For any New York City foodie, knowing where the best taco places are is an essential part of living happily. For your next Taco Tuesday — whether it’s this Tuesday or any other day of the year — here are Joonbug’s top recommendations.
1. Los Tacos No. 1
Chelsea: 75 9th Ave.
The name speaks for itself — these are probably some of the best tacos you’ll taste in the city. Though the long lines might discourage you from trying this place out, critics and foodies alike agree this place is beyond worth the wait. Los Tacos has four different taco options: carne asada (grilled steak), pollo asado (grilled chicken), adobada (marinated pork) and nopal (grilled cactus). Though the carne asada is the most acclaimed of the four, all are well worth a try, and at pricepoints less than $4 each it’s well worth it to try two or three different tacos whenever you stop on by.
2. Otto’s Tacos
East Village: 141 2nd Ave.
This reasonably priced taqueria located in a busy area in SoHo is remarkably well-priced for the area, at just $3 a pop for carnitas, mushroom, and chicken tacos, with carne asada and shrimp tacos not charged much higher. Each taco comes with a healthy serving of onions and cilantro, with guacamole available for extra and some delicious in-house made salsas. Otto’s Tacos is also known for their friendly service and fast prep time, meaning you’ll have your fresh, delicious tacos in your hands in no time. Be sure to pair your tacos with some authentic Mexican beer for the full experience.
3. La Esquina
SoHo: 114 Kenmare St.
La Esquina is the definition of an underground restaurant; the main area is down a flight of stairs into a dark kitchen in a cellar. Unlike most other taquerias in the city, this isn’t a grab-and-go kind of place — you’ll want to spend some time taking in the scenery and enjoying the food and drinks here. For the full experience, though, come late at night, when the speakeasy-style atmosphere comes to life as patrons sip mojitos and eat delicious tacos in this casual setting. The taco menu here includes highlights like the bistec (marinated steak with onions, cilantro and salsa), the calabacita (zucchini, yellow squash, black beans, rajas, queso and mexican crema) and the pescado estilo baja (beer batter, red cabbage, guacamole, chipotle mayo). If you’re looking for the right mix of delicious tacos and a more lively ambiance, La Esquina is the taqueria for you.
4. Tacos Morelos
East VIllage: 438 E 9th St.
What started as a food cart in the area has turned into a full-blown East Village phenomenon in Tacos Morelos. The same tacos New Yorkers fell in love with from a food cart are now available in a sit-down gastropub-style taqueria. That doesn’t mean it’s not still sticking to its roots, though, still serving the authentic market-style tacos it made famous in New York City, featuring ingredients like boiled eggs, potato patties, rice, and chili peppers, making the taco more filling than your average minimalist NYC taco. Be sure to try options like shrimp tacos, cochinillo tacos (traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork), and drinks like Mexican Coke or authentic Mexican tequila and other hard liquor.
Chinatown: 83 Baxter St.
Breakroom is unique to many other popular taco spots in New York because it doubles as a burger joint. It takes cultural fusion seriously, though, as it has items on each section of the menu that combine different cuisines and traditions. As far as tacos go, though, you can be as adventurous as you’d like, from classics like carnitas and pork belly tacos to more unique tacos with cheesesteak or avocado tempura. At four bucks (or less) per taco, Breakroom is reasonable when it comes to pricing, but a taco platter — your choice of any three tacos off the menu — is a steal at $10. And be sure to try non-taco options here as well like empanadas, quesadillas, burgers and hot dogs.