Skip the chains and head for the real deal — typically a restaurant in a Mexican neighborhood, or a cart. Here are our picks for the best tacos in NYC. – Anna Van Lenten
Authentic Mexican Cuisine & American Fast Food Cart
Metropolitan Ave and Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
The tacos here underscore the fact that Mexican, when done properly, is one of the great cuisines of the world—and totally underrated. Hot, fresh tortillas are handsomely filled with your choice of meat and toppings. A great first order here would be the mouthwatering red chorizo, with onions, cilantro, and homemade red and green salsas.
Taco cart under the 7 train overpass at the Woodside stop in Queens
62nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue
Queens, NY 11377
This taco cart is the one closest to the northeast side stair exit heading toward 62nd street and Roosevelt Avenue. Something about the light, steamy homemade tortillas, the stewed pork and the homemade spicy tangy salsas adds up. Any and all meat tacos from this cart require profound restraint in the number consumed, but the al pastor and herb-infused, stewed chicken are sensational. Bonus: stop by the incredible V&V Bakery nearby.
Country Boys Taco Truck
Red Hook ball fields, Clinton St. & Bay St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Saturday & Sunday afternoons
The goat taco is great, and the al pastor will make you see the light. The pork is piled high and topped with cilantro and onions. Ample sizes include double tortillas, so the juice doesn’t break through. There are various hot sauces on the side of the truck with varying levels of heat. Slather it with your salsa liking and squeeze fresh lime all over.
Everything here is organic. From there, the fresh ingredients, spices, and bright flavors take the humble taco to a messy, lofty height. The guacamole is famously fantastic. The pico de gallo kicks with peppery overtones, and the habanero hot sauce really tastes good under its heat. Dos Toros is all in the lovely fresh meats: the carne asada taco is especially juicy and savory.
Tacos Guicho Cart
84th St and Roosevelt Blvd
Queens, NY 11372
Devotees of Guicho are lucky to find themselves around it when a 3 a.m. craving hits—but it is worth a ride on the 7 train at any time. Extraordinarily tasty tacos are made with fresh corn tortillas, fresh meats, great hot sauces, tomatillos, lettuce, cheese and limes. Best are the carnita, chorizo, al pastor (served with pickled relish) and tongue. Just salty enough, the tacos are packed with meat and do not skimp on spice.
4508 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
These are the kinds of gorgeous tacos that get a grip on your culinary leanings and won’t let you go. The tender meat is spicy and flavorful, the tortillas toasty yet perfectly foldable. Bliss-inducing choices include tripas, lengua, carne asada, enchilada, chorizo, chicken, and al pastor. The red salsa has a smokiness to it and the tomatilla salsa freshly invigorates whatever you lay it over. Don’t forget a squeeze of lime.
Tacos Nuevo Mexico
4410 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
An authentic, excellently tasty outfit. Tacos are small and freshly delicious. The carnitas holds soft pork with tiny bits of succulent fat, and the shrimp and vegetarian tacos are magnificent. Salsas are clean tasting, zingy, and add just the punch.
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
271 Starr Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237
The fresh, phenomenal tacos at Hermanos carry healing properties. Treatment starts with a plate of limes, pickled carrots, jalepenos and sassy salsa verde. Step two is to order the spicy pork or chorizo tacos. (Note the wonderful, homemade tortilla.) Have fun mixing and matching.