Tacos in the City

New York (and my experience is entirely Manhattanist) isn’t a great taco town. Still, what have people had that’s exceptional, one way or the other?

My personal favorite for many years was Tehuitzingo, the quaint taqueria hidden behind a grocery store on the fringes of Hell’s Kitchen. I’ll offer their menu below, but they had variety, and smallness (essential in a taco), and were inexpensive. They’re now dead, and it’s unlikely they’ll be back. (I even asked ChatGPT.)

Their competition down the street on Tenth was Tulcingo, but I was faithful to them. In their absence, though, I buckled last week and got Tulcingo Tacos. The good news is that the lengua was tender, the pescado crisp on the outside and tender inside, and the tripe in the menudo (not taco, I know) tender. But the tacos were HUGE and EXPENSIVE. (Sorry for shouting.) You had to buy three of each, at eighteen bucks a plate. THAT’S A LOT. Plus every taco, fish or tongue, comes thickly smeared with avocado, which makes leftovers tough.

The parts were so much better than the whole, however, that I think I’ll get lengua, etc., plates from them the next time and a side of tortillas, etc., and build my own more modest tacos. Which is not too far from what I’ve experienced in Mexico.

I’ve also had tacos from Los Tacos No. 1 in the Chelsea Market on several occasions in the past, but not recently. Terrific ingredients, but timid offerings.

I did get tacos from their fishy sister Los Mariscos last week, though, and their fish tacos were superior to Tulcingo in every way. At around $5 a piece they were cheaper (per piece), although smaller, but far tastier. The spicy shrimp ones were also terrific.

What have you had that’s terrific? What should we, a lonely nation, avoid?

Pulled off the InterWeb, a Tehuitzingo menu (circa 2017) and price list:

Bisteck $2.00
Enchilada $2.00
Chorizo Papas $2.00
Pollo $2.00
Arroz Huevo $2.00
Cecina $2.50
Barbacoa $2.50
Lengua $2.50
Sangre $2.50
Chicharron En Verde $2.00
Papas Rajas $2.00
Arroz Pollo $2.00
Carnitas $2.00
Suadero $2.00
Oreja $2.50
Tripa $2.50
Cabeza $2.50
Sopes Sin Carne $2.00
Sopes Con Carne $2.50


Any discussion of the best tacos in the City ends and begins with Los Tacos No. 1

1 Like

Really? With just three-ish tacos in their arsenal? Did you see that I mentioned them in my post?

Yes, I did.

And variety not does make for quality (see Cheesecake Factory).


I can’t get dragged into quality v quantity nonsense. I’ve had tacos in California. I’ve had tacos in Mexico. The Los Tacos No. 1 versions are pretty good, but nowhere near the best I’ve had, even in NYC. They’re your best, but I can’t see how the “discussion of the best tacos in the City ends and begins” with them. (Nice circularity there, even if unintended, to put the beginning after the end.)

But, perhaps I’m wrong and the discussion will end here.

I have just about no experience eating tacos in Manhattan. And, a much as I try, I cant remember the names of places along Roosevelt Ave that I thought had really good tacos in the years just before COVID. But I’d guess that’s where I think you’d find them, with a second guess being somewhere in Sunset Park. I’d also think that the food trucks that were at the Red Hook ballfields years ago landed somewhere after that ended? A couple of them were really good.


Matamoros in Sunset Park and the food trucks parked outside it on the same street.

1 Like

Tacos El Bronco is the food truck on 5th and 37th. I like it more than their restaurant.
And yeah Matamoros is good too.


I think the main issue in NYC for taco tourism is rent, not so much poor tacos. In order to make ends meet they need to charge hefty amounts, and/or go fancy. So for the real, cheap stuff you need go to the outer boroughs.

When I was running food tours in Hell’s Kitchen, Tehuitzingo and its Lengua tacos was one of the stops. They were popular enough, but probably succumbed to the high rents. At some point they pivoted to a taqueria from a bodega, and that bought them a few years.

Tulcingo Del Valle has always been solid but I havent been in years.

Weirdly my favorite tacos in NYC are in Staten Island, but close to the ferry - Taqueria El Gallo Azteca


All our taco experiences in NYC were pre-pandemic. The best tacos we’ve ever had were the sensational duck carnitas at Cosme. The al pastor tacos at Tacombi on W. 24th St., were excellent. At Empellon (midtown), we had delicious spit roasted beef & onion tacos. We tried Street Taco, corner of 3rd Ave. & 26th St., when it opened in 2017. We ordered the polo asada and the lamb barbacoa. I thought they were awful.


Taqueria Ramirez. Greenpoint. Go. Not Manhattan. Manhattan is not the center of the universe.


Thanks for clarifying.

I do think it’s useful to know where the good tacos in Manhattan are hidden, just as Tehuitzingo’s once were. (@Ziggy, I was a fan and knew of your HK hits.) Not everybody can travel for a taco.

I forgot to mention Toloache on W50th (I believe they have a second location on E82nd). I’ve eaten there several times pre- and liked their food and their tacos. Here’s their current list:
Zucchini, corn, spicy kale, queso fresco
Grilled chicken breast, guacamole, pico de gallo
Baja-style fluke, spicy jícama slaw, guacamole
Garlic-chipotle shrimp, Chihuahua cheese, hearts of palm slaw, tamarind salsa
Spicy lobster, morita salsa, avocado
Suckling pig, cactus salad, salsa tatemada, chicharron
Carne asada, chipotle salsa, avocado, onions, cilantro
Beer–braised brisket, avocado, red onions, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, horseradish crema
Beef short ribs, bone marrow, Thai basil, roasted red onion-jalapeño, chiles toreados
Braised brisket in red chiles, melted Chihuahua cheese, onion, cilantro, salsa verde

I’m disappointed to find, though, that their crunchy grasshopper tacos are no longer on the menu.

1 Like

The key is handmade tortillas.

Say what you want but at least Los Tacos/Los Mariscos makes their own tortillas.

In LA if you are not making handmade tortillas with a speciality you are not being competitive and standing out.

I want a limited small menu when it comes to tacos.

Now a taco generalist with pre made tortillas on a lower price point has a place and can be quite enjoyable.

If we are taking about the best than you need to start with the tortillas. Which is something alot of NYC’ers don’t get or understand.

Birria-landia is crap compared to La Unica in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Everyone raves about Birria-Landon but it’s pretty damn average.

And no it’s not a regional thing with NYC having more immigration from Puebla. They know how to make handmade tortillas.


So ture.

This story from Eater NY details some of the challenges of offering handmade tortillas in NYC.

Truth. Tortillaria Nixtamal makes a very good one, and hence, a very good taco.

1 Like

Anyone familiar with this place? Just got a recommendation for it, and it looks pretty awesome.


It’s about 3 years old and was written about on another food board site that you’re on (MF) back then (by Seth G). He seemed to feel it was above average.

Ah, thanks - I’ll look for his review.

ETA: I want to go. But do I want to spend an hour getting there? Hmmm.

Looks great; report back?