When I moved to Austin a couple of years ago I immediately noticed that Austinites really love tacos. Numerous restaurants offered their take on Mexican cuisine and I'm not talking about Taco Bell eateries. I was intrigued by the fact that so many places focused their menus solely on tacos. I was perplexed by the signs for “breakfast tacos” EVERYWHERE.
Honestly, this place's affinity for tacos borderlines on obsession. At many restaurants, tacos are frequently just one type of menu offering amongst many, more hearty, Tex-mex staples like the burrito or quesadilla. Not in Austin.
Want to start a fight here? Forget bringing up politics or religion ― just simply announce you just had “the best breakfast taco at…,” and every person nearby will chime in and explain why THOSE aren't the best, and continue on making the case for their favorite. Austinites do not mess around when it comes to this heated subject. Initially, Austin's love for the taco puzzled me.Check out the best tacos in America.
That was then, this is now. Over the last 2 years I have eaten more tacos than I have the previous 37 years I have inhabited this planet. I wish this was an exaggeration, but alas it it not. I've eaten a variety of tacos tacos with almost every imaginable protein and ethnic spin. I've eaten tacos off trucks, eaten them at a devil-themed restaurant, at a “deli” that only serves tacos, and many more places. While I cannot proclaim myself a taco “expert”, I can share with you my humble opinion on where to find a good taco.Where to go for a fish taco
The best fish taco I have ever had is easily the Ahi Tuna Taco at Turf 'n Surf Poboys
. There are a few of these food trucks around ATX
and now a couple of brick and mortars in the area as well. It gives you big pieces of high quality sashimi grade Ahi tuna and lightly sear the outsides with a Cajun spice. It is then dressed simply with a spring mix, onions, tomatoes, and dressing. Don't let the simplicity fool you ― its the quality of the fish that makes the Turf n Surf's fish taco
my favorite.Where to go for an indulgent tacoTorchy's
“Secret” menu tacos are where I go when I want to fall into a food coma. These tacos almost all have the famous Torchy's queso
and/or bacon added to what are already stacked tacos. My personal favorite is the Trailer Park “Hilbilly style.” Imagine fried chicken, chorizo, bacon, ranch dressing, queso, and more piled on a flour tortilla. This isn't like any other “taco” you've had, but to be fair, if you want to live past 45 you can't eat this too often anyway.Where to go for a fusion taco
Often imitated, but never perfectly duplicated, is Chi'lantro's
“fusion” tacos. Its Korean BBQ taco with beef bulgogi, kimchi, sauce, onions, and romaine lettuce create a magnificent contrast of flavors and textures that are nothing short of spectacular. Definitely order kimchi fries as your side, trust me neither of these will disappoint.Where to go for a migas tacoVeracruz All Natural's
tacos have several food trucks in the area, but it recently opened a brick and mortar in Round Rock I've already been there a number of times. All of its tacos are great, but the migas taco is in a league of its own. With eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, and cheese on your choice of a corn or flour tortilla, this taco may sound too simple to be good, but trust me it is.Where to go for a fast food crunchy taco
Now I'm from the Midwest originally, so every once in awhile I want a “crunchy” taco. Many from ATX don't share my affinity, but for those who do there are still a number of places to choose from. National and regional chains abound, but there is only one place I would recommend, Taco Bueno
. This regional chain serves good quality “fast food.” Its taco meat is ALL meat and it's consistently good. There are two locations in ATX metro, one in Round Rock, and one in Slaughter.Where to go for a unique taco
When I want to try something new and tasty, but still true to traditional Mexican flavors, I always head to Tacodeli
. The tacos here are always exciting in terms of flavors and textures. Adobo, Achiote, and Mole are just a few of the options out of the great selection of tacos here. Remember its only open through lunch, so get there early. I love the Cowboy Taco, which is a dry rubbed beef tenderloin taco, with grilled corn, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, guacamole, and queso fresco. That said, you can't go wrong at this place. I've tried ten to twelves varieties here and enjoyed them all.Where to go for a “authentic” taco
Everyone has a food truck, trailer, or hole in the wall place they swear has the best “authentic” tacos. My place of choice is Taquito Aviles, a food trailer just east of Lamar on Braker. This place serves lengua (beef tongue), chiva (goat,) and much more. I love goat meat and this place gives me the opportunity to have it as often as I choose. The owner is often working the counter and always greets us with a hearty hello. The shrimp tacos
are also delicious, the spicy cream sauce it uses is legit!Where to go for a breakfast taco
Just kidding, I will not name such a place. I have no desire to be locked into endless arguments over one paragraph. Nor do I want to be sent all over ATX to every food truck, gas station, and obscure strip mall taqueria to verify this opinion. Let me just tell you that if you're here, and unsure where to go, just ask around and you will immediately be surrounded by a minimum of five people who will send you in the right direction, all while arguing with one another.For more Austin dining and travel news, click here.