Welcome to Female Foodie’s guide to the absolute best tacos in Austin. This guide is the result of literally months and months of happily devouring tacos in what some consider to be the taco capital of the nation. If you’ve never been to Austin, consider this your ultimate taco bucket list. We promise you’re in for something incredible.
Tacos are trendy but we don’t think their popularity is going anywhere, especially not in Austin, and here’s why: 1) There is a taco for every occasion. Need a quick, delicious breakfast? Grab a taco. Looking for a surefire dinner option that you and your date will love? Sounds like you need a taco. Looking for something that will deliver over and over? Queue the tacos. 2) The versatility is unreal. You have your authentic Mexican tacos, and then you have Tex Mex tacos, Asian fusion tacos, fancy small plate tacos, the list goes on. 3) Tacos are (for the most part), relatively cheap. It’s a great meal from an economical standpoint. 4) Tacos are so quintessentially Austin, yet amidst a sea of hundreds of options we hope to share with you the absolute best of the best.
How To Find the Best Tacos in Austin
There’s something so serendipitous that happens when you combine a homemade tortilla with delicious fillings/toppings. In order for us to effectively choose the best tacos in Austin, here was our criteria:
- When trying a restaurant or taco joint, we always ordered both a breakfast and a regular lunch/dinner taco. Breakfast tacos are the strength of some restaurants, and at others it’s the lunch and dinner tacos that have the spotlight. We didn’t want to miss out on anything.
- We always asked for the most signature tacos for that particular establishment when we ordered. If a taqueria told us to get the chorizo and egg taco, then we got the chorizo and egg taco (this is typically how we order eating at any restaurant).
- We love corn and flour tortillas equally, and in Austin, thankfully, you can enjoy the best of both worlds at almost any place whipping up tacos. Some tacos in Austin are served on “locally made” tortillas, both flour and corn. And then other places make their own tortillas in house, which is truly a beautiful thing. If we ever had the option, we ordered half our tacos on flour, half on corn to have the best experience possible.
23. Tyson’s Tacos
Tyson’s Tacos screams “Austin” in every way from the funky names on the menu to the additions of queso and smoked meat to almost every taco. Tyson’s is a great place to start if you’re a beginner to Austin’s taco scene – their menu is sizable with a little bit of something for everyone. Speaking of smoked meat – our favorite taco at Tyson’s is the al pastor with smoked pork rib and roasted pineapple – seriously love at first bite!
22. Las Trancas
Las Trancas is a popular taco truck for classic street-style Mexican tacos (think al pastor, tripas, beef cheek, and lengua). These tacos aren’t fancy by any means but they absolutely hit the spot for a late-night taco craving. Favorites at Las Trancas include barbacoa and beef cheek – these fattier cuts of meat lend the perfect balance of crispy outside bits to melt-in-your-mouth soft inside bits. Pair that with the classic minced white onion/ cilantro/ lime combo to cut through the richness of the meat for pure deliciousness.
21. Casa Moreno’s
Casa Moreno’s is an unassuming family-run Tex-Mex restaurant with a nice variety of breakfast and lunch tacos, plates, and a lively entertainment schedule that locals love. It’s also conveniently located 5 minutes from the Austin airport, and we can’t think of a better way to end (or start!) a trip than a quick stop by Casa Moreno’s on your way out for some of the best tacos in Austin. We highly recommend the flour tortillas here – you know it’s a good tortilla when you can see striated layers after you take a bite, and yes, these tortillas have alllll the layers. The breakfast tacos are delicious, generously sized, and are easy on the wallet. The most popular taco on the menu, though, is the carne guisada – fall-apart tender beef braised in a rich brown gravy. Guisada isn’t a super popular taco in Austin, but goodness, this taco is incredible. It truly is the comfort food we never knew we needed, and we are loving it!
20. Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop
Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop is nothing short of an institution in Austin. They’re known for many things including their case of Mexican baked goods and cheesy enchiladas, but it’s also no doubt a spot for some of the best tacos in Austin. The best tacos at Joe’s are the breakfast tacos, and the rumors are true – the bacon is dredged in flour before cooking to achieve the most phenomenally crackly texture. Add some soft housemade flour tortillas filled with fluffy eggs and gooey cheddar to the mix . . . yeah, you’re going to love these tacos.
19. La Condesa
La Condesa is a great place for fancy tacos in downtown Austin. The interior is gorgeous and is the perfect spot for a date night or lunch with girlfriends. And even though you’ll definitely pay more than $2 for these tacos, they’re still fantastically delicious and absolutely some of the best tacos in Austin. The Barbacoa en Mole taco (pictured on left) is our top recommendation for a taco at La Condesa- braised beef short rib with black bean mole, lime pickled onion, and queso fresco.
Austin has a lot of local chains that claim to have the best tacos, but if you’re looking for the best overall experience (great food, consistent fast service, a well-rounded menu guaranteed to please everyone), then Tacodeli is our pick. With all five locations in the Austin area serving both breakfast and lunch tacos, it’s hard to go wrong with nearly anything on the menu. Our favorites include The Otto – creamy refried black beans, double (yes!) bacon, avocado, and cheese or the Migas for an Austin favorite. And a trip to Tacodeli wouldn’t be complete without sampling all their signature salsas – there are four, mix and match to your heart’s content!
17. Tamale House East
Despite their name, Tamale House East doesn’t just make tamales- they actually have some of the best tacos in Austin, and you will never regret coming here! We could talk about how wonderful their entire menu is, but we’ll save that for another time and admonish you to spend your next Saturday morning out on their gorgeous patio enjoying their migas taco and the breakfast taco with bacon, egg, potato, and cheese. Everything is prepared wonderfully – huge shout out to those crispy potatoes cooked to heavenly perfection. Lunch tacos are also great (chicken mole taco is super popular) but the breakfast tacos take the cake for sure.
Another Austin-only chain serving up delectable breakfast and lunch tacos is OneTaco. Both corn and flour tortillas are good here and made locally daily. But where OneTaco really shines is their ultra-flavorful meats. The carne asada and al pastor shaved fresh from the trompo were highly recommended to us and we couldn’t have agreed more – the carne asada was especially delightful with the most tender pieces of steak grilled to perfection topped with a nice punchy avocado sauce. For breakfast, OneTaco absolutely knows how to cook some bacon and any taco featuring it is a guaranteed morning treat that’s sure to hold you over until lunch.
15. Taco Flats
One of the most unexpected restaurants that makes a spot for our guide to the best tacos in Austin is Taco Flats. Don’t get us wrong- we had heard great things about the tacos here but we didn’t anticipate just how fantastic these tacos would be! Taco Flats definitely has a good thing going on – homemade tortillas, super flavorful meats, and breakfast and lunch tacos that are equally tasty. Our #1 pick at Taco Flats is for sure the Gringa – an al pastor taco with griddled jack cheese that manages to be both crispy and gooey and a VERY good idea. And, as always, don’t forget that creamy green salsa to really make those flavors pop.
14. Rosita’s Al Pastor
Situated in a big parking lot, you can find amazing tacos at Rosita’s Al Pastor – a food truck + neighboring brick and mortar just a few blocks from the Colorado River. Though their namesake al pastor can be a bit inconsistent sometimes, they are absolutely still worth trying. The breakfast tacos at Rosita’s are truly what everyone should be talking about, though. The chorizo and egg taco here is on point. Oh yes, and the hand-formed flour tortillas that are pillowy soft – need we say more.
Many locals say that Polvos serves the best Mexican food in town, and while we’re not confident we can make the exact same claim, they without a doubt serve some of the best tacos in Austin. When you walk in you’ll be instantly smitten at the sight of their amazing salsa bar and tortillas being handmade on the comal. Polvos has great breakfast and lunch/dinner tacos, and you honestly cannot go wrong with any of the tacos on their menu. Our favorite is definitely the steak taco: nicely charred and salty steak, plenty of melty jack cheese, finished off with sweet grilled peppers. Throw it all onto one of those aforementioned flour tortillas for something truly divine.
Loving Fresa’s is easy for several reasons: 1) Their 9th & Lamar location has a DRIVE THRU. 2) The food here is so fresh and flavor-forward. You’ll never leave Fresa’s feeling like you just ingested a total gut bomb. 3) The tacos at Fresa’s are unquestionably some of the best tacos in Austin! La Fresa and El Santo are favorites – both are filled with their signature wood-grilled chicken and topped with a perfectly complimentary combo of fresh veg + salsa. And don’t you dare think about eating at Fresa’s without an order or two of their Mexican street corn and grilled sweet potatoes with poblano ranch. So good!
11. Paprika ATX
Paprika ATX is a taco truck just north of downtown that serves some of the best tacos in Austin. Their menu may be on the smaller side, but their flavors pack a huge punch. The carnitas and suadero are stand-outs (the crispy crust on the outside of the carnitas is insane!), and with rotating daily specials including Trompo Tuesday and Torta Thursday, what’s not to love. We love their emphasis on quality and inventiveness – we definitely will be back for more!
10. La Tunita 512
La Tunita 512 no doubt serves some of the best tacos in all of Austin, and we cannot get enough of their specialty – birria. Slowly braised meat (usually goat or beef) in a rich red consomme, birria is definitely having a moment, and we are not mad about it. And, though not 100% traditional, the quesotaco with a monterrey jack cheese crust is truly where it’s at at La Tunita. Ordering your quesotaco with a side of consomme is a must. Yes, go ahead and dunk your taco bite-by-bite into that brothy goodness. It’s a drippy, juicy mess, but what a total comfort-food flavor explosion. La Tunita is not fancy by any means, and their hours can be a bit wonky sometimes, but if you’ve never been, you’re truly in for a treat.
9. Taco Bronco
What do you get when you combine award-winning barbeque with simple yet well-crafted accompaniments all on house-made tortillas? The answer is Taco Bronco, the taco truck from the crew behind Micklethwait Craft Meats, and they are serving absolutely some of the best tacos in Austin. Other trucks are doing the whole smoked-meat-taco thing, but Taco Bronco takes their tacos to an entirely new level. Don’t let your research fool you – yes, the posted menu looks small, but they always have at least two must-try specials. Favorites include the thinly sliced carne asada, smoked lamb birria, the vegetarian sweet potato + poblano taco, and the best chicken tinga we’ve ever tried. Whatever you get, don’t forget the bright orange Bronco Sauce – it’s zippy and a touch spicy and just plain fantastic. Taco Bronco doesn’t do breakfast tacos – that’s ok, it’s easier to order the whole menu that way.
8. De Nada Cantina
New-comer to the Austin taco scene is De Nada Cantina. We really love the vibe at De Nada – they describe themselves as “East Austin’s loveliest little taco spot”, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s hip and feels special without trying too hard and is filled with some beautiful touches that would make this a really fun place to meet girlfriends (or really anyone) for lunch or a quick bite. De Nada’s menu has just enough unique spins on the classics to keep you interested. We highly recommend the carnitas taco with salsa macha (a nutty, earthy salsa that hails from Veracruz) and the camarones pibil. Honestly, everything is good, though. All tacos are served on blue corn tortillas that are attractive and delicious and for sure made in-house. De Nada is gaining in popularity so go outside Happy Hour, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best tacos in Austin without needing a reservation – a win-win in our book.
7. Nixta Taqueria
Another not-to-be-missed taco joint on the East side serving up some of the best tacos in Austin is Nixta. Nixta’s main focus is definitely on the maiz, the corn they use to make all their tortillas in-house. The process they use to transform the corn into tortillas (nixtamalization) is super old school and dates back over 500 years to the Aztecs. Chef Edgar Rico spent years in award-winning kitchens around the country before taking a break to work and eat his way through Mexico. Nixta combines traditional Mexican cooking techniques and flavors with modern American touches. The result is essentially a flavor explosion in every. single. bite. The cauliflower taco with romesco, pine nuts, and queso fresco is a fan favorite, as is anything with refried beans (odd, we know, but they are made with duck fat and are crazy good). The menu is seasonal, so you never know what you’ll get. With their to-die-for namesake tortillas as the star of the show, close your eyes and pick – it’s guaranteed to be delicious!
All hail to the best upscale tacos in town and to one of the best restaurants in the entire city of Austin. Suerte is killing it in the restaurant scene from their incredible house made masa to the gorgeous dining room to an overall transformative eating experience that you’ll never forget. Depending on what Chef Fermin Nunez feels like including on the rotating menu, Suerte is mostly not all about tacos except for, that is, their famous Suadero Tacos. The delicious, delectable Suadero Tacos, comprised of confit wagyu brisket, black magic oil, and avocado salsa cruda, are the epitome of high-quality, chef-crafted taco perfection. Tacos are typically considered a cheap eat – these tacos are not. And they require a reservation that can be hard to snag. But we promise these tacos are 100% worth it to try at least once. Bucket list worthy for sure!
5. Cuantos Tacos
If you’re looking for authentic, no frills but the highest quality Mexico City-style street tacos, Cuantos Tacos is a home run. These 2-3 bite gems are filled with only the classics: al pastor, suadero, carnitas, barbacoa, and buche (pork stomach – don’t knock it until you try it). Every single taco we’ve tried here has been juicy,salty, and packed full of flavor with just the right amount of grease like any worthwhile taco should have (just add a squirt of lime to cut that richness, it all works out in the end). The menu at Cuantos Tacos does rotate some based on day of the week, so check their Instagram if you’re looking for something specific, but let’s be honest, any day at Cuantos Tacos is a good day.
4. Vaquero Taquero
Two brothers fairly new to the Austin scene started Vaquero Taquero in 2016 as a way to share their love of tacos packed full of flavor. And do these tacos deliver or what! The first thing the brothers told us: whatever you order, get it on corn. Yes. Absolutely yes. In a world where corn tortillas are often so disappointing, they are almost the star of the show here. The breakfast tacos at Vaquero Taquero are definitely tasty – the addition of pan-seared mozzarella is so, so good – salty, a little crispy, and pairs perfectly with chorizo and fluffy eggs. But the real winner here is the Al Pastor. We have tried A LOT of Al Pastor tacos in Austin, and Vaquero Taquero nails it: moist, never-dry pork in that classic bright orange marinade carved straight from the trompo, ample pineapple, a little avocado crema to spice things up, all on one of those glorious corn tortillas. Napkins are encouraged – juice was literally dripping down our hands with these ones . . . sooo not a bad thing!
3. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Of all of the magical tacos deep in the heart of Texas, the tacos from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ are not to be missed, and more specifically the Real Deal Holyfield is the taco of every food lover’s dreams. It’s a meal by itself with tomato serrano salsa, fried egg, potatoes, bacon, and your choice of brisket or pulled pork all served on a delectably fluffy and homemade flour tortilla. Take the ten minutes to drive just south of downtown for one of the best tacos in Austin and you’ll never look back.
2. Veracruz All Natural
Ah, Veracruz All Natural. It’s no secret – we LOVE Veracruz All Natural – we feature them on our East Austin Guide as well as our Breakfast/ Brunch guide. And it’s true: Veracruz has mastered both the art of life-changing breakfast and lunch tacos. The tortillas are heavenly, the meats flavor-packed and moist, the salsa spicy and tangy and just the thing a taco needs. You can visit the original food truck location on the east side of town but rest assured that the quality of the tacos at their other locations are equally as delectable. The tacos at Veracruz are simple and classic but never lacking in flavor– think al pastor, barbacoa, grilled steak, fish, and chicken, and some of the very best breakfast tacos in all of Austin. Yes, you can find fancier more intricate tacos at other taco joints but there’s something special about the “for-the-people” style that Veracruz does that we keep coming back to again and again for some of the best tacos in Austin.
In a city full of taco trucks, Discada manages to stand out. This is incredibly impressive not just because of the sheer number of other options but because Discada only serves one kind of taco– a “discada-style” taquito filled with a kitchen-sink combination of beef, pork, onion, and bell pepper slowly braised in a tractor plow disc that’s been welded shut to resemble a shallow wok. This technique has been around for generations in Northern Mexico. The guys at Discada have modernized it a bit, gave it a Mexico City street taco spin, and the result is an irresistibly flavorful, insanely consistent taquito that takes the cake for the best tacos in Austin.