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La Macro's Saul Obregon serves up his trompo tacos, the stuff of legend.

Image: Marco Torres

La Macro

For many years, real trompo, akin to shawarma, could not be found within the city limits. That was before Saul Obregon visited Houston’s health department, perfected his process, was approved by the city, and started serving it from his truck on the Near Northside. His trompo tacos—delectable marinated pork cooked in the Monterrey style, but seasoned with a blend of spices from Mexico City—are the best in town.

Boombox Taco

Former DJ/music promotor Alex Martinez believes the food he serves from his colorful taco truck is his masterpiece, and he’s right. He offers all the traditional tacos, along with a special vegan chorizo version good enough to please any meat lover.

Brothers Taco House

If there’s a long line at a taco shop—and said line moves fast—then congratulations, you’re in the right place. At both breakfast and lunch, the pros at this East End staple serve up delicious tacos very quickly. Try the deshebrada version—slow-cooked, juicy brisket on a thick flour tortilla.

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Image: Marco Torres

El Taconazo

Located steps away from Moody Park on the Near Northside, this may be the most famous, most popular taco truck in the city. Whether you visit at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., there will be a huge line. You won’t find fancy, fusion, or fruity tacos here; instead, it’s all about the essentials. Order the fajita tacos con queso Oaxaca—hot, greasy, and absolutely perfect topped with fiery, creamy green salsa—along with a cup of frijoles and a Mexican Coke.

Cabo Baja Grill

One of the newest players in the Houston taco game, this Washington Avenue shop is already a favorite. While you’re ordering at the counter, you can watch a machine making fresh tortillas for your meal. The go-to here is the Baja fish taco, featuring a fried fish filet with cabbage, cilantro, and a delicious chipotle sauce. There are good grilled options, too.

Tortillería Tlaxcali

This tortillería is taco heaven, with a steam table full of fillings for your creation of choice—we can’t quit the nopales con carne molida, strips of prickly pear cactus mixed with ground beef. Don’t forget to take home some fresh tortillas. 

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Image: Marco Torres

Tacodeli Houston

This Austin import, open on Washington Avenue since last year, has a fun menu. One of the best lunchtime tacos is the Shrimposito: Gulf shrimp with sesame and chipotle adobo on a house-made tortilla, made even more delicious with a dollop of creamy, spicy Doña green salsa.

Taconmadre

Many consider this big green bus of deliciousness in South Houston to be the best taco truck in the city. When you’re hungry, it calls to you like a beacon of hope across the water. You can’t go wrong with what they call fajita tacos, although the meat is cut into smaller pieces, similar to suadero. Whatever the style, the go-to here is the beef on corn. 

Texas Tacos & BBQ

This Eastwood taquería serves up handmade, deliciously thin, hot, heavenly flour tortillas. The bacon supreme taco, filled with bacon, eggs, potato, beans, and cheese, is perfect at any time of day. 

Laredo Taquería

Although they have four locations, each with its own charm and menu, the Washington Avenue location is our favorite—and an institution in Houston, with the long line to prove it. Try the fideo taco, essentially chicken and noodles inside a tortilla. Sounds strange; tastes good!

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The smoked brisket-fat tortillas make the tacos at The Pit Room absolutely divine.

Image: Marco Torres

The Pit Room

Brisket-fat flour tortillas: That’s what this Montrose barbecue joint uses to wrap their post oak–smoked Texas brisket, and the result is perfect. Add cheese and salsa, and you’ve got a Tex-Mex masterpiece. 

Tacos La Bala

This local chain now has eight locations serving the taco-loving public. They all strive to be as authentically Mexican as possible. Everything’s good, but the trompo taco is definitely one of the best in town.  

Panadería Mucho Mexico

This bakery and cafe in Denver Harbor is located next to the taquería of the same name, meaning you can pop in for a pan dulce, hot chocolate, and—of course—taco. You can also watch the cooks make your tortillas by hand as you wait, a good indicator that you’ve come to the right place. Try the rajas con queso taco, strips of poblano pepper with queso fresco on a fresh and hot flour tortilla. 

Taquería Del Sol

This is one of the most popular taquerías on the southeast side of town and, as it happens, another taco institution sitting next to a bakery. The carne asada version is grilled to perfection, and especially delicious topped with house green salsa. 

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Brussels sprouts in a taco? Yes, please.

Image: Marco Torres

Eight Row Flint

The motto at this modern Heights icehouse is “Whiskey, Beer, & Tacos,” and the place delivers on all three counts. The brussels sprouts taco is especially addicting, grilled to a char and topped with pickled veggies. Happy hour brings $3 tacos.

Taco Keto

Tucked away in the parking lot of an auto mechanic shop in the East End, this little spot serves some of the most unusual tacos in Houston: “koketadas,” whose red tortillas have been dipped into a tasty, but not too spicy, salsa before being stuffed with various fillings (the deshebrada is especially delicious). Open Thursdays through Saturdays.

Tacos Bomberos

The couple behind this portable stand are a pop-up machine, serving tacos on alternating nights at Poison Girl, Satellite Bar, Fox Hollow, and Axelrad. The masterfully grilled fajitas come wrapped in flour tortillas, topped with cilantro, queso fresco, homemade Valentina crema, and salsa verde. Tip: The creamy Tex-Mex queso, usually served with nachos, makes for a delicious off-menu addition to your tacos.

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Image: Marco Torres

Xochi

If you haven’t visited Chef Hugo Ortega’s newest restaurant—recently named a James Beard Award semi-finalist—do yourself a favor and make a reservation, or go during lunch and sit at the bar. You’ll get world-class service and a lunch menu that starts at $16 a plate. Order the cabrito tacos—succulent, slow-cooked baby goat served with salsa verde on blue corn tortillas—and you’ll leave happy.

Chilosos Taco House

This longtime Heights favorite is open at breakfast and lunch only. They make their own flour tortillas, which are not only perfectly fluffy, but strong enough to hold their generous contents. Breakfast here is top-notch; at lunch, get the puerco en salsa verde.

La Calle Tacos & Tortas

One of the only downtown spots to serve authentic Mexican tacos, this new establishment caters to the lunch and late-night crowds. Try the street-style “Chilango” tacos with carnitas—slow-cooked, tender pork on mini yellow-corn tortillas—and don’t forget to take a selfie with the I Love Tacos So Much wall near the restaurant’s entrance.

Gerardo's Drive-In

For over 40 years, Jose Luis Lopez has made magic at his little shop on the Near Northside, named for his son. He cooks his barbacoa in the traditional style, with beef-cheek meat and tongue. Inside a taco, it’s hot, tender, and juicy, made perfect with a squeeze of lime, chopped cilantro, and salsa verde.

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Image: Marco Torres

Taquería Don Tin

The selection at this truck on Airline north of East Little York is as good as it gets. Try the tacos de bisték estilo Matamoros, featuring chopped steak topped with queso fresco and avocado. Add some spicy, creamy tomatillo salsa for the perfect complement of flavors.

El Tiempo Taquería

Housed on Washington Avenue in the former Matamoros Meat Market space, this carnecería does many things well, but we particularly love the taco de fajita, whose meat is marinated in a red adobo before being fire-grilled, chopped, and stuffed into an excellent flour tortilla.

Goodnight Charlie's

This brand-new, modern Montrose honky-tonk is equipped with a secret weapon: a delicious and extensive taco menu. There’s even an experienced tortilla maker on staff. Any of the six choices on offer will go well with your beer or whiskey, but the real hero is the late-night (after-midnight) breakfast menu. The chorizo con huevo taco will make you stay until last call and keep you coming back.

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Image: Marco Torres

La Guadalupana Bakery & Cafe

This lively, family-run Montrose institution tops many a list for best breakfast and lunch in the city. The Diaz family is from the Mexican state of Puebla, which is famous for its mole poblano. Every item on offer here is a winner, but the very best, the chicken mole taco, is off-menu. Bonus: The cafe de olla, infused with cinnamon flower, pairs perfectly with the house-made almond croissant. 

Caracol

Another award-winning restaurant from Chef Ortega, this upscale Galleria-area spot offers two amazing options for seafood lovers: the taco de camarón on tortillas de nopal, a unique creation featuring shrimp on a tortilla made with cactus, and the taco de pescado al pastor, with achiote-marinated fish and a pineapple garnish.

Alamo Tamales & Tacos

Not only are the tamales almost as amazing as your abuelita’s, the breakfast and lunch tacos at this large Northside complex will satisfy any hunger. Try the asado de puerco tacos, filled with a spicy, tender pork stew that will have you coming back for more every weekend. And don’t forget to pick up a dozen house-made, thick and fluffy flour tortillas on the way out.

Tacos Tierra Caliente

This, one of the most well-known trucks in the city, has been feeding tacos to Montrose residents for almost 20 years from its spot next to the West Alabama Ice House. Owner Maria Samano also owns and operates three other trucks, which serve the same excellent tacos at reasonable prices. The barbacoa taco is a foodie favorite.