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16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

It may be National Taco Day, but I say every day is an excuse to eat tacos. Like barbecue, burgers, and pizza, there are so many ways to make tacos (and few ways to do them wrong). Here are some of the best places for tacos around the USA. Is your favorite spot missing? Share in the comments!

Chicago, Illinois

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

There’s no shortage of great taco options in the Windy City. For upscale, visit one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants. Tompolobampo (fancy), Frontera Grill (less fancy) and Xoco (way less fancy) all offer great options at every price point. Another local fave? Antique Taco, on N. Milwaukee Ave. Their traditional tacos are great, but it’s their creative twists that keep customers calling mas! Try the crispy fish tacos, made with Alaskan cod, tempura, spicy tartar, smoked scallions and sesame. Paired with rosemary margarita, it’s the perfect weekend treat (or weekday, who am I kidding?). Big Star is Chef Paul Kahn’s love letter to Mexican street food. Try the Taco de Zanahorias, made with mole spiced carrots, chipotle date yogurt, pumpkin sesame seeds and cilantro. And lastly, for yummy tacos with a no frills atmosphere, try Taqueria El Asado. Chips and guac, cheap barbacoa tacos, Jarritos sodas—it’s simple and that’s what makes it great.

 

Austin, Texas

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

You could spend a year eating your way through Austin’s taco spots and still not try them all. There are a few, however, that stand out from the crowd. No matter where you stay, there’s probably a Tacodeli nearby (and one at the airport, too). This fun and casual spot puts an Austin spin on Mexican traditions. Their cowboy taco boasts dry-rubbed beef tenderloin, grilled corn, caramelized onion, roasted pepper, guacamole and queso fresco. It’s a sought-after meal, and there usually a line to prove it. The breakfast tacos are delicious, so why not go early and, fingers crossed, beat the crowd. Another local favorite? Torchy’s Tacos. Their offerings are a bit off-beat as well, and equally delicious. Try the Trailer Park, made with fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce and pico de gallo (order it “trashy” and they’ll skip the lettuce and add queso); or the Mr. Pink, made with seared ahi tuna. There’s 16 locations in Austin, and other outposts in Texas, Oklahoma and even one in Denver. When are ya coming to Brooklyn, Torchy’s?

 

Nashville, Tennessee

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

It’s always a scene at Mas Tacos Por Favor. But not an annoying one, just a lot of hungry people waiting for some of the best tacos in town. Located in East Nashville, patrons queue up at this order-at-the counter spot. The menu is pretty simple: tacos, elotes, daily specials, agua frescas (housemade juices) and horchata. Grab a seat to chow down, and try not to feel rushed as other customers eye you down, hoping to snag your seat the moment you get up.

 

New York, New York

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

Sure, it’s a bit hipster (it’s in Bed-Stuy, after all), but that doesn’t mean Chilo’s isn’t fantastic. This Brooklyn taco haunt offers great pitchers of margaritas, a year-round patio, and fantastic tacos with fillings that include fried pork belly; smoked beef brisket; and roasted duck.

La Superior in Williamsburg does great street-style tacos in a cozy space. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, and that’s what makes it totally craveable. Pick from a selection of delicious taco options like carne asada, chorizo, chipotle shrimp. For something a little more polished, visit chef Alex Stupak’s Empellon Al Pastor. This East Village homage to Mexico makes their own tortillas from heirloom corn, then top them with perfectly crafted shawarma spit-grilled meats. Their happy hour runs weeknights from 4-7, and offers $3 tacos, $4 beers, and $7 margaritas—so basically free by Manhattan standards.

 

Phoenix, Arizona

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

I think we can all agree that there’s no substitute for a grandma’s cooking, and Mi Patio is one of central Phoenix’s best places to satiate that craving. Open since 1984, there’s just something familiar and homey about this place. Their short list of tacos is great, but people really go here for the naughty chimichangas. For something a little upscale, check out The Mission in Scottsdale (two locations—Old Town & Kierland). Dimly lit and moody, it’s the perfect date night spot. Order mahi mahi, butternut squash or skirt steak tacos; or if you’re into splitting, try the made-for-two platter of roasted lamb, piquillo pepper, sultanas, sesame d’arbol and yuzu honey yogurt, served with handmade

 

Los Angeles, California

16 Awesome Tacos in the USA

They don’t call LA Taco City for nothing! From taco trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find a taco for every taste and budget. One of the most beloved has to be Guisados in Boyle Heights. Open nearly 8 years, you’ll find homemade braises on corn tortillas (made to order from the fresh ground masa next door at Carnitas Uruapan). It’s food reminiscent of what mom would cook (this is, if you mom is Mexican and a heck of a good cook). Try the Cochinita Pibil tacos, made with shredded pork cooked in a sweet, red achiote spice atop black beans. Another beloved taco joint has to be Guerrilla Tacos. Chef Wes Avila keeps patrons happy with his super fresh and seasonal tacos—like crab tacos with chile, chipotle cream, cilantro, and tomatillos. Vegetarians and omnivores alike love the cauliflower taco, made with burnt tomato chile, Medjool dates, olives, pine nuts and parsley.

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It may be National Taco Day, but I say every day is an excuse to eat tacos. Like barbecue, burgers, and pizza, there are so many ways to make tacos (and hardly any way to do them wrong). Here are some of the best places for tacos around the USA.

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