The Greatest Tacos in Philadelphia

In a metropolis with such good Mexican meals, you may argue that one of the best taco is likely to be the one at your neighborhood joint. However these eating places warrant a visit throughout the town.

“Alt pastor” tacos from Sor Ynéz / {Photograph} courtesy of Sor Ynéz

The taco scene in Philly is so strong, there’s an argument to be made that one of the best taco is the one at your neighborhood joint (and sure, you nearly definitely have an excellent neighborhood taco spot.) It is best to nonetheless frequent that spot, however what in regards to the tacos which can be price touring to eat? The place are these locations? If you happen to’re searching for a selected form of taco — tacos de canasta or mushroom carnitas, maybe, or a flour tortilla hugging some deep fried shrimp and serrano salsa  — use this information to discover a spot doing regional specialties so properly that we’d fortunately suggest anybody go away their neighborhood to attempt them.

South Philly Barbacoa, Italian Market
We beloved this place earlier than all of the nationwide awards and TV reveals. You’re clearly going for barbacoa tacos — lamb that’s cooked in a single day then stuffed into tortillas handmade from domestically grown corn. You’ll have to attend in line, pay with money and sit within the considerably restricted seating space, however it’s all price it. Meat this juicy deserves your time. So does proprietor Cristina Martinez, a Philadelphia icon and longtime advocate for meals safety and immigration. 1140 South ninth Avenue.

Philly Tacos, Level Breeze
You’d suppose that with a reputation like that, this joint could be slinging tortillas crammed with chopped steak and Whiz. However don’t let the title idiot you. The person behind this place is Juan Carlos Romero, Philly’s personal grasp of al pastor. 2011 Reed Avenue.

The Mezcal Cantina, Level Breeze
This sit-down Mexican restaurant opened in an outdated pizza store on Level Breeze Avenue in January of 2022 with neither fanfare nor a Yelp web page. You’ll see a complete vary of Mexican regional influences on the menu (from coastal seafood to CDMX-style huarache) however prioritize the tiny al pastor tacos with marinated pork that’s been spinning on the trompo. These tacos are available beet-dyed corn tortillas or tortillas made with vivid inexperienced hoja santa. Add on a margarita plus some punchy-acidic mazatlan aguachile and also you’ve obtained your self a celebration on a random Wednesday afternoon. 1260 Level Breeze Avenue.

Row Ynéz, Kensington
Whereas there’s loads of meat available right here, it’s the vegetarian tacos that actually steal the present at Sor Ynéz, just like the spit-roasted cauliflower “alt-pastor” or the mushroom carnitas, by which oyster mushrooms are cooked to crispy, meaty perfection in an oil infused with herby epazote. Tortillas are made in-house day by day, and the patio is gorgeous, as are the well-balanced agave cocktails. 1800 North American Avenue.

Blue Corn, Italian Market
The cochinita pibil tacos right here, Yucatán-style pork marinated in citrus and wrapped in banana leaves earlier than being cooked low and gradual, are our favourite model Blue Corn serves. However the meals throughout the board is reassuring and recent. We additionally love that you could make a reservation, take pleasure in desk service, and have an excellent margarita (which isn’t essentially the case in any respect of those taco spots). Observe that it’s cash-only. 940 South ninth Avenue.

Rooster tacos at Cantina La Martina / {Photograph} by Hannah Albertine

La Martina vineyardKensington
This 2022-opened Kensington restaurant, from the previous chef of El Rey and Xochitl, Dionicio Jiménez, serves brunch, lunch and dinner in a tavern-esque nook spot with an enormous out of doors patio. Of the tacos we’ve tried right here (octopus and cauliflower, a pitch-black pastor negro, and crispy fried fish), the hen taco lined with banana peppers and a layer of melted Chihuahua cheese is essentially the most recommendable. When you have a “chicken-tacos-are-boring” bias, inform that tiny voice in your head to sit back out and provides it a shot. Particularly since Cantina La Martina runs a cheerful hour on weekdays from 4 to six p.m. when a lot of their tacos value $1 and you may drink a $6 margarita. 2800 D Avenue.

La Chingonita, Fishtown
After working as a truck all through the town, Rebecca Baez and Omar Martínez lastly opened up a brick-and-mortar in Fishtown within the spring of 2022. Now this family-owned spot is serving up tortas and tacos inside a stone’s throw of the neighborhood’s most important strip, which is cause sufficient to help them. However their Mexican meals can be recent and flavorful, particularly the vegan tinga tacos and the tacos de suadero. 413 East Girard Avenue.

TacoMexican Taco, West Philly
Breakfast tacos aren’t a staple in Philly the best way they’re in Texas, however TacoTaco Mexicano affords potato, egg, and cheese-stuffed burritos and tacos each Saturday and Sunday. The eggs are fluffy, the cheese is melty, and the potatoes gives you the raise you want from no matter you probably did the night time earlier than. They arrive on corn tortillas, which isn’t very Texan, however we’re not in Texas, now are we? 261 South forty fourth Avenue.

The Basket, South Philly
La Canasta is called for the tacos de canasta they serve every week on Friday and Saturday. Go early and also you’ll be rewarded with a prize of six tacos de canasta for $10, gentle and supple from just a few hours steaming of their namesake basket, filled with chorizo and potato, beans, or chicharron, and able to be drizzled with salsa and scarfed as quickly as you get dwelling. 2341 South 4th Avenue.

Birria tacos at Juana Tamale / {Photograph} by Michael Persico

Juana Tamale, East Passyunk
Jenn Zavala lastly opened a brick and mortar taco spot on the southernmost finish of East Passyunk on the finish of 2021, and we’re all higher for it. The tacos are nearly as good — if not higher — than those she served throughout city for years: the intersection of caramelized cheese and wealthy beef birria, all served with consommé for dipping. She additionally usually does enjoyable specials like Taco Bell-style Mexican pizza. Sustain with the restaurant’s Instagram web page for the most recent on their rotating menu. 1941 East Passyunk Avenue

Taco Laughing, Kensington
With 5 sorts of breakfast tacos and a listing of normal tacos so long as Shaq’s arm, that is the place to take a look at whenever you’re searching for a taco in Kensington, and possibly the one place in case you’re searching for tacos de cabeza. 1301 North fifth Avenue.

The Purepecha, Callowhill
This archetypal hole-in-the-wall taco store moved right into a smooth house close to Underground Arts in Callowhill with loads of seating. Come right here for the fish tacos (and fish burritos) and shrimp tacos, and keep for just about anything for which you’re within the temper. Particularly if that temper includes big micheladas. 315 North twelfth Avenue.

{Photograph} courtesy of Que Chula es Puebla

How cool Puebla is, Kensington
This meat at this North 2nd Avenue spot is persistently flavorful (significantly the shredded hen), however the salsa stands out much more. Select between two choices: a spicy orange model made with guajillo and chipotle peppers, and a salsa verde made creamy with avocados and tangy with tomatillos. The proper selection, because it seems, is to attempt each. 1356 North 2nd Avenue.

Taqueria Morales, South Philly
Taqueria Morales is a neighborhood restaurant the place every thing is above and past — the tortillas are made by hand each day, the proteins are all seasoned and cooked completely, and the grilled onions served alongside all of the tacos are completely addictive. We significantly just like the chorizo tacos, which stroll the fragile line between being oily and flavorful with out ever overwhelming your palate. 1429 Jackson Avenue.

The Llorona, South Philly
We return to La Llorona time after time for its seafood dishes, together with the shrimp tacos. Deep fried to crispy, crunchy perfection and served with a uncooked serrano chili salsa and creamy jalapeño sauce, these are the right summer season dinner. 1551 West Passyunk Avenue.

Cool, a number of places
Certain, there are different objects on the menu right here, however you may safely ignore every thing however the fried Atlantic mahi mahi and fried Pacific shrimp tacos at Buena Onda. The theme here’s a beach-inspired taco shack, and each of these fishy choices nail the task. Even higher, Buena Onda’s seafood is sustainably sourced based on Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch tips. 1901 Callowhill Avenue and 114 South twentieth Avenue, (plus the Comcast Middle and the ‘burbs).

Taco Coronary heart, Queen Village
Tex-Mex meals is one in every of Philly’s extra elusive varieties of Mexican meals, and the shortage of Texas-style breakfast tacos has haunted us for years. However no extra, since Nano Wheedan opened Taco Coronary heart. The tortillas are the star right here, all handmade with flour and lard for an nearly croissant-like flakiness. Decide up a few bacon, egg and cheese tacos, or order for supply for breakfast in mattress, however no matter you do, don’t neglect to order a pair packs of flour tortillas to eat dwelling. 1001 East Passyunk Avenue.

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