Welcome to So Much Life Blog’s guide to the best tacos in Austin. This has been years and years in the making (tacos were the first meal I ate in Austin when I did a campus visit at UT way back when…), and I’ve been consuming a steady diet of tacos ever since.
Use this map to find the best tacos near you!
Lately, I really dove into the taco scene whole-heartedly and began researching every nook and cranny of the city so I could write a detailed guide for all of you taco lovers out there. If you’ve been following my journey on instagram, you know that I’ve eaten dozens and dozens of tacos in the past month. This taco search is no joke!
What makes a good taco? For starters, the tortilla has to be something special. I tried both corn and flour at every location, and I always asked to know where it was sourced. The filling is, obviously, a big component! If it’s a classic taco, like pastor or carnitas, I’m looking for fresh, high-quality meat and veggies that are cooked authentically. (This search also included lots of research on my own at home, including books, documentaries, and cookbooks about tacos.) If the filling is something unique, like a vegetarian taco, I want to taste an explosion of flavors in my mouth! And of course, the salsa should be fireworks. Homemade, made fresh that morning, please.
18 Best Tacos In Austin
For ease of navigating through this blog post, I’m dividing it into three parts:
Part 1: Taco Trucks. These are a combo of popular joints and little hole-in-the-wall trucks where you can order 3 tacos and a Mexican coke for $8 and sit outside at a picnic table while you scarf down a few foil-wrapped tacos for lunch.
Part 2: Indoor casual restaurants. Texas is hot, yo. Sometimes you want to be able to eat your tacos at an indoor establishment with air conditioning.
Part 3: Upscale dinner restaurants. This is for all of you who are looking for a an upscale Mexican dinner restaurant that has incredible tacos.
Part 1: Taco Trucks
Asador is not quite a taco truck…it’s more a taco stand, and it’s tucked into the courtyard between two downtown bars (Las Perlas and Seven Grand.) Joe, the owner, puts SO much work into creating the most scrumptious, creative fillings you can imagine. (The menu rotates, but it typically has 5 options. When I visited, three of these five options had their own unique moles, which is a hell of a lot of work for a chef…) He calls them “Mexican tacos served in Texas,” meaning that he’s starting with authentic Mexican ingredients and then giving them some subtle twists to make them more unique and appealing to Texans.
The tortillas stand out because they’re standard flour tortillas that are heated on the grill (about 80% on one side and 20% on the other) so that they’re nice and grilled and firm on the outside, yet soft and pliable on the inside. They’re the perfect vehicle of transportation for the big burst of flavor you’re going to get from the meat and the mole in the taco. 10/10 love these tacos. |WEBSITE| 405 E 7th St.
2. Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ
I have yet to find better homemade flour tortillas than the ones at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ. They’re hot, thick, fluffy, and dusted with remnants of flour.
Here’s how I like to eat my tacos at Valentina’s: order a half pound of brisket, a side of beans, and a stack of flour tortillas. Then, tear the tortillas into small bite-size pieces and fill each bite with a little piece of meat, a spoonful of beans, and a squirt of homemade tomato-serrano salsa. Valentina’s tacos are totally unique and one of the best things you find to eat in Austin, Texas. |WEBSITE| 11500 Manchaca Rd
3. Trill Taqueria
Trill Taqueria is extra special because the owner, Nick Belloni (former chef at Eden East) uses nixtamalization (the process of soaking corn in an alkaline solution and then hulled, resulting in a better flavor and aroma) to make his own corn tortillas. The fillings are always changing, but you can count on a creative flavor involving local veggies and meat.
When you eat at Trill, you know that you’re supporting local farmers as well as indulging in one of the most expertly-crafted tacos in town. |WEBSITE| 3307 Oak Springs Dr
I didn’t know what a discada taco was before I checked out this East Austin food truck, so let me tell you: it’s a meat-based taco that originated in northern Mexico, and it’s cooked on a plow disc harrow. The meats are introduced one at a time to create layers of flavor.
The owner of Discada taco truck told to think of it like Spanish paella: the way it’s cooked is what categorizes it as a discada taco, not the ingredients. If you visit Discada, you’ll be able to try their family recipe, which includes beef, pork, and veggies inside a corn tortilla, topped with pineapple, cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime.
I appreciate that this truck specializes in doing one thing very, very well (rather than half-assing a bunch of styles and recipes). You can also order homemade elotes here. |WEBSITE| 1319 Rosewood Ave
5. Rosita’s Al Pastor
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican street food tacos that are available late into the night, look no further than E. Riverside favorite Rosita’s Al Pastor. They’ve been around since 1985 serving scrumptious pastor tacos on homemade flour tortillas. (The corn are pretty good too, but the flour tortillas are made fresh in-house every day and so, so good. Try the breakfast tacos, too!) |WEBSITE| 1911 E. Riverside
6. El Primo
El Primo is a long-time favorite in Austin for quick, cheap, authentic Mexican tacos. You can expect to find a hungry crowd of locals lining up every day around lunchtime. All the tacos (asada, pastor, lengua, chicken, barbacoa, and tripas) are $2.50 and prepared fresh right when you order them. The truck is cash-only, but you can place an order in advance on the website and pay with a card online if you don’t have any cash on hand. (Hint: this is also a great way to make your office really happy – order a big bunch of tacos for the whole group!) |WEBSITE| 2101 S 1st St
7. Taqueria Anyeli
Two words: HOMEMADE TORTILLAS. I was sooo excited when I drove up to this little pink food truck in central Austin and saw a sign out front saying that their corn tortillas are homemade here. Taqueria Anyeli is parked outside a gas station, and there are two shaded picnic tables where customers can enjoy all of the typical traditional Mexican tacos: pastor, lengua, barbacoa, carnitas, and more. |NO WEBSITE| 916 W 32nd St
8. Taqueria Morales
Quick, fast, and greasy: the tacos at Taqueria Morales are a hidden gem in south Austin. I asked the man taking my order where the tortillas come from, and he said, “oh, my mom makes them in her kitchen.” I mean…come on! |WEBSITE| 1415 W William Cannon Dr.
A few other taco food trucks worth trying:
Las Trancas: A popular truck on E Cesar Chavez. All the tacos are $2, served on flour or corn (get the corn) and delivered quickly. People who love this place absolutely LOVE IT. I’m telling you…the messages I got on instagram of people declaring their love to Las Trancas were next level. This might be the best budget taco in Austin, but if you’re willing to dish out an addition $0.50 or $1 per taco, there are some better options. |WEBSITE| 1210 E Cesar Chavez
El Chilango: Brush up on your high school Spanish chops…when I stopped by, no one here (workers or customers) spoke English. Thankfully dos tacos al pastor por aqui doesn’t require a language translator.. The salsa verde was legitimately the best I tried at any food truck….so much flavor! The onions were sautéed instead of served raw, which isn’t my personal preference, and the meat didn’t taste quite as fresh or flavorful as some of the other places I tried. |WEBSITE| 701 Provines Dr
Granny’s Tacos: They have some creative recipes instead of offering just the basics. I tried a chicken mole taco, which wasn’t prepared nearly as well as the mole I tried at Asador (#1 on my list), but was still a nice alternative to all the basic pastor tacos I’ve been eating lately. |WEBSITE| 1401 E 7th St
Part 2: Casual Restaurants
Edited to add:
Nixta opened after I published this post, but they deserve a spot at the top of the “Casual Restaurants” list. Why? They’re a fun, quirky, tiny little lunch spot in East Austin that is importing their corn from Oaxaca and using nixtamalization to make theee most delicious homemade corn tortillas every day. This is a taqueria that every local and tourist in Austin needs to visit.
The ingredients inside the tacos are made with just as much love as the tortillas. From tasty duck carnitas to seasonal sweet potato tacos, these tasty lunch bites WOWED me! |WEBSITE| 2512 E 12 St.
9. Dai Due Taqueria
Dai Due, the farm-to-table restaurant and butcher shop in East Austin, opened a stand at downtown food hall Fareground called Dai Due Taqueria. Just like at their restaurant, this taco stand focuses on Texas game and produce, so their pastor taco is made from wild boar (and it is DELICIOUS). The homemade corn tortillas are made from heirloom dried corn that has been nixtamlized, and the flour tortillas are homemade as well (and just as good as the corn.)
Veggie tacos at Dai Due shouldn’t be an afterthought. The fruits and veggies are sourced from farms around Austin, so the flavors are vibrant. You can enjoy these tacos inside the Fareground food hall. |WEBSITE| 111 Congress Ave
10. Veracruz All-Natural
Veracruz All-Natural started as a food truck and was originally known for their migas breakfast taco, but as Austinites have continued to obsess over Veracruz (the line at the food truck can be crazy on the weekends), they’ve opened more locations (include a couple brick-and-mortars) and expanded the menu to include pastor, fish, barbacoa, shrimp tacos, and more. They’re consistently high-quality, made-to-order, and the north Austin location is a great place to meet up for a lunch date. |WEBSITE| 9003 Waterford Center Blvd #180
OneTaco’s claim to fame was being featured on Diner’s Drive-ins, and Dives in early 2019….but Austin locals loved this taqueria long before Guy Fieri made it famous. Their “Gringa” taco is similar to a pastor, but it also includes cheese and it’s served on a flour tortilla. The North Anderson brick-and-mortar is a small, lively place to order a bunch of tacos with your group and chow down for lunch. |WEBSITE| 2900 W Anderson Lane Suite K
12. Lazarus Brewing
Lazaurus Brewing Co. is, hands down, the place to go for some Austin craft beer paired with authentic Mexican street food tacos. The tacos are hearty, cheap, fast, and delicious. No frills here, just the basics: al pastor, carnitas, carne asada, and such. Super delicious chips + guac, too! |WEBSITE| 1902 E 6th St
13. Tyson’s Tacos
We all need a 24-hour taco stand in our lives, and while Tyson’s Tacos isn’t exactly an indoor casual restaurant, they do have a covered patio that’s partially closed in, so you can eat here rain or shine. The big menu is full of scrumptious, creative offerings (and you can even create your own taco for the menu if you dine here often enough and rack up some points). The burnt ends taco is my personal favorite. |WEBSITE| 4905 Airport Blvd
14. Vaquero Taquero
Vaquero Taquero specializes in authentic Mexican street-food tacos, and the Pastor is where you need to start: they slice pork off a trompo and serve it all warm and tasty in a fresh tortilla topped with cilantro, onion, pineapple, salsa, and avacado crema. Que delicioso!
They started as a food truck and opened a brick-and-mortar in 2019. The store is pretty small, so it’s a good place to dine solo or with one other person…probably not best for a very large group. |WEBSITE| 104 E 31st St
A few other casual restaurants to try:
TacoDeli: We all know and love the TacoDeli chain, and you can find locations in most corners of Austin! They have a HUGE menu of pretty much any taco you could want, including all types of chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and veggie tacos. |WEBSITE|
Taco Flats: They serve consistently good tacos on homemade tortillas in a bright, clean restaurant. Taco Flats also offers cocktails, beer, wine, tortas, and soups, so it’s a fun place to dine with a group. |WEBSITE|
Part 3: Upscale Restaurants
All hail the king of corn! Suerte opened in 2018 and immediately gained national attention and success for its attention to detail in pulling out every last little bit of flavor by nixtamilizing and grinding corn to make their own…well, everything! Tortillas, tostadas, tamales, and more.
The tacos are absolutely some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The plates are made to be shared, so I love dining here on a double date and ordering a few plates of tacos and tostadas to pair with their beautiful cocktails. |WEBSITE| 1800 E 6th St
Comedor is a gorgeous modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin that has quickly developed a signature dish: bone marrow tacos.
You’ll be given a warm stack of homemade corn and flour tortillas. Fill them with the sautéed and charred greens, and then scrape the decadent bone marrow on top for a completely unique take on tacos. |WEBSITE| 501 Colorado St
17. Fonda San Miguel
Fonda San Miguel…how I love you! This interior Mexican restaurant has been a class in Austin since the 1970s. While tacos might seem like a trite menu item to order amidst all the scrumptious moles and rellenos and enchiladas, the tacos al pastor really are one of the tastiest starter items on the menu. You’ll be given 4 little pork tacos served with two sauces. Share with the table! |WEBSITE| 2330 W North Loop
18. La Condesa
photo courtesy of La Condesa
La Condesa’s menu merges the cultures of Mexico and Austin. They strive to use local, organic, and humanely-harvested ingredients, and that shows when you bite into one of those yummy tacos! This is, by far, one of the prettiest downtown restaurants (and a great place to dine with a group, too!) |WEBSITE| 400A W 2nd St