the long awaited tour de taco! as self-proclaimed taco aficionado hailing from southern california, i really wanted to find good tacos in nyc. they said it couldn’t be done. so i scoured yelp and the chowhound boards for the best places in manhattan and tried almost all of them. the plan for the afternoon was to go to 4 taco places in lower manhattan and try everything.
the results! i went with 2 other friends which was great because we could each get a different taco and then share so we could try the maximum number of fillings. =) these are all my own photos. ratings are out of 5.
zaragoza grocery on 13th and A
to order tacos here, you just ask the guy at the cash register. the first time i ventured in here looking for tacos i didn’t see a “kitchen” or a menu so i just left. but you have to look on the small white piece of paper that’s taped onto the coffee maker that says “tacos.”
we got the beef, chicken, and pork. we started to rate each of the tacos plus ambience.
beef: 4, awesome flavoring with a hint of nutmeg
chicken: 4„ stewed chicken, really soft and juicy
pork: 4, has a bit of a tangy seasoning, this was my friends’ favorite
ambience: 5, it doesn’t get better than this straight-out-of-mexico vibe
downtown bakery, 4th st and 1st ave
this was a larger storefront with an extensive menu. the portions were much much bigger and you had to order two tacos to a plate. not good for pacing ourselves! i think they are better known for their burritos but we stuck to tacos anyway.
chorizo con papa (with potatoes): 3, a little too heavy and not enough flavor
tacos de pernil (stewed shredded pork): 4, tasted extremely fresh and heavy on the cilantro which i love
ambience: 4, cozy and simple
overall, it was good but given the choice i would always choose zaragoza over downtown bakery.
florencia 13, sullivan and bleecker
we were immediately skeptical of any taco place in the village but supposedly they had good fish tacos so we gave it a shot. the inside was very dark, painted black with red accents. there wasn’t a single soul inside, but then again it was 3pm on a sunday.
fish: 3, it was breaded and slightly drier than other better fish tacos i’ve had. plus, one taco was $6. what a rip off.
pork: 1/2, really awful, dry and no flavor, not even worth posting the pic
ambience: 2, really dark and scene-y, definitely not a good taco place
margaritas: 4, the only saving grace of the place! they have a homie-rita, where you get one of the “homie” figurines in your drink! i have my homie, oscar, which i’ve had for 6 years now. too funny.
la esquina, kenmare and lafayette
la esquina (the corner counter) is really cute. it looks like an old fashioned diner and people can sit outside, it’d be really nice for a summer day/night. we took this one to go since we were running short on time and it started raining.
lengua (tongue): 4, best tongue i’ve had in the city, so soft and tender and this one comes with picked radish and onion which add a tasty bite to the taco
chicken: 4.5, rated highest of the day! it was stewed chicken, really soft and juicy in a nice smoky salsa with a huge piece of avocado.
fish: 4.5, this is a later addition from when i went back, i’ve now gone back twice since the tour de taco. fish taco was really good, soft and flavorful.
steak: 4, also a later addition. really nice smoky flavor and big chunks.
ambience: 5, great great outdoor seating. i went back later and had a watermelon margarita which was absolutely divine!
and that concluded our tour de taco! i also have to add in my ratings from some other taco places that i’ve tried as well so they’re all in one spot for you.
tehuitzingo on 48th st and 10th ave
you order at the back of a small grocery.
vegetarian taco (potatoes): 5, amazing, so juicy and flavorful, this will be my must get whenever i come here
chicharrones (pork skin): 1/2, not at all like the crispy home made pork skin tacos i’ve had. this one was soft and fatty and i took only one bite.
al pastor (pork): 4, really flavorful
ambience: 5, love the authenticity and you can get beers to drink with your tacos in the grocery
rockaway taco on 96th and Beach in rockaway beach, queens
i went after a surf session after hearing about this taco shack. it’s really cute and lots of surfers go post-surf. there’s a small outdoor eating area where you can sit on little stools.
chorizo: 2, a little too strong for me
fish: 5, wow! outta this world, i’m still thinking about it. melt in your mouth fish perfectly cooked. breaded.
tofu: 4, surprisingly really good. grilled tofu had a hint of smokiness and was really soft.
ambience: 5, you can’t beat the surf shack atmosphere