The Most Iconic Taco Joint in Every State (#43 Is Super Yum!)

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Savor the flavors of America's best taco destinations from coast to coast.
Updated Feb. 7, 2024
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smiles and tacos shared among friends

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If you have strong feelings about corn vs. flour, carnitas vs. asada, or two-bite street tacos vs. larger flour tortillas, this list is for you. 

With so many great places to get a taco throughout the U.S., it's not easy to narrow down the list of the best ones in every single state. However, we've been able to help you do just that.

From roadside stops to beloved locations, grab your top travel credit cards and check out these iconic taco joints from coast to coast.

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Alabama: Taqueria El Cazador (Birmingham)

ManuPadilla/Adobe woman eating mexican food

Taqueria El Cazador is an unassuming spot in Birmingham for Mexican food, where locals go for the food rather than the service.

It’s classic Tex-Mex, where you can grab a la carte tacos at a budget-friendly price. There are several other locations throughout Alabama.

Alaska: Lane’s Quickie Tacos (Fairbanks)

Liubov Levytska/Adobe friends eating tacos

Lane’s Quickie Tacos first debuted at the Tanana Valley Farmers Market, and their six original tacos from those early days are still on the menu.

Order the Alaskan, which is their perennial number-one seller. It’s stuffed with pulled pork, diced white onions, cotija cheese, cilantro, and a wedge of lime.

Arizona: El Charro Café (Tucson)

Marcos/Adobe woman eating mexican tacos

So beloved that they offer nationwide shipping, El Charro Café has been written up by publications including “The New York Times” and “Bon Appetit.”

Dating back to 1922, this iconic restaurant is known for its “Charro Style” beef tacos, a staple on the menu since the beginning.

They take a ground beef patty, fold it into a corn tortilla to fry it, then top with peas, radish, and Mexican cheese.

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Arkansas: Tacos 4 Life (Conway)

Cultura Creative/Adobe friends enjoying Mexican food

Tacos 4 Life has locations across the Midwest and Southeast, and at each spot, they have the same mission: to donate proceeds from each dish to Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).

This non-profit provides nutrient-packed meals to children in 70 countries. To help the cause, order your favorite from their many taco options, including mango habanero and buffalo chicken.

California: Taqueria (San Francisco)

Marcos/Adobe eating mexican tacos

Operating in the historic Mission District since 1990, Taqueria is a mainstay in San Francisco.

Their straightforward taco menu offers a simple Regular taco with meat, cilantro, and onions. Or go for the Super with your choice of meat, onions, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and avocado.

Colorado: La Loma (Denver)

Marcos/Adobe latin woman eating mexican tacos

With humble beginnings in a small brick house in Denver, La Loma has been beloved by Coloradoans for generations.

Now residing on 26th Ave, the building is as impressive as the tacos, spanning three Victorian miners’ houses from the 1800s. Try classic crispy or soft tacos with fish, chicken, or carnitas.

Connecticut: Agave Grill (Hartford)

Marcos/Adobe mexican people eating taco

Agave Grill in Hartford is known for their signature blue corn tortillas, which taste as close to authentic Mexican street food as you’re likely to find in the Northeast.

Order the chicken adobo, spicy beef, grilled vegetables, spicy BBQ pork, or spicy chorizo sausage.

Delaware: El Toro (Wilmington)

Andrii/Adobe friends sharing laughter and tacos

Order tacos for brunch, lunch, or dinner at El Toro in Wilmington, where you can enjoy authentic Mexican flavors like Chicken Quesabirria Tacos or Tostada De Tinga.

And since you’re by the water, try the Tacos de Tilapia or Tacos de Camaron.

Florida: Coyo Taco (Miami)

AIproduction/Adobe friends enjoying tacos

With locations in Miami (from Wynwood to Coral Gables), Fort Lauderdale, and more, Coyo Taco promises the freshest Mexican street food you can find.

Sit under their striking blue and white decor and enjoy a gulf shrimp taco.

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Georgia: Taqueria del Sol (Atlanta)

Nenad/Adobe girl eating tortilla with meat

Originally founded in Atlanta, Taqueria del Sol has expanded across Georgia and Tennessee. Try Southern-inspired flavors like the Memphis with chopped, smoked pork, brisket, or fried chicken.

Hawaii: Maui Tacos (Multiple locations)

Brastock Images/Adobe man eating mexican food

You can find Maui Tacos across Hawaii’s islands, and the combination of Mexican and Hawaiian flavors is a favorite of tourists and locals alike.

They’ve been featured on Food Network, and the best thing to order is the fish or shrimp tacos.

Idaho: Street Taco at Morenita's (Idaho Falls)

Johanna H/Adobe chef preparing food in restaurant

You know a taco joint is going to be good when they don’t even have a website.

Morenita’s Mexican Bakery serves laid-back, huge portions of classic Mexican dishes, including tacos. You can’t beat the barbacoa with freshly made tortillas.

Illinois: Big Star (Chicago)

Marcos/Adobe woman eating tacos al pastor

Whether you’re looking for a classic al pastor taco with pork and pineapple or craving something vegetarian, you’ll find it all at Big Star.

Try the papas con rajas with potatoes and poblano peppers or a Taco de Zanahoria with spiced carrots. It's a great meal that will also help you keep more money in your bank account if you're living in the big city.

Indiana: The Tamale Place (Indianapolis)

Teri/Adobe making of fresh fish tacos

Specializing in tamales, The Tamale Place also makes some of the best freshly made white corn tortillas in the Midwest, which means they also make some of the best tacos.

You won’t get anything less than the best authentic Mexican food here.

Iowa: La Regia Taqueria (Iowa City)

Africa Studio/Adobe woman eating delicious fish taco

After two years of operating from a food truck, La Regia Taqueria opened up its brick-and-mortar business.

Order classics like carne asada or al pastor, or go for the delicious and crispy fried shrimp.

Kansas: Tacos El Tio (Kansas City)

Marcos/Adobe hispanic couple eating tacos

This hole-in-the-wall restaurant is serving classic tacos — so classic this place is cash only. Bring your hard-earned dollars and order tacos al pastor or a simple steak with lots of cilantro and onion.

Kentucky: El Mundo (Louisville)

Africa Studio/Adobe board with delicious shrimp tacos

Head to Bardstown in Louisville for Mexican favorites like pulled pork, shredded chicken, sauteed veggie, vegan chorizo, black bean, or ground Kentucky bison tacos.

Founded in 1995, this spot has been a mainstay for Louisville locals for nearly three decades.

Louisiana: Taqueria Corona (New Orleans)

Roman Rodionov/Adobe guacamole and tortillas flatbread

You may not often associate New Orleans with tacos, but you should.

For 20 years, Taqueria Corona has operated on Magazine Street, owned by an El Salvadoran immigrant who found his way to restaurants after a career in hospitality.

Maine: Taco Escobarr (Portland)

EdNurg/Adobe woman eats a fast food flatbread

Want some hot, spicy food to warm up the long Maine winter? Try out Taco Escobarr, where you can get soft, crispy, and, yes, even the famous puffy taco.

Haven’t heard of a puffy taco? It’s made with a deep-fried corn tortilla.

Maryland: Taqueria Los Primos (Silver Spring)

Prostock-studio/Adobe street vendor hands making taco

If you need taco Tuesday plans, Taqueria Los Primos has you covered. Their Tuesday deal is four tacos for $8 — a great deal if you’re in the DC area.

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Massachusetts: Taqueria El Amigo (Waltham)

In an unassuming commercial district in Waltham, Taqueria El Amigo is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving hot and crispy tortilla chips and mouthwatering street tacos available in orders of four.

Michigan: Taqueria Lupitas (Detroit)

AntonioDiaz/Adobe couple eating delicious tacos

Street tacos with both well-known and lesser-known types of meat in America, like lengua, tripas, cabeza, and pastor, are all served at Taqueria Lupitas.

Owned by second-generation family owners from Guadalajara, this institution prides itself on offering an authentic experience.

Minnesota: Maya Cuisine (Minneapolis)

Prostock-studio/Adobe street vendor hands making taco

Since 2012, Maya Cuisine has been serving reasonably priced Mexican food in Minnesota.

Choose from nearly a dozen different meats as a taco base, including pollo entomatado, pollo enchipotlado, tinga de pollo, cochinita pibil, and more.

Mississippi: Taqueria La Guadalupe (Madison)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe romantic couple eating street tacos

This tucked-away spot in Madison is known for its authentic Mexican food and other Latin dishes like fried plantains.

Order the Tacos de Birria or the Asada Taco for a burst of vibrant, warm flavors.

Missouri: Mission Taco Joint (St. Louis)

Marcos/Adobe woman hands preparing mexican tacos

Founded by two brothers from California, Mission Taco Joint was started to bring their love of California street food to the Midwest.

They’ve combined West Coast street tacos with St. Louis craft beer for a winning combination. Plus, they’ve committed to paying higher wages and benefits to their employees.

Montana: Taco Montes (Bozeman)

starush/Adobe person holding a taco

You’re not limited to the basic tacos at Taco Montes in Bozeman. There’s something new to try every time you go.

Find flavors like Korean tofu, desperado shrimp, and Thai rant shrimp tacos to keep your taste buds guessing.

Nebraska: Maria's Mexican Restaurant (Omaha)

Marcos/Adobe mexican woman hands preparing tacos

Founded in 1976 and family-owned and operated, Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Omaha is a beloved institution where you can get freshly made, from scratch puffy tacos.

Keep it simple and delicious with beef, fish, chicken, steak, and carnitas.

Nevada: Tacos El Gordo (Las Vegas)

Eduardo/Adobe latin man with tacos in hand

The team behind Tacos El Gordo has been making Tijuana-style tacos in the United States since 1972 and opened their first Tacos El Gordo location in 1998.

They’re now in both San Diego and Las Vegas and are known for their big dollop of fresh-made guacamole.

New Hampshire: Hermanos Cocina Mexicana (Concord)

Pixel-Shot/Adobe hands with taco and tasty guacamole

For over thirty years, diners have been flocking to Hermanos Cocina Mexicana for tacos, but there’s also something more.

You can have live jazz entertainment while you eat on Sunday through Thursday evenings in this historic building in downtown Concord. Tacos and tunes — what could be better?

New Jersey: Taqueria Downtown (Jersey City)

Taqueria Downtown started as a food truck and now has locations in both Jersey City and Lower East Side Manhattan.

The cilantro-heavy salsa and guacamole are the perfect accompaniments to their authentic taco flavors.

New Mexico: El Parasol (Santa Fe)

tunedin/Adobe hand holding taco

It all started with two kids selling their mom’s beef tacos in Espanola, New Mexico. Over six decades later, El Parasol is a New Mexico institution. You can still order those iconic beef tacos.

New York: Los Tacos No. 1 (New York City)

Marcos/Adobe mexican street tacos ingredients

Started by three friends from Tijuana, Mexico, and Brawley, California, Los Tacos No. 1 is one of the best places on the East Coast to get authentic Mexican and West Coast taco flavors.

Order the Nopal (grilled cactus) for a unique, authentic experience.

North Carolina: El Tacorriendo (Lenoir)

Marcos/Adobe traditional food in Mexico

Operating out of a food truck that parks in either Lenoir or Boone, NC, El Tacorriendo makes homemade corn tortillas and sources all of its ingredients locally.

Their salsas are made in-house, and they pride themselves on making everything from scratch.

North Dakota: Vinyl Taco (Fargo)

grinchh/Adobe delicious taco shells

Tacos and music? Sounds like a good combo. Vinyl taco keeps the tunes on all day while also churning out incredible tacos.

Try the chicken tinga with spicy, marinated smoked chicken with pico, cilantro, queso fresco, and blanco crema.

Ohio: Taqueria La Loma (Cincinnati)

Shelby/Adobe corned beef tacos

Taqueria La Loma specializes in authentic Mexican seafood, freshly baked Mexican breads, pastries, and a Hispanic market.

But, of course, their tacos are also a classic. Their birria tacos are a must-order.

Oklahoma: Big Truck Tacos (Oklahoma City)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe plate of mexican carnita tacos

Voted America’s Favorite Food Truck by Food Network, Big Truck Tacos’ reputation extends far beyond Oklahoma City.

They started with just one truck and a small restaurant and have added two more trucks to keep the tacos coming to more people.

Oregon: Por Que No? (Portland)

Bring your dog and nosh on tacos outside at Portland’s Por Qué No?

You’ll find nearly a dozen different tacos, including staples like carnitas or barbacoa, and unique flavors like venduras (vegetables) and hongos y papas (potatoes and mushrooms).

Pennsylvania: El Vez (Philadelphia)

Chuck Place/Adobe halibut tacos with avocado salsa

El Vez prides itself on its vibe as much as its food, and both are top-notch. The vibrant decor always makes things feel like a fun party, and the crisp mahi-mahi tacos and cauliflower tacos al pastor are menu favorites.

Rhode Island: Tallulah's Taqueria (Providence)

Robert Briggs/Adobe fish and shrimp tacos

Tallulah’s Taqueria keeps things simple with its tasty Chicano street food for authentic Mexican perfection.

Each taco comes on a corn tortilla with guacamole, onions, cilantro, salsa, and radishes. You just need to choose meat, seafood, or veggie.

South Carolina: Minero (Charleston)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe tasty mexican carnitas tacos

You know you’re in the South when you can get fried catfish tacos on the menu.

If you’re not up for that much adventure, the crunchy beef with chihuahua cheese or the charcoal chicken with mole coloradito, cotija cheese, and pickled red onion are also delicious.

South Dakota: Jacky's Restaurant (Sioux Falls)

chandlervid85/Adobe traditional mexican tacos

Sit down for authentic Guatemalan food with a side of tacos at Jacky’s Restaurant in Sioux Falls.

Sip on a horchata while you order your birria tacos? That sounds like the recipe for a pretty good meal to us.

Tennessee: Mas Tacos Por Favor (Nashville)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe two chicken cilantro and lime taco on a soft tortilla

Take a seat on the relaxing outdoor patio at Mas Tacos Por Favor and settle in for an experience far from Broadway’s flashy lights. Order an authentic meal with pork tacos, elote, and an agua fresca.

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Texas: Torchy’s Tacos (Austin)

Bruno Postigo/Adobe tacos

Torchy’s Tacos' reputation goes far beyond Texas these days, and for good reason.

Their creative flavor combinations include fried chicken, jalapeno cheddar sausage, smoked beef brisket, and blackened salmon. And for an authentic Texas experience, order the fried avocado.

Utah: Taqueria 27 (Salt Lake City)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe authentic mexican barbacoa

Inspired by all the flavors their team brings to the table, Taqueria 27 looks to create tacos that are authentic to them — not any one cuisine.

You’ll find achiote-marinated fried chicken breast, grilled pears and roasted beet, and duck confit tacos. There’s also a large selection of tequila and mezcal available.

Vermont: Mad Taco (Waitsfield)

Brent Hofacker/Adobe traditional pork tacos

A Vermont take on Latin cuisine would, of course, offer a selection of craft beer. And that’s exactly what Mad Taco does.

Order the smoked pork and kimchi, roasted yams, or go more traditional with carnitas.

Virginia: Tacos Mexico (Richmond)

vm2002/Adobe homemade grilled salmon fish tacos

This tiny spot serves up big flavors with authentic Mexican tacos, including steak, chicken, and barbacoa. You can go traditional with your toppings, cilantro and onion, or mix it up.

This is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch of tacos and an ice-cold Jarritos.

Washington: Tacos Chukis (Seattle)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe tasty pork street tacos with onion

When at Tacos Chukis, get the namesake taco. The Tacos Chukis has adobada pork, grilled pineapple, melted cheese, onion, cilantro, salsa, and guacamole on a soft corn tortilla.

But if pork isn’t your favorite, you can order steak, beans, or any of the other classics.

West Virginia: Black Sheep Burritos & Brews (Huntington)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe making tacos at home in kitchen

Black Sheep Burritos & Brews is an upscale taco spot where you can order almost any inventive combination you can dream up.

Favorites include the seared tuna with Wasabi-Cashew seared, Sesame-Ginger Aioli, Chili-Mirin, Daikon-Carrot Relish, Fried Wonton, and the Bulgogi with Korean BBQ marinated steak, kimchi, dijon sauce, cashews, and cilantro.

Wisconsin: Belair Cantina (Milwaukee)

Guajillo studio/Adobe mexican beef barbacoa tacos

Belair Cantina is a Milwaukee staple, bringing fresh ingredients and authentic Mexican cooking to Wisconsin.

Try the cochinita pibil tacos, the house-made chorizo, or the ninja pig with crispy pork, hoisin glaze, cucumber salsa, green onions, and jicama slaw.

Wyoming: Taqueria Mexicana Mi Tierra (Cheyenne)

George Dolgikh/Adobe mexican tacos with beef

You’ll order from a simple walkup counter and have some of the best tacos you’ve had in a long time at Taqueria Mexicana Mi Tierra in Cheyenne.

Fried pork, carne asada, and other classic taco fillings are even better in their fried taco shells.

Bottom line

Marcos/Adobe tacos with lemon and salsa

You don’t need to use your credit card points and travel to Mexico or Latin America for authentic tacos. Instead, you can save money and step up your travel game by going to the right taco stop in every state. 

From chefs who’ve brought their home country’s flavors to kitchens adding international cuisine to taco shells, there are great tacos from coast to coast — and we’d like to try every one.

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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