Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Dec 2 2016

A Wave Of Authentic Taquerias & Roving Trucks Make Philly A Bona Fide Taco Town

South Philly Leads The City’s Taco Craze

Little by little, Philly’s turned into a bona fide taco town. Between the mom-and-pop taquerias of South Philly, tried-and-true tequila bars, a roving pack of lunch trucks and the newest crop of gringo-owned joints, there’s truly a taco for everyone and their hermano. Here’s where the hungry masses can get their tacos on:

New-Wave Mexican:

  • Fishtown’s divey Loco Pez found its inspiration in L.A.’s fusion-y taco trucks, and the result is a mix-and-match selection of fun—and sometimes unexpected—flavors. Classic preparations like al pastor and cochinita pibil share menu space with unconventional choices, like vegan-friendly seitan and spinach, and soy chorizo. 2401 E. Norris Street, (267) 886-8061, locopez.com
  • Siblings to Fort Washington’s Cantina Feliz and Fairmount’s La Calaca Feliz, the Taqueria Feliz outposts in Manayunk and Horsham mix up traditional tacos (carnitas, al suadero) with new-school styles (cauliflower and nopales), as well as a short list of funky organ meat and insect varieties. Cantina Feliz, 424 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, (215) 646-1320, cantinafeliz.com; La Calaca Feliz, 2321 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 787-9930, lacalacafeliz.com; Taqueria Feliz, 4410 Main Street, (267) 331-5874; 303 Horsham Road, Horsham, (215) 323-4530, taqueriafeliz.com
  • Honest Tom’s Taco Shop started as a popular food truck that evolved into a brick-and-mortar West Philly restaurant serving up Mexican fare in a casual eat-in cafe. Breakfast tacos overflowing with bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, fresh guacamole and killer homemade hot sauce draw crowds from all over the city. 261 S. 44th Street, (215) 620-1851
  • With locations in Manayunk and Flourtown, chef Nick Farina’s Union Taco serves up tortillas stuffed with chef-ly fillings. Options include pork carnitas with chipotle barbecue sauce and Spanish mahón cheese, plus a veggie-centric wild mushroom taco with goat cheese, greens and corn-and-black bean salsa. 4229 Main Street, (267) 766-6193; 1666 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, (215) 383-1100, uniontacos.com
  • The owners of the popular Street Food Philly truck have put down roots with Revolution Taco, located just off Rittenhouse Square. “Tacos without borders” is the motto here, exemplified by global spins like curried cauliflower and roasted duck served on a scallion pancake. 2015 Walnut Street, (267) 639-5681, therevolutiontaco.com
  • Fun-loving fusion is the approach at Center City’s small and vibrant Dos Tacos, which mixes the classic (chipotle-braised chicken, crispy fried mahi-mahi) with the completely unconventional (chili-rubbed pastrami, Korean-tinged pork belly). 120 S. 15th Street, (215) 567-8226, dostacosphilly.com
  • Known for fish tacos and island flavors, the Main Line’s Pipeline Tacos has become a fave among families and foodies for its fresh approach to tacos and smoothies. 165 E. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (610) 225-TACO, pipelinetaco.com
  • Tia-inspired tortillas get stuffed with carnitas, roasted veggies, chorizo and more at Bucks County’s Sabrosa Taqueria. Same ingredients can get layered into clever taco pints, which are like a bowl, but in a… pint. 34 E. State Street, Doylestown, sabrosataqueria.com

Auténtico Tacos:

  • Philly Tacos offers a gigantic menu of tacos of all textures and regional styles—grilled smoked pork chop, steak with Chihuahua cheese and al pastor. For the adventurous, beef eye and tripe make up some of the more daring taco options. The owners also vend at the popular Headhouse Square Farmers Market, held on Sundays at 2nd and Lombard Streets. 2011 Reed Street, (267) 819-9406, phillytacos.com
  • Should taco cravings take a turn for the burrito, or even, say, the sizzling fajita salad, El Zarape delivers. In addition to reputable fried fish and chorizo tacos, the restaurant offers a full menu of Tex-Mex classics. 1301 S. 9th Street, (215) 336-1293, elzarapephiladelphia.com
  • Everyone has a favorite neighborhood taco joint, and for many, El Jarocho is it. The bare-bones storefront slings memorably flavorful al pastor and nopales-tangled carne asada. Diners eat in to enjoy their signature chipotle dipping sauce, which goes great with fresh salsas and tortilla chips. 1138 S. 13th Street, (215) 463-2020
  • The original authentic South Philly taqueria, Veracruzana has paved the way for countless others with its super-cheap (3 for $6) dishes of simple soft tortilla-wrapped delicacies, such as stewed bistec, grilled shrimp and cheese-stuffed jalapenos. 908 Washington Avenue, (215) 465-1440
  • North of Market Street, Taco Riendo satiates the Mexican-craving masses. The Old Kensington spot boasts a cozy interior, excellent tamales and generously filled tacos such as the cheese-dusted, green- and red-salsa-draped chicken and the onion-flecked lengua. 1301 N. 5th Street, (215) 235-2294
  • At South Philly storefront Los Gallos, colorful flags wave overhead, friendly service beckons and platters heave with generous, exceedingly fresh tacos, available in combinations of grilled and roasted meats, fragrant huitlacoche and spicy beef and chorizo. 951 Wolf Street, (215) 551-1251, losgallosmexicantaqueria.com
  • The easily overlooked El Purepecha Mexican Kitchen occupies an unassuming corner in Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood (also called the Loft District), but this taqueria doesn’t disappoint, with fillings such as crispy breaded fish and grilled shrimp, plus extensive sopes, tortas and platos selections. 469 N. 10th Street, (215) 765-2369
  • El Limon has grown from grocery-store taco operation to suburban mini chain known for tortillas that are soft enough to sleep on. They’re filled with traditional meats and combinations thereof. 38 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, (267) 460-8949; 61 W. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (484) 413-2999; 845 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (484) 222-6929; 103 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, (610) 567-0120; 446 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, (484) 329-7969 ellimontaqueria.com
  • The colorful platters at Kennett Square’s La Peña Mexicana include homemade salsas, radish slices, golden rice and refried beans. Of course, the main event is the tacos. 609 W. Cypress Street, Kennett Square, (610) 925-2651
  • Tucked in along Snyder Avenue, the one-table Taqueria La Mexicanita sates late-night longings for longaniza (long sausage) or cecina (salted beef steak) in its three-fer plates. Bonus: The grill is open until 2:00 a.m. to accommodate post-bar takeaway. 1148 Snyder Avenue, (215) 858-4587
  • A weekend-only operation, the friendly, mosaic-covered South Philly Barbacoa serves incredible barbacoa and pancita tacos on fresh-pressed tortillas, plus soulful consommé (soup) made from the drippings of authentic roasted lamb. In 2016, Bon Appétit declared this spot one of the best new restaurants in the country. 1703 S. 11th Street, (215) 360-5282, southphillybarbacoa.com
  • El Vez’s cross-town cousin, El Rey, is set in an old diner and serves up lamb and portobello tacos and chile relleno alongside micheladas (beer, spices and lime). Tacos are also available in the speakeasy Ranstead Room, located in the back. 2013 Chestnut Street, (215) 563-3330, elreyrestaurant.com
  • Both the food and beverage choices are extensive at Center City hang Jose Pistola’s. Among the taco options at this Mexified craft beer bar are Korean-style short rib with Asian pear pico de gallo and tempura-battered rock shrimp with pepitas and tom yum aioli. Jose’s Fishtown-based hermano, Sancho Pistola’s, offers a similar selection to hungry locals hanging out along Frankford Avenue. 263 S. 15th Street, (215) 545-4101, josepistolas.com; 19 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 324-3530, sanchopistolas.com
  • Jose Garces’ Distrito offers a glimpse of Mexico City in University City. The high-end tacos feature Kobe beef, adobo-braised lamb or mahi-mahi with avocado; the tequilas are plentiful; and the décor is tastefully kitschy (a vintage VW Beetle converted into a booth, for example). 3945 Chestnut Street, (215) 222-1657, distritorestaurant.com
  • A hopping see-and-be-seen spot in Center City from the owners of the landmark Oyster House, Mission Taqueria balances tradition and innovation, slinging skirt steak and chicken mole tacos alongside fancier riffs, like veal tongue with braised cabbage. The busy bar serves stirred, shaken and frozen cocktails. 1516 Sansom Street, 2nd Floor, (215) 383-1200, missiontaqueria.com
  • Holding down the west side of South Street, Tio Flores, from the prolific owners of Hawthornes Cafe and The Cambridge, satisfies taco cravings from happy hour through to late night. Menu highlights include tacos topped with interesting flavor combos, like butternut squash-chorizo and lentil-cauliflower. 1600 South Street, (267) 687-2220, tioflores.com

Taco Trucks:

  • Returning tacos to their street-eat roots, University City truck Tacos Don Memo serves them up in foil-wrapped threes, bursting with saucy flavor, crisp onion and lots of cilantro. 38th Street between Locust & Spruce Streets, (610) 529-2039
  • Like taqueria on wheels, Taco Loco has it all—the red, white and green motif; Jarritos; tortas; and simple but punchy al suadero, tripe and choriqueso tacos. The only difference? This kitchen comes and goes. Jefferson Square Park, 4th Street & Washington Avenue, (215) 883-9191
  • The Diego Rivera-esque murals on the side of the Tacos El Rodeo truck are a giveaway. This mobile operation isn’t messing around. Of special note are the spit-roasted pork and variety meat tacos served with salsa on the side. 1000 Washington Avenue
  • Adorable, alfresco Taco Angeleno serves spot-on renditions of fresh L.A. street food (tacos and smoothies) in a once abandoned, now flowering and twinkling with lights, open lot in West Philly. Chef-owner Vanessa Jerolmack fills tortillas with pork, chicken and seitan—Thursday through Sunday, spring through fall. 5019 Baltimore Avenue, @tacoangeleno
  • Not exactly a moving vehicle per se, the Blue Route Taco Truck on the roof of Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting turns out some tasty fish, pork and veggie tacos (when open—hours are seasonal) and offers craft canned beer along with them. 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, (610) 832-0010
     

 VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Contact(s):
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