10 Best Taco Joints in America

What makes the perfect taco? Fresh ingredients, authentic recipes, creativity, and maybe a margarita or cerveza to wash it all down. America's most famous taco joints check all the boxes. From fresh surf and turf tacos in Southern California to fried avocado tacos (yes!) in Oklahoma City, there is a flavor for everyone. Here are the 10 best taco joints in the U.S.  

La Taqueria, San Francisco, CA

La Taqueria is a no-frills and no-nonsense kind of place. It’s all about the food and boy is it good. The lengua tacos, which are made with beef tongue, come highly recommended. If that one makes you a little nervous, you can’t go wrong with their deliciously fresh carne asada. Although, we recommend trying the lengua. Make sure you order a side of their guacamole too. Everything here is made with the freshest ingredients and you can taste it with every bite.

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Velvet Taco, Houston, TX

“Tacos without borders.” That’s what Velvet Taco’s website proclaims. At Velvet Taco, they have transformed the humble taco into a work of art. Twenty different varieties of taco are lovingly crafted at Velvet, including mouthwatering options like the spicy tikka chicken which is made with crisp tenders, spicy tikka sauce, buttered cilantro basmati rice, raita crema, and Thai basil on a flour tortilla. Vegetarians unite: The Nashville hot tofu taco is a delicious meatless option. It’s made with crispy tofu, napa slaw, ranch crema, and house brined pickles on a flour tortilla.

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Big Star, Chicago, IL

Bourbon, beer, pitchers of margaritas, and mouthwatering tacos. Big Star, with two locations in Chicago, is one of the most celebrated taco joints in the state. If you’re a meat lover, try their al pastor taco which is made with marinated spit roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, and cilantro. If you’re a SERIOUS meat lover, order the chorizo discada taco which is made with bacon, beef, and pork chorizo, salsa borracha, pinto beans, poblano, queso fresco, and cilantro.

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Red Mesa Cantina, St. Petersburg, FL

When Caribbean and Latin culinary traditions come together, the result is a work of art. Opened in 1995, Red Mesa Restaurant combines a world of flavors to create eclectically flavored tacos. Kick off your meal by ordering the seafood mofongo appetizer that comes with sautéed shrimp, scallops, calamari, tomato, cilantro and rajas in an impeccably crafted tequila lime butter sauce. The dish is served over pork carnitas, sweet plantain, and yuca mofongo. This one should definitely be shared. After that, order the duck tacos which is an orange braised duck confit with grilled pineapples, goat cheese, cilantro and red chile jelly.

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Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop, San Diego, CA

Southern California is renowned for its authentic and delicious Mexican food. And Lucha Libre is a shining star in this culinary scene. Opened by the Rojano brothers in 2008, Lucha Libre means “free fighting.” It’s also the name of the kind of Mexican wrestling the brothers grew up loving. If you like seafood, order the Surf & Turf Taco which is made with steak, shrimp, avocado, and drizzled with their “secret chipotle sauce” and queso enchilado.

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Los Tacos No. 1, New York, NY

New York City has one of the most colorful culinary scenes in the world. Populated by people from all across the globe, you can taste authentic cuisine from a variety of cultures. New York got lucky when a group of friends from Tijuana, Mexico, and California hatched the plan to bring real deal Mexican flavor to the East Coast. Inspired by family recipes, Los Tacos No. 1 is as real as it gets. Order the carne asada tacos. Those are a favorite.

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Taco Bamba, Falls Church, VA

Chef Victor Albisu spent more than 10 years cooking up fine foods in upscale French, American, and Latin American restaurants. Today, he brings his spin on Mexican street food to Falls Church, Virginia. This counter-serve restaurant does everything right. Order their al pastor tacos, made with pork and pineapple, for a burst of delightful flavor. 

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Tacos Chukis, Seattle, WA

It's not just California crafting up authentic Mexican cuisine. Head up to Seattle and you'll soon discover that the scene is just as vital. Tacos Chukis is a classic counter-serve spot with a relaxed vibe and a focus on fresh ingredients. People rave about their Adodaba taco which is made with marinated pork and sweet grilled pineapple that you simply can't do without. 

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Big Truck Tacos, Oklahoma City, OK

It doesn't have to be Tuesday to enjoy the Big Truck Tacos' heavenly tacos! This awesome Oklahoma City spot is open every day of the week, including 7:30 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can enjoy their yummy tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even a late-night snack. If you want something fresh and filling, order the Guardian: grass-fed ground beef with green olives, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and green onions. Really indulge yourself and order the Crispy'cado: a fried avocado with romaine, tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, and queso fresco. 

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White Duck Taco Shop, Asheville, NC

As if Asheville wasn't cool enough already, it also has a pretty awesome taco spot. A little backstory: the White Duck Taco Shop gets its name from the chef's nickname. When she chatted too much with the kitchen staff, they'd call her "La Pata Blanca" or the "White Duck." As expected, this place is renowned for their duck tacos so make sure you order one. Customers also love their Bangkok shrimp taco. 

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