You don’t need to book a plane ticket to find truly authentic tacos: Take a trip to the airport instead! Modest East Boston staple Taqueria Jalisco is just a few blocks from the Airport T stop—and could be mistaken for a pizza parlor if not for the colorful tile that covers its tabletops. Well, that and the yummy traditional carne asada and lengua tacos that come with a trio of house-made salsas. This spot also offers authentic birria tacos, a beefy, cheesy delight served with a rich and juicy broth for dipping, which originally hail from the state of Jalisco.
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Boston may be nowhere near the border, but that hasn’t stopped the city from stepping up its taco game.
After Chilacates began serving its take on Mexican street food on Amory Street in Jamaica Plain, the tiny counter-service spot won over enough taco enthusiasts to open multiple locations scattered around the Boston area. It’s earned that success by faithfully executing the classics: Chicken Tinga, Papas con Chorizo, Lengua, and more, served on scratch-made tortillas and topped off with an optional “final touch” of pico de gallo, pineapple salsa, guacamole, cheese, or sour cream.
Lone Star Taco Bar’s two locations in Allston and in Central Square are not your typical hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop taco joints—both have a polished decor, strong cocktail programs, and consistent crowds. But none of that can distract from sheer taco quality: Lone Star’s half-dozen core varieties never fail to satisfy (the confit Carnitas Pork shoulder and the smoked brisket Beef Barbacoa are particularly great), and nightly specials delve into more experimental flavors, with ingredients like buffalo chicken and even fried calamari.
A jaunt to Waltham is well-rewarded at Taqueria El Amigo, a no-frills taco spot on a sleepy residential street. There’s no website to speak of, a mere handful of tables, and no ambiance whatsoever. But that’s no problem, as we come here for the tacos filled with tender Carnitas, flavorful Al Pastor, and rich Cabeza (beef cheek). Each can be finished with a generous sprinkling of cilantro and homemade hot sauce.
Angela’s Café—popular enough to fill two East Boston storefronts—takes its flavor cues from the owner’s home state of Puebla, Mexico. A wide variety of traditional Mexican fare rounds out the menu, but Angela’s tender Tacos al Pastor, served on homemade tortillas, will always be our first choice. Those with a heartier appetite seeking similar Adobo sauce flavors can opt for the Pastor Burrito.