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Jan 14, 2013 05:36 PM

Traditional Mexican Tacos

Where can I find the best traditional mexican tacos? Not Tex Mex, not breakfast tacos. Simple yummy al pastor tacos with the traditional fixings (onion, cilantro, pineapple), etc?

Thank you!

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  1. Best bets, IMHO: El Taco Rico. El Meson on Burleson. La Moreliana. El Regio. Mi Ranchito. El Primo. Rosita's al Pastor. La Flor.

    You want a sit-down meal, not something from a trailer, convenience store, or gas station: La Condesa. Fonda San Miguel. Curra's. Borrego de Oro. El Meson Lamar. Sazon.

    Mexican "fast food" joints all over town: Arandas. Arandinas. Anything w/ Tapatia or Jaliscience in the name. The quality at these places is highly variable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tom in austin

      I think this is a fantastic and worth of capitalization Taco List. Agree with all, minus Fonda San Miguel, add Marcelino Pan y Vino.

      1. re: tom in austin

        Taco More
        9414 Parkfield off Rundberg

        Como Mexico, no hay dos :-)

      2. Most of the Hispanic markets have taquerias inside. Most of them are pretty decent but I find ordering from them difficult.

        1. I think the pastor, carnitas, and barbacoa (both goat and beef), and lengua tacos at La Fruta Feliz just east (and north) of Airport on Manor are the best tacos going. house made corn tortillas are essential and ask for the avocado salsa - smooth and just the right amount of heat.

          can't miss the barbacoa at el taco rico either.

          2 Replies
          1. re: slowcoooked

            Fruta Feliz has some bizarre spice in their barbacoa that I've never encountered. Cloves, maybe? It's disconcerting to me and I've sworn off it.

            1. re: addlepated

              I think you're right, it might just be cloves. I think it's in the goat barbacoa as well. While delicious on this palate, I think their pork (pastor and carnitas) and goat shine in particular, so I usually get those animals and skip the cow products.

          2. Maybe I've just been eating at the wrong places, but when do traditional Mexican tacos have pineapple?

            8 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

              I'm not an expert, but I thought that tacos al pastor were cooked on a trompo with pineapple on top, drizzling sizzling juices, and that when served it wasn't unusual for a bit of pineapple to make its way into the taco.

              Wikipedia isn't a really good authority for this sort of thing either, but it agrees.

              1. re: tom in austin

                In my experience (and this is just that, not saying I know for a fact), the pineapple in tacos al pastor at more authentic places is usually diced fairly finely and integrated into the sauce, rendering it pretty much visually indistinguishable. At fancier (read: gentrified and IMHO not as authentic) places, it tends to be more prominently shown, more as a garnish and less integrated into the sauce. That said, either is tasty! I prefer the former.

                And referring to a previous post, yes, a lot of the grocery stores have great taquerias inside. La Moreliana on S.Congress is fantastic. I speak spanish, which certainly helps, but I think you'd get by just fine with English and a little bit of Spanish (i.e. just learn a few menu items to familiarize yourself).

                1. re: popvulture

                  And if anybody could verify or disprove my assumption about authentic vs. more fancy/modern, I'd love to hear it. I've always been curious about the whole pineapple thing.

                  1. re: popvulture

                    it's the opposite. The pineapple should sit on top and be sliced off after the meat has been from the tube.

                    1. re: xdcx

                      Interesting! Does any place in town have the vertical spit like this? Most places I've been to have the meat already prepared and on standby in a warmer, then it's heated up on a griddle.

                      1. re: popvulture

                        Also yes, I look like a dumba**. Learn something new every day.

                        1. re: popvulture

                          Chuy Bakery on Ohlen / 183 has one of those rotating marinated pork on a spit "trompos" (thanks Tom) and I'm pretty sure the pineapple is on top. I think they slice off the edges and put them in a pan. This may be the "most authentic" method, but I have enjoyed other pastor versions more (fruta felix, rosita's). Also, I like my pork cooked, and if the authentic method is just to slice off the edges and pop them in a tortilla, I'd be a bit leery. Off topic, their torta cubana and blue corn tortilla / squash quesadillas are tops. Somewhat of an anti-gringo attitude by the staff, but I don't get too upset about that.

                          - dumb** #2

                        2. re: popvulture

                          There used to be a trailer at St. Johns and I35 (NW corner) that had a trompo. Haven't been by in a while to eat, though, but as of two weeks ago, a trailer was still at that location.

                2. My favorite taco joints in Austin (most are trailers and in the south):

                  La Fruta Feliz for carne asada, barbacoa de chivo, carnitas and al pastor. All on corn tortillas, which are some of the best in town.

                  The pulga (flea market) on Elmont west of Pleasant Valley on weekends. There are several killer taco options there. Santa Rosa is a carnitas specialist (it's the only thing they serve) that cooks the meat in a huge vat of fat right outside the trailer. This market also has the highest concentration of goat in Austin; several trailers have goat tacos and consome. I prefer the white van over the others. Morning/afternoon.

                  Ley's on 2449 Elmont Dr in the parking lot of the Tejano club serves excellent carne asada and al pastor tacos (alas, without pineapple), on handmade corn tortillas. Night/late-night.

                  La Flor on 4901 S 1st St makes their own corn and flour tortillas, and they're huge and cheap. Everything I've tried has been good to excellent. Mornings/early-afternoon.

                  Taqueria Maldonado on 525 W Ben White Blvd in the gas station lot is an unsigned trailer. Handmade corn tortillas. Morning/early-afternoon.

                  Taqueria Hugo is an unsigned trailer in the Tejano club lot at 4702 Burleson Rd. Handmade corn tortillas. Fantastic carne asada and suadero and deep-fried quail. Night/late-night.

                  Sarita's is a trailer at 2110 S Congress. Handmade corn tortillas. Great barbacoa. El As del Taco used to be at this location and was fantastic, despite using commercial tortillas. I crave their seasoned barbacoa taco, which was deep-fried. Anyone know where they've moved to?

                  El Mana is a trailer and a store on 5936 Westminster Dr. Birria de chivo on weekends on handmade corn tortillas with very spicy salsas. Great carnitas.

                  Taqueria Los Canarios is a trailer on 5433 S Congress Ave. The chivo is fantastic and crisped up on the griddle before serving. They claim to have handmade tortillas, but it depends on when you show up - better luck on weekends.

                  Bomb Tacos trailer inside The White Horse. The al pastor is fantastic. Great fish, shrimp and carne asada as well. Surprisingly good for a joint that's not really visited by Mexicans at all. Night/late-night.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Joe MacBu

                    FANTASTIC! Many places I've never tried! Thank you, Joe MacBu!

                    1. re: Joe MacBu

                      What a bunch of great tips! Thanks, Joe!

                      Lotus7, I also suggest searching out MPH's old posts about Tex-Mex on the E and SE sides of Austin. Some (many?) of these places might be gone, but what a treasure trove of taco love:


                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                        Weird, I saw the El As Del Taco trailer recently from an interstate overpass and made the mental note that it had moved, but I can't remember exactly where... Googling just now led me to the Yelp page, where someone had heard that it'd moved somewhere on or around Burleson.

                        So that's a start. I'll let you know if I find out more.