Tacos in Texas are their own food group. Honestly. Tacos are taken so seriously here that everyone has an opinion on where to get the best taco in their city. There is even a book dedicated to taste testing the state’s tacos from some of the best taco joints in Texas.
Hailing from la tradición mexicana, tacos are a basic food that are built on a few staple ingredients. With tortillas, fillings, and salsas you can technically construct a taco. It might even be good. However, there is an art to their construction that can transform this humble street food into a gourmet work of art. Where the truly tasty tacos are made is usually local knowledge, but to help you sniff out the best of the best for your next taco trip, here is a list of six of the best taco joints in the Lone Star State.
Please note: So to not offend any passionate taco lovers out there, we will admit that opinions are fallible.
1. Maria’s Taco Xpress in Austin
Austin’s crown jewel of tacos is the breakfast taco and the best come from what is known to locals as the taco goddess. The funky outside of this building gives a hint as to the interesting toppings that you will find inside the tacos here.
Authentic Mexican fillings like nopales and al pastor are laid side by side with more familiar taco fillings like eggs and cheese. The beautiful thing here is you can mix and match. Plus, the salsa bar is filled with half a dozen different flavors, which as any true taco lover knows, is not an option. Salsa makes the taco.
2. L & J Café in El Paso
This is about as close to the border as you can enjoy tacos. L & J Café’s lovely hand-painted sign signals that the tacos you’re about to enjoy are made more for a beautiful harmony of taste rather than perfect presentation.
However, the tacos taste so good that you won’t be able to notice anything else. When you’re here, try the guacamole on the tacos. No one can argue with the perfection of this combination.
3. Taquería El Si Hay in Dallas
Make the journey to south Dallas to try these street tacos. There is nothing aesthetically fancy to recommend this place, but the food is able to do that for itself.
The barbacoa tacos are raved about, but the menu item that really stands out are the elotes. Loaded with chipotle and served in a Styrofoam box, the flavor and presentation of these delectable nuggets just doesn’t get much more authentic.
4. Taqueria Datapoint in San Antonio
San Antonio rests right at the heart of Taco Land where the competition is fierce. Therefore you know that when the locals are raving about the tacos at Taqueria Davenport that something is wildly delicious. The answer to what that something is?
The al pastor and barbacoa. Tender, juicy meat is slow roasted, seasoned, and then stuffed into, wait for it, mini tacos. Yes, you can get mini tacos here which gives you so much more room to try all the flavors. There are no longer limits on your taco indulgence.
5. Mary’s Tacos in Boerne
Even small-town Texas has a horse in the taco race. At this little place, tacos are the star of the show. Seven days a week, breakfast tacos are served until 2pm on fresh, homemade tortillas.
With only several variations on a few main ingredients, what they do they do well. Even those who come from taco paradises like Austin and San Antonio can agree.
6. Tacos Tierra Caliente in Houston
Inexpensive, generous, delicious. What more could you ask for? This little trailer parked itself in the middle of Houston, posted up its handwritten sign, and got to business. There is nothing fancy about the décor, but the tacos are cheap and they have rave reviews. In particular, the clientele love that they don’t skip on the avocado, cilantro, or limes (all crucial ingredients).
The real secret to what makes these tacos so awesome? You can take them next door to the West Alabama Ice House where you can wash down their spicy goodness with an ice cold beer.
Just remember. It’s cash only.