At TuGo, there are few things we love more than food (tacos, specifically). And with Cinco De Mayo coming right up, what better way to celebrate than to feature our favourite taco spots around the world? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have mapped out the best spots for you in case you’re in town visiting! But fair warning: if you’re hungry, you might want to eat something before reading this post. You’re in for some major FO(od)-MO! Without further ado, let’s get into the best tacos in town.
Taqueria El Torito, Mexico City
My favourite: Tacos de tripa—pieces of offal left to stew for hours until velvety-soft, then grilled in its own fat to achieve a light, crisp exterior. ‘Taqueria El Torito’ is a little hole-in-the-wall in Mexico City that seats under a dozen people at a time. They’ve been around since 1957 and have only 3 things on their menu.
Finding the best taqueria in the country where tacos were invented is asking the impossible. Luckily for travellers, heading over to Mexico City is a pretty safe bet when trying out delicious variations of this staple street food.
In Mexico, tacos are inexpensive, served with production-line efficiency, and come in many forms, often named for the type of fillings, or the manner in which they’re cooked or served. For example, carnitas refers to pork (cooked a certain way), while tacos al pastor, especially popular in Mexico City, refers to meat cooked on a shawarma-style vertical rotisserie; tacos de guisados refers to homecooked-style fillings, and so on.
High-traffic urban centres and sleepy neighbourhoods throughout the city serve tacos in brick-and-mortar restaurants, at street stalls and carts, out of picnic baskets (stewed tacos de canasta), and even out of the trunks of parked cars. But take it from personal experience when I say that ordering bus station tacos for breakfast—tempting as it might be—is something you’ll probably regret later that day!
Playa Cabana, Toronto
My favourite: Braised shortrib-brisket crispy tacos—AAA Ontario beef shortrib braised in ancho chiles, wrapped in corn tortillas and griddled until crispy!
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Nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto, Playa Cabana is nothing short of extraordinary, and that says a lot in the competitive Toronto taco scene. Once you walk through the doors, you’re immediately transported to a hot-spot that doesn’t quite feel like the GTA. Think tacos and tequila mixed with a vintage diner! Delicioso!
Besides my favourite shortrib tacos, I’m also a huge fan of their grilled corn with lime and queso fresco. Grilled, savoury corn always reminds me of the street corn served with mayo and lime on the nights I spent in Cabo San Lucas as a child.
My favourite: Fish taco—although I’ve tried many of the tacos on the menu and all are delicious, I find the fish taco particularly mouth-watering…and I’m not even a fish fan. The taco is stacked with crispy fried pacific cod and finished with tangy salsa fresca and creamy chipotle mayo. The result is a perfect balance of spice, crunch and cream all held together with a warm flour tortilla. Top that off with a classic lime margherita and you’ve got yourself a fiesta! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
As one of my favourite spots to go for tacos, the West Coast’s very own Tacofino is at the top of my list! Started at the back of a surf shop parking lot in Tofino, British Columbia, Tacofino taco bars and trucks can be found in various locations around Vancouver. If you want to keep it real and are in the area, check out the original truck just off the main road leading into Tofino. They’ve also got a location in Victoria.
Inspired by authentic flavours from surf destinations from around the world, Tacofino does a delicious job of bringing it all home. If you don’t live in the neighbourhood, Tacofino is worth travelling for.
Santos, Las Vegas
My favourite: Holy Mole!—tender pieces of shredded chicken in mole sauce, topped with red onions and drizzled with fresh crema.
Back in March, my husband and I went to Las Vegas to see our friends get married (by “Elvis” and it was awesome). Since we aren’t typical Vegas-goers, we booked a Downtown Las Vegas food tour, leaving the glare of Fremont Street to experience a more authentic, funky vibe—a truly unexpected side to Sin City!
One of our stops was Santos, a newly-opened taco place. The owner’s grandmother makes fresh corn tortillas EVERY morning, and we could taste the love in their tacos! But what I enjoyed the most (I can’t help myself, I’m all about the brand), was the restaurant’s theme. Santos means “saints” in Spanish and their slogan is “Pray for tacos”. The interior looks like the inside of an ancient church and its décor combines an old catholic traditional feel, with modern pop-culture references. So fun!
Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul, South Korea
My favourite: Pork belly tacos—marinated in Korean chili paste, these tacos are amazing!. As a former expat who lived in Seoul and a self-professed foodie traveller, this dish is a personal favourite of mine.
Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Vatos Urban Tacos has fans raving from all over the world along with 4-star reviews on Trip Advisor—and for good reason: their “komex”, or Korean-Mexican fusion menu boasts creative dishes like kimchi carnitas fries! I also love that they offer menu items for my vegetarian and vegan friends, a great ambiance, and friendly bilingual staff.
The next time you’re in Seoul and have a hankering for tacos, check out Vatos – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Map of tacos: where are your favourites?
We hope this taco crawl around the world inspires you to try new cuisines and restaurants you’ve never heard of! Happy Cinco De Mayo!
Enjoy the tacos,