Day or night, truck or table, tacos are becoming the go-to grub of many Phoenix locals. With an array of fillings, salsas, and tortillas, these mini meat and veggie pockets are essentially the choose-your-own-adventure of finger foods.
While it's easy enough to get our fix of larger, more monotonous dishes, the taco's fun-sized portions of flavor act as a form of culinary stimulation.
So when it comes time to give your taste buds a pick-me-up, here are Chow Bella's 10 favorite tacos in metro Phoenix.
Fish tacos at Tacos Atoyac Despite the surrounding construction of light-rail expansion, this West Phoenix hole in the wall retains a steady influx of foot traffic thanks in part to their widely popular fish tacos. As fresh as they are cheap, these Oaxacan-style street tacos are served with lightly battered fish, crisp lettuce, creamy chipotle sauce, and various types of salsa. Mix and match them with other menu items or order them solo, but at $1.50 a piece, you're bound to be going up for seconds (or thirds).
Al pastor taco at La Merced While this Mexico-city style restaurant is known for its bigger-is-better portions, there are some smaller menu items that are just as savory. Take the al pastor tacos. These tiny street style tacos served on corn tortillas with sweet and tangy pork, fresh cilantro, and pineapple take up far less plate space but pack just as much of a punch as some La Merced's more gargantuan dishes. Order the al pastor tacos and you can satisfy your lunch time cravings without suffering the food coma afterward.
Carne asada taco at Ta' Carbon Excuse us if we get a little carried away with Ta'Carbon's carne asada, but honestly, we've never had anything like it. Charcoal-grilled angus beef is made to order and served up on your choice of flour or corn tortilla. After that, it's up to the customers to add the finishing touches at Ta' Carbon's fully stocked condiments bar, offering fresh salsa, lettuce, onions, pico de gallo, and more. Get creative or keep it simple, either way it's the meat that acts as the foundation for this flavorful taco.
Chicken tacos at Los Taquitos Inside this Mexican grill with two Valley locations, good things comes in small packages. At Los Taquitos it's easy enough for customers to mix and match a variety of miniature tacos with filings like fish, shrimp, lengua, asada, and pastor. Our top pick however, is the pollo. Marinated chicken is diced with cilantro and onions and served on a double corn tortilla then taken to new levels of spice with the optional drizzle of red or green salsa. Sample a variety or stick to what you like, just remember with taco sizes like this, sharing is strictly off the table.
Veggie tacos at Otro Cafe Whether you consider yourself more of a carnivore or herbivore, all taste buds can agree on the veggie tacos at Otro Cafe. Sautéed in achiote sauce and topped tomatillo salsa, these flavorful tacos offer a seasonal selection of locally grown vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, onions and more. With so much taste and texture piled into one flour tortilla, don't be surprised if the rest of your meat-ordering table gets a little jealous.
Suadero taco at El Rinconcito This no frills Sunnyslope spot carries some seriously authentic Mexican fair including chicharron prensado, gelatina de flor, and a few you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere in town. One of our favorites is the suadero taco, which offers finely chopped beef brisket, onions, and cilantro served on a corn tortilla with the possible combo of beans, rice, and spicy red and green salsas. While El Rinconcito deals exclusively in cash, a little buck gets a lot of bang, giving you the much encouraged option to up your taco portions from chico to grande.
Pollo and carne asada tacos at Taqueria Los Yaquis We can't think of a single eatery in town that has a line this long in the middle of the night, let alone, one that's based out of a truck. Although truck might be an understatement as Taqueria Los Yaquis is practically a full-blown assembly line with team members slicing, dicing, and grilling late night eats made to order. Here you have your option of pollo or asada taco, and really you can't go wrong with either one. And with $1 getting you freshly grilled meat, lettuce, salsa, and guacamole on a corn tortilla why should you even have to choose?
Carne asada and carnitas tacos at Taqueria La Hacienda #1 Taqueria La Hacienda #1 is a lesser known pop up for drive by dinners in South Phoenix. The taco truck which parks itself slightly out of sight beside a shopping center at Second Street and Buckeye offers up the usual street taco staples including our two favorites, asada and pastor. Served up on corn tortillas with fresh lettuce and sides of lime, cucumber, and green chile pepper, Taqueria La Hacienda's tacos are perfect for anyone low on cash or on time.
Cochinita pibil tacos at Barrio Cafe There's nothing modest about that cochinita pibil tacos at Barrio Cafe. The fine dinning destination on Calle 16 delivers slow cooked pork marinated with achiote and sour orange, then served with queso fresco, pickled red onion, salsa, and sides of either salad or thick cut fries with a spicy ketchup dipping sauce. Consider your street tacos target practice, because these gourmet upgrades do not mess around.
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Chicken tinga tacos at La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop Just down the street from Barrio Cafe, is another form of Calle 16 royalty. La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop serves up tacos with signature twists such as the Oaxaca Black Mole Chicken Shark Taco, Sonoran Carne Asada Taco, and our favorite, the Aztec Tinga Taco. Shredded chicken marinating in Aztec chipotle salsa, tomatoes and red onion are served gourmet (meal portioned with rice and beans) or street style (solo and small) and come with come with the option of add-ons from La Condesa's highly talked about salsa bar.