El Paso has really stepped it up in the last year in both meat-based and plant-based tacos, and I now have a problem choosing my favorites. Two years after my previous Taco Day post, I present a new class of the best local tacos. The majority happen to be downtown. Taco crawl, anyone?
EP Veg Snob’s Top 5 picks, updated for 2019:
- Korean BBQ tofu (vegan) @ Tacoholics (1613 N. Zaragoza)These will always be at the top of my list because they really are so good, and they were the pioneers of food trucks and awesome vegan taco options in El Paso.
- Adobada (vegan) @ Lick It Up (Inside International Bar at 114-A Mills Ave.)I was hesitant to put them on my list in 2017 because of their limited hours, plus I hadn’t tried their tacos. Fast forward to 2019, and not only have I tried the majority of their amazing food, they have moved into a bigger space with expanded hours! Also, they were recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!
- Jackfruit verde (vegan) @ Zona Centro (218 E. Mills)
This downtown spot offers some flavorful renditions of Mexican classics using jackfruit, soy & seitan as “meat” bases. Hit up their monthly vegan kitchen takeovers for specialty items.
- El Campesino (vegetarian, but vegan options available) @ ELEMI Restaurant (313 N. Kansas)
The Hoppy Monk’s Chef Emiliano Marentes left to start downtown’s newest gem. $5 for one taco sounds insane in El Paso, but high quality fair trade ingredients & painstaking processes ( they grind their own corn to make the masa for their tortillas) make it worth every bite. Do not skip the Brussels sprouts.
- Fried Avocado/Cauliflower Mole Bites (vegan) @ Aurellia’s Bottle Shop & Brewhhouse (1620 N. Resler )
Do you remember The Curb food truck? Well, Chef Martin Armendariz is now here creating some fantastic food! So, technically I haven’t tried their tacos, but I have previously tried the fried avocado from The Curb, and the last time I popped in for a beer (I had already eaten. Bad call, Lisa!), Chef saw me and sent me a sample of the mole cauliflower bites and woooo, were they good.
- Taco Cabana (various locations) – I love this regional chain. Decent Tex-Mex food and happy hour, what more do you want? A better veg option? Done! Last month, they introduced Beyond Meat Tacos and Bowls which can be ordered vegan as well (just say no cheese on the tacos. The bowl I ordered didn’t have cheese or sour cream). Love that they throw in calabacitas, too!
- Moonsi Cafe/Moonsi Over Monarch (8136 San Jose & 204 E. Rio Grande) – I haven’t tried the regular tacos, but the rolled tacos are delicious! Also, their mole sauce is good- get it smothered on fries. You’re welcome.
- 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.
- 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. Yeah, I’m a Chipotle fan, don’t @ me! The sofritas are so good, but if you order veggie, you don’t get upcharged for guacamole. P.S. Did you know that you can order a single taco for about $2?
- I need to dedicate a whole ‘nother post to potato tacos and flautas. Get potato tacos at The District Pub & Kitchen, Adventure Zone, The Riviera, and The Pershing Inn (not sure if their kitchen has reopened). Let me know where else, because I’m on a carbtastic mission!
Most importantly, where are you going for tacos today and every Tuesday?!