 tacos, which we then compiled into a survey and sent to our distinguished panel of taco experts — food and restaurant personalities who know a superior taco when they taste one. They voted, we tallied the results, and then put together America’s 75 Best Tacos. There are some amazing tacos served around the country and, as it turns out, one can be found in Philadelphia.
Restaurateur Stephen Starr knows what people love to eat, and at Philadelphia’s El Vez he’s bringing top-notch Mexican food to the hungry masses. An order of the tacos al carbon is enough to feed two, and the grilled shrimp is the way to go; it’s a masterpiece. Homemade flour tortillas get filled with slightly spicy and super flavorful shrimp that are hot off the grill, and you can customize how much poblano pepper, pico de gallo, guacamole, and queso fresco you want to add. Thankfully, a second location opened in New York. It was voted to the #52 spot on our national list, and since it’s the only taco from the city to make our ranking, it’s also the very best one in Philly.