Looking at a map, it’s pretty obvious that Phoenix is going to be one of the best cities for tacos in the country. But narrowing down the best tacos in Phoenix can be tricky. With a hole-in-the-wall spot on almost every block, there are endless options across the valley. We scoured the city to come up with our top ten guide that showcases the wide variety of tacos Phoenix has to offer. Whether you’re hungry for a gooey quesabirria taco, flavorful al pastor complimented with fresh pineapple, or greasy street tacos, read on to have your taco dreams fulfilled.
10. Taco Boy’s
The Taco Boys live up to their name, serving up delicious street tacos from two bustling joints in the heart of downtown and across the street from ASU. They offer one of the best salsa bars in the area, and, of course, some of the best tacos in Phoenix. These tacos come heaping with meat; we love the juicy, shredded beef barbacoa and the smoky carne asada. Order your tacos vampiro-style to add melted cheese for no extra charge.
Taco Boy’s – Tempe
9. Tacos Chiwas
An Arizona institution, Tacos Chiwas makes some of the best tacos in Phoenix, and, bonus, they are easily accessible with three locations across the valley. All the classic tacos are available here, served on thick, housemade corn tortillas. The humble chicken taco stands out here, with a fresh and herby cilantro crema and pickled red onions. If you’re a fan of lengua, or beef tongue, Tacos Chiwas serves our favorite in the valley, they’re perfectly tender and chewy. Round out your taco trio with the classic juicy and tender carnitas taco.
8. CRUjiente Tacos
The fusion tacos at CRUjiente are the most out-of-the-box on this list, combining influences from multiple cuisines. In fact, the only thing keeping them true to the taco is the tortilla holding it together. For the purists in the group, stick to the tacos in the Crujiente, or crunchy, menu section for a more classic taco. For the more adventurous eater, try one of the fusion tacos that made CRUjiente famous. Go for the Korean fried chicken with crispy chicken, pickled jalapeños, a compressed cabbage reminiscent of kimchi, spicy gochujang, and an herby mojo de cebollin sauce. Honorable mentions include the pork belly with thinly sliced potatoes and red curry sauce, the crunchy pork with fresh salsa verde, and, for our vegetarian foodies, the garlic roasted mushroom with creamy goat cheese.
$$ Tacos, Cocktail Bars
7. Chula Seafood
If you’re looking for budget-friendly tacos, scroll on, but if you’re a coastal transplant desperate for fresh fish tacos, head straight to Chula Seafood. Chula trucks fresh fish in daily from San Diego (the owner’s father is a deep-sea fisherman) and is the seafood supplier for many of our favorite restaurants in Phoenix. Not only do they wholesale their fish, but their kitchen also offers sandwiches, poke, burritos, and some of the best tacos in Phoenix. Choose from crispy fish, mojo-marinated fish, or grilled shrimp, all of which are made with simple ingredients to let the generous portion of freshly caught fish shine. A two-taco plate is going to set you back $20, but, if you’re missing the ocean, the taste of the coast is worth it.
Chula Seafood Uptown
$$ Seafood, Seafood Markets, Poke
6. Just Tacos and More
On the opposite side of the taco spectrum, we have Just Tacos and More, a restaurant that dresses its tacos up to the nines. They pride themselves in offering tacos piled high with various toppings. No joke, the only basic taco on the menu is called ‘The Boring’. But a boring taco is not what you’re here for. Go for a specialty like the JT Urban, a steak taco stacked high with melted cheese, bacon, thin and crunchy blackened jalapeños, onion, cilantro, chipotle salsa, and a slice of fresh avocado.
Just Tacos and More
5. Cocina Madrigal
Want to upgrade your taco experience? Cocina Madrigal serves some of the best tacos in Phoenix with a gourmet twist. Their signature steak tacos add unexpected ingredients that come together in flawless harmony: grilled steak, made tender by a pomegranate marinade, crispy, deep-fried onions and peppers, a creamy, chipotle aioli, and a sprinkle of gorgonzola cheese. The authentic Mexican ingredients, combined with some upgraded flair, makes for an impressive gourmet taco. Their vegetarian taco is also delicious: grilled vegetables paired with a serrano hummus and a dusting of queso menonita. Or, order it without cheese for a stellar vegan option. Whatever you order, finish your meal with their to-die-for Bavarian cream-filled churros.
Cocina Madrigal Tacos + Tequila
4. Taqueria Obson
Blink and you might miss the town of Guadalupe, a small (less than a square mile) town wedged between Phoenix and Tempe. With a strong Hispanic community, it’s no surprise that some of the best tacos in Phoenix can be found here, and Taqueria Obson offers just that. Our top pick are the quesabirria tacos with shredded beef. Wrapped in a thick, handmade corn tortilla and gooey with melted cheese, these tacos are true comfort food. Be sure to order a side of the consommé for dipping and top them with some of their signature green salsa—this taco will be literally dripping with flavor. Another favorite, the Mexicano, is made in a similar style to the classic quesabirria tacos, but has a layer of guacamole, an absolutely delicious upgrade. Pro-tip: order some fresh tortillas to go to level up your own homemade quesadillas.
3. La Bamba
Surprisingly, a great al pastor taco is one of the harder things to come by in Phoenix. Some places only offer their al pastor certain days of the week (we’re looking at you, Taco Chelo), while others skip the fresh pineapple (a necessity). Be willing to make the trek out to El Mirage, though, and you can find perfectly executed al pastor tacos every day. This small but mighty menu offers two types of tacos—pastor or asada—with the option to upgrade to Bamba style, to get a crispy, cheese tortilla as your base. Get two of each and ask for them with everything, which includes cilantro, diced onions, and a trio of salsas—a smoky red, a creamy green, and a yellow salsa that’s made from the chef’s secret recipe and packs a bit of a punch.
la bamba mexican grill restaurant
2. Taco Chelo
The perfect blend between street tacos and gourmet tacos, Taco Chelo offers authentic, absolutely delicious tacos served from trendy digs in downtown Phoenix. Start your meal with an order of chips and guac and choose your favorite tacos from eight options. Take it from someone who’s tried them all, and order at least one fish and one Costra, a decadent creation of carne asada and caramelized onions covered in a generous portion of crispy, melted cheese.
$ Tacos, Bars
For a totally authentic, no-frills taco experience, Ta’Carbon reigns supreme. There’s nothing fancy about these tacos, but for our money, they are the best tacos in Phoenix. Ta’Carbon serves classic street tacos that are small in size but mighty in flavor and boast the most savory, tender beef in the valley. You’ll want at least two of their signature carne asada tacos, or upgrade to the Hazz to add melted cheese and green chilies. Pair it with two of their juicy, messy beef barbacoa tacos for a perfect meal. Visit the salsa bar to add your fixings; even though the meats stand on their own, everything is made better with a bit of avocado salsa.
Ta’Carbon The Real Mexican Grill #2