Whether you live in Austin or you’re just visiting for the weekend, chances are…you need a taco. (Who doesn’t, you know?) The best tacos in Austin aren’t hard to find. Some of the biggest, most popular names (Veracruz, Suerte, Nixta Taqueria) happen to be serving the most delicious tacos made with warm, homemade tortillas, scrumptious fillings of braised meat or grilled veggies or pastor cut straight from the trompo with a flick of pineapple, and spicy, fresh salsa that’s made in-house every day. But there are also a few not-so-famous food trucks and hole-in-the-wall taquerias that will totally knock your socks off when you take that first bite. After eating (and eating and eating!) our way around Austin, we’re sharing this epic guide. Here are the 20 best tacos in Austin that EVERYONE (seriously…everyone) needs to try at least once.
The Best Tacos In Austin
So, “best tacos in Austin” is kind of a broad statement. After all, there are breakfast tacos, Mexico City-style tacos, bbq tacos, fusion tacos, and a whole myriad of other options out there. Some places make their own amazing tortillas, and some places claim to make their own tortillas, but they honestly taste just “meh.” And, of course, there’s a big difference between dining at a formal sit-down restaurant (like Suerte or La Condesa) versus craving a greasy boat of 3 mini taquitos from a late-night food truck.
All this to say: there’s a taco for every time in life. This list of the 20 best tacos in Austin is a well-rounded guide to help point you to both the fancy AND the casual taco joints. And please note: this is a guide to lunch/dinner tacos. If you’re really craving the best breakfast tacos in Austin, here’s a list of the 11 breakfast tacos you definitely need to try.
1. Nixta Taqueria
In a taco town like Austin that already has a system and a culture going on, Nixta came along and totally rocked the boat…in the best possible way! In fact, head chef Edgar Rico won a 2022 James Beard Award in the Emerging Chef category, so that’s a pretty big deal. Nixta is a high-low restaurant, meaning you might pay top dollar (more than 10 bucks) for a taco, and you’re going to enjoy it in a counter-service/no-reservations/homey setting, and it’s totally worth it. The painstaking nixtamalization process they create their masa means the BEST corn tortillas in the city of Austin. Seriously. These can’t be beaten. In fact, the entire restaurant is basically a love story to corn. The yellowfin tuna tostada has acidity from being cured in citrus, and that cuts through the spicy mayo, avocado, and cilantro perfectly. The whole thing is sprinkled with a dash of furikake, which is a perfect complement to the tuna. And the duck carnitas taco is an absolutely perfect, drippy mess of soft pork with delicately shaved white onions, watermelon radish, and a bright salsa cruda. Try to order 2-3 tacos and tostadas so you can experience a few different flavors from this award-winning taqueria in east Austin.
2. Veracruz All-Natural
Veracruz is a household name in most local Austinite homes, and for good reason: these tacos are AWESOME. No, they’re not disrupting the system or creating any crazy, modern tacos with fusion foods or bbq or anything like that. They’re just really, really good classic tacos that are created exceptionally well at all of their (many) locations. Sisters Reyna and Maritza were raised in Mexico and now live in Austin. They started Veracruz as a single food truck, and it has grown in popularity to now include 6 locations. This isn’t a breakfast taco guide, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the migas taco on flour will rock your world. But if you’re stopping by at lunch, the authentic Mexican tacos are full of fish, mole, beef, pork, chicken, veggies, and some of the tastiest house-made salsas you can find in Austin. The barbacoa taco is a great place to start: the beef is slowly simmered until tender, and then it’s topped with crunchy onion, radish, and cabbage. You’ll also want to get some of their salty homemade chips and a bowl of guacamole. Quick note: the Veracruz location at The LINE hotel in downtown Austin is next to the famous bat bridge. It’s a great place to grab some tacos before watching those Mexican Free-Tailed bats emerge at dusk on a summer night in Austin.
Asador is a taco stand that makes some of the best tacos in Austin. It’s tucked into the courtyard between two downtown bars (Las Perlas and Seven Grand), as well as two additional locations (the Rainey Street one is great.) The owner puts SO much work into creating the most scrumptious, creative fillings that are stuffed inside these delicious, soft flour tortillas that are sort of "charred" on the outside to make a nice variety of textures. The menu offers some specials (order those if they’re available), but it typically has 5 options: brisket, carnitas, grilled chicken, cauliflower, and a quesadilla. The creator of Asador, Joe, 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.
4. Cuantos Tacos
Cuantos Tacos is an unassuming trailer tucked away at a food truck park in east Austin, but the Mexico City-style tacos will absolutely have you telling everyone you know about this place. What are Mexico City-style tacos? Well, they’re small, classic tacos that are made to be eaten in 2-3 bites. They serve traditional fillings, like carnitas with onion and cilantro, longaniza, which is a Mexican chorizo, buche (pork stomach, which is actually delicious), and cachete (barbacoa). The focus is on the quality of the nixtamal tortillas and the slowly braised meat filling, so the toppings are minimal and classic: a few chopped white onions, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a squeeze of bright lime if you want. Definitely order more than you think you need…they really are tiny. Besides, once you have your first bite, odds are you won’t want to stop eating them, anyway. They’re that good.
5. Lazarus Brewing
This is the only brewery on the list of best tacos in Austin, and that’s because they make their own tacos in-house (they don’t outsource them to a food truck or trailer like lots of breweries do), and the little Mexican street tacos at this hip eastside brewery are incredible.
The tortillas are soft, small, and perfect for their classic carnitas, chipotle pollo, carne asada, or just a classic bean and cheese staple that the kids will love. They’re served on corn tortillas (not flour) and topped with fresh onion and cilantro, as well as optional crema, avocado, and cheese. Everything is made in the kitchen, including some of the yummiest snacks. And no, this isn’t a guide to the best chips and guac in the city, but you really must order the thick-cut tortilla chips, a bowl of their signature guacamole, and maybe even a side of their ooey-gooey queso fundido with chorizo. Lazarus is an all-around good time, and the tacos are among the very best that Austin has to offer. Plus, you get to enjoy these tacos with a pint of their rotating selection of craft beers, making for a truly unique and customized experience.
There’s an old battle between Tacodeli (established in 1999) and Torchy’s Tacos (established in 2006), because they’re two of the biggest original taco chains in Austin. Most people will tell you that Torchy’s wins the queso battle, and Tacodeli is far superior in terms of classic tacos. And that’s what we’re going with here, too.
The fact is, Tacodeli has predictably solid tacos at every one of their locations. They use really good ingredients, organic chorizo, pasture-raised eggs, and Texas cheesemakers queso fresco. The menu is quite robust, but you can order ahead through an app and pick up your tacos for an easy family dinner, making this the most convenient taco shop in Austin. We love their seafood tacos. The Fundid Shrimp, made with grilled Texas gulf-coast grilled shrimp in a jack cheese glaze with sauteed poblano-onion rajas, is a little bit spicy and always tastes fresh. Tacodeli also does the classics well, like their Puerco Verde (pork shoulder and salsa verde…essentially a carnitas taco + green salsa) or the yummy Sabrosita Barbacoa (beef cheek that they’ve sourced in Texas, along with salsa de arbol and a sprinkling of onion/cilantro, as well as a few healthy pieces of avocado on top,) but don’t knock the vegetarian options. Some of Tacodeli’s best tacos are made with roasted baby portobello mushrooms, grilled corn, and refried black beans.
7. El Primo
El Primo taco truck has been parked in front of an unassuming convenience store on South First Street in Austin, Texas, since…well, forever. They’ve upgraded the truck (it got TOO busy and popular!), but the name and face have remained the same: El Primo serves really good, classic street tacos that are made to order. As we mentioned before, this isn’t a guide to breakfast tacos, but there’s a reason why these breakfast tacos made the list. If you’re looking for really good lunch tacos in Austin, stop by El Primo, step up to the food truck window, and state your order. You’ll want a minimum of 2-3 tacos. They start with soft, flour tortillas (corn are an option as well, but the corn tacos are recommended here for a more authentic Mexican street food experience), and then topped with delicious meat that’s been marinated and then grilled on their well-seasoned cooktop. They offer all of the classic options: asador, chicken, al pastor, barbacoa, tripas, lengua, and then top them with the classic onions and cilantro. Choose your own salsa adventure, but they make it themselves, and the colors range from mildly hot to HOT.
8. Las Trancas Taco Stand
While we have your taste buds primed for delicious Mexican street food tacos in Austin, let’s head over to East Austin to talk about Las Trancas. Like El Primo, it’s a no-frills taco truck that’s been feeding crowds for many years, but unlike El Primo, Las Trancas is located just east of downtown Austin, making it a popular spot for late-night crowds who need a salty, greasy, delicious bite of food to wrap up a day. They have a ton of meat choices, and they’re all good. The corn tortillas aren’t homemade, but they’re serviceable and work well to get that food into your mouth as fast as possible. Order a bunch of tacos here (they’re small), and be sure to smother them in some of the spicy salsa and add a squeeze of lime.
While Paprika is a taco truck in Austin, it’s much more “chef-y” than the last two that we mentioned. You won’t miss this bright red truck from the street - that’s for sure! There’s typically a line of people outside (sometimes even before they open). They focus on fresh ingredients and comfort food. These delicious tacos are served with a soft, flat tortilla topped with the riches and most vibrant meats, sauces, spices, and toppings around. Something that’s unique about Paprika is that they create the staples, like a classic carnitas taco with cilantro and onion sprinkled on top, just as well as they do their more creative dishes, like a prickly pear cactus taco with salsa roja (HOT!) and refried lentils.
If you’ve lived in Austin for a minute, you’ve definitely heard of Suerte. It’s a beautiful east Austin restaurant with a bright, vibrant interior, incredible cocktails, and one of the best masa programs in the city. Chef Fernin Nunez takes pride in sourcing a variety of heirloom corn, using the centuries-old process of nixtamalization to summon every little bit of flavor from each piece of corn. The tortillas are SO soft and flavorful, and they create the perfect base for Suerte’s dinner tacos. Since this is a sit-down restaurant, you’ll no doubt want to order a variety of dishes for the table but be sure to get at least one plate of their suadero tacos. They start with a few of those killer corn tortillas, then place a salty, flavorful confit wagyu brisket, top it with black magic oil and avocado crudo, and then sprinkle a few onions and cilantro on top. Perfection.
11. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
We’re certainly not talking about classic Mexican tacos over here! Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ literally has the description in the name: these are the best bbq/Tex-Mex fusion tacos in Austin. Full stop. Their soft, thick, warm tortillas are dusted with flour and full of their slow-smoked meat like peppery brisket, smoked carnitas with caramelized onions, or (our favorite) the pulled pollo. Then they top those incredible creations with sea salt guacamole and tomato serrano salsa. The result is a dance party in your mouth, the perfect combination of the best parts of Mexican street tacos and authentic Texas bbq and Tex-Mex flour tortillas. Valentina’s can’t be missed if you’re on the hunt for the best tacos in Austin.
While some taco trucks in Austin do a great job of offering all of the things, Discada swings the opposite direction: they make one type of taco, and they do it perfectly. Discada is actually a style of cooking from northern Mexico, in which a variety of meats and veggies and spices are all mixed together and cooked on a plow disc (kind of like a wok) in a unique family recipe. Discada won’t share their exact recipe (it’s a secret!) but they disclose that it’s a mix of beef, pork, bell peppers, and onions, as well as some special spices, seared on the plow disc and served on a row of tiny corn tortillas. Order 3 if you want a snack, 6 if you want a small meal, and 8 if you’re starving. No matter how many you order, you can trust that Discada won’t disappoint. The slow-cooked meat mixed with the veggies and spices has a unique flavor that can’t be matched. And the small size of the tacos means that you can sample all of the flavors in just one bite. Not to mention, the tacos are served with a variety of additional toppings like cilantro, onion, and pineapple that add a zesty punch of flavor. With its one of a kind flavor, Discada is a must-try for taco eaters in Austin.
13. Vaquero Taquero
If you're looking for some of the best pastor tacos in Austin, Vaquero Taquero needs to be on your list. They make their delicious tacos al pastor with meat that's freshly cut from their own trompo, then top these yummy tacos with onion and cilantro, and a little bit of pineapple. The other tacos they make are just as good — their bistec and tinga de pollo come with all the right flavors, and the chicken mole has that perfect depth of richness and flavor. All their tacos are served with fresh lime wedges and homemade salsas to give them that extra pop of flavor that can't be beaten.
14. Granny’s Tacos
Sure, the name is catchy and cute, but these tacos are actually some of the best tacos in Austin. Granny’s Tacos is a small food truck in east Austin with a wide variety of street tacos. There’s a little bit of everything: chicken, pork, steak, and veggies. But something Granny’s does really well is their mole, Their tacos feature lots of the classic street taco flavors like pastor, barbacoa, and al pastor, as well as some funkier combinations like shrimp and cabbage, beef and bacon, and even beans and cactus. Each taco comes with a variety of delicious salsas, from the mild guacamole salsa to the super spicy habanero salsa. Granny’s Tacos also offers quesadillas, nachos, and burritos, so there’s something for everyone. The truck is open late, making it a great destination for late-night eats. Whether you’re looking for delicious tacos, a late-night snack, or just some good eats while exploring Austin, Granny’s Tacos is the place to go.
This might become your new favorite Austin taco truck for crunchy shell tacos! Yep…there actually is a place in Austin that doesn’t feel pretentious in their tacos, and that’s this yellow food truck in east Austin. The idea is to take the classic fast food crunch tacos that we all grew up on and elevate them into a more delicious, satisfying experience. The crispy beef taco has a delicate layer of crunchy shredded lettuce, a sprinkle of cheese, and its own homemade salsa. It’s served hot and packed with rich flavor, and it’s a totally different experience than that drive-thru Jack In The Box tacos…we promise.
16. La Tunita 512
We can’t write a guide to the best tacos in Austin without including at least one option for exceptional quesabirria tacos in Austin! YUM. They’re gooey, cheesy, drippy tacos that have locals coming back again and again. The tortilla is wrapped in an external shell of crunchy Monterrey Jack cheese, stuffed full of meat and veggies, and served with a consomme dipping sauce. Sure, you can dine in or take out, but you’re going to want to essentially inhale these tacos as soon as your order is ready. The tacos are cooked to perfection with top-notch flavor and crunchy texture, and the toppings add the perfect little “pop” of flavor.
17. Taco Bronco
When you just want something really fun and Austin-y, head to Taco Bronco. Even though location isn’t the most important aspect of a great taco, we’re going to start there: Taco Bronco is a food truck parked behind an east Austin beer garden called Saddle Up. On the weekends, it’s full of east Austin families, dogs, friends, and visitors, all drinking craft beer and eating delicious tacos and bbq together. It’s a great place to hang out! But also…the tacos (since that‘s truly what this is about) are some of the best in Austin. They’re smoked meat Tex-Mex tacos, and the bbq comes from Micklethwaite, which is an iconic Austin bbq food truck that’s also parked at the beer garden. The variety of tacos at Taco Bronco is hard to beat. From classic smoked meats like brisket suadero, chicken tinga, and smoked carnitas to vegetables like sweet potato and poblano, there's something for everyone. Plus, they offer other goodies like Bronco Nachos and The Jefe Burrito for those who aren’t into tacos. To top it all off, Taco Bronco also serves up a variety of salsas and guacamole, so you can customize the flavor and spice of your tacos to your exact liking. But truly, the atmosphere and community vibe of Taco Bronco are just as important. The outdoor picnic tables and benches, colorful decor, and friendly staff create a unique and inviting place to enjoy delicious tacos and great company!
18. La Condesa
Going more than ten years strong in downtown Austin, La Condesa is a beautiful interior Mexican restaurant with a bright interior, large glass windows overlooking the urban scene outdoors, strong margaritas, and some of the best tacos in Austin. The tortillas are made in-house with thoughtful attention to detail, resulting in soft, flavorful bases for their extravagant taco toppings. The menu features classic Mexican dishes with a modern twist, like Cochinita Pibil and Carne Asada, along with inventive creations made with ingredients that are both creative and delicious. Everything on the menu is made with high-quality ingredients, including locally sourced produce. The atmosphere is vibrant, and the staff is friendly and attentive, making your visit to La Condesa a memorable one. Whether you want to grab a taco for lunch or settle in for an evening meal and margaritas after shopping, La Condesa has you covered.
These authentic Mexican tacos have been a staple in Austin since 2009. 2 friends who grew up in Mexico were looking for really good street tacos in Austin but couldn’t find them…so they started a food truck! This taqueria has grown into a multi-location business with both food trucks and brick-and-mortar, but the attention to detail and quality remains the same. Each of the taqueria's ingredients is freshly sourced from local Mexican markets and vendors. The chefs use traditional methods of preparation, cooking each order to perfection on the spot. The final products are flavorful and sure to hit the spot for anyone craving an authentic Mexican street taco. No matter which location you go to, you can expect the same consistent flavors and quality.
20. De Nada Cantina
One of the newest taco restaurants to open in east Austin, De Nada is a delightful array of textiles imported directly from Mexico, delicious tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, and CRAZY GOOD tacos. The housemade blue corn tortillas offer a great start, but it’s the high-quality ingredients and attention to detail in flavors and cooking methods that set these tacos above the rest. The Barbacoa taco, made with slowly braised beef cheek mixed with salsa habanero, definitely had us wanting seconds. And that spicy Camarones Pibil was stuffed full of perfectly grilled achiote shrimp, rajas, spicy chipotle slaw, and the perfect amount of cilantro and onions on top. Of course, eating the tacos is just half the fun; the restaurant itself is a party! De Nada is colorful, hip, and just feels like a Friday night.
THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY FABULOUS NEW RESTAURANTS IN AUSTIN… …and it’s hard to keep…Read More