Long gone are the days when a basic ground beef taco could satisfy one’s taco cravings. Today, tacos, a classic Mexican staple, are taking over the American food scene. And with summer just around the corner, what sounds better than tacos and margs after a long day in the sun? I’ll tell you… nothing.
Trying to find the perfect combination of meat seasoned to perfection, a soft tortilla, perfectly melted cheese and fresh guac is no easy feat. But no worries, I did the dirty work for ya.
From food trucks to hole-in-the-wall joints, these eateries offer the best of the best: Taco style. You’re gonna want to plan your own cross-country road trip for the sole purpose of consuming the best tacos America has to offer.
Alabama: Los Dos Hermanos Taco Truck
Who would have thought being served tacos in a parking lot could ever look so good? Los Dos Hermanos accepts cash only, is closed on Mondays and only really open during lunch hours. The hunt to see if they’re open when you’re craving tacos is totally worth it for this mouth-drooling taco experience.
Alaska: Humpy’s Great Alaskan Ale House
Though it’s not a Mexican restaurant, Humpy’s Great Alaskan Ale House is serving up one of the best fish tacos in the state. You can’t get much fresher than fish from Alaska, so you have got to try the halibut fish tacos that are stuffed with ale-marinated halibut, spicy black beans, cheese, salsa, cabbage, and guacamole.
Treat yourself to a great meal while being entertained by live music from local artists. You won’t be disappointed.
Arizona: Taco Guild
Taco Guild’s one-of-a-kind dining experience will leave you wanting to come back for more. Located in an old Methodist church, Taco Guild still features traditional stained glass and church pews. Be sure to check out their Old World and New School tacos. You’ll be sure to find the perfect taco for you.
Arkansas: Local Lime
If unique tacos and margaritas don’t sound appetizing to you right about now, I don’t know what will. The Local Lime offers an array of taco plates from grilled sirloin tacos to New Mexican zucchini tacos that come with three tacos and your choice of two sides. A side of drunken beans with smoky bacon anyone?
Guisados is any indecisive person’s dream. Who wants to commit to just two or three tacos with mole poblano and bistek en salsa roja on the menu? The solution: Ask for the taco sample which includes six mini tacos on homemade corn tortillas. Not to mention the entire menu is gluten-free.
Colorado: Illegal Pete’s
Only serving all-natural, antibiotic-free, hormone-free meats from a local ranch, Illegal Pete’s is proud of the high-quality food that they’re putting on your plate. Illegal Pete’s offers six different tacos, or you can order the taco platter to get a little taste of everything.
If you’re still in the mood for breakfast, no worries Illegal Pete’s serves breakfast tacos every day too.
As a tri-state area native, Bar Taco is a place I hold close to my heart for good reason. It’s phenomenal and The New York Times agrees. Located right on the water with beautiful views, there is no better place to chow down on sesame ribeye, cauliflower, or pork belly tacos. Order the Bartaco Margarita and always save room for dessert (I mean that’s a given right?) because their churros are the perfect way to end your night.
Delaware: El Dorado
All you crispy fish taco fans, El Dorado is calling your name. The owner of El Dorado spent years trying to recreate the one incredible taco he had in Le Paz, California. It wasn’t until he lived in Cabo San Lucas that he had discovered the secret to the batter necessary for the perfect, crispy fish taco. Bringing the secret back to Delaware, you can’t skip this taco when in Rehoboth.
When looking for a good time in Miami, look no further than Bodega and its funky atmosphere. Pair the Camaron BLT, shrimp po’boy, or Barbacoa tacos with a drink from their tequila bar to keep the party going all night long. Plus with a taco truck parked on site, there’s no shortage of your favorite Mexican staple.
Georgia: Taqueria Del Sol
Taqueria Del Sol may seem like your cliche fast-casual restaurant but surprise, surprise, it’s not. Their Memphis taco, featuring smoked pork, jalapeño cole slaw, tequila BBQ sauce, keeps customers coming back for more. Taqueria Del Sol has such a following, it was even ranked in Serious Eat’s Best Tacos in the South.
Hawaii: Coconut’s Fish Cafe
Let’s be real: You can’t go to Hawaii without having some of the freshest fish America has to offer. Coconut’s Fish Cafe’s fish tacos are the freshest you’ll be able to find. Though they’re on the pricier side coming in at $12 a pop, they’re well worth the splurge. Their fish tacos are piled high with 17 different toppings to be sure to satisfy your taste buds (and get your money’s worth).
Idaho: Crooked Fence Barrelhouse
Typical tacos with Mexican-style fillings can get boring after a while. Why not mix it up, Irish style. The Corned Beef with Sins of Our Father mustard horseradish sauce is a new take on the classic taco that you won’t regret trying. The Korean Beef with Asian BBQ sauce and buffalo chicken tacos continue to prove that tacos can’t be classified just as Mexican anymore.
Illinois: Velvet Taco
Sure tacos are typically seen as Mexican food, but not anymore. Velvet Taco and its locations in Chicago and throughout Texas is putting a new twist on your quintessential taco. You need to try the buffalo chicken with bleu cheese, or the shrimp and grits taco, no question about it. You can thank me later.
Bakersfield is focused on providing three things: tacos, tequila, and whiskey. Need I say more? Their Mexican street fare is simple and delicious, hitting the spot every time. Their Huitlacoche taco is like nothing you’ve ever had before, the perfect medley of corn truffles, roasted poblano, corn, onion, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Guy Fieri even made a stop at Bakersfield during one of his numerous quests to find the best foods in the U.S.
Iowa: La Regia Taqueria
With a humble look and feel, one may expect subpar flavors from La Regia Taqueria. But no. With a variety of flavorful tacos on the menu, you’re bound to find something to silence your grumbling stomachs. Quick and efficient service means there’s no need for you to be hangry. Order the Supreme Taco and wash it down with a cold bottle of Tamarind soda for the perfect meal.
Kansas: Carneceria La Siete
With the end of the semester creeping around the corner, chances are you’re a broke college student (you don’t have to deny it). Carneceria La Siete should be your next meal with only $1 tacos. Don’t let the price fool you — their mouth-watering carnitas are fried on the grill for the perfect slight crispiness. Three tacos, $3 dinner anyone?
Kentucky: Holy Molé Taco Truck
Featured in Food Network Magazine for their soft-shell crab tacos, this taco joint on wheels is worth the hype. Locally owned, Holy Molé is constantly owned so the only way to ensure that you can get your taco fix in is to follow them on twitter @HolyMoleTruck to find their current location. Kinda like a treasure hunt but the prize is a taco, not gold.
Louisiana: Taco Sisters
Native Lafayette sisters, Molly and Katy Richard, have created quite possibly the cheeriest taco eating experience with their array of flower beds and colorful picnic tables at their restaurant Taco Sisters. With both a taco truck and a storefront location, Taco Sisters just added a breakfast menu to ensure you can consume tacos at any hour of the day.
Maine: Loco Coco’s Tacos
What started as a small, one-room eatery with a walk up counter, Loco Coco’s Tacos has grown into a full-service dining experience Maine natives approve of. Loco Coco’s Tacos gives you the option of six different fillings in three different style tacos: Traditional style, American style, and Mexican style.
Barcocina features Mexican food with a new American flare. Their eggplant parmesan tacos and cheeseburger tacos are to die for. With a modern layout and diverse drink menu, you can enjoy your drool-worthy tacos while taking in the harbor view. Not in the mood for tacos 24/7? Check out Barcocina for one of the best brunches in Baltimore. It’s sure to leave you wanting more.
Massachusetts: Lone Star Taco Bar
Tacos and tequila? What’s not to love. Started by two guys from Southern California and Texas, Lone Star Taco Bar brings authentic Mexican food all the way to Boston. With an array of appetizing tacos from beef Barbacoa to Dallas spicy beef, it’s hard to choose just one. With “Taco Tuesday” being a weekly occurrence, be sure to check out all of the best taco spots in Boston.
Michigan: Cuatro Amigos
A family-run eatery, Cuatro Amigos is the ideal place to chow down on tacos with a big group of friends…I mean with a name meaning “four friends,” how could you go wrong? Their fish taco made with honey lime tilapia and topped with a jalapeño coleslaw will make you feel like you’re eating food fresh out of Mexico. Be sure to get the different hot sauces that are specially paired with each taco. They’re out of this world.
Minnesota: Chef Shack Ranch
Started in 2007 originally as just a food truck, this now sit-down restaurant is run by two of the best female chefs in Minneapolis. The sweet potato and black bean taco is the taco to order, or mix it up with the taco of the night which changes regularly. Out and about during the summer? The Chef Shack Ranch food truck can be found at farmers markets throughout the summer so you’ll never have to go without tacos for too long.
Mississippi: Babalu Tacos & Tapas
The funky atmosphere makes for a laid back, relaxing night out…the perfect setting for, you guessed, tacos. Each order comes with three tacos, or take your pick and mix up fillings. The Ostra taco with flash-fried oysters and Atún taco with spicy seared yellowfin tuna are mouth watering right at first glance. The best part? Babalu offers happy hour taco prices so you can chow down, drink and save money all at the same time.
Missouri: Seoul Taco
Ever thought that a Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant didn’t exist? Well, think again. Seoul Taco’s only offers one taco: Korean salad mix with green onion, Seoul sauce, crushed sesame seeds and a wedge of lime on a tortilla. Take your pick of chicken, steak, spicy pork, or tofu to top off your taco and dig in. Trust me, Seoul Taco is worth the hype and taking over St. Louis (and is opening up in Chi Town soon for you Illinois taco lovers).
Montana: Pescado Blanco
This “Mexican Mountain” restaurant is the true hybrid of Montana and Mexican cuisine. Offering an array of tacos, you have got to order the elk chorizo taco made with fresh elk from Montana. Even Food Network agrees, with Pescado Blanco’s elk chorizo taco coming in as the best taco in Montana.
Nebraska: Voodoo Taco
With four locations throughout Omaha, there will never be a shortage of tacos in your life. If you’re a big spice fan, the Green Ghost pork taco is calling your name. Ghost chili braised shredded pork, green chiles, diced onions and asadero cheese wrapped in a soft tortilla, will set your mouth on fire.
Nevada: El Dorado Cantina
Being forced to choose one taco is essentially unbearable. El Dorado Cantina makes it easy, giving you the option of choosing three of their street tacos (all gluten-free for you celiacs) for only $13. Not in the mood for a traditional tortilla? Order the lettuce wrapped taco because with summer just around the corner we’re all trying to be #healthy.
New Hampshire: El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria
Tacos and drinks go hand and hand. It’s essentially a known fact at this point. At El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria, it’s BYOB so pack up that cooler of yours to the brim and drink your favorite drinks right at your table while chowing down on tacos de Carne Asada.
New Jersey: Villalobos
Featured in The New York Times, Villalobos is serving up the best tacos in New Jersey on their made-fresh-daily tortillas. It’ll be impossible to choose just one taco with fillings like hamburguesa con queso, camarones (grilled shrimp) and marinated pork shoulder on the menu. No meal at Villalobos is complete without one of their four different variations of guacamole.
New Mexico: El Parasol
El Parasol is a counter-only joint AKA it doesn’t have tables, chairs or amenities, just traditional New Mexican food. El Parasol only offers three tacos: chicken, ground beef and shredded beef. But trust me, they’re amazing. With a deep-fried shell, shredded beef so moist it falls apart and their secret sauce topping each taco, there is a reason why they have been featured in both Home and Leisure and GQ magazines.
New York: Los Tacos No. 1
Located in the heart of Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No. 1 serves up tacos made with the freshest ingredients but at affordable prices. With their Adobada taco being ranked the #1 taco in NYC by Thrillist, Los Tacos offers only four different tacos: Carne Asada, Adobada, Pollo Asado and Nopal otherwise known as grilled cactus. It’s basically a sin to not stop at Los Tacos No. 1 when you’re in the big apple.
North Carolina: Gonza Tacos y Tequila
This hip restaurant will be sure to get you into the Mexican spirit with its walls plastered in Cinco de Mayo images. With locations in Durham, Wake Forest,and Raleigh, you have no reason not to go during your North Carolina road trip. Do you hear Callo de Hacha tacos with scallops, pork belly, and pico de gallo calling your name right now? Because I do.
North Dakota: Mezzaluna
Though not a Mexican restaurant, Mezzaluna’s fish tacos are out of this world. The upscale atmosphere and seemingly endless drink menu is perfect for a night out on the town or a date night with a special someone.
Ohio: Los Potosino
Let’s admit it. Half the battle of eating is getting the food. Eat all the tacos you want from the comfort of your couch because if you’re lazy af (just admit it) Los Potosino is happy to deliver fresh tacos to your doorstep. Not to mention their vegetarian tacos and beef tacos are worth the hype (and walk to your phone to place an order).
Oklahoma: Big Truck Tacos
Sunrise to sunset, you can get your taco fix in with this tasty taco truck. Ranked the #1 Food Truck in the South, Big Truck Tacos’ creative taco menu will leave you wanting more. And for all you surprise lovers out there, order the 5th Amendment. The taco is kept a secret and changes daily so you never know what you’re gonna get when you order.
Oregon: Mi Mero Mole
With fillings from pork, chicken, veggie and even vegan options, everyone in the family is bound to find a taco that satisfies their needs at Mi Mero Mole. The vegan Calabaza en Mole de Mama Cata features butternut squash with chocolate mole and more than 20 other spices and ingredients is a fan favorite and bursting with flavor. Order a side of guac and drinks and you’re bound to have a great time.
Pennsylvania: Distrito Restaurant
Distrito Restaurant takes a modern twist on traditional Mexican dining. This vibrant dining experience brings Mexico City to Philly with their own taqueria menu and Carne Cobe taco: flat iron steak, truffle potato, tomato-horseradish escabeche, and yukon fries on a taco. Need I say more? And because you can never get enough tacos, check out El Vez Restaurant that is run by the same owners AKA more incredible tacos.
Rhode Island: Tallulah’s Taqueria
All of Tallulah’s tacos start with the same base, then the choice is yours. Choose from a variety of fillings from beef tongue or perfectly seasoned grilled chicken to chipotle potatoes or fried shrimp. Want a one of a kind dining experience? Check out the next time they are selling tickets for Mesa Ocho: eight seats at table eight at eight o’clock. You get to feast on a special tasting menu with acclaimed chefs for a meal to remember.
South Carolina: Señor Willie’s Taco Shack
With tacos prepared fresh to order, Señor Willie’s is the perfect way to top off a long day on the beach. Take your tacos to go and even take a stroll by the ocean. With the Macho Taco and Mucho Macho Taco, you can take your choice of two or three different fillings to leave you completely satisfied. Just an FYI, Señor Willie’s is a beach week staple to get you through the week.
South Dakota: Cheyenne Crossing
A locally owned and operated, Cheyenne Crossing serves up some killer tacos. Maybe unexpected, but you need to try their Indian taco, the perfect medley of Indian and Mexican flavors. It’s so incredible it was featured on Food Network’s, “50 States, 50 Tacos.”
Tennessee: Mas Tacos Por Favor
Ask a Nashville local what their favorite taco joint is and chances are Mas Tacos Por Favor will be at the top of their list. This no frills, but cozy Mexican hideaway is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and features made-from-scratch tacos. For all you avocado lovers out there, don’t think twice about topping your taco with their fried avocados. Trust me.
Texas: Torchy’s Tacos
Torchy’s started small as an Austin food truck that drove around passing out free chips and salsa. Today, Torchy’s boasts 40 locations throughout Texas and one in Colorado. Its menu pays tribute to the Lone Star state’s politics, featuring the Republican, the Democrat, and the Independent taco. With a slogan like “damn good tacos,” they’re not messing around. As they say, everything’s bigger in Texas.
#SpoonTip: Check out Torchy’s secret menu. It doesn’t disappoint.
Utah: Lone Star Taqueria
Lone Star Taqueria offers an array of taco options but take it from me, the fish taco topped with your choice of sauce and salsas is 100% the way to go. They must be doing something right because they were even featured on Diners, Drive In’s, and Dives. Lone Star’s quirky atmosphere makes it the perfect place to chow down on your favorite weekly holiday…Taco Tuesday.
Vermont: The Mad Taco
Even though it’s located in a strip-mall, The Mad Taco was rated one of the 5 Best Vermont Restaurants to Visit in 2015. They specialize in take-out but have a small area for in-house seating. The roasted yam taco or Chile Colorado taco is the perfect meal with a side of one of The Mad Taco’s many specialty craft Vermont beers.
Virginia: Boka Tako Bar
Originally starting as the first gourmet food truck in RVA back in 2010, The Boka Company expanded to open its first storefront: Boka Tako Bar. A gourmet take on a classic Mexican dish, Boka Tako Bar knows how to make a damn good taco.
You need to try their duck confit taco with truffle oil or the shrimp & grits taco with bacon, because trust me on this one, your taste buds will love you forever.
Washington: Dora’s Deli
Delis are no longer the home of sandwich meat and chips ladies and gents. Tacos are taking over the deli scene. A Dora’s Deli their veggie tacos are the talk of the town and worth the trip to what may not seem like your typical Mexican eatery. Tacos are made fresh to order and piled high with slices of avocado on top.
Washington D.C: Tico DC
Tico DC is not your stereotypical Mexican restaurant, but boy do they serve up a mean taco. Their two-textured beef taco pairs crispy fried beef with juicy braised beef for a mouth-watering combination. The crunchy fried chicken taco with spicy buttermilk will change the way you eat fried chicken. Tico DC’s laid back, carefree atmosphere is the perfect place to enjoy endless tacos.
West Virginia: Ortega’s Taco Shop
What better pairing with tacos than fresh chips? Ortega’s make their tortilla chips fresh daily so be sure to grab a bag with your taco. Their chicken and baja taco is full of flavor and served on a fresh warm tortilla. Add a side of pickled jalepaños to really amp up your experience.
Wisconsin: Los Gemelos
This hole-in-the-wall Mexican eatery may not catch your attention from the outside, but trust me you’re gonna want to go inside. Their menu offers you a variety of taco choices so you can design the taco of your dreams. Locals love Los Gemelos and it’s rarely empty so be sure to grab a seat and order guac with your tacos because it’s to die for.
Wyoming: Hatch Taqueria and Tequila
Everyone loves a good margarita to wash down their tacos, but what about a spicy margarita? Game changer. Their Pastor taco with pork and grilled pineapple is fresh and juicy. Just one taco will leave you ordering four or five more. If you’re feeling the fish taco vibes, order the Pescado taco with salmon, it’s a fish taco like you’ve never seen before.
Pack your bags ladies and gents because 51 of the country’s best taco eateries are calling your names. They’re worth the trip and with the number of tacos you’re bound to be consuming in the near future, you might as well jump on the taco cleanse bandwagon.