Tacos have become as ubiquitous to American cuisine as hot dogs and popcorn. The popularity of these handheld delights means there is no shortage of places to grab a taco in New York City, but only a few restaurants offer up something that is truly special.
In the city’s crowded food scene, these places have mastered the art of combining meat, veggies, and sauce on a tortilla. Here are the NYC taco joints that rise above the rest.
Tacombi in the Nolita neighborhood ©Jessica Fiess-Hill/CC By 2.0
Get beachy at Tacombi
Tacombi – which operates three kombi style taco trucks throughout lower Manhattan – offers up a So-Cal themed dining experience right in the midst of the city. Each location has a breezy sense of style that makes for a perfect respite from the urban hustle. Most importantly, the tacos are large and dripping with perfectly seasoned, locally sourced meats and spicy sauces. Tacombi also specializes in refreshing juice blends and aguas frescas, including classics such as horchata and agua de tamarindo, that pair perfectly with their food.
Enjoy authenticity at Tacos el Bronco
South Brooklyn stand-by Tacos el Bronco (tacoselbronco.net) is an unassuming Mexican restaurant that deploys its food truck to several locations around Sunset Park. The tacos at the restaurant and the truck (which can usually be found parked outside of the Melody Lanes bowling alley) are cheap and filled with succulent meat and fresh veggies. Adventurous eaters will be thrilled to see options like tripe and veal head on the menu.
The unassuming entrance to The Taco Shop in the West Village © Robert Balkovich / Lonely Planet
Stop by the Taco Shop for a very happy hour
Its basement location can make it easy to miss, but the Taco Shop’s (thetacoshopnyc.com) happy hour is one that shouldn’t be ignored. Monday through Friday, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, $12 gets you three tacos and a margarita or beer. The tacos are small, but full of savory flavor, and the variety can’t be beat. Mixing is encouraged, so there’s no need to choose between the light and crispy baja fish, or the rich pork belly.
Takumi Taco is a fusion playground
Fusion food is often controversial, but when it’s just downright tasty, it’s hard to argue with. Takumi Taco (takumitaco.com) adds Japanese ingredients to the beloved Mexican staple to create combinations you won’t find anywhere else. Imagine tuna with avocado and jicama, or chipotle shrimp with sesame seeds and edamame. They’re as good as they sound. All of the meat is delicately spiced, and the vegetables are crisp and delectable. While it’s hard to improve on a classic formula, Takumi Taco certainly doesn’t shy away from the challenge.
El Diablo Tacos serves up a tasty fish taco topped with fresh salsa with a side of grilled corn ©Joey/CC By 2.0
Drinks meet eats at El Diablo Tacos
Nestled in the back yard of popular Williamsburg bar Union Pool is El Diablo Tacos (eldiablotacos.com). This truck has a no-muss, no-fuss attitude about its food: small menu, minimal presentation, but huge flavor. The tacos at El Diablo are gloriously greasy, with just the right amount of kick, perfect for after a few drinks at the bar. Even in the dead of winter, El Diablo is worth heading out back for.
Fatty Daddy is takeout heaven
Quick, convenient, and delicious: that’s how Park Slope eatery Fatty Daddy (fattydaddytacobk.com) does its tacos. The restaurant itself is small, which makes it the perfect choice for takeout (Prospect Park is just a few blocks away), or a quick bite at their counter. They have an impressive full-time menu selection, as well as specials and add-ons, such as handmade guacamole, that make every trip uniquely tantalizing.
Fatty Daddy Taco in Park Slope, Brooklyn © Robert Balkovich / Lonely Planet
See how the taco is made at Tortilleria Mexicana los Hermanos
Deep in Brooklyn, just off the Jefferson stop on the L train in Bushwick, is this tortilla factory that conveniently houses one of New York’s best taco joints. The menu is simple, which means that every item on it is their specialty, and of course the tortillas are as fresh as can be. For a truly Brooklyn touch, the dining area is located on the floor of the factory, where you can see freshly pressed tortillas coming down the conveyor belt. In the summer they open the factory doors and move the tables outside. It’s a dining experience you shouldn’t even think about missing.
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