By Zagat Staff
April 29, 2014
Miami: Fried Chicken Taco at Huahua’s Taqueria
Why We Love It: This South Beach taqueria’s award-winning taco (recently featured on the Cooking Channel) is an irresistible combo of Southern-meets-Mexican comfort food thanks to the jalapeño cornbread croutons mixed with rich ancho ranch dressing.
Insider Tip: The grilled Mexican sweet corn with spicy mayo is the perfect starter for such a Southern-style comfort-food taco.
Price: $3.99 each
It’s Taco Tuesday here at Zagat, which means it’s all tacos, all day long. Here are 15 of the best tacos in the land from each of our local markets. How many have you tried? Tell us in the comments or on social media with hashtag #ZagatTacoTuesday.
Austin: Rosita’s Al Pastor
Why We Love It: Delicious, no-frills tacos from an inconspicuous but locally famous trailer.
Insider Tip: It’s in the name, y’all. Al pastor is the way to go here, with cilantro, onions and green salsa.
Atlanta: Carnitas at Taqueria la Villa
Why We Love It: La Villa used to be located in the back counter of the supermercado next door in this Smyrna strip mall, but expanded to its own storefront when a neighboring Quizno’s closed down. Much of the decor remains, but you won’t be looking at the walls with La Villa’s carnitas tacos sitting in front of you. They’re Michoacán-style, braised and then roasted to a point of being both tender and crisp.
Insider Tip: The salsa bar offers choices that range from mild to monumentally fiery. Taste before you drench.
Price: $1 per taco.
Boston: Mahi Mahi A La Plancha Tacos at The Painted Burro
Why We Love It: Because it brings a taste of the tropics to the Davis Square Mexican, giving the grilled fish and freshy and fruity spin with pineapple and serrano salsa, jicama, avocado and frisee.
Insider Tip: Painted Burro owner Joe Cassinelli has something new up his sleeve. He’s planning to turn the nearby Somerville landmark Rosebud diner into a “roadhouse”-inspired American eatery.
Chicago: Goat Taco at Birrieria Zaragoza
Why We Love It: This family-run eatery does one thing and one thing well: goat. Whole goats are butchered, steamed, marinated in red mole and then roasted before the meat is pulled apart, soaked in a tomato consommé and served with soft tortillas.
Insider Tip: While tacos appear on the menu, opt for the DIY version with meat in a pool of consommé and tortillas on the side.
Dallas: Pastor at El Come Taco
Why We Love It: This new-ish restaurant roasts its sweet pork traditionally, on a spit called a trompo, with pineapple atop it so fruity juices drip right into the meat.
Insider Tip: The Fitzhugh Avenue spot stays open till 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, so it’s the perfect spot for after-club taco devouring.
Photo by: Ruth Tobias
Denver: Cochinita Pibil at La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas
Why We Love It: Housed in a comfy little two-room cottage along the Valverde stretch of Alameda, this absolute gem gives new meaning to the word “sumptuous.” We wholeheartedly recommend every taco on the menu, but since you’ve got to start somewhere, try the cochinita pibil – pork slow-roasted in citrus-achiote marinade (pictured left below the also-amazing chivo, or goat). With one bite, the depth of its rich and tangy flavor seems almost boundless; slivers of pickled onion add sharp contrast should you want it, but the stew-thick mixture is perfect as is. (And don’t fret about those lemon wedges – we’re sure the lime shortage will be over soon.)
Insider Tip: While the wall-mounted menus are entirely in Spanish, a printed menu at the order counter offers moderately helpful English translations.
Price: $1.50 or $6.95 for five
Houston: Barbacoa Tacos at Hugo’s
Why We Love It: Succulent and flavorful lamb is marinated in chiles, onion, garlic and avocado leaves, slow-roasted in agave skin and complemented with chopped onion, fresh cilantro and warm tortillas.
Insider Tip: Have your taco with the sangria of the day.
Los Angeles: Shrimp Dorado Taco at Mariscos Jalisco
Why We Love It: Shrimp inside a corn tortilla, fried till crispy, doused in salsa and topped with chopped avocado. Sit on the brick wall and dig in. By the time you’ve finished the first (or even second) taco, you’re already pondering more.
Insider Tip: There’s now a fried avocado taco for anyone who doesn’t want shrimp.