Welcome to my guide to the best tacos in Austin, Texas. In a city that is obsessed with two things (tacos and barbecue), the search for where to eat the best tacos in Austin is a popular one.
This guide has been years and years in the making (tacos were the first meal I ate in Austin when I did a campus visit at UT way back when…), and I’ve been consuming a steady diet of tacos ever since. Lately, I really dove into the taco scene whole-heartedly and began researching every nook and cranny of the city so I could write a detailed guide for all of you taco lovers out there. If you’ve been following my journey on instagram, you know that I’ve eaten dozens and dozens of tacos in the past month. This taco search is no joke!
What makes a good taco? For starters, the tortilla has to be something special. I tried both corn and flour at every location, and I always asked to know where it was sourced. The filling is, obviously, a big component! If it’s a classic taco, like pastor or carnitas, I’m looking for fresh, high-quality meat and veggies that are cooked authentically. (This search also included lots of research on my own at home, including books, documentaries, and cookbooks about tacos.) If the filling is something unique, like a vegetarian taco, I want to taste an explosion of flavors in my mouth! And of course, the salsa should be fireworks. Homemade, made fresh that morning, please.
18 best tacos 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.) Joe, the owner, puts SO much work into creating the most scrumptious, creative fillings you can imagine. The menu rotates, but it typically has 5 options. When I visited, three of these five options had their own unique moles, which is a hell of a lot of work for a chef… He 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.
The tortillas stand out because they’re standard flour tortillas that are heated on the grill (about 80% on one side and 20% on the other) so that they’re nice and grilled and firm on the outside, yet soft and pliable on the inside. They’re the perfect vehicle of transportation for the big burst of flavor you’re going to get from the meat and the mole in the taco. 10/10 love these tacos.
405 E 7th St, Austin TX 78701
I didn’t know what a discada taco was before I checked out this East Austin food truck, so let me tell you: it’s a meat-based taco that originated in northern Mexico, and it’s cooked on a plow disc harrow. The meats are introduced one at a time to create layers of flavor. And now that I’ve tried them, these are some Austin tacos that I want everyone to try!
The owner of Discada taco truck told to think of it like Spanish paella: the way it’s cooked is what categorizes it as a discada taco, not the ingredients. If you visit Discada, you’ll be able to try their family recipe, which includes beef, pork, and veggies inside a corn tortilla, topped with pineapple, cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime.
I appreciate that this truck specializes in doing one thing very, very well (rather than half-assing a bunch of styles and recipes). You can also order homemade elotes here.
Discada Taco Truck
1319 ROSEWOOD AVE, AUSTIN TX 78702
3. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Hands down one of the best tacos in Austin (and one of the best breakfast tacos.) I have yet to find better homemade flour tortillas than the ones at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ. They’re hot, thick, fluffy, and dusted with remnants of flour.
Here’s how I like to eat my tacos at Valentina’s: order a half pound of brisket, a side of beans, and a stack of flour tortillas. Then, tear the tortillas into small bite-size pieces and fill each bite with a little piece of meat, a spoonful of beans, and a squirt of homemade tomato-serrano salsa. Valentina’s tacos are totally unique and one of the best things you find to eat in Austin, Texas.
11500 MANCHACA RD, AUSTIN TX 78748
4. Las Trancas
This might be the best quick, cheap, Mexican street taco in Austin. Las Trancas is a popular truck on E Cesar Chavez. Most of the tacos are about $2, served on flour or corn (get the corn) and delivered quickly. People who love this place absolutely LOVE IT. I’m telling you…the messages I got on instagram of people declaring their love to Las Trancas were next level.
The barbacoa, carnitas, and al pastor are my favorite. They’re served soon after you order, wrapped in aluminum foil and served with freshly-made salsa. Las Trancas is open until midnight, so it’s a great place to get late night tacos in Austin.
Las Trancas Taco Stand
1210 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
5. Rosita’s Al Pastor
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican street food tacos that are available late into the night, look no further than E. Riverside favorite Rosita’s Al Pastor. They’ve been around since 1985 serving scrumptious pastor tacos on homemade flour tortillas. (The corn are pretty good too, but the flour tortillas are made fresh in-house every day and so, so good. Try the breakfast tacos, too!)
Rosita’s Al Pastor
1911 E RIVERSIDE DR, AUSTIN TX 78741
6. El Primo Taco Truck
El Primo is a long-time favorite taco truck in Austin for quick, cheap, authentic Mexican tacos. You can expect to find a hungry crowd of locals lining up every day around lunchtime. All the tacos (asada, pastor, lengua, chicken, barbacoa, and tripas) are inexpensive and prepared fresh right when you order them. The truck is cash-only, but you can place an order in advance on the website and pay with a card online if you don’t have any cash on hand. (Hint: this is also a great way to make your office really happy – order a big bunch of tacos for the whole group!)
2011 S FIRST ST, AUSTIN TX 78704
7. Taqueria Morales
Quick, fast, and greasy: the tacos at Taqueria Morales are a hidden gem in south Austin. I asked the man taking my order where the tortillas come from, and he said, “oh, my mom makes them in her kitchen.” I mean…come on!
1415 W WILLIAM CANNO DR, AUSTIN TX 78745
8. Nixta Taqueria
Nixta is a nationally recognized taqueria that quickly became one of the go-to spots for best tacos in Austin. This tiny lunch spot in east Austin is importing their corn from Oaxaca and using nixtamalization to make theee most delicious homemade corn tortillas every day. This is a taqueria that every local and tourist in Austin needs to visit.
The ingredients inside the tacos are made with just as much love as the tortillas. From tasty duck carnitas to seasonal sweet potato tacos, these tasty lunch bites WOWED me!
2512 E 12TH ST, AUSTIN TX 78702
9. Taco Flats
Taco Flats is an Austin taco restaurant that serves consistently good tacos on homemade tortillas in a bright, clean restaurant. It’s a fun option for the next time you’re craving a full sit-down meal (rather than a street food-type of taco truck.) Taco Flats offers cocktails, beer, wine, tortas, and soups, so it’s a fun place to dine with a group.
There are 3 locations of Taco Flats in Austin.
5520 BURNET RD, AUSTIN TX 78756
10. Veracruz All-Natural
Veracruz All-Natural started as a food truck and was originally known for their migas breakfast taco, but as Austinites have continued to obsess over Veracruz (the line at the food truck can be crazy on the weekends), they’ve opened more locations (include a couple brick-and-mortars) and expanded the menu to include pastor, fish, barbacoa, shrimp tacos, and more.
Their salsas are some of my favorite in town – bright and super fresh with a wide variety of flavors and spice levels. They don’t skimp on the toppings (like big wedges of avocado on top of the tacos) and all of their menu items are consistently high-quality and made-to-order.
111 E CESAR CHAVEZ, AUSTIN TX 78701
OneTaco’s claim to fame was being featured on Diner’s Drive-ins, and Dives in early 2019….but Austin locals loved this taqueria long before Guy Fieri made it famous. Their “Gringa” taco is similar to a pastor, but it also includes cheese and it’s served on a flour tortilla.
They have several locations, including a downtown food truck and a few brick-and-mortars. Head into any of their Austin taco locations for a freshly made tortilla, quick service, and excellent Mexican street tacos.
402 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
12. Lazarus Brewing Co.
Lazaurus Brewing Co. is, hands down, the place to go for some Austin craft beer paired with authentic Mexican street food tacos. The tacos are hearty, cheap, fast, and delicious. No frills here, just the basics: al pastor, carnitas, carne asada, and such. Super delicious chips + guac, too!
Lazarus Brewing Co.
1902 E 6TH ST, AUSTIN TX 78702
13. Tyson’s Tacos
We all need a 24-hour taco stand in our lives, and while Tyson’s Tacos isn’t exactly an indoor casual restaurant, they do have a covered patio that’s partially closed in, so you can eat here rain or shine. The big menu is full of scrumptious, creative offerings (and you can even create your own taco for the menu if you dine here often enough and rack up some points). The burnt ends taco is my personal favorite.
4905 Airport Blvd, AUSTIN TX 78751
14. Vaquero Taquero
Vaquero Taquero specializes in authentic Mexican street-food tacos, and the Pastor is where you need to start: they slice pork off a trompo and serve it all warm and tasty in a fresh tortilla topped with cilantro, onion, pineapple, salsa, and avacado crema. Que delicioso!
They started as a food truck and opened a brick-and-mortar in 2019. The store is pretty small, so it’s a good place to dine solo or with one other person…probably not best for a very large group.
104 E 31ST ST, AUSTIN TX 78705
All hail the king of corn! Suerte is a upscale restaurant that opened in 2018 and immediately gained national attention. This restaurant truly serves some of the best tacos in Austin. They use the old-world, time-consuming method of nixtamlizing and grinding the corn to make their own…well, everything! Tortillas, tostadas, tamales, and more.
The tacos are absolutely some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The plates are made to be shared, so I love dining here on a double date and ordering a few plates of tacos and tostadas to pair with their beautiful cocktails.
1800 E 6TH ST, AUSTIN TX 78702
16. Taco Deli
TacoDeli is an iconic Austin taco chain that now has locations all over Austin an beyond. They’ve been around since 1999 and have a very loyal fan base. (Ask any Austinite which is better: Torchy’s or TacoDeli? You’ll get some heated answers…)
TacoDeli really shines in the breakfast taco department with their free-range eggs and other scrumptious toppings, all prepared by hand. But they also have a HUGE lunch menu of pretty much any taco you could want, including all types of chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and veggie tacos.
1500 Spyglass Dr Suite B, Austin, TX 78746
17. De Nada Cantina
De Nada Cantina in east Austin is the cutest taqueria on my list! The vibe is straight out of Mexico City with their imported chairs and decor and even a custom water feature on the patio!
But since this blog post is all about tacos, here’s the rundown: they make their own corn tortillas that are hand pressed and cooked to order. The taco fillings are some of the most scrumptious meats I’ve tried in Austin. The carnitas taco is stuffed full of slow braised pork; it’s soft and salty and tastes so good. And the barbacoa is rich and fatty and dripping with flavor. They serve the tacos with salsa already mixed in.
4715 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
18. Taco Bronco
Holy delicious.. If you love Austin bbq and you love Austin tacos, head to Taco Bronco. The two flavors are married perfectly! They pair Micklethwaite craft meats (one of the best bbq spots in Austin) with classic Tex Mex flavors. Their deluxe tacos are one of my all-time favorites in Austin.
Be sure to try El Jefe. It’s full of melt-in-your-mouth smoked brisket, potato-cactus hash and queso. Also, not a taco, but the Bronco Nachos are pretty scrumptious.
This is a food truck parked behind Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches. Head to the truck to order your tacos, then go inside to get a craft beer to pair with your meal. Cheers!
1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702