South Florida's best tacos can be found at a gas station in Parkland.
Photo by Nicole Danna
The Ten Best Tacos in Broward and Palm Beach
What makes a taco worthy of being called one of the best?
Some people prefer corn tortillas over flour. Others want a traditional Mexican taco with nothing more than meat, diced onion, and fresh cilantro like the ones you'll find at Alegria Tacos. Still more prefer their tacos stuffed with crazy ingredients like the breakfast- and dessert-themed offerings you'll find at BC Taco.
Across South Florida, chefs sell tacos in every imaginable setting: out of fancy kitchens at well-known establishments, from food truck windows and pop-up tents, and at casual taquerias where Spanish is the language of choice. Lucky for you, that means there's something for you whether you're a taco purist or an adventurous eater.
Here are the ten best taco spots in South Florida:
3801 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale
What Alegria lacks in style and size, this tiny taco eatery makes up for in authentic Mexican eats on the cheap. Not much has changed since the original husband-and-wife operation first opened. They still cook their tacos on a hot griddle in the quaint kitchen behind the order station. They still double up on corn tortillas to hold plenty of meat, diced tomato, chopped cilantro, and onion. A devoted neighborhood crowd files in and out daily thanks to affordable prices, including tacos priced under $3 apiece. We envy the people living above the small corner store; they probably get to lounge in the few patio-style tables outside the front door anytime they like, enjoying intricately seasoned chorizo, chicken, steak, carnitas — even lengua, or tongue — tacos whenever they please.
5781 Coral Ridge Dr., Coral Springs
BC Tacos came on the scene in 2011 as one of South Florida's first gourmet taco food trucks. Today, owner and creator Brett Chiavari has two brick-and-mortar spinoffs for his caveman-themed truck, the "BC" standing for Broward County. Both the Davie café and new Coral Springs restaurant specialize in Neolithic-named dishes, with portions to match. The menu offers over 15 tacos, served to guests in fresh-made hard corn or soft flour tortillas with a choice of any of the half-dozen homemade salsas. Options include pico de gallo and tomatillo. For the traditional taco lover, there are all the familiar finds with braised beef short rib, chicken, mahi
, and pulled pork. There are also a few vegetarian choices from curried tofu to charred sweet potato (or just go with deep-fried avocado). For the more adventurous eater, recently added menu additions include gourmet riffs from the Steakhouse with filet mignon, creamed spinach, fried onions, and béarnaise aioli to the Shrimp & Grits with grilled shrimp, fried cheese grits, bacon, and an Old Bay aioli. Don't miss the specialty ice cream taco for dessert.
Die-hard taco fans already know about the awesome late-night eats at Delray Beach's and Fort Lauderdale's El Camino. But there's more to love about this taco and tequila joint. Gourmet taco selections are affordable and delicious, including favorites like the crispy fish tacos with chipotle crema, tomatillo salsa, and shaved cabbage; ancho chili-glazed pork belly with pineapple slaw and a crunchy peanut topping; or chorizo with Oaxaca cheese and salsa verde. And it gets better: from 4 to 7 p.m. daily the restaurant offers a happy hour deal that trumps just about all others in the area. You'll know it's that time when you see the crowds spill out onto the street from the bar, people packed like sardines for $5 margaritas paired with $2 apiece achiote-spiced chicken tacos topped with cotija cheese; carnitas with queso fundido, serrano salsa, and white onion; a veggie taco with sweet potato, carrots, mushrooms, pickled onion, and epazote pesto; and the Gringo with ground beef, Colby jack cheese, sour cream, shaved lettuce, and pico de gallo wrapped snuggly in a flour tortilla. Once the clock strikes midnight, the deal begins anew until 2 a.m.
This Salvadoran-owned restaurant and taco shop offers a unique mix of authentic Mexican and Salvadoran recipes, from fresh, handmade pupusas and soups to simple street tacos. The small restaurant has sit-down seated service or a short bar where guests can watch as the trio of cooks shuffles back and forth from one pot to another in the exposed kitchen beyond. Listed under "side orders," each taco is available à la carte, from pollo and shrimp to mahi and steak. The tortillas are thick and soft and baked on the griddle before serving. Carnitas are cooked in their own fat until the meat is juicy and succulent with that hallmark crispy, flavorful shell of long-simmered meat. Pair it with a glass of homemade horchata and you have an affordable meal that can't be beaten.
You might be tempted to taste the tacos at Eduardo de San Angel next door — also extremely good and deserving of a spot on this list — but owners Carlos and Annie Pombo have created something special at their colorful, casual taqueria. A combo plate lets you choose three of the 13 "takos" offered, everything from seared lobster and char-grilled octopus to barbacoa (marinated beef) and al pastor (roasted pork). Vegans will be happy to learn that half the menu is meat-free, with taco choices ranging from a trio of caramelized mushrooms spiked with garlic and grilled onions to grilled tofu paired with cilantro quinoa. The best part just might be the homemade blue (or plain) Nicoyan-style tortillas, made with a lime-treated masa harina that's hand-shaped and cooked fresh to order on a hot griddle. End with the vegan churros or "lokomisu" — the restaurant's own take on tiramisu — and pair with a champagne-topped sangria or melon-flavored margarita.
The newest addition to the Los Bocados menu: a stellar beer battered fish taco.
Photo by Nicole Danna
Forget the fancy food spots or Tex-Mex restaurants. Some of the best tacos in South Florida are coming out of a Parkland Chevron convenience store. Here, chef-owner duo Anthony Hoff and Robby Bushman have just one rule: Make every bite the best. Los Bocados does that well with bowls, quesadillas, and burritos, but their short list of gourmet-style, two-bite tacos are where it all started. Every item on the menu is a collaboration between both chefs, from the guajillo chicken tacos slow-roasted for several hours with the duo's own Bocados adobo seasoning to the citrus pork tacos made from whole boneless pork butt that's pressure-cooked until it's melt-in-your-mouth tender, then braised in homemade chicken stock. The newest addition: a Baja-style mahi fish taco encased in a crispy, house-made masa beer batter. To keep that "best bite" promise, each is generously topped with a series of house-made sauces that pop with flavor from the fresh crema made with nothing but sour cream, heavy cream, lime juice, and cumin; to the house avocado relish, a combination of diced avocado and pico de gallo.
Papichulo Tacos 556 US-1, Jupiter
Think of Papichulo as South Florida's best take on a casual, beachside, Cali-style taco shack. From the lively pastel chairs and life-size donkey piñata sculpture at the entrance to the Sol Beer mural and Mexican tile-topped bar, co-founders Scott Frielich (Subculture Restaurant Group), Cleve Mash (Pawn Shop), and Angelo Abbenante (Lynora's) have created their very own Baja-style escape in the heart of Jupiter. While the menu covers everything from shrimp ceviche to smoked brisket nachos, the tacos here are worth the trip. Favorites include the Gringo Freedom — the only taco served in a hard shell — prepared with Kobe beef, pico de gallo, cheddar and jack cheeses, sour cream, and lettuce. You can't miss the pescado — a choice of fried grouper over the usual mahi topped with pineapple pico de gallo, avocado crema, and a crunchy slaw. The menu also boasts both vegan and veggie tacos, all generously portioned onto warm, house-made tortillas (or go full veg with a lettuce wrap). Head to this Palm Beach County eatery for its daily "papi hour" offered from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. where you'll get half-priced drinks and $3 to $6 street food specials to boot.
This new, fast-casual eatery provides ample seating for the swell of customers that arrive midday to file in line to order customizable taco- and bowl-style offerings. The menu here is incredibly simple, but that doesn't mean the flavors have to be, too. Create-your-own taco options allow customers to add-on a variety of toppings and sauces to a selection of meat or vegetable-based offerings, each of them among the top-selling dishes at nearby chef-owner Arun's Indian Kitchen. Roti tacos include creamy chicken tikka masala (chicken pieces roasted in a clay oven and then folded into a rich creamy tomato sauce with nuts and almonds); chicken korma (chicken in a sweet, onion-based sauce); or a delicately spiced chicken curry or lamb rogan josh (a curry-like sauce accented with cardamom and onion). Vegetarians, go for the chickpeas cooked in a blend of North Indian spices and top that with the homemade hot sauce. There's also the option to add a mint sauce or calm your palate with raita, a yogurt-based sauce made with cumin, cucumbers, and coriander.
Photo courtesy of Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar
204 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale
Pretty much every pick at this Broward-based eatery is a tiny flavor bomb, each a unique and creative riff that still manages to channel classic Mexican presentation. That includes everything from the specialty-sourced meats and imported cheese to the hand-formed corn tortillas made onsite each day. Favorites include the braised chicken with 24-hour adobo marinated chicken, queso fresco, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cilantro-lime crema; the popular crispy shredded pork with adobo- and chili-rubbed pork, cotija cheese, charred pineapple, crema, and salsa verde; and the chorizo topped off with cotija cheese, potato hash, and a fried egg. A fourth location with a walk-up counter recently opened in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, so visitors can take those tacos to go from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and enjoy on the beach just steps away.
Taquería Doña Raquél
793 S. Dixie Hwy., Pompano Beach
Off a lonely stretch of Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach sits Taquería Doña Raquél, a casual sit-down Mexican restaurant best known for its authentic tacos. The entire menu covers it all, from sopes and tostadas to pambazos, burritos, and gorditas. Virtually everything is good, from tender chicken in a perfectly balanced mole and vibrantly flavorful fajitas served with fresh tortillas made in-house, to an aromatic bowl of pozole on weekends. The tacos take up much of the menu, offering a unique array of meats, many of them served only a few days a week or on weekends only. Of course there's the usual pollo, chorizo, carne asada, and barbacoa. If you're adventurous, though, don't miss the tripe, cueritos (pork skin), cesina (a traditional Mexican dried beef), campechanos (grilled steak with sausage), and cabeza (tender, rich meat from the cow's head).