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Lone Star
Photograph: Courtesy Lone Star/Jennifer Trebino Lone Star

The best tacos in Boston

The best taco spots in Boston take the beloved Mexican dish to flavorful heights, from classic to contemporary

By Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman
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The best Mexican restaurants in Boston cover all the classics from burritos and enchiladas to elotes and tortas. But when you're specifically craving a taco, these are the places you'll want to seek out. Whether you're into a classic al pastor with flavorful meat, a crisp fried fish taco, or an innovative vegetarian version, these places have you covered. The best tacos in Boston feature fresh ingredients and innovative twists; you can even try fancy versions with global flavors. For more quick, handheld treats, check out the best burgers in Boston and the best sandwiches in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

A taqueria we love so much that we welcomed it into Time Out Market

Taqueria El Barrio
Photograph: Alex Sáenz

Taqueria El Barrio

Restaurants Fenway/Kenmore

Spice up your meal with authentic Mexican flavors from Servio Garcia and Chef Alex Sáenz. After a well-received stint down the street near Boston University, Taqueria el Barrio has been brought back to life at Time Out Market, delighting area foodies who grew accustomed to fine flour tortillas made in-house, gourmet nachos, glorious quesadillas and addictive tacos, filled with savory, flavorful, lovingly-prepared meats—good luck choosing between asada, pastor, carnitas or birria—or even the spicy vegan chorizo. Make your life easier and get a fistful of tacos.

Best tacos in Boston

Birria taco at Taqueria Jalisco
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mika S.

1. Birria taco at Taqueria Jalisco

Restaurants Mexican East Boston

This tiny, family-owned taqueria in Eastie is super authentic, from homemade salsas to the popular lengua (tongue) tacos. Weekends are when the real star is available: the birria taco—beef slow-cooked with adobo spices, then chopped fine and topped with cilantro and onion—is a must, worth the trek alone.

Cabeza taco at Taqueria El Amigo
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Phil C.

2. Cabeza taco at Taqueria El Amigo

Restaurants Mexican

Head out to Waltham for some real taco truck fare. Here youll find fare that's quick, cheap, and fresh. Plus, you actually have the fairly rare opportunity to try a cabeza taco. The tender, fatty beef cheek is delicious, and its topped with a big slice of avocado that balances the flavor intensity.

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Pescado taco at Tenoch
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Elizabeth H.

3. Pescado taco at Tenoch

Restaurants Mexican North End

Tortas are the main draw at Tenoch, but the fish tacos are a worthy alternative. The breaded fish is topped with cucumber, cilantro and a creamy green salsa that enhance rather than mask the fish. Co-owners (and brothers) Alvaro and Andres Sandoval hail from Veracruz, and this taco is a good representation of the flavors and ingredients of that region.

4. Taco de carnitas at La Brasa

Restaurants Mexican Somerville

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.

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Cochinita pibil taco at Rincon Mexicano
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lorenzo R.

5. Cochinita pibil taco at Rincon Mexicano

Restaurants Mexican Somerville

Cochinita pibil is another authentic and hard-to-find taco. Fortunately, there's Rincon Mexicano. The traditional Yucatan preparation features 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.

Lone Star
Photograph: Courtesy Lone Star/Jennifer Trebino

6. Carnitas taco at Lone Star Taco Bar

Restaurants Mexican Allston/Brighton

Lone Star caters to the young and hip of Allston, with a cool vibe and plenty of craft beer. But the carnitas taco is a notable offering for all to try. Confit pork is slightly crisped before serving, wrapped in a house made corn tortilla, then topped with onions and cilantro, plus queso fresco and salsa verde. Street corn is a tasty side dish.

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El Pelon
Photograph: Courtesy El Pelon

7. Caramelos taco at El Pelón Taqueria

Restaurants Mexican Fenway/Kenmore

El Pelón Taqueria has been a Fenway mainstay for years. While it's known for its giant burritos, don't miss the fish tacos (cornmeal-crusted cod with arbol chile mayo and pickled cabbage) or the tacos caramelos (grilled steak with melted jack cheese, hot sauce, salsa fresca and guac).

Naco Taco
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cristina R.

8. Fried cod taco at Naco Taco

Restaurants Mexican Central Sq

House-made tortillas at this Central Square taqueria cradle an innovative range of fillings from duck confit to smoked tofu to chorizo. The classics are equally delicious, so don't miss the fried shrimp taco or the outstanding fish taco, made with fresh  cod.

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Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar

9. Grilled avocado taco at Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar

Restaurants Mexican South Boston

On the creative end of the spectrum, Loco Taqueria offers options such as blackened swordfish, buffalo chicken, and crispy calamari (served on a black tortilla). For vegetarians tired of grilled veggie tacos, check out the surprisingly flavorful grilled avocado taco. It's topped with curtido (spicy slaw), jalapeno-herb crema, crispy brussels sprouts, and spiced pumpkin seeds.

Surtido taco at La Victoria Taqueria
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alex B.

10. Surtido taco at La Victoria Taqueria

Restaurants Mexican

Looking for a "challenge taco"? This is one dare you'll want to take (no vegans, please). A surtido taco contains just about every part of the pig, from its fatty bits to the gristle. Just take a bite and you'll forget all that as you savor this meaty, spicy, fatty, drippy, delicious taco from La Victoria.

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