Call Austin, Texas home or just passing through for Spring Break, SXSW or ACL? Eating as many tacos as one can from the abundance of local taco joints should be top on everyone’s to do list! Today, as part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s annual #ATXBestEats Austin City Guide, I’m updating our ever growing list of Austin’s Best Tacos that WE love and ones that are on our bucket list, because let’s face it, there are A LOT of good tacos in the ATX! An over abundance of tacos, in my humble opinion, is never a bad thing!
La Cocina de Consuelo: 4516 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756
This unassuming little Mexican restaurant, might be carelessly overlooked on the quickly ever growing Burnet Road in central Austin, however, it is definitely worth the stop. They may be known for their famous Enchilada Plates and enormous stuffed burritos, but their classic Crispy Beef Taco, with beef picadillo, diced tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce, grated cheddar cheese all tucked into crispy house-made deep fried crispy tortilla, well for me, is an instant flashback to my favorite childhood food from growing up in Texas, except these tacos are homemade and way better! (pictured above)
Pro Tip: The restaurant is small. Very small. With just a handful of seating options. They are also closed on Saturdays and don’t have consistent hours throughout the week. Plan accordingly.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ: 11500 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78745
I had the opportunity to try Valentina’s a couple of years ago while participating in a special event. Up until then I have to confess that I had never heard of Valentina’s, despite it’s loyal following. And then I took one bite of their legendary Smoked Brisket Taco and I understood what everyone was raving about. By far, this is one taco that I will never get tired of and have had it many times since! Other tacos on the menu: Smoked Carnitas and Cerveza Beef Fajita. Pro Tip: Order the Smoked Brisket Taco “Hollywood” Style; named after celebrity chef Arron Sanchez, served topped with avocado, slaw, salsa and gangsta sauce. Oh and they sell until they run out, so call ahead or check their social media before heading down.
Matt’s El Rancho: 2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Matt’s El Rancho is a historical Austin landmark. The first location opened in 1952 and 64 years later, is still a little local family own restaurant. While their focus is classic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, tacos of course take up an entire section of their menu. From Tacos Al Carbon, to Tacos Al Pastor to juicy, tender and flavorful Beef Fajita Tacos, their tacos (and everything on their menu) is fresh and made in house, including handmade tortillas that hold all those beautiful taco ingredients.
Pro Tip: While the restaurant can serve 500 guests, it is a favorite with locals and can fill up fast any night of the week.
Torchy’s Tacos: various locations, food truck located at 1311 S 1st Street Austin, TX
Torchy’s is an Austin taco landmark. What started as a small taco trailer in the mid 2000’s, you can now get beloved Torchy’s Tacos all over the great state of Texas. Because of it’s multiple locations and consistent quality, Torchy’s is one of our favorite taco spots and one of our top spots to bring out of town guests. While it has been my mission to try all the tacos on the menu (including all the tacos on the top secret menu) The Democrat, with perfectly cooked shredded beef barbacoa, fresh avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, onions and lime, topped with tomatillo salsa all served on a fresh corn tortilla is hands down my favorite! Other taco recommendations, the Baja Shrimp, Brushfire, and the Wrangler for breakfast. Oh and don’t forget the Green Chile Queso, topped with guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro and diablo hot sauce! It is a Torchy’s must!
Rosita’s Al Pastor: 1911 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX
Rosita’s Al Pastor is one of those hidden East Austin gems! This tiny, unassuming taco place is nestled in a run of the mill strip mall, but don’t let that fool you! These humble, classic tacos are some of the best in town! Living up to their name the Al Pastor, with moist and tender pork, cilantro and onion all served on a fresh flour tortilla, is mouthwatering and leaves you wanting just one more bite! Or try the Gringa, the Pastor smothered with queso blanco.
Taco Deli: various locations, including 12001 Burnet Road, Austin, TX
Taco Deli is another Austin favorite! It was the first local taco joint I tried when I moved here, years and years ago, and I was hooked! From their popular breakfast tacos to their lunch blue plate special, Taco Deli has a cult following! If stopping by one of their many Austin locations for breakfast, be sure and grab a Vaquero, eggs scrambled with grilled corn, roasted poblano and red peppers, and topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, or The Otto, a house favorite. Grabbing a quick lunch? Be prepared to stand or eat outside as many locations tend to fill up during the lunch hour. Our lunch time favorites? The Akaushi Picadillo, ground Akaushi Beef seasoned with roasted garlic, tomato, caramelized onion, jalapeño and Jack cheese, topped with fresh cilantro and onions, is simple and classic. Other favorites, the Papadulce, a filling and flavorful vegetarian taco filled with oven roasted sweet potatoes, grilled corn, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, toasted pepitas and a chipotle camote sauce; the Cowboy Taco, the El Conquistador and The Heather, with grilled queso fresco.
Peached Tortilla: Food truck with a brick and mortar location at 5520 Burnet Road, Austin, TX
More fusion street tacos at it’s finest! These bite sized street tacos are small but mighty. The Banh Mi Taco, with Vietnamese braised pork belly, pickled daikon and carrot, Sriracha mayo and fresh cilantro and the BBQ Brisket Taco, with southern dried rubbed brisket, apple slaw, and house made roasted peach bbq sauce are both legendary.
Other places to check out:
Taco Flats: 5520 Burnet Road, Austin, TX
Another Burnet Road taco icon, this upgraded taco joint is not only known for it’s premium tacos on handmade tortillas, but it’s craft beer selection and specialty cocktails. Be sure to check out the The Pirata, beef fajita, grilled onion, cilantro, oaxaca cheese and refried black beans.
Tyson’s Tacos: 4905 Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX
Nothing fancy here, just plain good tacos! Go for the $1.99 migas and stay for the Crispy Duck Tacos or Pork Belly for lunch!
Las Trancas: 1210 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX
Craving authentic Mexican street tacos? This small food trailer comes recommended by chefs and foodies alike! Feeling adventurous?? Try the cabeza (beef cheek) or the tripe (beef intestines), or the buche (pig’s esophagus) tacos!
Pueblo Viejo: 1606 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
This east Austin food truck serves affordable tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Offerings include Pueblo Viejo Style Tacos, with steak, mushrooms, cheese, lettuce and tomato and the Taco Nes with steak, chorizo and lots of grilled onion served with fresh cilantro and lime.
Papalote: 2803 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 and 13219 N 183 Research Blvd, STE 100, Austin, TX, 78750
Papalote has an extensive taco menu with daily specials. Recommended tacos include the Puerco En Pipian, shredded pork loin covered in mole pipian, topped with cabbage, pickled onions, queso fresco, and a slice of fresh avocado and for vegetarians, the Tortas De Coliflor, cauliflower cakes covered in huajillo sauce, topped with cabbage, queso fresco, and a slice of fresh avocado.
Craving an infamous Texas breakfast taco?!? Check out these top spots:
Donut Taco Palace: 1807 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78748
Yes my friends, a breakfast taco with a donut “tortilla”! These tacos really are what dreams are made of! A fluffy donut “tortilla” packed with your choice of classic breakfast fillings, these breakfast tacos a must for any breakfast lover!
Veracruz All Natural: Food truck with multiple locations with the original at 1704 East Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX
You can find some of the best breakfast tacos in town right here! Order the Migas for breakfast and take one to go for lunch!
Juan In A Million: 2300 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78702
College students and tourist travel far and wide to check out the famous Juan In A Million! These enormous breakfast tacos are perfect for large appetites and have even stared in several national TV travel shows! Pro Tip: Be prepared to wait in a line (wrapped around the building) if you want a famous Juan In A Million taco on the weekend!
Joe’s Bakery: 2305 East 7th Street, Austin, TX
Seriously… two words: Breakfast. Tacos. Get one of each as is or top it with the famous Joe’s bacon. Smile.
And if you like this guide to Austin’s Best Tacos then you’ll love these other Austin area restaurant guides here on Kitchen Concoctions:
Best Sandwich Shops in Austin, Texas
Best Donuts in Austin, Texas
Best Brunch in Austin: Culinary Dropout