Editor’s Note: This ‘Best Tacos in Austin’ article was originally published in 2014, now updated in 2021
At the Austinot, we embrace the taco culture of our city. The moist texture of the tortilla, the freshness of cilantro, the spice of housemade salsa…is your mouth watering yet?
With so many vendors to choose from, our team of bloggers put their heads together to come up with this list of the best tacos in Austin. We allowed some leniency, so you’ll also find food trucks and trailers on the list.
We invite your suggestions in the comments section below!
Best Tacos in Austin
Edgar Barguiarena, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Have you ever been to an actual taco stand? Not a food truck that happens to sell tacos, but an actual taco stand: a tiny building that is essentially just a kitchen with a window to serve walk-in customers.
El Tacorrido is just such a place, with four locations across Austin. The tacos here are so authentic and densely packed they even give you two corn tortillas for each taco, just in case your first tortilla isn’t up to the task. (If you prefer flour tortillas, rest assured they have legit handmade tortillas de harina.)
Breakfast is served all day, but don’t stop at just the tacos. El Tacorrido also serves up some of the best gorditas in town and their tortàs are not to be missed. If you’re lucky, they may have a fresh batch of barbacoa ready to go. Order it on flour with beans, onions, and cilantro.
One of the most refreshing drinks on the Southside can also be found here. El Equinox is an iced horchata with a shot of espresso thrown in for good measure. Bonus points for having a drive-thru at their South Austin location.
Rosita’s Al Pastor Taco Truck
Samantha Champion, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Al Pastor Taco Truck may be tiny, but it serves up some pretty huge flavors. Located in a parking lot off East Riverside Drive and Parker Lane, the taco truck is an offshoot of a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the same complex. Not surprisingly, they’re best known for their al pastor tacos, served on homemade corn tortillas and stuffed with slow-roasted pork sliced from a spit. With cilantro and onions, these little babies are simple and delicious.
I’m also a sucker for their steak fajita taco on a flour tortilla (also homemade), made even better with some of the smoothest, hottest green tomatillo salsa I’ve ever had. Two of these plus a Mexican Coke, and I’m a happy girl for under $6. If you’re searching for the best authentic tacos in Austin, you just can’t miss Al Pastor.
Jessica Pino, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Mellizoz is hands down the best taco truck in Austin. Of course, this is my personal opinion. But there are plenty of people who would agree with me, considering Izoz – as taco addicts affectionately call it – came in second place at the Truck by Truckwest food truck competition.
And it’s not just about their breakfast tacos. I would eat tacos from Izoz for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And that’s saying a lot. Especially in Austin, where many of us have very specific standards for breakfast tacos versus lunch tacos.
Mellizoz is no newbie to the food trailer scene. Situated in the food trailer park on the corner of South 1st and Monroe for the longest time, Izoz opened in 2008 when the city had about 100,000 fewer people. (Now located just up the street at 1131 S. 1st St.)
Their Shroom tacos are made with fresh cut Portabella mushrooms and are simple and tasty. My favorite thing to do is to get shrooms added to a breakfast taco. I’m also a huge fan of their seafood tacos; the Shrimp and the Del Mar. The tempura shrimp is not heavy and you won’t be left feeling like you ate a brick. And the blackened Tilapia in the Del Mar will fill your mouth with amazing flavors you didn’t know existed. On my latest trip, I also tried the Padre because who doesn’t love a good pork taco? It will not disappoint.
Basically, I have yet to find an item on the menu I don’t like. Now, I can’t take credit for discovering this taco truck. But I will take credit for spreading the word. Go. Eat. And be Happy.
2021 Update: Due to COVID, the trailer is no longer on S. 1st, but their roaming truck is all over Austin for catering and events via their SISTER RESTAURANT, CRUZTECA MEXICAN KITCHEN.
Veracruz All Natural
Matthew Champion, Austinot Contributing Blogger
Although I’m a native Texan, I experienced several states as a young military brat before making my way back home. Before I went to Veracruz All Natural, the fish tacos I regularly came across in Southern California were only a memory. Everything from the crispy tortilla, to the Monterey Jack cheese, down to the perfectly grilled tilapia brought me back to being a hungry teen making trouble on the West Coast.
The first time I went to Veracruz, I was underwhelmed by the location. The friendly staff cooks in a trailer on East Cesar Chavez neighboring a pothole-filled dirt lot. But once I took that first sip of their mango agua fresca, I knew I had found something special.
Their space is fenced in and they do have nice tables with available shade and a covered salsa bar (with the creamy green salsa!). The tacos are a generous size, so one may be enough depending on the size of your last meal.
2021 Update: Verarcuz All Natural now has multiple locations across Austin. Check out the website to get the latest.
David Thomas, Austinot Contributing Blogger
So what does it take for a small taco stand to survive in a shopping center at a very busy intersection in town? Awesome tacos, of course. Pollo Rico sits nonchalantly at the end of a shopping center that houses a Planet K on the NW corner of Rundberg Ln and I-35.
What makes Pollo Rico stand out is its old school, no frills tacos. I ordered two tacos al pastor and a pineapple flavored beverage. Soon I was chomping down on two corn tortillas bedecked with a generous amount of puerco al pastor. Accompanying the pork was a sizable amount of cilantro, chopped onions and small pieces of pineapple. The pineapple was a fun addition, as the sweet chunks contrasted the tangy lime wedge, whose juice I drizzled over the tacos.
In the end, I was just over six dollars poorer and my stomach was two tacos fuller. I love it when I can find non-pretentious old school tacos in town. If you are in the neighborhood, Pollo Rico definitely warrants a visit.
2021 Update: El Pollo Rico now has multiple locations across the Austin area.
Robert Luke, Austinot Contributing Blogger
I like my tacos simple. If I get meat and cheese or beans and cheese, I’m happy. That’s all I need. I should be eating more vegetables, but that’s not fun to me and tacos should be about fun.
Whenever I’m at Little Woodrow’s on West 6th, especially if I’m having a few beers late at night, I always have to stop and get at least 2-3 tacos from One Taco. My favorite is the chicken, which comes with a mild chipotle sauce and cheese. Sometimes I’ll also get the beef taco, which is packed with guacamole sauce and cheese and a little spicier than the chicken.
Right now I’m on a diet, so the idea of having to write about tacos and remind myself what they taste like is excruciating. Luckily I was able to make excuses to myself because One Taco also serves wheat and corn tortillas.
If you’re not on a diet, you can enjoy a beer with these tacos. Looking at the taps at Little Woodrow’s, a 512 IPA is the best beer to pair with a chicken or beef taco. And that’s a really fun meal. But until I’m done with this diet, I have to keep drinking a water with my delicious corn tortilla tacos.
2021 Update: One Taco now has 6 locations across Austin including the original one at Little Woodrow’s on W 6th and Anderson Lane one seen on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives TV Show.
Check out our other articles on the Taco scene in Austin!