Fresh, quick and comforting, Mexican food is a staple of the New York diet. And let’s be honest, there’s no time like taco time. Whether you take your tortillas with a side of the city’s best guacamole or washed down with the best margaritas on the rocks, we know exactly where to find the best tacos for cheap in NYC. So the next time you’re looking for some of the city’s finest cheap eats, head to these 10 taco joints for a deliciously filling and low-cost meal.
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Best cheap tacos
You’d never guess that this no-frills BYOB Brooklyn eatery slings some of the best al pastor tacos north of Sunset Park. Six bucks will get you two warm flour tortillas bedecked with a sweet and smoky mélange of chipotle-marinated pork and pineapple, and a delicate sprinkling of chopped cilantro and onions. Add a spritz of lime for good measure.
Head straight back through El Tenampa Grocery and prepare to be amazed, as a wonderful world of two-buck tacos (chorizo, cured beef, barbecued goat) illuminates right before your eyes. Order left and pivot right for a dip in an unlimited salsa bar showcasing nine types of toppings including homemade guacamole, spicy salsa verde, pickled jalapenos and thinly sliced radishes.
This Avenue A bodega has been sating rapacious night owls with its home-style Pueblan cooking since 2000. Open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, Zaragoza offers an array of mouthwatering tacos at just $3 a pop. While their selection of meat rotates on a daily basis, you can expect to find more than a few of its usual suspects dotting the whiteboard: al pastor, chicken tinga, ropa vieja, picadillo and lengua.
Although this classic Queens taqueria has recently morphed into a full-blown restaurant and bar, the tacos remain just as they’ve always been: cheap and filling. At just $2.50 a piece, each tissue-wrapped, cone-shaped taco—from carne asada to carne enchilada—comes lathered in a thick, house-made guac with roasted jalapenos, crunchy radish coins and fresh lime wedges to garnish.
Don’t be fooled by the name—in addition to sugar-coated Mexican, Salvadoran and Dominican baked goods, this Sunset Park stronghold doles out some deliciously cheap tacos. For $2, choose one from many—bistec, pechuga de pollo, cecina, pernil, carne enchilada, tinga or chorizo—each adorned with chopped lettuce, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Just be sure to plan ahead: opening hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 2am.
Double wrapped in warm corn tortillas, Izucar’s bite-size tacos ($2) fulfill a need for vinegar-, lime- and pepper-braised veal you didn’t know you had. Perfectly accented by chopped cilantro, diced onion and fresh lime, these house favorites give cause for double—nay, triple—ordering. But you may want to call in advance, as their hours can be unpredictable.
Made famous for its Aziz Ansari-endorsed taco trucks serving the East Village and Williamsburg, Tacos Morelos’ Queens-based brick-and-mortar definitely lives up to the hype. Starting at just $3 per taco, diners can choose from 11 different fillings, although die-hard fans swear by the shredded goat barbacoa and thinly sliced beef suadero, both amply decorated with the obligatory chopped cilantro and onion.
There’s no cheaper taco than a Tacos El Bronco taco. For a measly $1.50, the small taco is a snack, while a few of the regular-size $2.50 jams will make a meal. Although you can’t go wrong with carnitas or al pastor, the real gem is in the cabeza: tender stewed veal head topped with cilantro ribbons, radish slices and a whole grilled spring onion. Feel free to join the late-night crowd on Friday and Saturday nights when Tacos El Bronco stays open until 5am.
Clocking in at $3.50, El Toro’s taco is one of the priciest on the list, but take heart: with that extra dollar comes innovation. Their Korean barbecue-marinated steak taco is topped with spicy kimchi, crunchy pear, sweet mango and refreshing shreds of lettuce. And since an extra taco never hurt anyone, go for the braised pork, which comes complete with pickled onion, cotija cheese and sprinklings of cilantro.
Housing just four tables accented with typical Aztec-inspired decor, it’s surprising to find that this tiny taqueria boasts quite an extensive menu. At $4 each, the tacos may not be dirt cheap, but two or three will definitely fill you up. Carne asada and al pastor are reliable go-tos, checking all requirements for that perfect East Village al fresco evening meal.
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Fortunately, Toshio Suzuki wasn’t gone for long. A year after shuttering his 30-year-old Sushi Zen in midtown, the New York sushi icon returns with a new raw-fish restaurant divided into three concepts. There’s a 10-seat omakase counter, where Suzuki prepares a seven-course dinner that includes seasonal dishes like steamed monkfish liver and horsehair crab for $250 per person. Three Pillars, an Imperial-style cocktail bar and lounge, sees cocktail “alchemist” Alex Ott pouring Japanese drinks with “healing” powers, like the gin-and-yuzu Seishun No Izumi, which is said to act as an age reverser and PMS remedy. The third prong, opening in April, is the chef’s namesake kaiseki restaurant, which seats 56 people and is helmed by Sushi Zen alum Takashi Yamamoto, who was formerly a private chef for the Japanese consulate.
Venue says: “Congratulations to Team SATSUKI for being awarded 2018 MICHELIN STAR!”