Best tacos in Boston
The family-owned space could generously be described as compact, but you’re here to order and run. Many are fans of the lengua (tongue), but the birria taco—only available on the weekends—is a revelation: beef slow-cooked with adobo spices, then chopped fine and topped with cilantro and onion.
It’s hard to say this spot is hidden, given that it routinely wins accolades from various local media outlets. Still, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon a glorious secret. This is true taco truck fare, in the best sense, which means you actually have the rare opportunity to order a cabeza taco—a taco filled with beef cheek. It’s tender, fatty and almost overwhelmingly delicious, topped with a big slab of avocado that nicely cuts the flavor intensity.
Stateside, a good fish taco can be hard to come by outside of California, but Tenoch offers a credible take. The breaded fish is topped with cucumber, cilantro and a creamy green salsa—simple accoutrements that let the fresh fish shine through. Co-owners (and brothers) Alvaro and Andres Sandoval hail from Veracruz, Mexico—their family’s recipes fill the menu, with the tortas winning the most plaudits.
You wouldn’t expect to find such a superior taco in such an industrial-chic space. But chef Daniel Bojorquez is a native of Hermosillo, Mexico, which explains the exquisite preparation of this carnitas taco, the only taco on the menu. Bojorquez cures the pork shoulder overnight with the skin still on, then slow roasts it for 12 hours before serving it with lime salsa verde, chile de arbol and chopped white onions and cilantro.
Cochinita pibil is another hard-to-find staple in and around Boston; fortunately, Rincon Mexicano gets it right. The traditional Yucatan preparation sees pork marinated in citrus juices and seasoned with annatto seeds, which give the meat a burnt orange tinge. The house-made tortillas from chef-owner Lorenzo Reyes seal the deal.
Do you want to know what’s in a surtido taco? Fair warning, you might not want to. For the curious ones: It encompasses just about every part of the pig, from its fatty bits to the gristle. Savor this meaty, spicy, fatty, drippy, delicious entry from cult fave La Victoria and then marvel over the fact that your taco cost about the same as your MBTA fare.
Lone Star is a hit with the twentysomethings of Allston who crave cheap yet delicious fare in hip environs. Here the carnitas taco is truly notable; the pork is given the confit treatment, slightly crisped before serving and topped with onions and cilantro, plus queso fresco and salsa verde. (All the corn tortillas are also made in-house.) Consider ordering the tasty street corn to round out your meal.
Korean-Mexican fast-casual cuisine can be found in cities from coast to coast; locally, OliToki’s bulgogi beef taco stands out. Thin-cut, marinated sirloin is piled atop a double tortilla and topped with onion, cilantro, purple cabbage, kimchi, cheese, sour cream, aioli and spicy toki sauce. For an eye-catching protein alternative, select fried spam instead of beef.
It’s tough out there for a vegan, never more so than when Mexican food is involved. (For starters, corn tortillas are usually made with lard or shortening.) That is why Taco Party has been a gift from the culinary gods: meatless tacos done with flavor, not just ethics, in mind. Many terrific options abound (the BBQ jackfruit taco is a popular choice), but the simple seitan chorizo taco gives you all the spice and tenderness you might secretly crave from a meaty taco.
The more casual sibling of the Painted Burro, Burro Bar does simple street fare well. The chicken liver taco wins raves, as does the short rib “double stack” taco, which folds a crispy tortilla inside a soft one for added texture. The pile of tender, juicy short rib is complimented by three cheeses, poblano, onion, oregano, and Mexican crema, resulting in a messy, rewarding taco experience.