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Searching for decent tacos in Manhattan

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babydoctor Oct 17, 2010 07:44 PM

I live in Chelsea, I've been to the taco truck on 14th St and 8th Ave, and frankly, their tortillas SUCK. And they give you old-ass limes. I lived in southern California for a short time, and unfortunately it has made me a taco snob. I trekked down to Soho for La Esquina, and the scene was lame, and again, the tortillas didn't have that soft, toothsome texture of a fresh tortilla. The Tehuitzingo deli in Hell's Kitchen was almost there, but still, sub par tortillas. I'm starting to lose hope. Are there any places in this godforsaken cityin which I can satisfy my craving?

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La Esquina
106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

  1. m
    mizzzie Mar 8, 2011 08:01 AM

    pinche taqueria for fish taco and braised pork taco. best fish taco ever had, braised pork is very good too.

    1. LeahBaila Oct 21, 2010 01:42 PM

      Check out "El Ranchito del Agave" or "Tacombi"

      www.thelunchbelle.com

      1. h
        Hey19 Oct 21, 2010 08:31 AM

        I didnt see snack dragon mentioned here. Curious to hear what people think. I get it probably too often, since its on my corner. Im happy w it, big tacos, good springy corn tortillas, cool staff, hole in the wall.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Hey19
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          gutsofsteel Oct 21, 2010 08:35 AM

          Where is it?

          1. re: gutsofsteel
            h
            Hey19 Oct 21, 2010 08:50 AM

            The one I go to is on 3rd/B, there is a new one in LES, on stanton and something, never been.

            1. re: Hey19
              s
              small h Oct 21, 2010 08:57 AM

              The LES branch (164 Orchard St.) has a picnic table out front, and it's closer to my house, so naturally I like it better than the E. 3rd St. branch. I like their fish tacos very much, but the tortillas fall apart too easily.

        2. h
          Hasan Oct 21, 2010 03:21 AM

          I have enjoyed the Tacos i have had at Taqueria y Fonda (especially the tongue and the tripe). However i don't have a lot to compare it to. What are peoples thoughts on the place?

          1. b
            ben.batros Oct 18, 2010 07:41 PM

            Can't claim to be anything approaching an authority on Mexican (my Australian tastebuds just aren't tuned to it), but my wife swears by the tacos at La Lucha, on Ave A - she reckons they are about the only mexican that tastes like what she eats when she used to go around to mexican friends' places (@teach - though that was before Hencho en Dumbo, which also rated pretty highly)

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            La Lucha
            147 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

            1. Jess321 Oct 18, 2010 05:31 PM

              While we're on the topic, anyone know of a truck/restaurant that serves FLOUR taco tortillas? I know corn is more authentic (I'm from AZ and have had my fair share of amazing Mexican food), but I can't digest corn. When the Mexicue truck started out a month or so ago, they used flour tortillas but have since moved on to corn. Their tacos and sliders are awesome, btw. You can follow them on twitter to find their location.

              1. n
                nolanm Oct 18, 2010 11:17 AM

                I think the taco truck on 96th street and Broadway is pretty good. Tacqueria y Fonda on Amsterdam between 107th and 108th is decent, if a little pricey.

                http://foodtourists.blogspot.com/

                1. b
                  brighton312 Oct 18, 2010 10:14 AM

                  I love the ones at Dos Toros Taqueria on 4th Ave near Union Square. They are California-style (though I've never lived there so I can't vouch for authenticity)- but I can say everything I've had there has been very fresh and delicious.

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                  Dos Toros
                  137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: brighton312
                    t
                    teach Oct 18, 2010 07:08 PM

                    Dos Toros does have pretty tasty tacos--although I'm pretty sure their hot sauce is Sriracha. At any rate, they're cheaper than a flight to LA.

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                    Dos Toros
                    137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: teach
                      loratliff Oct 18, 2010 08:58 PM

                      Dos Toros is good, but they definitely don't remind me of any of the tacos I ate when I lived in Orange County....

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                      Dos Toros
                      137 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: teach
                        b
                        brighton312 Oct 19, 2010 07:30 AM

                        Their hot sauce is actually made in house (I asked.) Same goes for their other sauces and pico de gallo. That gives them a couple extra points in my book, given the proliferation of Sriracha around town.

                    2. loratliff Oct 18, 2010 09:25 AM

                      La Esquina is the best I've found, but I actually discovered a new place on Elizabeth Street called Tacombi at Fonda Nolita. Pretty good.

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                      La Esquina
                      106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                      Tacombi
                      267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: loratliff
                        k
                        kathryn Oct 18, 2010 09:50 AM

                        How were the tortillas? I'd assume very fresh given that it's run by a guy from Tortilleria Nixtamal.

                        1. re: kathryn
                          JungMann Oct 18, 2010 01:29 PM

                          I just tried them over the weekend and didn't much care for the tortillas. I thought mine were wheat, are they corn? In general their flavorings were very clean which spoke to the quality of the meat, but also drew attention to the dryness of my pork. The beef was supposedly better.

                          The whole ticket and taco truck theme is also extremely gimmicky. I can't imagine why they would want to create lines inside a sitdown restaurant.

                          1. re: JungMann
                            y
                            yebo Oct 18, 2010 02:50 PM

                            Perhaps they think that more people can be turned over (quicker) with that approach.

                          2. re: kathryn
                            loratliff Oct 18, 2010 09:00 PM

                            I thought the tortillas were very good–at least the most authentic I've had. They are corn, but they are the true stone ground corn tortillas, made with thicker masa. Basically, they're the kind of tortillas that I've only ever had in Mexico and south Texas.

                            And to disagree with JungMann, the pork was fantastic the day I went. Easily my favorite. No problem with the ticket/taco truck theme either.

                          3. re: loratliff
                            s
                            small h Mar 6, 2011 03:28 PM

                            A brief shout-out to La Esquina for the fine Hongo y Epazote taco I had there yesterday. It was delicious, and a pretty substantial $3.25 snack, with hominy and a cheesy sauce giving it some heft and sloppiness. The tortilla was as good as those I had at Nixtamal (maybe that's where they're from). The only drawback was the mushrooms, which were shiitakes. Nothing against shiitakes, but they are too delicate-tasting to hold their own against the other ingredients. Portabellos, or even the lowly white mushroom, would be a wiser choice.

                            And for anyone looking for a place to feed the kids some tacos, the place was lousy with rug rats. They seemed very happy.

                          4. Pedr0 Oct 18, 2010 07:53 AM

                            Either Mercadito or Mercadito Cantina on Ave B. All you can eat tacos Monday & Tuesday as well as any night after 10pm at the Cantina. Service is a bit better at the restaurant but the cantina across the street is open a bit later. The Endless Summer taco truck on Bedford Ave. in W-Burg isn't bad either. Usually parked around North 5th.

                            -----
                            Mercadito Cantina
                            172 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Pedr0
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                              gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 08:03 AM

                              I can't stand those little pseudo tacos at Mercadito.

                              1. re: gutsofsteel
                                Pedr0 Oct 18, 2010 08:25 AM

                                Pseudo? How's that? Lot of tacos I've had in both LA and Mexico are the same size.

                                The Vegetariano ones with huitlacoche are stellar btw.

                                1. re: Pedr0
                                  g
                                  gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 09:02 AM

                                  They're so sweet and almost silly tasting, in my opinion.

                            2. thew Oct 18, 2010 07:01 AM

                              cascabel on 8oth st and 2nd ave

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: thew
                                g
                                gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 07:08 AM

                                I like Cascabel a lot. But it's kind of a fancified taco place.

                                1. re: gutsofsteel
                                  thew Oct 18, 2010 07:24 AM

                                  they are good tacos, which is what the OP asked about. i hate recommending the place, because it's hard enough to get a table as is

                                  1. re: thew
                                    m
                                    Mr Porkchop Oct 18, 2010 03:08 PM

                                    I'm from SoCal and really enjoy Cascabel a lot, even if it's far from a nostalgic taco experience.

                                    The OP seems fixated on the tortillas, which leads me to suggest they should really do the trip out to Nixtamal. But then there's no shortage of places in Queens/Brooklyn to go to.

                                    For what it's worth I slightly prefer Tulcingo del Valle to Tehuitzingo a few doors down, but I think they're pretty comparable. Might be worth a shot.

                                    I agree with gutsofsteel in really disliking Mercadito.

                                    If you want soft corn tortillas I'd strongly advise against Florencia 13, but it does the So Cal style hard tacos alright. And their margaritas are very good. It kind of a vato-themed restaurant/bar.

                                    -----
                                    Tehuitzingo
                                    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                    Tulcingo del Valle
                                    665 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                    Florencia 13
                                    185 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                                    1. re: thew
                                      t
                                      teach Oct 18, 2010 07:05 PM

                                      I was born and raised in So Cal, and I'm afraid I must differ with you on Cascabel. Their tacos are kind of tasteless and their salsas not nearly spicy enough. It's a shame because I live just around the corner and the space is cute.

                                      The only good Mexican food I've found in the city thus far is Hecho en Dumbo on Bowery. Their cochinita pibil is to die for.

                                      Sigh, I love New York but I miss the Mexican markets where one can buy 100 still-warm tortillas for $2.

                                      -----
                                      Hecho en Dumbo
                                      354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

                                      1. re: teach
                                        thew Oct 18, 2010 07:57 PM

                                        i agree about the salsas

                                        i like the taco truck on 60th and 3rd - but i rarely am there during weekdays

                                        1. re: teach
                                          m
                                          Mr Porkchop Oct 19, 2010 01:16 PM

                                          I think I implied they weren't anything like you'd get in So Cal, but that I enjoyed them in spite of that. At least that's what I meant to get across. Maybe I've gotten used to nothing in NYC being spicy enough.

                                          1. re: Mr Porkchop
                                            MVNYC Oct 19, 2010 01:33 PM

                                            I think it probably depends on what you get there also. The chicken is pretty blend but the lengua is pretty good. One of their salsas is adequate on a spice level but nothing will really blow you away.

                                            To the original poster, the best I have had are up around 116th street. Taco mix is one but there are others up there that I have wandered into that were good too.
                                            You can be there from Union Square in about 20 minutes. I lived in Southern California for a few years and these are just as good as some of the authentic taquerias there.

                                            There are also places in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn that are good.

                                  2. y
                                    yebo Oct 18, 2010 06:04 AM

                                    What about checking the Sunday taco tables/trucks right in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 14th bet. 8th and 9th and the food sold inside the church? I don't have expertise for quality - and certainly it is cheap and transported so maybe not truly superb. The tastes may be authenitic though. . I love the scene, the people of all ages gathering and making a place for themselves - including food .

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: yebo
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                                      gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 06:29 AM

                                      On decent-weather days. there are many taco, etc vendors with carts on E. 116th St.

                                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                                        n
                                        NewYorkNewHaven Oct 18, 2010 06:33 AM

                                        From my experience, its difficult to find tacos in Manhattan. But I have not spent a significant amount of time uptown. Still, decent tacos are abundant in Queens and my area of the Bronx.

                                        http://turntableskillets.wordpress.com

                                        1. re: NewYorkNewHaven
                                          g
                                          gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 06:46 AM

                                          It is not difficult - but obviously it makes sense to do the looking in a latino neighborhood....so head uptown...

                                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                                            b
                                            babydoctor Oct 19, 2010 11:40 AM

                                            The title of the post is "in Manhattan." I have no interest in trekking out to Queens or the Bronx. Not only do I value personal safety, but I'd like to limit the amount of time it takes me to get a taco to under an hour, round trip.

                                            JK about the personal safety, btw. Please don't jump down my throat, guys!

                                            1. re: babydoctor
                                              y
                                              yebo Oct 19, 2010 11:52 AM

                                              Still ... isn't it kind of nice how many people have tried to help you?

                                              1. re: babydoctor
                                                g
                                                gutsofsteel Oct 19, 2010 11:53 AM

                                                babydoctor, 116th St. is in Manhattan, it is close to the subway, and the street is almost always busy with people.

                                                1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                  MVNYC Oct 19, 2010 01:36 PM

                                                  As Guts said, 116th is in Manhattan and easy to get to. I know you were sort of joking about safety but you really have nothing to fear, it is perfectly safe there. I know I traveled to a lot worse neighbourhoods in search of tacos in California.

                                      2. g
                                        gutsofsteel Oct 18, 2010 05:45 AM

                                        Also on the corner of 117th & 1st Ave., there is a restaurant that just changed names - it was called Casa de los Tacos, but I can't remember what the new name is. The tacos are good - looks like it was just a name change, not a change in staff or ownership. I was there less than 2 weeks ago and enjoyed it.

                                        1. g
                                          gutsofsteel Oct 17, 2010 07:45 PM

                                          Taco Mix on 116th St.

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                                          Taco Mix
                                          234 E 116th St, New York, NY 10029

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                                            hungryinmanhattan Mar 6, 2011 03:51 PM

                                            Taco Mix is the one gets my vote even though I have trouble ordering. Hell, whatever they give me is always good! I never tried the one on the corner but I will do so.

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                                            Taco Mix
                                            234 E 116th St, New York, NY 10029

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