You don’t need to book a plane ticket to find truly authentic tacos: Take a trip to the airport instead. Modest East Boston mainstay Taqueria Jalisco is just a few blocks from the Airport T stop—and it could be mistaken for a pizza parlor if not for the colorful tile that covers its tabletops. Well, that and the yummy Mexican cuisine, like traditional Carnitas 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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Decidedly south of a different border, Boston has never really been touted for its tacos—but that hasn’t stopped immigrants and locals alike from serving top-notch handhelds. Whether you're craving Tex-Mex-style short rib, Baja-style fish tacos, vegan chorizo, or authentic birria, Boston's taco shops got you. Here's an updated guide to finding the best tacos in Boston.
After Chilacates began serving its take on Mexican street food near the Stony Brook T station in Jamaica Plain, the tiny counter-service spot won over enough taco enthusiasts to open multiple locations throughout the Boston area. Success is earned by faithfully executing the classics with fresh ingredients and fast service. When it comes to tacos, Chicken Tinga, Papas con Chorizo, Lengua, and more are served on scratch-made tortillas and topped off with an optional “final touch” of pico de gallo, pineapple salsa, guacamole, cheese, or sour cream. Order yours one-by-one or as a roll-your-own plate with a side of rice and beans.
Lone Star Taco Bar’s two locations in Allston and Cambridge are not your typical hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop taco joints: Both of these Texas-style spots have a polished decor, strong cocktail programs, and consistent crowds. But none of that distracts from the sheer taco quality: Lone Star’s half-dozen core varieties never fail to satisfy (the confit Carnitas Pork, Baja Fried Fish tacos, and the smoked brisket Beef Barbacoa are particularly great). Nightly specials delve into more experimental flavors, with ingredients like buffalo chicken tacos and even fried calamari.
Taqueria El Amigo
A jaunt to Waltham is well-rewarded at Taqueria El Amigo, a no-frills taco spot on a sleepy residential street that’s earned national acclaim. There’s no web presence to speak of, a mere handful of tables, and no ambiance whatsoever. But that’s no problem: We revisit this takeout favorite for the tacos alone. (OK, sometimes for the enchiladas, too.) Some of our go-to el Amigo combinations are their tender take on Carnitas tacos, flavorful Al Pastor, and rich Cabeza (beef cheek). Each taco can be finished with a generous sprinkling of cilantro and homemade hot sauce.
Angela’s Café is popular enough to fill two East Boston storefronts, thanks to flavor inspiration from the late namesake founder’s home state of Puebla, Mexico. Now run by Angela’s sons, it offers a wide variety of traditional Mexican food in Eagle Hill and Orient Heights, from chicken Enchiladas de Mole to a plate of Chilaquiles that can cure whatever ails us. The tender Tacos al Pastor, however—served on doubled-up homemade corn tortillas—will always be our first choice. We also love the shrimp taco, and the Taco Arabe riff, which wraps the same adobo-marinated roasted pork in a flour tortilla.
Taqueria El Barrio
We usually opt for corn tortillas when it comes to our tacos, but we’re here to tell you that flour is the move at Taqueria el Barrio. Helmed by Bisq alumni Servio Garcia and chef Alex Saenz, the taco shop inside Time Out Market presses the best flour tortillas we’ve ever tried. These small but sturdy rounds hold together around ample toppings like fried mahi mahi Fish Tacos with cabbage, pico de gallo, and chipotle mayo; Vegan Chorizo with salsa taquero; and marinated pork Al Pastor with guacamole that’s never extra. Besides at the food hall counter in the Fenway, look for Taqueria el Barrio Tortillas for sale at Formaggio Kitchen and other local gourmet shops—and keep an eye on the streets this summer for the taco shop’s first food truck.
A newcomer to the tony shopping district of Newbury Street is a no-frills, casual taco joint from Allan Rodriguez, chef-owner of two local El Centro Mexican restaurants. Decked out in colorful art and neon signage, La Neta offers a strong selection of taco fillings, from beefy bites like shredded-short rib Barbacoa, Lengua, and Birria to chicken and chorizo. Once you pick your protein, the place keeps things simple with complementary sauces, diced onion and cilantro. Flour and corn tortillas made fresh in-house daily are craveable vehicles for these classic street food combinations.
Updated by Jacqueline Cain