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[AUS] Best Taqueria in Austin?

My favorites are Arandas #3 on N. Burnet & Tamale House on Airport.

btw- Taco Shack does not count.

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  1. Bestest? Maria's Taco XPress, tacos al carbon with LOTS of chimichurri sauce.

    Yup. T. Arrandas on Burnet. Great salsas.

    Does Polvo's count?

    1. Polvo's can be included just so I can say 'Chicken Mole Exotic Taco'

      1. On chowhound.com airport codes are used to indicate what cities are under discussion. Of course, people on this board probabaly realize that ATX means Austin, even though its code is AUS. But someone searching for AUS in brackets would completely miss your post. Plus, I think ATX is Atbasar in Kazakhstan.

        Here are my votes, though I’m not yet halfway through my tour of the Hispanic East and Southeast sides.

        best carne guisada: Taquería Piedras Negras and Seis Mesas

        best chile en colorado: Taquería Piedras Negras

        best refried beans: Seis Mesas

        best rice: La Pasadita

        best breakfast tacos: Abarrotes Mexicanos

        best breakfast (tourist-friendly): Las Manitas

        best menudo: Abarrotes Mexicanos and Seis Mesas

        best nopalitos: Abarrotes Mexicanos

        best pollo al carbon: El Regio (E. Riverside location)

        best mole en pipian (chicken): El Mesón Taquería

        best lengua: Habañero Mexican Cafe

        best pierna [like carnitas]: Taquería la Tapatia

        best chicharrones: Taquería Piedras Negras and La Hacienda Meat Market

        best barbacoa de cabeza: La Monita

        best tacos al carbon: Habañero Mexican Cafe

        best beef fajitas, regular and rancheras: Habañero Mexican Cafe

        best corn tortillas: El Mesón Taquería

        best flour tortillas: Al Pastor

        best al pastor: Al Pastor

        best all-around (tourist-friendly): Habañero Mexican Cafe

        best Jaliscan take on Tex-Mex: Taquería Arandas

        best all-around (Tejano-focused): Abarrotes Mexicanos

        best all-around (regional-Mex): El Chile

        best pan de huevo: La Michoacana

        5 Replies
        1. re: MPH


          If you haven't yet, you should hit Angie's on E. 7th (just east of I-35) for the carnitas taco plate. The corn tortillas a great.


          1. re: MPH

            MPH, you are one steely-eyed chow man. I look forward to working my way through this list. Have you tried the pierna at Arandas No. 3? I rate it above La Tap's, but that's just my opinion.


            1. re: Jim Washburn

              Thanks for the recs, Brian and Jim.

              I'm still finishing up with places on East Oltorf and East Riverside, but I'm looking forward to trying the corn tortillas (and now the carnitas) at Angie's. And I'll be sure to sample the pierna at Taquería Arandas. I don't think I've had the pleasure yet.

              I'll probably hit the East 7th Street location of Arandas since I’m exploring that side of town. I’ve already been to the one on Burnet Road. Do you think the east-side outpost is just as good?


            2. re: MPH

              Uh, this is awesome. I've never been to half these places. Damn, better get eating.

              Also, while I agree that El Chile is good, I'm a little surprised you rank it as best all-around. What should I be ordering to win me over?

              1. re: tom in austin

                There are two explanations. One, my own “best of” list is a work in progress as I chow my way through town. I really just moved to Austin last August. Two, that entry was the result of sloppy categorizing on my part. It should read:

                best east-side alternative to Polvo’s, i.e., a mid-price-range Tex-Mex and regional-Mex place that caters to mostly white middle- to high-income locals and tourists—plus students (WM2HILT+S): El Chile

                This is not a competitive category, in my opinion, but it’s one that’s often asked about, since not all visitors like to eat at holes in the wall. I really dislike Polvo’s food in any case. Due to price point, this category excludes Fonda San Miguel.

                I’ve enjoyed (maybe not loved) El Chile’s enchiladas de mole rojo, their shrimp nachos, and their pescado entortillado. Their drinks were pretty good, too. And if I recall correctly, their salsa and chips were tasty.

            3. Thanks for the heads-up on the ATX code, I have updated the post.

              And NICE best of list!

              1 Reply
              1. re: looper

                Thank you for updating it. I'd have hated for anyone to miss this thread since the subject of best taquería is such a popular one with both visitors and locals.

                My list is a work in progress. For example, if no one's version of a dish really stood out, I just omitted the category for now. I'm looking forward to chowhounding until I can fill in the blanks!


              2. I'd have to give a tie to Arandas #3 and #5. Both the Burnett Rd. and S. 1st St. locations are consistently awesome.

                1. Great list MPH. Go check the Regio Montana by El Regio on Riverside. Maybe new Al Pastor titleist. El Regio's green sauce is so good. Might get you to add a torta caregory too.

                  1. I have to third Taqueria Arandas on Burnet. Love their Al Pastor!

                    Thanks MPH for the great list -- I have a lot of eating to do. Have you tried any of the taquerias on North Lamar? (North of 183)

                    1. I love finding out about authentic Tex-Mex/Tejano places that are off the beaten track.

                      Thanks for the rec about Regio Montana, BTAustin. It's on my list of places to hit on East Riverside. I'll definitely try their al pastor and a torta or two. I do love that green salsa.

                      Mike B, I agree that North Lamar, north of 183, looks intriguing. At night there are lots of taco trailers by the side of the road—always a good sign. That might have to be my next project. Or yours? Someone needs to chronicle that part of town, too!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MPH

                        You are a person after my heart with your relentless hounding about town. However you are missing the finest of the fine.I'm speaking of El Zunzal on Calle,off east 7th street near the big HEB...the best Carnitas in town and the best Guacamole in Austin...I'm not kidding.They make it two ways:Estillo Salvadorena,with chopped boiled eggs and Estillo Mexicano with plenty onion,lime juice and salt.Either or....get there as soon as possible.

                        1. re: scrumptiouschef

                          Thanks for the tip, scrumptiouschef. I wish I'd seen your post sooner. I've been so busy chowhounding—and traveling--that I haven't read the boards since the end of August or so.

                          I'll check out El Zunzal soon, I hope. I'm hitting East Riverside at the moment (which is a welcome break from East Oltorf, which I just posted about). Your descriptions of Zunzal are making my mouth water.

                      2. I've been to Zunzal a couple of times and found it underwhelming.

                        Now, why are the taquitos and huaraches, et al, at the various La Michoacana locations not mentioned in this thread (at least i don't think they are...)????? They have some of the best chow in town. Their system of paying, then ordering sucks, but damn! The food is worth the effort. Helps if you speak some Spanish, but point, then ¡Click!, some great food pops over the counter.....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sambamaster

                          I've checked out La Michoacana. I believe you'd have to search back to my first report in this series for details on my visit. I think their food is satisfying and affordable, but in my experience, it hasn't been the best in town. I'll try it again when I get back to East 7th Street.

                          1. re: MPH

                            Taqueria Monterrey is in a dilapidated storefront just East of El Chilito on Manor road,south side of the street....it is not in the top percentile but it is worthy of a visit....make sure you get the Chicken Fajita taco on Corn Tortilla [it's the one they make from scratch]it is absurdly huge,the salsa is good but not stellar.The taco comes smothered in Pico de Gallo and Cheese.

                        2. I just revisited a favorite of mine, Taqueria Los Jaliscienses 'a.k.a. Funny Shaped Taqueria' (6201 Hwy 290 ). It has excellent salsas, they bring three(avocado based, standard red, and an interesting tobacco flavored dark salsa). They have an excellent seafood menu and they knock the basics out of the park. They also have sopes and gorditas. I tried the sopes for the first time and was very impressed It is your choice of meat(Al Pastor for me) on top of a crisp corn pancake that is grilled to perfection. It is then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. Not to be missed!

                          scrumptiouschef - thanks for the Taqueria Monterrey recommendation. I can't believe I haven't heard of this place, I live right next to it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: looper

                            Looper - that funny shape is a lotus flower. It used to be a chinese restaurant. We call it the lotus taqueria!

                          2. btw- anyone interested in contributing to a taco blog a friend and I are starting can email me at - tacojournalism@gmail.com

                            The site lives here - http://tacojournalism.blogspot.com/

                            **--tacos never die--**

                            1. For the best and cheapest taco in Austin, go to Juan in a Million and order the Don Juan. For less than 5 bucks you get three tacos filled with cheese, eggs, potatoes and bacon. And if you happen to catch Juan at the door, he gives the friendliest and firmest handshakes in town.

                              1. Taqueria Arandas #3 is like home. their al pastor:

                                there is a newish taqueria that opened in an old Wendy's on Airport (near Lamar) that is great called Taqueria Los Jaliscienses. I wonder if it is a chain from the Los Jaliscienses on 290. their al pastor:

                                why can't we post pics in these threads? lame.