Austin, Texas – known for being the Live Music Capital of the World; host for the ACL music festival; home of SXSW; leading locale for hiking and biking adventures; blossoming art town; and incredible year-round weather to experience it all. But right up there at the top are Austin’s TACOS. Traveling to Austin and immersing oneself in finding the best taco can and should be an adventure to add to any travel itinerary. Breakfast tacos, lunch tacos, dinner tacos, and late-night snack tacos can be found in all Austin neighborhoods at all times of day. When searching for the best foods to eat in Austin, tacos will pop up again and again. Tacos in Austin come in all designs, and the only way to find the “best tacos in Austin” is to take yourself on an “Austin taco tour” to find your personal favorite. Everyone has their taco spot — whether it be a full-fledged taco restaurant, a tiny taco joint, or a taco food truck. And although Austinites are serious about their favorite tacos, the best tacos in town come from places with laid-back attitudes and casual dress codes. So, as you head out to find your own personal “best taco” in Austin, let The Abundant Traveler start you off with these five essential taco recommendations.
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1. Veracruz All Natural Austin | Migas with Poblano
2. Papalote Taco House | Tortas De Coliflor
Only about a mile and a half away from Radio, our next stop is Papalote Taco House, a more traditional taco restaurant located at South Lamar and Manchaca. Here you’ll find an incredible vegetarian taco — the tortas de coliflor — filled to the brim with cauliflower, cabbage, queso fresco, and avocado and topped off with a red ajo sauce to give it a little bit of spice. This menu also features vegetarian tacos with hongas and huitlacoche, as well as more adventurous tacos for meat lovers that include animal parts like tongue and beef cheek. Papalote Taco House has three locations in Austin, all of them open from early breakfast (7am) to post-dinner (10pm), so be sure and add this Austin taco joint to your list when traveling to town. Central Austin Locations: 3632 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704. 2803 S Lamar, Austin, TX 78704
3. Taco Deli Austin | El Picocito
For the third stop, stay in South Austin and head a bit further west, just past Zilker Park, to Taco Deli, The Abundant Traveler’s absolute favorite taco restaurant. Taco Deli has an extensive breakfast taco menu, and lunch tacos include beef, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options, as well as taco specials each day. The best taco for lunch is the El Picocito, a flavorful, juicy beef tenderloin mixed in a chipotle sesame, with avocado and queso fresco. This taco is as unique as it is beautiful, and it deserves the top spot on Austin’s list of best tacos. While grabbing a breakfast or lunch taco, don’t forget to add a dollop of one of Taco Deli’s famous homemade salsas from their salsa bar – specifically the Dona salsa made with jalapenos. People travel to Austin specifically for this Dona sauce! Taco Deli opens at 6am for the on-the-way-to-work crowd, and it closes at 3pm every day. Lunchtime can be crowded, but the line moves fast, and it’s well worth the wait. Taco Deli has seven locations (including one at the airport for those who want to grab one last taco on the way home), but the original on Spyglass is the most iconic, complete with old-school-Austin picnic tables that sit at one of the entrances to the Greenbelt. Grab a to-go taco here at Spyglass and then head down the trail to picnic by the water. Central Austin Locations: 1500 Spyglass, Austin, TX 78746. 301 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701. 4200 N Lamar, Austin, TX 78756
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4. Dai Due Taqueria | Wild Boar Chorizo with Grilled Shrimp
Wild Boar Chorizo Taco with Grilled Shrimp. There. We said it. Never have you heard those seven words put together. Never had wild boar in a taco? Never even heard of wild boar in a taco? Well, no time like the present to check out Dai Due Taqueria, one of Austin’s favorite restaurant spots, and try a most unique taco that definitely takes things to the next level. Wild boar is a little bit richer than pork with more of an herbaceous flavor, and this taco’s incredible flavors are complemented simply with salsa, avocado, cilantro, and parsley, served in either a corn or flour tortilla sourced from local farms. Dai Due’s menu also features other items that include regionally sourced wild game, seafood, and vegetables. In the urban oasis that is the heart of downtown Austin, you must visit Dai Due Taqueria at Fareground – a cluster of satellite restaurants from well-known local Austin spots that are gathered in one place on the ground floor of the Wells Fargo building on 2nd Street. These mini restaurants have limited menus, but, with indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a fun place to eat in downtown Austin as you’re heading north toward the Capitol or south across the Congress Avenue Bridge toward SOCO. At night it’s just a tad fancier, so perfect for a date night, but still laid-back in that “Austin” way. Wild Boar Chorizo with Grilled Shrimp at Dai Due (open 11am – 9pm) most definitely goes on the list of top tacos in Austin. Central Austin Location: 111 Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701
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5. Rosita’s Al Pastor | Tacos al Pastor
And last but definitely not least, head to the east side to Rosita’s Al Pastor food truck, located in a parking lot – very, very “Austin.” Around for more than thirty years, this Austin taco truck is home to one of the most delicious al pastor tacos (pork), made with a top-secret, passed-down family recipe. The tacos are traditional al pastor, marinated overnight on a spit and seasoned perfectly, creating incredible tenderness and flavor. They come plain and simple with just onion and fresh cilantro, but no one will cry if you add a little squirt of lime on top. Rosita’s Al Pastor serves breakfast and lunch tacos all day, 8am – 5pm. Central Austin Location: 1911 E Riverside, Austin, TX 78741
Conclusion: 5 Best Tacos in Austin
Austin promises the best tacos you’ll ever find – hundreds of taco restaurants with homemade corn tortillas, fresh ingredients, unique fillings like al pastor and migas, and always the perfect salsas. Begin your “Austin best taco” tour with Veracruz All Natural, Papalote Taco House, Taco Deli, Dai Due Taqueria, and Rosita’s Al Pastor, and your tummy will thank you!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products that I personally know and use, and the income helps to keep this site updated and free for everyone.