While El Paso has some of the best Mexican food, I’m always at a loss for recommending tacos. We’re not like other Texas cities with an abundance of breakfast tacos or restaurants where tacos are the focus. Maybe it’s because our Mexican culture tends to think, why would you just offer tacos when you can also sell tortas, flautas, burritos, menudo, pan dulce….you get the picture.
But fret not, while EP is not tacolandia, we do have some star players, like the one and only Tacoholics who was recently featured in The Tacos of Texas book, which you can check out at your local library. 😉 According to The Tacos of Texas, the iconic El Paso taco is carnitas. While I tend to agree, I think you find deshebrada more common on menus and most ordered.
Taco Jouralism’s top 5 picks for El Paso in the book were:
- L&J Cafe
- Tacos el Charly
- Carnitas Queretero
- El Taco Tote
I will also add for my meat-eating friends, that everyone raves about Tacos Don Cuco.
EP Veg Snob’s Top 5 picks:
- Tacoholics (1613 N. Zaragoza) – Korean BBQtofu (vegan). They’re just so good. And so is everything else on the menu.
- The Palomino Tavern (205 Cincinnati) – Tricolor Cauliflower (vegan), Roasted Mushroom, or Cheesy Tacos. All on homemade tortillas. Chef Lawrence is killing it here. Check ’em out.
- Gallery 3 Kitchen (inside Best Western at 6655 Gateway West)- Brussels Sprouts (vegan). My first time there last week & just in time to let you know that these tacos are everything. I don’t ever pine for brussels sprouts, but cut them up, sear ’em in spices, top ’em with caramelized shallots & avocado crema in a perfectly crispy taco shell, & you just might call me a fan of those adorable cabbage-like tykes.
- Jonbalaya (9402 Stonewall) – Puffy Tacos with tofu (can be made vegan). This is the only place in EP where you can get those weird San Antonio tacos. This meat-centric cajun BBQ joint knows how to do tofu- they marinate it, bake it, & finish it off on the grill for an excellent texture. Topping off the flavor, is a pineapple-habanero slaw. Don’t forget to order fried okra.
- Ode Brewing (3233 N. Mesa)- Mushroom (can be made vegan). What began as a temporary feature is now a fixture on the menu. Sounds simple, but it’s a flavor bomb of grilled portobellos topped with cilantro slaw, guacamole, & manchego.
- Cafe Mayapan (2000 Texas Ave) – Veg options include: Hongos al chipotle, Nopalitos, Calabacitas con queso, Frijoles Refritos, or Rajas de Chile con Crema. 3 come to an order & you can mix & match, soft or fried. My absolute favorite Mexican spot that would’ve made my top 5 except that they close at 3 pm.
- Lick It Up Food Truck (Monarch’s Patio at 204 E. Rio Grande) – I am hesitant to place them on the list because I have not tried their tacos, but I have tried their flautas and those are rolled tacos, right? They were perfectly fried & so delicious. Taco offerings include beet tacos & tacos vegan pastor (!!!). They also might not have made my list because of their limited hours, as they are open Thursday-Saturday, 7 pm-2 am. I’m dying to try their breaded seitan milanesa burrito.
- Kicha Foods (4935 N. Mesa) – homemade vegan chorizo! It’s located at TI:ME at Montecillo, which means you should have your order sent to Tin Man so that you can enjoy a beer (or even kombucha!) with your tacos. They didn’t make the cut because my tacos had dry, tough tortillas. Maybe it was an off experience.
- Taco Tote (various locations) – Mushroom (veggie). Be sure to order on corn tortillas, the flour contain lard. These didn’t make the cut, because it is onion overload & a bit too salty. That said, they are still tasty & helloooo salsa bar.
- The Riviera (5218 Doniphan) – Veg options include bean, avocado, guacamole, or potato. They have the best potato tacos here & really good refried beans. I was told they don’t use lard & I’m hoping that’s true.
- Chipotle – veggie or sofritas. I hate to include chains, but I love Chipotle and the sofritas are so good. Basically seasoned, ground tofu, but with a really good texture. P.S. Did you know that you can order a single taco for less than $2?!
- Other options I haven’t tried yet that are on my to-do list: Fuzion & Nosh
Who’s missing from the list, and what are your favorites in EP & out of town? Please don’t tell me that yours & your abuelita’s are the best. XD