As a cultural melting pot, the United States has no end of delicious tacos.
While we're not food critics, we do love a great meal. These are our favorite tacos in each state, but it's no one-and-done list: some states—namely those that have perfected their taco game—get a few more than just one restaurant where the tortillas are warm, the fillings are plentiful and the tacos are delicious.
Authentic Taco: The Chevron station down the street from Cotton Bayou Beach is home to Alabama’s favorite Gulf Coast Mexican restaurant. This out-of-the-way stop has $2 pork, chicken and beef tacos alongside other traditional recipes. Wash everything down with a traditional Mexican tea, iced and made in-house.
The Taqueria: Juneau's taqueria pulls out all the stops with taco offerings including sockeye salmon chorizo tacos, chile-marinated barbacoa filling and more: The tamales are just as well-executed as the tacos. The al pastor tacos and smoky chicken tinga tacos are also crowd favorites.
La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop: This Phoenix and Glendale-area taco boutique offers fresh salsa alongside tacos piled with dogfish shark, shrimp, pork shoulder and more.
Taco Guild: Set in a church built in 1893, Taco Guild has a regular crowd that knows its tacos. The tequila menu at this local gastropub is just as interesting as the taco offerings. Coffee-braised beef, molida lamb covered in creole aioli and peking duck are just a few of the fillings on this menu.
CRUjiente Tacos: Pork, lengua, Korean-fried chicken and beef are all over the taco menu at CRUijente Tacos in Phoenix, with other exciting fillings including blue crab and a healthy dose of cheese on nearly every taco offering.
Blanco Tacos+Tequila: Throughout Tucson, Scottsdale and Phoenix there are several Blanco Tacos+Tequila location that offer seafood, veggie and pollo tacos in a variety of combinations.
Joyride Taco House: Veggies, pork adobada and chicken tinga are just a few of the tacos offered at this trendy taco joint in Phoenix and Gilbert.
Taqueria El Palenque: The tacos aArrieros at Taqueria El Palenque in Little Rock, Arkansas, are filled with chorizo, pico de gallo and steak. This simple taco is a gem in a menu chock full of traditional Mexican offerings that are true to recipes handed down through generations.
Guisados: In Los Angeles, Guisados serves up gluten-free tacos that default to “semi-spicy” but are served to taste. At this local restaurant chain flank steak shines, Poblano-style mole sauce makes an appearance and inventive pork filings are piled high.
Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey: Once a food truck, Denver’s favorite taco restaurant set up a brick-and-mortar shop to sling street-food taco combos like the pan-roasted shrimp and scallops taco piled with pico de gallo and avocado.
El Charrito: This food truck and brick-and-mortar eatery offer fresh Mexican cuisine in Stamford, Connecticut—the food truck—and Riverside—the brick-and-mortar location. These $3 tacos come with an array of proteins and toppings; cow head, chitlins, chorizo and pig ears are just a few of the offerings. Wash everything down with a Jarritos or Mexican Coke.
Taqueria El Jalisco: This pick-up counter in the Jalisco Mexican Grocery Store has cheap tacos and ceviche with fresh ingredients. Shop the store for Mexican ingredients and even a pair of cowboy boots before tucking into beef, chicken and pork tacos.
District of Columbia
Chaia: Born from a farmers market stand, this brick-and-mortar restaurant hand crafts tortillas each morning and tops taco selections with greens, salsa and cheese. Everything on the menu is gluten free.
Oyamel: As a José Andrés restaurant, Oyamel has a lot to live up to and its Mexican cuisine delivers. Margaritas with salt “air”—made from any mix of the 50 tequilas available—pairs with braised beef tongue tacos, barbecued pork tacos and veggies options.
Espita Mezcaleria: Half a dozen salsas and mole sauces complement hand-crafted tacos at this lively, local restaurant.
Taquiza: This South Beach eatery offers traditional Mexican street foods like beef barbacoa tacos to more adventurous blue corn tortilla fillings like lengua (cow tongue) and grasshoppers. The signature blue corn tortillas are made from hand-ground corn each morning.
TacoCraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar: Get ready for modern interpretations of Mexican street food classics from this boutique taqueria in Fort Lauderdale. The menu features a selection of tacos made with hand-crafted tortillas, classic Mexican appetizers and entrees. The bar serves more than 150 types of types of tequila and mezcal in addition to a selection of craft beers from local breweries.
Casa Tina's: This family-owned Mexican tavern is known for one of the largest street “fiestas” in all of Tampa Bay, complete with mariachi bands, margaritas and lots and lots of tacos. But what makes their food stand out from the rest is their use of fresh, natural ingredients like their classic Ensenada-style fish tacos with grilled fish, cabbage and cilantro on handmade corn tortillas.
Tacos & Tequilas Mexican Grill: This Tex-Mex restaurant in Atlanta serves everything on the menu with a whisper of tequila in the ingredients. Savor traditional tacos or try Southern favorites like fried chicken tacos or fried avocado tacos. Salmon tacos and other fish-filled taco offerings are light on the calories without skimping on flavor.
Mexico Lindo: This Kailua cantina serves "Taqueria Taco Maya" that pairs with Mexico Lindo's blended Li Hing Mui margarita: locals love li hing mui, a dried plum with a salty and sweet flavoring. This drink is made with the li hing mui powder mixed with the regular margarita mix. The rim—instead of salt—is covered in the same li hing mui powder.
Morenita’s Restaurant: Morenita’s Restaurant in Idaho Falls is a hidden gem that’s part Mexican goods store and part bakery. Dig into tacos ranchero and other options like taco supreme—double tortillas loaded with meat and the works.
Quiote: Stop in to Chicago’s Quiote for lunch-time tacos with fillings like braised chicken, adobo pork and salsa-drenched brisket. The flavors rotate regularly and pair with agave spirits at the Quiote’s sophisticated Mezcal bar.
La Chinita Poblana: This Asian-Mex fusion restaurant offers tacos filled with the likes of crispy Japanese eggplant, shrimp, steak skirt and other interesting combinations.
Zamora Fresh Market: Zamora Fresh Market, in Marshalltown, has a small area in the back with TVs blasting soccer games and handwritten menus. Toss a generous dash of lime on the chicken and beef tacos for a well-balanced blend of spicy and fresh ingredients.
Bonito Michoacan: As a taqueria, grocery store and bakery this Kansas City favorite has a loyal following. Most of the tacos are typically under $2 with half-priced tacos offered several days during the week. Highlights include the barbacoa and al pastor tacos.
La Mexicana: In a strip mall along Preston Highway, in Louisville, La Mexicana serves authentic Mexican dishes in a humble setting. What’s not humble—and rightfully so—is the flavorful protein options that range from cow head to pork skin to beef brain with lengua, barbacoa and other approachable fare on the toppings list.
Del Fuego Taqueria: New Orleans restaurant Del Fuego Taqueria certainly lets good tacos roll out of the kitchen. The gulf fish or shrimp tacos served with cabbage and spicy mayo are the best bet alongside a tamarind margarita.
El Corazon Food Truck: Follow this food truck’s social media and check in the website for their daily location in Portland, Maine. The fish tacos are exceptional, along with carne asada and other taco options.
La Tolteca: The carne asada and beefy chorizo tacos are two of “street food” taco offerings at Baltimore’s La Tolteca location. This family-owned chain is known for cheap eats that deliver quality bites.
Lone Star Taco: This storied cantina offers fish, pork, chorizo and veggie tacos alongside a prolific mezal and tequila menus. Who said street food had to be bad for you? Spring for the good fat with grilled avocado or tofu tacos.
Cuatro Amigos: Fish tacos and traditional taco fillings are king at this Bay City restaurant where hot sauces are paired to each flavor of taco for optimal spice-to-filling ratios.
R Taco: Fast-casual Minneapolis eatery R Taco boasts more than a dozen tacos filled to the brim with house-made ingredients from slow-cooked brisket to fried chicken and black beans. The restaurant recently rebranded from “Rusty Tacos” but still serves its signature Mexican cuisine.
Green Ghost Tacos: Jackson and Ridgeland, Mississippi are home to Green Ghost Taco locations that offer standard taco fillings like lengua, chicken and beef but also include a few more daring options—no less tasty—like tripe and beef brain.
Mission Taco Joint: This St. Louis restaurant serves up favorites like the BBQ duck taco—stuffed with slow-roasted duck, ancho-agave glaze, pork belly carnitas and avocado—for just $4. Pair taco offerings with the “Oaxacan Firing Squad” cocktail made with mezcal, pomegranate grenadine, lime and bitters.
El Rodeo: Look for the white bus painted with big red letters when you’re in Bozeman, Montana, and you’ve found El Rodeo. This roving food bus serves up cheap tacos served on corn tortillas with standard taco proteins.
Maria’s Restaurant: In Ralston, Nebraska, Maria’s is known for good tacos and generous margaritas. The fillings are standards like chicken, beef and carnitas that are lovingly prepared.
Tacos el Gordo: This taco stop where star-power chefs to go get their taco fix has been in Las Vegas for 40 years has also opened a California location. The tacos are authentic and the prices are cheap. Hop into the right meat-specific line to get the fillings your heart desires.
Conseulo’s Taqueria: The soft tacos served at this local cocina include options straight off the grill like beef and chicken with bell peppers, onions and bacon. Other tasty favorites are the chorizo and mushroom tacos.
Tortuga’s Mexican Village: This Princeton Tex-Mex restaurant offers a plate of crispy tacos fixed up half a dozen ways with rice and beans that is legendary with locals.
Taqueria Mexico: Albuquerque’s Taqueria Mexico offers traditional taco fillings alongside a full menu of authentic recipes. Carnitas, ground beef and fish tacos are also on the menu.
The Pantry: Slow-roasted pork and other taco-filling bites line the menu at this Sante Fe hotspot. Stop in for tacos during lunch and dig into a combo plate of rice, beans and tacos.
Los Tacos: This counter-service restaurant offers carne asada, adobado and other staple fillings for tacos in either a corn or flour tortilla. Try a nopal taco, filled with grilled cactus.
Cosme: This Flatiron restaurant offers haute Mexican cuisine with tacos that have earned rave reviews. Enrique Olvera heads the kitchen and brings flavorful combinations together in new ways.
Tacombi: This mini-chain restaurant is a cool meeting space to talk over fresh-pressed juice, Mexican sodas and—of course—tacos. Barbacoa, beef picadillo, chorizo-stuffed and crispy fish tacos are just a few of the offerings.
Dos Taquitos: Pork and grilled onions in addition to Chihuahua cheese melted over steak, pico de gallo and avocado crown the tacos at Dos Taquitos in Raleigh, North Carolina. This family-owned business specializes in authentic Mexican dishes in a welcoming atmosphere.
Alcapulo Restaurant: Alcalpulo’s offers an array of tacos alongside combinations of rice, beans and other Mexican dishes. The margaritas are also tasty, staple menu items that Fargo, North Dakota, locals love.
Condado Tacos: This build-your-own Tex-Mex restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, offers traditional taco staples in addition to inventive pairings of Mexican cheese, proteins and pickled veggies.
Tacos San Pedro: At less than $2 a taco, this restaurant’s hearty helpings of meat, onions, salsa and cilantro piled high on a flour tortilla is a bargain and a tasty one at that.
Stella Taco: Portland’s Stella Taco is—you guessed it—all about tacos. From breakfast tacos to street-food lunch tacos to premium tacos for special occasions—or the odd because-it’s-Tuesday splurge—this place has all the tacos you could think of. From staples like steak and carnitas filling to fried avocado and shredded brisket.
South Philly Barbacoa: This Bon Appetit recommended joint only serves its tacos on the weekends, so pre-planning a stop is imperative. The lamb barbacoa tacos are some of our favorite anywhere, washed down with a ready jug of aguas frescas.
Tallulah’s Taqueria: Trendy Providence taco shop Tallulah’s Taqueria offers fresh taco staples on corn tortillas in a build-your-own setting.
Minero: This Charleston restaurant is a star in chef Sean Brock’s dining legacy as a lively and fun spot for affordable, flavorful fare. Opt for traditional fillings like al pastor, pork carnitas or steak or dive into fried catfish tacos served with pickled green tomato tartar alongside cabbage and red onion. Take a group and build your own tacos right at the table with Cotija cheese, choice of proteins, chopped onions, homemade salsa and more.
Laughing Water Restaurant: South Dakota’s claim to fame—besides its gorgeous badlands scenery—is an abundance of Indian tacos. Replace the tortilla or hard-shell taco with fry dough bread, top with traditional taco fillings and dig. For a stellar example of an Indian taco, belly up at Laughing Water Restaurant in Custer, North Dakota. Meat, beans, tomatoes, onions and lettuce are what you can expect to top the fry dough base.
La Altena: Chattanooga’s cheap taco stops would be incomplete without La Altena. With half a dozen taco options under $1.50 each, this stops packs in flavor at a low price. Expect staple proteins like al pastor and barbacoa to fill the tacos at this cantina. 314 W. Main Street, 432.266.7595
Taco Taco Cafe: San Antonio’s highly lauded Tex-Mex restaurant, Taco Taco Cafe, boasts charred-beef loaded into warm, soft tacos and breakfast tacos full of chorizo and eggs that have a near-cult following.
Juan in a Million: This legendary Austin restaurant is a breakfast stop that serves warm tortillas chock full of eggs, guacamole, migas (crushed tortilla chips) or carne guisada (garlic beef) depending on your taste.
Tacodeli: Local mini-chain Tacodeli has five locations around Austin, Houston and Dallas. More than two dozen taco options span the gamut for Tacodeli’s breakfast and lunch hours. The doña salsa and other award-winning sauces complement the range of ingredients in these bright, well-prepared tacos.
Henry’s Puffy Tacos: This taco institution has two locations in San Antonio, the first open since the late 1970s. The masa flour used for the tortillas is fried—giving it its signature appearance—and filled with picadillo (hash), guac, beans and cheese, shredded chicken or any combination of fillings.
Fuel City: Bring cash to this Dallas gas station and get ready for tasty tacos. Breakfast and lunch fillings are poured into flour or corn tortillas for less than $2 a taco.
Urban Taco: This trendy Mexican restaurant has two locations in Dallas and one quick stop in DFW’s Terminal C22. Pick up tacos full of red snapper, pepper-crusted tuna or opt for the "Al Pastor a la Tuma" tacos topped with fried manchego cheese, habanero salsa and avocado.
Chunga’s: Chunga’s is a Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City perfect for a quick bite of tacos alongside house-made guac and salsa. Try the Hawaiian, steak, al pastor or ham tacos to find a new favorite.
El Cortijo: This 1950s Burlington diner serves farm-to-table tacos with ingredients like lengua, beef shoulder, crispy fish and more. The tequila bar serves up inventive margaritas from an expansive tequila list.
Cafe Ole: This downtown Richmond restaurant offers classic tacos and hangs local art throughout the restaurant. Munch on chicken, beef, veggie or steak tacos while admiring the paintings and original photography.
Quality Burrito: The dozen taco offerings—including “bacon & potato” alongside pork belly or tofu tacos—makes this Olympia restaurant stand out. Dive into creative flavor pairings or stick to tried-and-true fillings.
Mi Cucina de Amor: Charleston, West Virginia's legendary taco spot offers tequila-lime chicken tacos among interesting beefy tacos and more. Pair with a chipotle lime margarita or spicy mango margarita for an extra kick.
Tacos Juanita Mexican Restaurant: This Eau Claire restaurant offers tortilla and hard-shell tacos with all the fixings but also offers puffy fry bread tacos piled high with meat, cheese and salsa. Dig into a California-style taco loaded with meat, guac and salsa.