Tacos are a reliably cheap meal option, especially on the go. While many Mexican restaurants have pre-selected combo plates or platters that can be spendy, most also offer an a la carte option for tacos. Whether they're from a food truck or a sit-down restaurant, these tacos from across the U.S. are not to be missed when you're in the neighborhood.
MARISCOS MI GUSTO ES
In Southern California, locals expect great tacos. But even in the Latin cuisine paradise of San Diego, the Mariscos Mi Gusto Es food truck stands out. With a five-star rating after 250+ Yelp reviews, SoCal loyalists rave about the "fluffy inside, crispy outside" fare, which is known for being cheap, fresh and delicious — even by the standards of taco-spoiled San Diegans. Fish tacos are $1.50, and shrimp tacos are $3.
Billed as "far out food" for its curious blend of Asian and Mexican cuisine, Yumbii now boasts a physical restaurant, but it started as a food truck offering unique twists on taco and other dishes. Its taco choices include tofu stir-fry, fried chicken, and Korean barbecue — for $3.50.
TAQUERIA EL PUEBLITO
This low-key restaurant sells tacos for $3 each, though some Yelp reviewers say just one is hearty enough for dinner. Vegetarians can try the rajas con crema, while carnivorous diners have high praise for Taqueria El Pueblito’s barbacoa crispy tacos and tacos al pastor.
VERACRUZ ALL NATURAL
The cheerful blue Veracruz All Natural taco truck driving around Austin (there are also bricks-and-mortar locations in Round Rock and North Austin) is a hit with locals for its good food at dirt cheap prices. Try the $3 breakfast tacos.
Taco connoisseurs head to Tacos Atoyac for good food that's easy on the wallet. The standard tacos are $1.90 and the wildly popular fish tacos are only $2.80 each.
Antique Taco has plenty to offer Chicago-area taco aficionados. Their menu is short, but unique ingredients include curry, pickled jalapeños, and sriracha tartar sauce. While the prices may seem steep — starting at $8 — each "taco" is actually a set of two.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
At $2.49 to $2.79 each, the a la carte tacos at Taqueria Mexico are not only cheap but can be filled with barbacoa, lengua, carne asada, carnitas, chicharrón, and the traditional ground beef. While reviewers at TripAdvisor note that the place isn't much to look at, they say the food is top-notch.
LA PERLA TACO TRUCK
Regularly parked close to the West Oakland BART station, the La Perla Taco Truck attracts hungry folks in search of fresh, inexpensive eats. Fans raveabout the $2 tacos, with props given to the wide selection of meats, including tongue and tripe.
Mary's Tacos has the cheap prices (the tacos start at around $2) and quality food to attract devoted fans. The breakfast tacos get high praise in diners' reviews, and the food, including the tortillas, is prepared fresh.
EL TORO BRAVO
TripAdvisor commenters give this Southwestern restaurant 4.5 stars out of 5, and a plate of three tacos costs only $11 at El Toro Bravo. No lard in the food here — the chef-owner uses only olive and canola oil for improved flavor.
TAQUERIA DEL SOL
Those seeking quality Mexican fare in the Houston area have plenty of choices, but Taqueria del Sol has earned 4 stars out of 5 on Zomato. Tacos start at less than $2 each.
Barrio lets customers build their own tacos for $3 each, including many gourmet but free add-ons such as habanero-mango barbecue sauce and apple-jicama slaw.
Head to District Taco to grab three breakfast tacos for $9 from a breakfast menu that's served all day. The price for regular tacos is the same at lunch and dinner.
IGUANA'S MEXICAN STREET CAFE
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Iguana's offers $2.50 a la carte tacos and has plenty of raves on Yelp, where fans gush over the food but warn that the cafe is small inside.
POPO'S FIESTA DEL SOL
Popo's Fiesta Del Sol has been a fixture since 1964 and has a $1.99 special on tacos every Thursday. While the prices aren't as cheap the rest of the week ($4.36 and up), reviewers praise the hearty portions.
LOS DOS POTRILLOS
With four locations in Colorado, Los Dos Potrillos is a popular haunt in Centennial and beyond. The chain offers three crunchy shell tacos for $10.25, as well as other tasty taco combinations.
There are more than a dozen taco options at El Camion, including pork three different ways. Its fish tacos get strong recommendations from Yelp fans. Lines form early, so it's best to grab a bite during non-peak hours.
Lobster-happy Maine isn't exactly a hotspot for Mexican food, but Taco Escobarr more than does its part to add some culinary diversity. Eater Maine says it's one of the best spots for tacos in the state, calling out the wide variety of tortillas and fillings, including in crispy or “puffy” tacos that come two for $7. The burritos are also great, reviewers say.
Falls Church, Virginia
Tacos are $3 each at Taco Bamba in Falls Church. The menu is long, with everything from traditional tacos to specials created by a guest chef each month. The original location is small, but Taco Bamba has expanded into sit-down dining in Springfield and Vienna.
For cheap tacos, go no further than Tacos Baja in East L.A. While the regular menu boasts plenty of inexpensive deals (tacos range from $1.39 to $3.25 each), on Wednesdays fish tacos are only 99 cents.
Queens, New York City
Tacos are a mainstay at Taqueria Coatzingo, where the Mexican staple costs just $3, and chips and salsa draw high praise. Every taco is served cone-style, wrapped in paper, and topped with fresh guacamole.
EL PAISA TAQUERIA
Albuquerque, New Mexico
El Paisa serves up $1.25 tacos as well as Mexican Coke in glass bottles. The joint doesn't take credit or debit cards so be sure to bring cash, and brush up on your Spanish — the menu is just as authentic as the food (although the staff helps clueless customers order).
¿POR QUÉ NO?
The tacos ($3.50 and up) at ¿Por Qué No? are made with locally sourced ingredients, GMO-free oils and sustainably fished seafood. The lines get long but tend to move quickly — and the staff takes drink orders while patrons wait.
EL COME TACO
Traditional tacos are served up daily at El Come Taco, and at under $2.50 each, they're easy on the wallet. Zagat has bestowed a 4.5 rating on the eatery, noting the hip vibe and wide selection.