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Tacos
Photograph: Filip Wolak

The 22 best tacos in NYC

Traditional taquerias and trendy hot spots make up New York’s very best taco spots.

Edited by
Will Gleason
Written by
Christina Izzo
&
Rachel Pelz
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Tacos have it all: Portability, versatility and the ability to be filled with an endless array of crackling meats, gooey cheeses and eye-wateringly spicy sauces. Our list of the city’s very best tacos includes traditional tastes from our favorite Mexican restaurants, affordable options (how else can you get satisfying cheap eats for under $3?) and trendy dishes from fine dining hot spots. With out-of-the-way taquerias serving up juicy al pastor, a Bushwick tortilla factory serving the city’s best chorizo and a beach-side spot for fresh fish tacos, we’ve made it easy to plan your city-wide taco crawl. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Time Out Market New York

Best tacos in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4
Olvera’s elegant, high-gear small plates—pristine, pricey and as market-fresh as anything coming out of Thomas Keller’s kitchen—more than fills that gap in New York dining. It steamrolls right over it. Tacos make a solitary appearance on the menu in an atypically generous portion of duck carnitas, cooked to the sinful midpoint of unctuous fat and seared flesh.
Crispy tempura shrimp taco at Alta Calidad
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Prospect Heights

Chef-owner Akhtar Nawab felt distinct similarities between the cuisines of Mexico and India, his parents’ native country. At Alta Calidad, he’s created a marriage of the two cuisines with exciting flavors and satisfying standout dishes. These crispy shrimp tempura tacos showcase just that, packing plump shrimp, crispy tempura and salsa negra into house-made shells. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Boerum Hill

Olvera’s elegant, high-gear small plates are pristine, pricey and market fresh. Tacos make a solitary appearance on the menu with a generous portion of seared, sizzling duck carnitas topped simply with onions, radishes and cilantro.

  • Attractions
  • Rockaways
  • price 1 of 4

Despite the kitschy delight of eating takeaway tacos off a knee-balanced plate at Rockaway Taco, the seasonal sit-down setup at this offshoot, housed inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, is a much-welcome upgrade. Just like at that OG taco shack, chef Andrew Field is fueling off-duty surfers and beach-bound locals with exemplary beer-battered fish tacos ($9.64) and watermelon juice ($4.59).

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

Small, from-scratch corn tortillas puff up on the grill like blowfish at this West Coaster-approved Chelsea Market taco counter, then ease down before they’re piled with superbly juicy adobada pork. The red-chili-marinated pig is trimmed shawarma-style from a glistening spit, its natural sweetness improved upon with shards of pineapple and a squirt of lime.

  • Restaurants
  • Sunset Park
  • price 1 of 4

Hands-down, the best NYC neighborhood for a taco crawl is Sunset Park, where the most amazing food you’ve had in your whole life is behind nearly every door. Our very favorite spot is Tacos El Bronco, which serves up a transcendent lengua taco: Tongue is roasted until it’s impossibly tender, then topped with a handful of cilantro and a tart guacamole to cut through the fatty crackle of the beef. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

This newly-opened offering from Cosme alums celebrates Mexican mariscos and mezcal in a buzzy atmosphere. The crispy fried fish, which tops tortillas made from Brooklyn-based For All Things Good’s masa, soaks up all the drinking you’ll do as you make your way through their mezcal menu, which is made up largely of producer-owned brands. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Alex Stupak’s masa proves the hydrocolloid skills he honed at wd~50 and Alinea are still intact. His tortillas—made from nixtamalized Indiana corn (the grains are cooked in limewater and hulled) and pressed in-house daily—are thin and springy, with a delicate maize sweetness, and best filled with the spot’s spit-roasted namesake. 

Fish taco at El Diablito Taqueria
Photograph: Michael Rudin

12. Fish taco at El Diablito Taqueria

The battered, Baja-fresh fish taco is the star of the menu at this Crayola-bright Mexican canteen. The tempura-fried crust shatters around flaky tilapia, with lime-infused crema adding richness and red cabbage echoing the batter’s crunch.

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Cabeza taco at Tacos Matamoros
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

14. Cabeza taco at Tacos Matamoros

Soft chunks of rich, pungent cow's-head meat are spread on a pair of griddled corn tortillas with salsa verde at this Sunset Park stalwart.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Inspired by travel and festive meals taken in the family homes, Marc Meyer showcases traditional dishes, from appetizing antojitos made at an in-house comal bar to Veracruz-style whole roasted fish. Tacos, folded using a single house corn tortilla, include barbacoa braised lamb, battered fish and the al pastor—succulent spit-roasted marinated pork with pineapple.

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Suadero taco at Tacos Morelos
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

19. Suadero taco at Tacos Morelos

At the Williamsburg and East Village taco truck outposts of this Jackson Heights taqueria, the suadero is cheap and satisfying: Chewy, steamed slices of brisket are pepped up with a mix of onion, cilantro and guacamole.

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Taco Arabes at Ricos Tacos
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

22. Taco Arabes at Ricos Tacos

Named for its Arabic origins, this Lebanese-Mexican roll-up combines spiced spit-roasted pork with sweet strings of caramelized onion in a pita-like, flour-based flatbread.

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