The Best Tacos In Philadelphia

20 great tacos you need to eat in Philly.
The Best Tacos In Philadelphia image

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

As we all know, life becomes immeasurably more beautiful while eating a great taco. You may even have a string of taquerias in a rotation heavier than sunglasses in the summertime. But for every exceptional spot for birria or al pastor, there are three drenching questionable baby shrimp in bottled queso. So let us help you. This is the guide to Philly’s very best tacos. 


photo credit: GAB BONGHI


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Like your emergency contact, there are few things more dependable than the tacos at South Philly Barbacoa. There’s not a lot to choose from—lamb, veggie, and pancita (made out of lamb and turkey). But if you could only have one taco for the rest of your life, you’d want it from here. They’re served on thick, homemade corn tortillas that are spiked with mini air pockets, filled with fall-off-the-bone-tender meat, and topped with a thin layer of fresh and fragrant diced tomato and cilantro. They’re only open Friday-Monday (starting at 5am), so you may have to sort through a crowd of people also waiting to order a few of everything.

Passyunk Ave’s Juana Tamale tacos are so good—specifically, the quesabirria beef tacos—that we’d make up a taco-dependent diet just to eat them daily. The corn tortillas are super flavorful and crispy enough to sop up the savory broth without losing any of its texture. They also have pork carnitas and chicken chili verde street tacos that are exceptionally well prepared, so there’s no wrong choice here. They’re only open Thursday-Saturday, but it’s a place worth planning your entire weekend around. 

When we stumble upon a taco truck as good as Mi Pueblito, it’s tempting to only tell your inner circle about it. But this Jalisco-style truck on Front and Dickinson in South Philly has quesabiriria and chicken birria that the world needs to know about. The housemade tortillas are perfectly crisp, the tender chunks of juicy meat are delicious, and it all holds up while dunking it into the consommé. Since Mi Pueblito is only open three days a week (Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday), plan accordingly, and make sure to bring comfortable shoes since you’ll almost certainly be standing in line.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO



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With a mezcal and tequila list as long as Passyunk Avenue, and a kitchen that stays open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays (unlike most places in the city), this South Philly cantina is a place we rely on for late-night rounds of margaritas and tacos. Go for the slow roasted beef, chicken tinga (cooked in tomato sauce), or al pastor tacos, all wrapped in a handmade tortilla that’s satisfyingly soft and chewy. Come here on a casual weeknight for tacos so delicious you’ll wish you'd been eating them since the day you were born.  

Philly is known for many things–the PPA ruining lives and passionate fans climbing greased polls, among others. But we think eating incredible fish and birria tacos at Sor Ynez should be next on the list. The breaded fluke is perfectly crispy and each bite is topped with a spicy chipotle mayo. And even though the Kensington spot is as hard to find as your TV remote (it’s hidden in a massive lot next to a warehouse), the $3 tacos are perfect for a Happy Hour or group dinner when you also want to sip on cocktails made with Mexican gin and corn-infused tequila.

Blue Corn is a lively 10-table restaurant in the Italian market, and it’s one of our go-tos for great margaritas and even better tacos. Everything here is made in the small, open kitchen—from the two semi-spicy salsas that appear on every table to the blue corn tortillas in an order of al pastor. The menu has a selection of six tacos and three rotating specialties, like their shrimp and crab with Mexican sausage. The tacos are filling, so stop by on a day when you have no other plans but hanging on the couch.  

Happy hour, tacos, and mezcal is the daily Holy Trinity. This Point Breeze cantina should be your go-to for $8 margaritas and tacos de trompo—their smoky version of al pastor. The charred yet juicy pork is well-seasoned and comes with crunchy onions, pineapple, and cilantro. The colorful tortillas are about as small as a coaster so you’ll need a few, but they’re made in the oven to get crispy and they won’t fall apart when you pick them up. When you’re in need of an affordable place to catch up with friends over tacos and rare mezcals, this is the laid-back place to do it.

This Kensington restaurant works for every occasion, whether it’s a date, a hangout with friends, or a solo meal when only great tacos will cure your foul mood. The menu is full of large shareable dishes like a braised pork shank, specialty ceviches and aguachiles, and tamales, so it may be easy to overlook the tacos—that would be a mistake. The soft flour tortillas here are filled creatively—think herb-marinated and achiote-braised pork, roasted, smoky morita salsa, seaweed, and pickled habanero red onions. Just make sure you take a break between stuffing your face to answer your date’s questions about vacation plans and horoscope compatibility. 

It’s no surprise that there’s usually a crowd inside South Philly’s La Canasta—sure, it’s small, but their great Mexican food (especially their tacos) draws big crowds. The tortillas are fluffy, and we suggest you get them wrapped around smoky short rib, spicy shrimp, or crispy chunks of tilapia, which are our three favorite tacos here. No matter which way you go, the flavors of the marinated meat are deep and spicy. If it gets too fiery, order a round of Jarritos, fresh-squeezed cucumber lemonade, or margarita mixers for the table to balance out the sizzle.   

Callowhill’s El Purephecha takes the taco game to the next level—packing homemade masa tortillas with battered fried fish, juicy grilled octopus, and smoky gulf shrimp. But we’re pretty sure they spent the years they’ve been open perfecting their al pastor tacos. The pork is marinated in chiles and garlic, so it’s more aromatic than a three-wick candle. Plus, the onions add a nice crunch. Come to this Mexican spot after you’ve had a long day and need a night of margaritas and tacos in spicy habanero salsa. 

Adelita has a massive menu—like the Declaration of Independence massive—and they’re solid at everything they serve. But it’s the tacos that are at the top of our desert island wish list. You get three for $12 (add guacamole for just $1) and come with onions, cilantro, and cactus. Choose between juicy steak (our favorite), smoky pulled chicken, or even something as adventurous as tripe. On the same block as South Philly Barbacoa and Casa Mexico, it gets crowded with people who couldn’t get into those places but still want fresh masa topped with stewed meat. 

Rittenhouse’s Mission Taqueria is a vibrant, energetic sit-down restaurant where there’s a 90% chance you’ll see coworkers downing margaritas after a day of emails. In terms of their tacos, they might seem a little pricey—they come two per order and range from $12-$16. And yet, they’re so generously packed that it’s totally worth it (we need both hands to grab them). Everything from the crispiness of the fish to the chipotle mayo on the jumbo shrimp is well prepared, so the textures and flavors exist in perfect balance. Served on housemade soft masa tortillas, they can be topped with any classic salsas (think habanero), or fun seasonal flavors like grilled peach. 

Los Cuatro Soles is an easygoing, plant-filled space, perfect for sharing tacos and agua frescas with a friend. Inside the bright, energetic dining room, you’ll see people stopping in for slow-cooked pork tacos covered with onions and cilantro or juicy shrimp tacos that are punched up with a piquin pepper chipotle mayo sauce. Since it’s a small and in-demand place, expect a line on the weekends. But for tacos that are perfectly crispy, filling, and messy, it’s worth the wait.  

If you head to this colorful BYOB on the weekend, you’ll find a handful of people staring at the colorful chalkboard menu trying to decide between the birria or al pastor tacos (spoiler alert: get both). And that’s because what Philly lacks in driving etiquette or a good hockey team we make up for in excellent South Philly taquerias like this one. The tacos here are packed with so much delicious meat, chunks of avocado, cactus, and salsa, that it’s a guaranteed fork, knife, and napkin operation. Come with a group of friends and share an order of tender steak topped with chihuahua cheese, ribeye with queso fresco, or peppery chicken on a bed of warm corn tortillas. 

photo credit: GAB BONGHI

This casual, takeout-only counter-service shop in Gray’s Ferry is easy to find. When you walk up, you’ll see the  bright white sign and people lining up like it’s game one at The Linc (we suggest ordering ahead). Their menu has lots of great dishes—like kimchi fries and a Korean beef cheesesteak—but it’s their tacos that we eat in slow motion just to make the bites last longer. You’ll get three crispy corn tacos with each order. They’re loaded with tender strips of Korean beef, melty cheese, cilantro, and diced onions. We’d love to walk around with a personal flask of the consommé in our pockets, but that would be hard to explain at the office.

This South Philly taqueria near Mifflin Square Park is a likable, casual takeout-only spot. Open daily from 10am-5am (yes, you read that right), it’s one of the few places in the city that can indulge your late-night taco wishlist. Our favorite here is the birria—they’re crispy, the meat is quality, and the consommé has just the right amount of spice. They’re pretty much half moon-shaped pouches of your dreams. And an order (which includes three) is under $20, so you can bite into some crunchy goodness and still pay your cable bill on time.

Asadero Los Tios is our go-to Mexican place in the Northeast. When you walk in, you’ll see parents eating with kids in soccer uniforms or a couple on a super casual date where a shrimp burrito is the highlight of the conversation. It feels like there are about 4,000 delicious things on the menu, but we always go for an order of birria, al pastor, or pollo tacos. Each order is so flavorful that you really don’t need to add anything to them (they come with lime, cilantro, and sour cream). They’re simple, delicious, and good enough to have you singing along to Selena between bites. 

South Philly’s Taqueria La Prima is a small taco shop with only a handful of seats. And since it’s one of the more popular places in Little Saigon, the only thing you’ll hear in line—outside of a stranger’s weekend plans—is the sound of the grill preparing 3,000 orders. The scent of sizzling onions and peppers may sway you, but the best tacos to get here are the al pastor, carne asada, or pollo. We’re not sure which sorcery is involved in making them crispy and perfectly seasoned, but we applaud (or raise our wands to) it. 

There are a few reasons we get out of bed in the morning: our boss makes us, and to order breakfast tacos from Taco Heart. Inside the bright and colorful East Passyunk shop, mounds of masa get pressed into beautiful, warm tortillas—and then the magic happens. There are 10 specialty tacos on the menu (all under $7), but you also have the option to create your own. The corn tortillas are perfect, and serve as the best egg, cheese, and chorizo wrapping paper we’ve ever had. The Migas Maximus—our favorite here—is loaded with egg, sausage, fresh jalapeño, queso, and avocado, and crispy migas. Like most tacos here, it’s good enough to eat on the hood of your car when all of the seats outside are taken.  

Pennsport’s Tonalli makes ordering difficult, and that’s not because of the service (which is friendly and prompt). It’s because choosing between the Mexican pizzas, stacked nachos and huge entrees seems impossible. But we’re here to tell you—get the shrimp tacos. The adobo-spiced jumbo shrimp are packed into housemade corn tortillas and topped with onions, cilantro, and crunchy radish, and are a standout in a very crowded, very delicious field. 

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