Here Are Our Favorite Taquerias In California And Texas. Did Yours Make The List
So, we’re here to define the biggest question in the informal culinary world bar none… where’s the best tacos, Texas or California? The reality is, tacos are totally subjective and therefore impossible to judge who’s better or not, but, you gotta agree that this is one list you can’t miss. Just a piece of advice: keep some napkins handy for the drooling!
These succulent selections are not rated in any particular order, so if you happen to stumble onto any of them, dig in!
1. Petty Cash: Californiapettycashla / Instagram
What would you think if a “taqueria” had a pre-fixe? This eatery on Beverly Blvd. in L.A. is tops on all sorts of treats, and. Well, being L.A., it has to have a good assortment of vegan stuff. And the big plus is the full bar; only drawback, it’s normally packed to the gills, so it’s a good idea to reserve ahead of time.
2. Vera’s Backyard BBQ: Texasatxfoodguy / Instagram
The best part about this Brownsville tradition is that Vera’s is the only remaining barbacoa venue in Texas allowed by health officials to have whole cattle heads in underground mesquite. It’s so rooted in tradition that the process was grandfathered in. try the “mixta”, a little bit of everything in it. Oh, they only open on weekends!
3. Super Rica: CaliforniaKatie T. / Yelp
Delve into reviews of this unassuming place in Santa Barbara and you’ll be floored! Locals may have gone elsewhere, but the tourist bunch still flocks here for their taste, unchanged in over 30 years. Try the chorizo quesadilla… it’ll knock your socks off. Sometimes the wait can be over 30 minutes, but hang in there, it’s worth it!
4. Taco-Holics: Texasmomo3212 / Instagram
Located in El Paso, it’s almost a landmark of the bustling city, deeply rooted in Mexican-American tradition, and this is a local institution. Don’t miss the Carne Asada Fries, a smorgasbord of flavors. There’s even a vegan version with tofu. But, no disrespect, make an exception and top them with any of their signature meats, oh yeah señor!
5. Esther’s Taco House: Californiaestherstacohouse / Instagram
Placentia normally does not appear in many folks’ radar but get out of your route to savor some good stuff. Catering to a changing demographic, they also offer not-so-Mexican goodies such as fried pickles, but it’s the taquitos that make the detour worthwhile: rolled tortillas stuffed with your choice of meat, then smothered in guac.
6. Restaurant Nuevo Leon: TexasLaura P. / Yelp
This Fort Worth restaurant pays homage to Monterrey’s signature dish, spit-roasted kid goat, “cabrito”, a Jewish inspired dish from the first days of Nuevo Leon. Weekends it’s jam packed with diners ready to tear into the many parts of the goat, even the head! Of course, for the less adventurous there’s normal Mexican fare.
7. El Gordo Taco: Californiatacoselgordo / Instagram
If it comes from Tijuana, you know it’s gonna be good! Operating in Baja since the early 70s, they crossed into neighboring San Diego and swept town with their down to earth typical food; now they’ve also expanded into Vegas with their delectable meats, guac and downright goodiness in the shape of a taco.
8. Taco Deli: Texastacodeli / Instagram
Originating in Austin, with roots deep in Mexico City’s bustling taco scene, this place is now present in 4 cities throughout Texas and maintains the same standards from its inception in 1999: chicken, beef, pork and, keeping with Austin’s weirdness, there are extremely deelish vegan options. There’s an Akaushi ground beef if that floats your boat!
9. King Taco: Californiapeetahkoo / Instagram
This taco sanctuary began as a food truck in 1974 and it is now grown to 20 locations, but with awesome taste and strict standards for quality. Select your filling from staples such as pastor – spit roasted seasoned pork, lengua – beef tongue, or suadero – slow roasted brisket. Better believe it… it is good!
10. El Come Taco: TexasMelissa H. / Yelp
When it comes to tacos, they’re pretty much stuffed with the same cuts, but what sets apart the real winners is how the meats are seasoned and cooked. This Dallas establishment, a relative new-comer, has been steadily winning people’s stomachs since 2013 with its assortment of delicious, well-made and tasty treats that you should try RIGHT NOW!
11. La Taqueria: CaliforniaJohn L. / Yelp
When it’s hard to find a table right away, you know a place is good! And since 1990 this San Francisco Mission district spot is keeping patrons happy – not only with the ice-cold beers, but the savory guisos that stuff their tacos. Some reviewers complain they can’t rate the place higher that the max. By the way, these are traditional (meaning no rice) in tacos.
12. Gerardo’s Drive-In: TexasKelly C. / Yelp
A Houston commodity, Gerardo’s dates back to 1977, serving pork carnitas and chicharrones in a grocery store/restaurant/food truck setting that keeps folks coming for more. While barbacoa is only Fri-Sun, that doesn’t hinder people munching on the treats as the walk past the door. Guessing maybe only half of the order will get home!
13. El Matador: CaliforniaRandoll C. / Yelp
Rated by many as the “best in Hollywood, if not all of California” this LA place lives up to the expectations, especially with the carne asada and chicken tacos where the beef is fresh off the grill and the bird has been slow cooked in an assortment of spices and veggies. Don’t expect much in vegetarian options here; maybe the salsa. But give it a try.
14. Pico’s: TexasPicos Restaurant / Yelp
Here, they claim to cover the seven regions of Mexican cuisine and boy, do they ever deliver! Ranging from seafood, hoagies all the way to tacos, and sides, there’s a boatload of options to choose from. Also, the cocktail and bar selections are amazing. Here, you can go from Baja up North, down to the Yucatan, then do it all over again!
15. Pinches Tacos: CaliforniaYuna H. / Yelp
“Pinche” has a lot of connotations in Spanish, but the well-educated option is chef apprentice. Angelinos flock to this restaurant in West Hollywood for their tacos of all sorts, like the nopalitos – cactus paddles, pastor, asada and, of course being California, fish tacos. They round the offering with soups, tortas and sopes, all with Mexican flair bar none!
16. Taqueria Datapoint: TexasShawn W. / Yelp
Funny name for Mexican fare but, who cares? They provide real South of the Border comfort food in a San Antonio strip mall. Small tortillas make up their taco supply, always adorned by sides of grilled onions, guac and salsas. Depending on the time of day, it can get pretty hectic and service could be slow. But, hey, don’t complain; just eat sis.
17. Best Fish Taco In Ensenada: CaliforniaTy W. / Yelp
Now that was a mouthful! The Baja style of fish tacos is ever present here with simple options: fish or shrimp, that easy! But they excel with the fixings to add onto your tacos, crema, salsas – including one made with radish, cilantro and most everything you need. They pride themselves in heating tortillas just right between crisp and soft.
18. Martinez Bakery: TexasBrad F. / Yelp
Midland, in North Texas, has its good taco place at this mainly bakery shop combining well-made treats for lunch and dinner. There specialty are crispy brisket tacos, which people say are out of this world. No frills, easy to get to, but could get troublesome in busy times when the parking lot fills up. The bakery, with Mexican staples, is a definite plus!
19. Fat Fish Cantina & Grill: CaliforniaKristen L. / Yelp
Located in San Diego, this place serves some mean shrimp enchiladas that are simple and plain good! Worthy of mention also is the carnitas in chile verde burrito in a super-size flour tortilla and all the trimmings. It’s California, so expect champagne along with your tacos, especially during the happy hour schedules that abound here.
20. Maria’s Café: TexasTeofila R. / Yelp
This San Antonio taco place is only open until 2 p.m., so make it a plan to get there early enough to enjoy the best of their offerings. Homemade tortillas are the specialty here, as well as their breakfast sandwiches with beans, ham, egg, cheese and salsa. People from all over the country have sent raving reviews to this simple and unpretentious spot.
21. Tres Hermanas: CaliforniaYao C. / Yelp
Located midtown Sacramento, the menu here is a mile long, and filled with scrumptious options so good that you’ll need a bib just to read through it! Tacos are both hard and soft shell, with chile rellenos – stuffed poblanos, being another savory opportunity to delve into true Mexican taste. They have carnitas, tostadas, combinations plates and more!
22. Orale Super Tacos: TexasOrale Super Tacos / Facebook
Smack in the middle of the Rio Grande Valley, or RGV, is this hole in the wall taqueria that’s making people come back for more. And more is what they offer; their 14” Super Breakfast Taco is all you need to start your own legacy of returning here time after time. The steak quesadilla will never disappoint.
23. Maya Taco Truck: CaliforniaDonovan H. / Yelp
When a taco spot caters to the night owls closing until 2 am on weekends, it gotta be good, and it is! The offer a ton of typical taco meats like asada, birria, tongue, pastor, chicharron and even vegetarian options – it is California, y’know? Not much of where to sit down, but don’t worry, standing up you’ll fit a lot more food in your belly!
24. Manuel’s: TexasDrew D. / Yelp
Right across the Causeway from So. Padre Island is this Port Isabel tradition where the food is plenty and the vibes are laid back as ever. People staying at the resort across the bridge make the pilgrimage to savor great options such as chilaquiles and machacado. As you seated, you get chips and salsa. Word of caution, though. Bring cash (there’s an ATM).
So, there you have it. Texas and California Mexican eateries worth trying out. If we’d have to pick a winner, well, that’s you folks!
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