Few foods in this world resonate with me better than the taco. Hailing from Mexico, this round piece of crushed up corn stuffed with delicious meats and sauces is one of the best foods in the world. I’ve eaten tacos all over the world but like most cuisines, if you want the best, you must go to the source. There is no better source than Mexico’s capital. I’ve traveled all around Mexico and I can safely say that the best tacos are found in and around Mexico City.
I spent a few days in Mexico City, primarily eating my way through my favorite cuisines. I spent much time visiting the best taqueries serving all different types of taco specialties. After 3 days of non-stop tacos, these are the ultimate taco spots in Mexico City.
My itinerary was largely derived from Mark Wiens’ Mexico City Taco video on YouTube. This guy has some of the best food travel videos I’ve seen and also perhaps has the single best job in the world. He also crafted his itinerary from a local YouTube food sensation who’s love for tacos has no limits. It was from this video that I decided I need to visit all of these establishments to bring meaning to my life when I visit Mexico City.
In Mexico City, you won’t be able to walk 2 blocks without seeing taquerias or a street cart. But some are just better than others and these are my absolute favorites.
How to do a taco tour in Mexico City?
There are many many street food and organized taco tours within Mexico City. TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and numerous other services have many tours advertised. Some of these are admittedly very top notch and will take you to the best places. Normally I would have done of these but after watching Mark Wien’s video, I decided I’d rather just do it on my own.
Uber is readily available in Mexico City and is very affordable. Normal taxi rides for 20-30 minutes would cost 60-80 pesos as of Jan 2019. I could literally Uber to one taqueria, eat, and then call an Uber to the next destination. Overall, I probably took 10 Ubers for the sole purpose of eating tacos but I went all over the town.
It was also incredibly entertaining talking to the Uber drivers and telling them about my taco eating prowess. Everyone loves tacos in Mexico and telling them in my limited Spanish (and their non-existent English) about how many tacos I was going to eat made for many laughs.
Mark Wiens did his taco tour in a single day. Although the thought crossed my mind to do an epic taco marathon, I spread mine out over 2-3 days. However, with Uber, you can feasibly do his entire tour in one day if you can stomach eating 30 tacos in a day.
Map of all Taquerias visited
El Vilsito – Tacos Al Pastor
Without a doubt, tacos Al Pastor is the king of the taco in Mexico and beyond. It is shawarma style grilled meat brought over by Lebanese immigrants and eventually adapted to the local flavors by using pork as the main meat. It is topped off with pineapple whose sweetness perfectly contrasts that of the flavorful pork.
There are probably thousands of places in Mexico City that serves tacos Al Pastor in some form. Driving down any street during the lunch-time hours and you’ll see small shops with rotating spits churning out delicious tacos. Not all Al Pastor is created equally however. El Vilsito is ranked as one of the best pastors in town. I absolutely agree with this 100%. I’ve had many pastors in my lifetime but this place blew my mind.
The pastor was so flavorful, perfectly charred from the flames and the juicyness of the pork was a flavor explosion in my mouth. Paired with your standard cilantro, onions, and their housemade habanero salso and you have perhaps the most delicious tacos in town. Each taco was $19 MXN upon visiting in Jan 2019 which is more than most places I’ve been to but they really pack the tacos full of meat. I also tried the bistek here which was fantastic. Their claim to fame is the Gringas taco which is served on a much larger flour tortilla with heaps of pastor, cheese, pineapple. It is then grilled so the cheese is crispy and delicious. I absolutely loved this taco. The cheese added another layer of flavor that was incredible. It was 54 MXN for this but it was at least 3-4x the size of a regular pastor taco.
Tacos El Vilsito. Avenida Universidad, Narvarte Poniente, 03020 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Known for their Baja style fish and shrimp tacos, El Pescadito is a must visit for seafood lovers. Their tacos are absolutely incredibly delicious. They have a small menu featuring lightly battered shrimp, freshly cooked fish, and an amazing battered jalapeno popper stuffed with cheese and fish/shrimp.
The tacos here are massive and two will feed most people. I tried the shrimp and fish combo, the stuffed jalapeno with shrimp, and stuffed jalapeno with fish. The shrimp is perfectly battered and doesn’t feel overly greasy. The numerous sauces, limes, and slaws add another layer of flavor to this gargantuan taco.
Taqueria El pescadito. Calle Atlixco 38, Condesa, 06140 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Tacos Charly is the absolute spot to try tacos suadero. When it comes to Mexican street food, suadero is one of the greatest, a massive pan of slow braising beef in its juices. When you order your tacos, they slice up the meat, dip your tortilla in the fat, and you eat it with onions, cilantro, and salsa – pure meat heaven.
Tacos Charly is far from the city center of Mexico City. I would highly recommend coming here for lunch otherwise the horrendous Mexico City traffic will get you.
Tacos Charly. Avenida San Fernando 201, Toriello Guerra, 14050 Tlalpan, CDMX, Mexico
Tacos Joven is the perfect place to start your taco tour feast. Tacos de canasta, or basket tacos can be found all over Mexico City. These are the second most common taco,in my observations, to tacos de guisado, or stew tacos. And Mexico City is Mexico’s center of basket tacos.
In other parts of Mexico they are called tacos al vapor, steamed tacos, or tacos sudados, sweaty tacos. There are a couple of other terms, but these are the most common.
But basket tacos get their name from the basket in which they are steamed. Traditionally,the tacos are made at home, or at a commisary kitchen,and then are brought to the stand in a basket, the tacos wrapped in a towel. On the way to the workplace they steam naturally.
They are served with a variety of fillings including carne, chicharron, and beans with various sauces and stews. Tacos Joven is one of the top spots in Mexico City to sample these amazing tacos. I started my day here around 9am when they first open and tried one of each. Their chicharron tacos with their spicy chicharron salso (yes chicharron with more chicharron) was fantastic. For 4 tacos, I paid 60 pesos. No one spoke English here but I had a Google Translate conversation with one of the sweet old ladies and she told me they make about 1,000 tacos every day and it always sells out!
Tacos Joven. Av. Universidad 199-B, Vértiz Narvarte, 03600 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Taqueria El Greco
Taqueria El Greco served a special type of taco, the Tacos Arabes. These tacos are completely unknown to me before visiting Mexico City but after visiting Puebla, it was clear that Tacos Arabes needs to occupy a spot in any taco connoseur. As we all know, the famous Tacos Al Pastor was the work of Lebanese Migrants that brought their spit roasting, schawarma style cooking to Mexico. This was eventually adapted to fit the local palette which included corn tortillas, pork, and local spices.
Tacos Arabes are like a step back to the original Lebanese schawarma. It is still made with pork, but cooked in traditional Middle Eastern spices, and served a soft flour tortilla. The taste is closer to a shawarma pita than it is an Al Pastor taco in my opinion. However, it is cooked with pork as opposed to lamb/beef so the flavor is still very unique. Taqueria El Greco is located in the trendy Condesa neighborhood and was one of the best tacos Arabes I had in the country. Highly recommended.
Taqeria El Greco. Av Michoacán 54, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Taqueria El Abanico
Located a few blocks from San Antonio Abad metro, on the blue line, Taqueria El Abanico is certainly is a must-stop to get to know and try their daily feast.They have all the other types of tacos as well but their claim to fame is their open market with deliciously tender and well seasoned shredded pork tacos.
Carnitas is a type of food originally from the state of Michoacán – some mention Tacambaro as the cradle of this delicious delicacy. The preparation of this dish is an art, where different parts of pork and various condiments and spices are used.
Many locals including all my Uber drivers agreed that this place was the spot for carnitas. They actually have multiple types of carnitas including maciza (pure meat), costilla (rib), cahete (cheek), and cuerito (pork rind), which are actually different parts of the animal. I tried a pure meat taco as well as the rib taco. Absolutely fantastic!
Taqueria El Abanico. Gutiérrez Nájera s/n, Tránsito, 06820 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
El Auténtico Pato Manila
Most tacos in Mexico are either pork or beef. They are delicious there is no doubt. However, Mexico City is so diverse with its cuisines that it was only a matter of time before someone took duck and turned those into tacos as well. Enter El Autentico Pato Manila, which is from what I can gather, one of the only places in Mexico City that serves duck tacos.
Located in the Condesa neighborhood, this little taqueria has a small storefront with bar seating and dishes out incredibly delicious duck. They serve them Mexican style with salsas and the traditional fillings, as well as their take on a “Peking Duck” taco which incorporates the hoisin sauce and green onions that you find in traditional Chinese cooking. Either option makes for an incredibly tasty meal and a solid break away from the copious amounts of pork and beef you’ll be eating in other locations.
Culiacan 91, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Contramar is not a taqueria by any means. It is a full service and highly rated restaurant in Condesa. They are consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in the city and attracts a huge following of locals and tourists alike. From the recommendation of a friend, we came to this restaurant for an early dinner.
They are a seafood only restaurant and you will find some of the best seafood and seafood tacos of your life. As I was determined to continue my taco tour, I focused primarily on their seafood tacos and tostadas. Make sure to try their famous tuna tostadas which are incredibly tasty, as well as their al pastor fish tacos (so delicious). I also got their octopus aguachilies which are not tacos (but more like Peruvian ceviche). Overall, this is not a cheap meal by Mexican standards. Four tuna tostadas was 250 pesos which I could have got like 15 tacos Al Pastor at a local taqueria. Nevertheless, the food is still well worth it in my opinion.
Contramar is primarily a lunch restaurant so if you’re coming here for lunch, make sure to make a reservation. Otherwise, we came here around 5:30pm and while it was busy, there were plenty of tables open inside and outside.
Contramar. Calle de Durango 202, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
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