Rockaway Taco in New York
Andrew Field's dreamy beachside shack in the Rockaways turns out an exquisite fish taco ($3) made with fried-to-order tilapia, shredded cabbage, radish and cilantro. Fresh juice and waves — what more do you need?
Guisados in Los Angeles
No list of the best tacos in L.A. is complete without a mention of this burgeoning mini-empire (its new Downtown location is slated to open in this summer). The namesake braised meats are served on handmade tortillas ($2.50). Order the sampler ($6.50) and rest easy knowing you didn't miss a thing.
Birrieria Zaragoza in Chicago
Based on a century-old recipe, the Birria Tatemada taco ($2.75) showcases steamed and roasted goat meat rubbed with an ancho chile-based red mole sauce, served on a house-made corn tortilla and topped with fresh accouterments, like onions, roasted chiles and cilantro.
La Taqueria in San Francisco
The tacos ($3.75 each) at La Taqueria are a study of meat-and-tortilla perfection (the nontraditional addition of beans works, too). Just say yes to the fatty, crisp-edged carnitas — the pork is cooked in a bubbling vat of lard, the smell of which will haunt your dreams for weeks to come.
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Cheen Huaye in Miami
As the name implies — it means "only here" in Mayan — Cheen is one of few places in Miami to find Yucatan-style tacos arrachera: flour tortillas stuffed with grilled carne asada, onions, and queso fundido ($14.95).
Veracruz All Natural in Austin, TX
This ramshackle food truck is famous for turning out one of Austin's most sacred dishes: migas breakfast tacos ($2.50). The filling is an ingenious scramble of eggs, broken tortilla chips, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a melty mountain of Jack cheese — all wrapped in a thick, tender corn tortilla.
Angela's Cafe in Boston
This no-frills, family-owned Pueblan restaurant in East Boston has a way with sauces. See for yourself with the fragrant adobo-marinated pork in the tacos arabe ($4) — the meat is shredded and wrapped with onions in a chewy flour tortilla.
Uno Mas in Portland, OR
Don't let Uno Mas's diminutive stature fool you. This tiny stand still manages to serve 20-odd different tacos ($2 to $3.75), and they're petite enough to try several. We like the ultra-tender braised beef baracoa and the crispy surtido (shredded mixed meats).
Next: Country's Best Fried Chicken
Tasting Table is a website and newsletter for culinary enthusiasts. The editors eat high and low to bring you the discerning dining advice, recipes you can trust and news you can use from the world of food and drink. They're an opinionated gang of always-curious, anchovy-loving, order-one-of-everything-for-the-table epicurean obsessives. Pull up a seat.