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15 Best Tacos in America, According to Chefs

From regional faves to tiny parking lot stands, these are the best tacos in America, according to chefs.

When it comes to tasty tacos, it may not be a huge surprise to foodies that many are served out of food trucks, parking lots, and tiny food stands. The trick is finding these hidden gems.

It's a big question that got us curious—who serves the best tacos in America? To get answers, we asked pro chefs nationwide to name their go-to taco spots. And while pro chefs are just like the rest of us, eating at fast-food taco chains like Taco Bell and Torchy's Tacos and being partial to Mexican chain restaurants, this list is mostly of smaller spots.

From regional faves to tiny parking lot stands, these are the best tacos in America, according to chefs. Fair warning: A coast-to-coast road trip may be in order after reading this list.

The Taco Stand

a taco dinner in front of the taco stand in san diego.
Photo: The Taco Stand

This San Diego-based taqueria was founded in 2013, and it's since opened 10 locations in multiple states, including California, Florida, and Nevada. The authentic taco chain—inspired by the taco stands of Tijuana—is a must-try, according to Jason Triail, executive chef of The Habit Burger Grill. "They've got the best tacos in town, hands down," he says. "Their handmade corn tortillas take these tacos to a whole new level. Plus, their guacamole and salsa are made from scratch in-house daily."

Triail's go-to order at The Taco Stand is the al pastor taco from the spit. "It's the bomb! You've got rotisserie-marinated pork with cilantro, onions, cilantro sauce, and pineapple. Seriously mouthwatering," he says. "They've nailed an authentic street food experience."

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Tacos Angel

tacos birria at Tacos Angel
Photo: Tacos Angel/Facebook

Tacos Angel is a food truck that earns its "hidden gem" status. The humble eatery is tucked away next to an antique store in the heart of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Chef Manuel Rodriguez, director of food and beverage for Innisfree Hotels, counts this taco spot as the best in the country, thanks to its authentic flavors and unwavering hospitality.

"I've embarked on a quest for that elusive perfect taco, and Tacos Angel stands a beacon among them," Rodriguez says, noting its commitment to freshness and the genuine flavors of Mexico. Freshly made corn tortillas are the perfect vehicle for an array of proteins cooked to smoky perfection, with diced onions and cilantro sprinkled over top. Two house-made sauces are on hand.

La Vencedora

tacos from la vencadora in michigan.
Photo: Alex Lara / Google

When chef Kris Lohraff wants tacos, he hits up his hometown. His go-to taco spot is La Vencedora, a serious hidden gem in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"The location is a grocery store seven days a week; however, there is an unlabeled door on the side of their building that leads to a small restaurant space that is only open on the weekends," says Lohraff, an executive chef with Chicago's Machine Hospitality Group, which includes the soon-to-open cocktail restaurant Dearly Beloved. "They make everything, including their tortillas, from scratch. The asada, pollo, adobada, barbacoa, chicharron, chorizo, birria, tripas, camaron. It's all incredible!" Indeed, reviews rave over this seriously delish eatery that flies under the radar.

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Taqueria Ramirez

tacos on a yellow plate.
Photo: @GECV9 / reddit

You can tell this taco spot in Brooklyn, N.Y., is hopping by the size of the line streaming out the door. ButcherBox chef-in-residence Ashley Lonsdale counts Taqueria Ramirez among her faves. "It's no secret, so there's typically a long wait time, but it's worth it," she says. "My favorite is the tripa, or beef intestines, which literally melt in your mouth." Lonsdale says the taco spot is famous for its suadero taco, which is made from "rose meat," the pink muscle between the ribs of a cow.

Ostioneria Bahia

bahia mex assorted dishes.
Photo: Bahia Mex

"Ostioneria Bahia is near my house in Orange County, and I'm a serious regular," says Habit Burger Grill's Triail. "These guys have been perfecting their taco game since '91, and they've nailed it. Their tacos are the real deal, offering everything from juicy carne asada to el pastor, buche, carnitas, pollo, and al gobernador."

He continues, "They only use the freshest ingredients, so every bite is bursting with flavor. Plus, they've got this cozy, laid-back vibe, and I always feel right at home when I walk in. Trust me, once you sink your teeth into one of their tacos, you'll be hooked!"

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Taqueria Chingon

a loaded taco on a plate.
Photo: Taqueria Chingon

"My favorite right now is Taqueria Chingon here in Chicago," says chef Donald Young, owner of Duck Sel. "I love the masa they use for their tortillas and the texture they get out of it. I also love the creativity that goes into the tacos."

Young says the tortilla itself makes all the difference. "Although the ingredients they use to fill their tacos are great, I feel the tortilla itself especially shines," he says. "They make their tortillas thicker than usual, and it has a nice, subtle sweetness that picks up a good char when cooked on the griddle." Plus, the tortillas are made fresh to order, which is a huge bonus.

El Parasol

tacos in a takeout box.
Photo: Devin L. / Yelp

"One of the best places is a total hole-in-the-wall," says chef Brian Ross of No surprise there. His favorite is El Parasol, a small counter in Santa Fe, N.M. "A New Mexican taco is all about the salsas that are made with the unique, savory, and spicy chiles of the region," Ross says. El Parasol has been serving uniquely authentic New Mexican food since 1958. Now, it boasts six locations across Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, and Pojoaque, making it an ultimate fan favorite.

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Birrieria Zaragoza

tacos on a plate.
Photo: Birrieria Zaragoza / Facebook

This Chicago taco spot has two locations, and it's been getting some attention. For the fourth year, the Michelin Guide selected Birrieria Zaragoza as a Bib Gourmand winner, an honor given to restaurants serving up good-quality, good-value cooking. The taco joint—which serves only tender birria-style stewed goat—recently got a visit from Jeremy Allen White, star of the culinary-driven FX show "The Bear."

Young counts this spot among his favorites, too. "The way Birrieria Zaragoza tortillas are cooked results in a really soft and subtle texture that has a nice underlying umami flavor from the masa," he says. "Their tacos also travel very well, perfect for when I am looking for a quick grab-and-go taco." Young says simplicity is key, resulting in amazing flavors and tortillas.

Pablito's Tacos

quesotacos on a plate.
Photo: David R. / Yelp

Gavin Portsmouth, executive chef at Los Angeles-based Z.E.N. Foods, says a street taco stand next to Circus Liquor Store in North Hollywood serves the best tacos. It's called Pablito's Tacos, and it's such a hit that it's opened up another pop-up in front of Randy's Donuts in North Hollywood. (Directions like these are how you know the food is going to be the bomb.)

"My local street taco stand has a good homemade chorizo taco with a wonderful depth of flavor with the garlic and spices," Portsmouth says. "I especially love it if the pork is a little crispy too! All you need is a little onion, cilantro, radish, salsa, and lime."

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a chicken taco openfaced.
Photo: Guisados

Guisados is a famous L.A. taco spot worth trying, according to chef Johnny Curiel of Denver's Alma Fonda Fina. "I absolutely love the chicken mole poblano taco," he says. "It's nutty, creamy, and balanced, and the red onion gives it a nice crunch. It's undoubtedly the best taco on the menu. Mole is such a timely labor of love, and Guisados perfects it as a bite-sized delicacy."

Ni Tuyo

Pork belly, red onions, cilantro, habanero salsa, and tequila grilled pineapple on a taco at Ni Tuyo
Photo: Ni Tuyo/Facebook

Colorado-based chef Erasmo Casiano, a 2024 James Beard Best Chef: Mountain semifinalist, lives and dies by the pork belly taco from Ni Tuyo in Denver, dressed with red onions, cilantro, habanero salsa, and tequila-grilled pineapple. Erasmo, chef and owner of Denver's Lucina Eatery & Bar and Xiquita, says: "The pork belly is cooked perfectly. It's simple, authentic, and everything you want in a two-bite taco."

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Taqueria La Herradura

crunchy tacos on a plate.
Photo: DoorDash

This taco spot in Knoxville, Tenn., has multiple locations, including a food truck. It's a favorite among locals, including Cassidee Dabney, executive chef at The Barn at Blackberry Farm, a two-time James Beard Award-winning restaurant in East Tennessee. "Taqueria La Herradura's delicious tacos never disappoint," she says. "Be sure to try their mulitas, birria, and all of the sauces."

La Super-Rica Taqueria

tacos on takeout plates on a tray.
Photo: La Super-Rica Taqueria / Yelp

In Santa Barbara, Calif., all the locals know where to go for the best tacos: La Super-Rica Taqueria. "I love them for their freshness and authenticity," says Susanto Bhattacharya, executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara.

This eatery was a favorite of celebrated chef Julia Child, who wasn't shy about sharing her taco find with just about everyone. She mentioned it in an interview with Bon Appetit and Good Morning America. Eventually, foodies came from far and wide to try out La Super-Rica Taqueria, which is still slinging excellent tacos.

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Rose and Crown British Restaurant

fish tacos and onion rings on a plate.
Photo: @Chaille K. / Yelp

The British are known for slinging excellent fish, but what about their tacos? Portsmouth says the traditional fish taco from Rose and Crown British Restaurant in Santa Clarita, Calif., is one of his favorites in the country.

"The restaurant is famous for their fish and chips, and they serve the same fried fish in a crispy taco shell with pico de dal salsa," he says. "The fish is flaky and not oily at all. It's a simple taco, but it's one of the best tacos I've had. The fish taco is only available as 'the special' on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

El Guanaco

el guanaco tacos with lime for garnish.
Photo: TripAdvisor

El Guanaco is a staple in the Florida communities of Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, and Ft. Lauderdale. The family-owned taqueria serves authentic Mexican and Salvadorian cuisine with the freshest ingredients. This is a top pick for Ross, who says the pupuseria makes simple, beautifully made tacos and pupusas. According to the chef, these are "handmade tortillas, stuffed with cheese and/or meats, then griddled together."

Emily Latimer
Emily Latimer is a freelance journalist with a passion for food and restaurants. Read more about Emily
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