A decent Mexican meal may be hard to come by in London, but with the street-food scene booming, London’s take on tacos is getting tastier by the day. If you’re into morsels of meat and veg topping soft little tortilla bases and you don’t mind making a mess, say hola to these champion stalls and restaurants making an excelente stab at our favourite Mexican street food. Here are London’s best tacos.
The best tacos in London
These street-food chiefs aren’t doling tradish Tex Mex or run-of-the-mill carnitas from their street-food-stall-gone-permanent restaurant. Instead, find anything from pibil pig’s head, rib-eye beef and buttermilk fried chicken loaded up on soft-shell corn bases. With ingredients like chamomile and ‘IPA salsa’ in the mix, there’s a whole lot more to Breddos’ tacos than chilli heat and citrus zing.
On a menu of Mexican street food standards that’s a little hit and miss, the tacos at Cielo Blanco fall into the former category. Especially when you get four of them for £4.95–£5.95, depending on the filling. But we reckon you should order the fish tacos, packed with fleshy, beer-battered fish of the day, strewn with slaw and doused with a lime-heavy relish to liven it all up. Arriba!
If we tell you the tacos bursting with full-on flavour at Club Mexicana are vegan, you’ll probably think we’ve gone loco. But Mexican and vegan food are both done way more than justice at the latest resident in Pamela’s kitchen. ‘To-fish’ tacos feature beer-battered tofu wrapped in seaweed and topped with fresh chillies, shredded lettuce and chimichurri sauce. Or wolf down a pulled jackfruit version topped with guac. Who needs pork?
Blue corn tortilla bases are generously plied with the likes of pork belly, king prawns and orange-and-soy-marinated hanger steak at this sunny Soho outlet. The baja fish taco is so loaded, you can hardly pick it up. But endeavour to do so and you’ll be rewarded with moist, beer-battered fish, two types of shredded cabbage and a slick of chipotle mayo. Definitely the star on an otherwise enjoyable taco list.
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The tacos at DF Mexico are big boys, with two large flour tortillas filled and stacked in metal trays. Chilli-rubbed chicken or pork pibil options are standard, but the fish tacos are the pick of the pack. Fresh, MSC-approved cod is lightly battered and coated in chipotle mayo, red slaw and a good old squeeze of lime. The setting may not transport you to Baja, but the fish tacos do a fairly solid job.
The folks who brought you Barrafina turn their eye to Mexico at Borough’s El Pastor. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the namesake ‘al pastor’ tacos are the best of the lot. Find pork shoulder marinated for 24 hours and served up with sweet flecks of pineapple and guacamole. Other options served on nicely firm tortillas include a chargrilled strip of stonebass and adobo-rubbed chicken.
Two words: cheeseburger tacos. That’s just one of the flavour mash-ups worth seeking out at Shepherd’s Bush Mexican taco outlet Killer Tomato. Other killer modern taco twists include a belly-busting sticky fried chicken taco, with a Korean tinge of flavour and sesame seeds and spring onion for a little added crunch. Wash down with a Tommy’s Margarita and you’re laughing.
While the sex shop frontage breaks all conventions at Soho’s brightest Mexican joint, La Bodega Negra’s menu of tacos keeps it real. Tacos come in sets of three and fillings like pork al pastor and camarones in chipotle cream are as authentic as the buzzy, cantina-style vibe if you sit in the café side of this dual venue. Expects soft flour tacos, melt-in-the-mouth meat and just the right level of fuego.
Tacos, but not as you know it. Lemlem Kitchen cleverly mashes up Eritrean and Mexican cuisines to bring east Londoners ‘afrotacos’. Little flour tortillas are topped with spongy injera flatbreads that so perfectly absorb any spicy juices oozing out of flavoursome anise chicken, zigni pulled lamb or split pea timtimo toppings. These may just be the best tacos in town, even if they’re far from traditional.
Tacos come in sweet-looking pairs served on slate at this Marylebone backstreet Mexican, and corn tortillas are beautifully fresh and ever-so-slightly blackened on the edges. All duos are priced at £8, even the soft-shell crab tacos doused in a chunky salsa and covered in coriander. But authentic is best here, as witnessed in the cochinita pibil taco with a spicy mound of shredded pork topped with pretty pink pickled onion and a slither of avocado. Messy but satisfying.
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