Mexico City has gained a strong, dual reputation as a street food haven and hub for culinary innovation. Walk down the street, and you'll find tucked-away, hole-in-the-wall stands dishing out casual (but mind-blowing) tacos al pastor side-by-side with tasting menu restaurants helmed by the likes of Enrique Olvera and Jorge Vallejo—a high-low dichotomy that the city's chefs embrace.
Although this guide celebrates our favorite tacos in the city—stretching from the fashionable Colonia Roma Norte neighborhood to its older sister, Condesa—there's really no bad street food in Mexico City.
1. Tacos de Canasta de La Abuela
Tacos de Canasta de La Abuela is owned and run by Arnulfo Serafin Hernandez, locally known as “La Abuela.” He delights people daily with the simplest yet most precisely prepared dish around: tacos de canasta. The corn tortillas are fried in oil or lard, filled with one of the prepared ingredients, folded in half, carefully placed inside a canasta (a basket), and then wrapped in cloth in order to keep them moist and warm. Order the ternera (veal) and the chicharron prensado (carnitas scraps cooked in red salsa).
Río Lerma 59, Col. Renacimiento, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico, Col. Renacimiento, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
2. Por Siempre Vegana Taquería
Por Siempre Vegano is an all-vegan taco stand located at the corner of Manzanillo and Chiapas (no seating). The tacos are made with soy meat and cheese, but they still taste as authentic as any non-faux meat competitor. You can’t go wrong here, from the “wheat al pastor” and the soy chorizo tacos to the hearty black bean side dish with pineapple, jalapeño salsa, and a flurry of cilantro. Save room for vegan desserts, like cupcakes and tiramisu.
Manzanillo s/n, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06760 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
3. Los Panchos
The owner of NYC's Cosme and Mexico City native Santiago Gomez says this is the place to go for tacos de carnitas. While the restaurant itself isn't anything the write home about, the food is the definition of authentic. Here you'll find great cochinita pibil, enchiladas mole, and cafe de olla and horchata.
Calle Tolstoi 9, Miguel Hidalgo, Anzures, 11590 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
4. El Pescadito
You can’t miss El Pescadito, a bright yellow taco joint where people line up to wait for a (folding) seat. Nearly all nine of their fish/shrimp fillings are battered, Sonora style, for maximum flavor. Pescadito's signature taco, 'quesotote'—a chili stuffed with shrimp and cheese—is worth the wait, as is their marlin taco.
Calle Atlixco 38, Cuauhtémoc, Condesa, 06140 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
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5. Los Cocuyos
If you want to experience Taqueria Los Cocuyos at its fullest potential, head there for a late night snack. Situated on a surprisingly quiet street in the center of town, they serve every cut of meat imaginable—chopped to order—from the bubbling vats of braised goods prepared daily. Go big and order the greasy campechano, which comes with a mix of beef and sausage. More adventurous eaters should try the ojo (eye) and the lengua (tongue) tacos.
7ᵃ̵ Calle de Bolívar 54-56, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
6. El Auténtico Pato Manila
El Auténtico Pato Manila is an unassuming taqueria known for serving up otherwise-hard-to-find duck tacos. The tasty eatery offers two options for chowing down: served on crepe-like flour tortillas filled with meat, scallions, and cucumber (Tacos Kim) or served on Mexican-style corn tortillas with smoky beans and epazote. Be a glutton, order both, and enjoy them with a locally-produced craft beer.
Culiacán 91, Cuauhtémoc, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
7. El Huequito
"Right across from Mercado San Juan is El Huequito, which is all al pastor all day, and it’s a great example of the Mexico City staple that's been around since the 60s. Crispy, salty, slightly sweet from pineapple, and perfect with a liberal dose of their piquant salsa verde. The tacos are so small you could eat about 12 before you’d notice." - Heidi Brown, Journy Mexico City expert
Calle Bolívar 58, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
READ MORE: Heidi Brown's Guide To Mexico City
8. EL PARNITA
El Parnita is a fonda (small restaurant) in the Roma barrio where they specialize in antiojitos, or corn-based street snacks. The menu is heavy on tacos, tortas, and tlacoyos, and the presentations and flavors are more thoughtful than what you’d find on the street.
This is a restaurant where you should order lots of small things: Don’t miss the daily taco special (and do drizzle on some of the excellent habanero salsa). If you’re feeling adventurous, order the grasshopper tacos. Owned by Bertha Acra and her children Paulino, Nicolás, and Jorgina, El Parnita has a homey, vintage feel, from the handwritten menus to the toys on the shelves.
Av Yucatán No.84 Local E2, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
9. El Borrego Viudo
If you're up for a late-night snack, this taco crawl institution is the perfect place. You can walk in or sit in your car in the parking lot and have a waiter bring you your food. There are five or six different varieties of tacos, including al pastor and loganiza. If you're daring, try the the tacos de seso, or brain, washed down with a fermented pineapple drink called tepache.
Calle Cerrada de Revolución, Tacubaya, D.F., Mexico
10. Tres Galeones
Fish tacos are a new trend in Mexico City, and few places make them better than Tres Galeones Taquería de Puerto. Run by the affable Rodrigo Malvido, who trained at the CIA, it’s a smartly-decorated retro lunch spot with a chalkboard menu and 20-peso tacos. Try the classic Pescado estilo baja with battered, deep-fried whitefish served in a light tortilla with fresh pico de gallo and optional salsas to spike things up—and don’t miss the taco de pulpo al pastor, succulent octopus dressed but not smothered in a heady, aromatic red sauce.
Calle Jalapa 117, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
11. El Vilsito
El Vilsito isn’t your average taco spot. Located outside a car wash, it’s a go-to late-night spot that will satisfy all your hunger pains. The el pastor-wielding crew expertly slices the meaty pork before it's nestled inside warm tortillas. After, like clockwork, they reach for the pineapple rings at the top of the spit and slice them so precisely that they land inside the tortilla without any manipulation.
Avenida Universidad, Narvarte Poniente, 03020 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
12. Taqueria El Turix
El Turix in the tony Polanco neighborhood is the authority for conchinita pibil, or stewed pork. It’s literally the only thing on the menu, served dripping from a torta, wrapped in a tortilla, and dunked in the juices, or in a crispy taco with a swipe of black beans and topped with pickled onions. Order all three with a beer and stock up on the napkins.
Calle, Av. Emilio Castelar 212, Polanco III Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
For more on Mexico City—including what to know before you go, where to stay, where to eat/drink, and what to do—refer to our complete guide.
And if you're thinking of adding another city onto your Mexican adventure, consider Oaxaca—and hear what this local mezcal maker had to say about it.