Over the past few years, New York has slowly begun to experience a taco renaissance. From Baja-inspired folded flour tortillas to traditional Mexican street eats, you can get your fix all over town at the best Mexican restaurants in NYC (and they sure do go down smooth alongside a margarita). But why trek when there’s a high concentration of tasty tacos in the East Village? Take this walking tour and eat your way through tortilla-wrapped lobster, Pueblan-style beef tongue and mole-spiced cod.
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Empellon El Pastor
132 St. Marks Pl
Opt for the $4 tacos, all on housemade corn tortillas : choose smoky chipotle chicken or steak stewed with caramelized onion. Alex Stupak initially tried to stay away from tacos because he thought they were too easy, but these gems prove easy isn’t always such a bad thing.
Zaragoza Mexican Deli-Grocery
215 Avenue A
At this cozy deli with rotating meat options (carnitas, al pastor, carne molida and eight others), expect $3 Pueblan-style tacos with unique fillings like beef tongue, goat, chipotle chicken or spicy pork with pineapple.
The Black Ant
60 Second Ave
Don’t be put off by the fear factor. There’s more than just grasshoppers on the menu at this buggy taco joint. Safe, yet delightful options include the codfish taco in a mole, served with lime, sour cream, carrot slaw and salsa roja or the agave braised veal cheek with chile-tomato, cilantro and cured radish.
129 Second Ave
From Matthew La Rue, the man behind the Meatball Shop, try the al pastor on corn tortillas with chopped onions. The space is small, but the tacos are large, and just $3 and some change.
438 East 9th St
The taco truck made famous by Aziz Ansari on his Netflix show Master of None, Tacos Morelos has satisfying options like the suadero, made with chewy, steamed brisket slices and the requisite onion, cilantro and guac that comes with all orders. Pro-tip: Hit the ATM before paying a visit to this cash only mobile spot.
El Diablito Taqueria
60 East 3rd St
Get the house special, a chorizo-paprika affair with roasted poblano peppers and salsa arbol and the fish taco made with flaky tilapia, lime-infused crema and crunchy red cabbage, both for under $3.
29 East 2nd St
Get off the beaten path with the stewed summer squash taco topped with tomato, jalapeno and queso fresco, or try the classic braised brisket with tomatillo-chipotle salsa. $8 orders include two tacos, so you might bring a friend so you can swap tacos and explore a wider range at this traditional Mexican spot.