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Feb 17, 2009 04:28 PM

Best tacos in Tampa and Pinellas?

Brian from Creative Loafing here. Anyone who reads the food section of CL might remember the big March Madness-style tournaments we've held the last two years, with pizza in 2007 and burgers last year. 64 places, head to head, full bracket.

This year is tacos, and I need recommendations. Who has the best tacos in the Bay area, from fine-dining down to corner bodegas?

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  1. The Taco Bus!!!!! El Taconazo is my go to place when I have a craving for them, and has been since the first bite. If I bring the to-go container somewhere and let a friend take a bite, they end up hooked as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TampaAurora

      Hi Aurora. Where's the taco bus located?

      1. re: chucktownlady

        It is at the southeast corner of Nebraska and Hillsborough.

    2. On the Pinellas side, I really like La Casa del Tia on Drew in Clearwater. Excellent tacos!


      4 Replies
      1. re: RibDog

        I think you mean La Cabaña del Tio. And I would nominate them above the taco bus. Taconazo uses the same mass produced, shelf-stable tortillas that I can buy at Publix. Tio makes their tortillas in house fresh while you wait. Some of the meats I like better at El Taconazo, and others are quite good at La Cabaña del Tio, but the tortilla thing really gives the latter the leading edge. I also really like El Toro Negro is Kenneth City, but I'm ashamed to admit it's been many months since I've been over there. They have a bigger menu than the aforementioned establishments, so often when I visit I don't order any tacos. They have wonderful gorditas, I can't help myself but order those each time. But please do check out ETN for your taco research.

          1. re: Agent Orange

            I was just at El Toro Negro - though we didn't have the tacos - we really loved the corn tortillas - homemade. Yummy

            1. re: dmfnole

              I didn't know El Toro Negro made their own tortillas. I must get me there immediately.

        1. Hey, Brian. Love your writing.

          Although the quality has slipped a bit since it's opening, I really like Mekenita Mexican Grille (formerly Mariposa). I also love Red Mesa in St. Pete and hear great things about Zurritos on Central Avenue. Finally, I know a lot of hounds will jump all over me for saying this, but I really like the tacos at Tijuana Flats. They're simple, but mighty tasty.

          5 Replies
          1. re: RBTampa

            I am very psyched about this. I hope this will encourage all of us to pop into the places that we have been neglecting. (I took one for the team tonight by stopping into Las Rasquachita on Armenia near Hillsborough. One of the tacos tasted and looked like tuna). In addition to the places already listed, I like the Tacos at Acapulco Grocery on MacDill and Cypress. Andy recently made the discovery of Del Valle on Fowler next to Trang which is also very good. Bradenton is too far, I guess, but the taco stand at the Red Barn Flea Market is good. There is a new bus on Armenia that says Mexico Style. I am eager to check it out just to see what "style" means. This is a big service to our community, Brian. I am glad that you are taking it on.

            1. re: CFishman

              I would hope that any taco that "looked and tasted like tuna" would be called a "tuna taco" on the menu because if I order a taco and get something that in any way reminds me of tuna...there's gonna be trouble, big time trouble, at the taco stand.

              1. re: CFishman

                Actually, suggestions for Sarasota and Bradenton are welcome, too,, since I'll be replicating for the Creative Loafing paper down there. Thanks!

                1. re: Bries

                  For Bradenton, check out Maria's in the Red Barn Flea Market and also the Latin grocery Acapulco Tropical (prepared foods and taqueria in the back) on US 41.

              2. re: RBTampa

                We finally made it up to Mekenita a couple weeks ago and their tacos and ceviche are really really good. I also liked their housemade salsa. Prices were reasonable though I won't order beer there again since it was through the roof.

              3. My house with the Old El Paso taco kit and some type of mystery meat which has been sitting in the bottom of the freezer for who knows how long. I mean, why go anywhere else?!?
                Chihuahua's on South MacDill isn't bad. It's where some of us in the office usually go when we crave Mexican food. I take my taco's with the marinated pork. Great lunch specials too for a reasonable price.

                1. Brian,
                  I love your articles in "Creative Loafing." Keep 'em coming! I, too, want to second El Taconazo (a/k/a "The Taco Bus"), just East of 275 and Hillsborough. These are the best tacos I've had in years and are certainly equal to and reminiscent of the tacos I had in Saltillo, Mexico, when I lived there as an exchange student. Like most Mexican tacos, they're soft and based on a corn tortilla. For harder ones, you'd have to go elsewhere, but they are certainly top of the line. Also, be certain to try the red and green sauces that are on the tables in plastic squeeze bottles. They make the tacos even better.