Have You Been to the Best Hole-in-the-Wall Mexican Restaurant in Your State?

a sandwich sitting on top of a table

Tacos and Beyond

Just like any other cuisine, great Mexican food can be found at hole-in-the-wall restaurants. These spots are often not much to look at, but they know what they’re doing in the kitchen. You can find standout tacos, burritos, tortas and other specialties from food trucks, buses, carts, outdoor kitchens, and inside convenience stores, you just have to know where to look. We looked at customer reviews, photos and critic’s opinions to find these hidden gems that are serving up fantastic Mexican food in each state and Washington, D.C.

Find more must-read stories on the best restaurants across America with Cheapism Search and Save.

a bowl of food on a plate

Alabama: Taqueria el Cazador

What people say: Taqueria El Cazador began as a much loved taco bus, but recently moved into new, chic digs in the Stovehouse, a renovated warehouse. Customers say the traditional Mexican food is “still on point” though. There are a few counters to eat at inside, but most take their eats outside to the shared patio space.

What to order: Try some of the more hard-to-find menu options here, like braised beef birria as a taco filling, or mulitas with melted cheese, meat and avocado between two grilled corn tortillas.

a pile of green plants

Alaska: Oscar’s Taco Grande

Anchorage What people say: The Oscar of Oscar’s Taco Grande has been cooking in Alaska since 1972. He opened a food truck in 1978, but then moved to a small, nondescript building in 2008. Some reviewers compare the size of the giant burritos to that of their forearm.

What to order: Breakfast burritos are popular here, and they’re only reasonably priced with ham, bacon or sausage. After breakfast, get the verde gigante burrito wrapped in a 12-inch spinach tortilla with the works.

food, have you been to the best hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant in your state?

Arizona: El Sur Restaurant

Tucson What people say: This tiny Mexican-food eatery has been around since 2002 and has become known for not only good food at affordable prices, but a commitment to helping the community through charitable donations.

What to order: People rave about free chips and salsa which arrive on your table with lightning speed, but the birria tacos and soups ranging from albondigas to red or white menudo are especially loved.

a plate of food on a table

Arkansas: Alex’s Taqueria

Springdale What people say: Don’t let the strip mall locale and folding chairs in the dining area turn you off from Alex’s Taqueria. The food is fresh and inexpensive, with a menu more varied than typical taco spots, customers say.

What to order: Seafood dishes are popular, especially the ceviche tostadas and coctel de camaron (a loaded shrimp cocktail). Whatever you decide to order, don’t forget to make a trip to the toppings and salsa bar, which has everything from grilled whole jalapenos to cucumbers.

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California: La Azteca Tortilleria

Los Angeles What people say: Narrowing down the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint in Los Angeles, let alone all of California, is a near-impossible feat and likely to raise the ire of those who hold their local spot close to their heart. But if one must choose, La Azteca Tortilleria is not to be overlooked. This tiny, no-frills (apart from the colorful Aztec-inspired mural) East L.A. favorite has lured long lines of those in the know for decades with its freshly handmade, fluffy-as-clouds flour tortillas.

What to order:  While you really can’t go too wrong here with those tortillas involved — from jam-packed breakfast burritos to quesadillas and tacos — your first move here should be the signature chile relleno-stuffed burrito. Order it with either the housemade carnitas or chicharrón (fried pork rinds) — or as is if you prefer a vegetarian option — and prepare yourself for a hearty and memorable burrito filled with a cheese-stuffed and batter-fried poblano pepper, refried beans, and pico de gallo. Also, be sure to order (at least) a dozen fresh tortillas to take home.

a plate of food on a table

Colorado: Taqueria La Familia

Denver What people say: Taqueria La Familia has earned the moniker “hidden gem,” according to reviewers. It’s a tiny corner storefront, but it’s welcoming and warm. Free chips and salsa will arrive at your table when you eat in, and that’s never a bad thing.

What to order: Plates of five tacos for about $10 are standard fare here, and come piled with highly recommended al pastor (spit-roasted, marinated pork with pineapple) or carne asada. Burritos can be served plain, but smothered in green chile is the way to go.

a white plate topped with different types of food

Connecticut: Taqueria Mexico

Wallingford What people say: Everything is made fresh at Taqueria Mexico, where the customers praise the food’s authenticity. Watch as your food is made behind the counter, then delivered to you on paper plates.

What to order: There are over a dozen different meats to choose from, but the chorizo and beef barbacoa are standouts in tacos and tortas. On the weekends, both deep red pozole and menudo are offered in huge bowls that will fill you up for the rest of the day.

a plate of food on a table

Delaware: El Gran Charro

Georgetown What people say: El Gran Charro is located in the back of a Mexican grocery store, so everything they prepare is fresh. Though some diners say they were initially confused by the operation’s setup, they urge visitors not to be put off by the arrangement. Many customers get takeout, but there are a couple rows of booths to sit and eat under pinatas for sale and among the aisles of merchandise.

What to order: Tacos in double corn tortillas are the standard order and most are only $2, including asada and cabeza (meat from the cow’s head). There’s a toppings and salsa bar for you to dress your tacos however you like.

food, have you been to the best hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant in your state?

District of Columbia: Pica Taco

What people say: This family-operated, neighborhood joint does handcrafted food — and a whopping five unique salsas. Check out the buy three, get one free taco special on Tuesdays and the Kids Eat Free deal on Thursdays.

What to order: The al pastor tacos and flan get raves, and tacos are said to be so filling it’s better to get start with one instead of ordering more.

a plate of food

Florida: Nando’s Taqueria

Englewood What people say: Nando’s is a bright yellow taco truck that’s not much to look at, but the food is traditional and delicious, and customers praise the service and low prices. It’s served on brightly colored plastic plates, and there are a few tables set up around the truck, including a shaded area to stay out of the hot summer sun.

What to order: Chorizo and asada are especially good here, so try them in a couple tacos on fluffy corn tortillas with salty white cheese crumbled on top. It goes well with a side of super chunky guacamole and a refreshing horchata.

a close up of food

Georgia: El Serranito

Woodstock What people say: Located inside a BP gas station, El Serranito isn’t remotely fancy, but the food makes up for it, right down to the rice and beans, customers say. There’s a small counter you can sit at and eat with a backdrop of convenience store items, or take your haul back to your car and chow down.

What to order: A torta on a sesame-seed flecked bun full of asada and wrapped in foil to contain the mess. If tacos are more your style, try the fried fish taco topped with slaw and the creamy, spicy orange salsa. If roasted corn covered in mayo and cheese is on special, don’t skip it.

a bowl of food

Hawaii: Acevedo’s Hawaicano Cafe

Kahului What people say: Acevedo’s Hawaicano Cafe is a unique combination of Mexican and traditional Hawaiian food. It’s a small counter-service spot with a handwritten menu and laid back vibe that customers appreciate. If you want a loco moco plate alongside tacos, this is one of the only places you can get it.

What to order: You’re on an island, so anything with seafood is a good bet. Start with a bowl of fresh fish ceviche topped with a dollop of guacamole, then get the spicy mahi mahi plate, which one reviewer called “the best mahi I’ve ever had.”

a plate of food with rice meat and vegetables

Idaho: El Rinconcito Mexican Food

Idaho Falls What people say: Though it’s got a “less-than-dazzling concrete storefront,” El Rinconcito is a counter-service restaurant that’s comfortable with colorful murals and decor. The menu is large and varied, and tortillas are made in house.

What to order: Tacos really let the fresh tortillas shine, and the pork adobada (marinated in a red chile sauce and vinegar) or carnitas are both solid choices. The chimichanga loka is made for huge appetites, with a burrito-sized chimichanga on top of rice and beans, smothered with red chile sauce, sour cream, and guacamole like the Mexican flag.

a close up of a sandwich on a plate

Illinois: Perico’s Fast Tacos

Peoria What people say: Though Perico’s Fast Tacos is a small, bare-bones strip mall location, the rainbow pastel chairs really brighten the space up, along with the big cartoon taco on one wall. Reviewers rave about the staff, noting friendly service and good communication.

What to order: Al pastor is cooked on a vertical rotisserie topped with pineapple and sliced off to order, so grab a few tacos or get it in a burrito or torta.

a piece of food on a tray

Indiana: Taqueria Luz Tacos

Union City What people say: Located on one of the main streets in Union City, Taqueria Luz Tacos has a small town feel and a brightly painted red and green exterior. Inside, walk through the small shop at the front to the narrow kitchen and dining area in the back where all the magic happens. The low ceiling makes it feel a bit cramped, but the great food and cheap prices are worth it.

What to order: The super burrito is a customer favorite, stuffed with rice, beans, meat, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and cheese. No matter what you get, reviewers recommend getting a side of rice and beans.

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Iowa: Taqueria La Juanita

Sioux City What people say: Though the red-checkered floor makes La Juanita feel like a diner, the late night hours with a line out the back door proves otherwise. Locals call it “La Juas” and many “still think it’s the best Mexican food in town” even after 20 years in business. Beto O’Rourke even made it a campaign stop when he was running for president in 2019.

What to order: The carne asada burrito is a fan favorite, and it’s packed full of freshly sliced beef, beans, and cheese, with no superfluous ingredients like rice. Tacos filled with a crispy piece of fried fish are also popular. Make sure to get some of the spicy pickled carrots, which are uniquely cut into sticks instead of slices.

a close up of a bowl of food

Kansas: Mi Lindo Michoacan Mexican Restaurant

Wichita What people say: Mi Lindo Michoacan is a small spot in a stucco building that is only open in the morning and afternoon because it specializes in carnitas and other slow-cooked meats. Though it’s nothing to look at — the bright tablecloths are a nice touch — reviewers call it a “must eat location.”

What to order: Go early on weekends to get their specialty: Michoacan-style pork carnitas. Every bit of the pork is chopped up together for a crispy, melt-in-your-mouth blend. It’s sold by the pound and comes with handmade tortillas and toppings for making tacos.

a close up of a sandwich sitting on top of a wooden table

Kentucky: Mexico Lindo

Elizabethtown What people say: Mexico Lindo is a combination grocery store and taqueria, but unlike most of those spots, this one has a relatively large dedicated eating area with table service. It’s located at the back of the store, but reviewers recommend parking behind the building and using the back door for easy access.

What to order: Tortilla chips are homemade, fresh and flaky, so be sure to order salsa or guacamole. The tortas are stuffed to the brim with beans, lettuce, cheese, and avocado, and are especially tasty with chorizo.

a box filled with different types of food on a tray

Louisiana: Taqueria El Cazador

Lafayette What people say: Taqueria El Cazador is a taco truck that looks pretty shabby, with its mismatched menu board and faded signs, but the simple Mexican food it serves is top notch. It’s parked in a vacant lot next to a laundromat, so plan to get your food to go or eat in your car.

What to order: Grab four tongue or beef cheek tacos, both of which are “the best in the Acadiana area,” according to a Yelp reviewer. They’ll only set you back about $5 and come with pickled carrots and jalapenos.

a bowl of food on a table

Maine: Taco Trio

South Portland What people say: Located in a small storefront attached to a house, Taco Trio is a little counter service Mexican spot that is comfortable and cute, if bare bones. In summer, there’s sometimes a little patio set up outside in order to enjoy the sunshine.

What to order: This is a great place for vegetarian taco lovers, who have a number of options to choose from, including vegetables asados, a mix of zucchini and squash with avocado and queso fresco. All tacos come with a side of chips, which you can dip into almost a dozen selections from the salsa bar.

a sandwich sitting on top of a wooden table

Maryland: Taqueria El Guacamole

Finksburg What people say: Reviewers call the mismatched, pastel-painted dining room of Taqueria El Guacamole “humble” and an “unassuming gem.” They serve items that you can’t get many other places here, and you can watch them cook it all in the open kitchen.

What to order: Grab a quesadilla made with corn masa dough. They shape it into a huge oval and cook it fresh on the griddle until it’s crisp outside. That same dough is used to make tlacoyos and huaraches, a thick oval corn discs topped with meat, lettuce, cheese, and onions. The namesake guacamole is extra chunky and full of flavor.

a plate of food

Massachusetts: Taqueria El Amigo

Waltham What people say: Taqueria El Amigo shares a building with a tavern and isn’t much bigger than a closet with just five tables. But the food is so tasty that there’s often a line out the door with no place to sit, so plan on getting takeout, especially if you go at peak times.

What to order: Grab a chorizo and potato burrito, which one reviewer said was “as thick as my arm for only $7.” Tacos come in a set of four, and customers rave about the al pastor and cabeza. If you still have room, there’s tres leches cake for dessert.

a plate of food on a table

Michigan: La Probadita

Hart What people say: Head to the back of the supermarket to get to the taqueria inside La Probadita. The menu is on a chalkboard, and there’s plenty of tables where you can sit and eat, though it’s a no-frills folding-chair affair. They serve beer here, which is a big bonus.

What to order: Select a few a la carte options and make your own combo platter. The gorditas, made from thick corn cakes, are great stuffed with barbacoa, while a crunchy tostada is great with chicharrón. Grilled green onions and jalapenos can (and should) be ordered on the side.

a tray of food

Minnesota: El Triunfo

Northfield What people say: El Triunfo takes up one side of a grocery store building, and there is a ramshackle mishmash of tables and chairs for dining in. The refrigerator case next to the counter holds fresh meats that you can order, and you can watch your food being prepared right behind the counter.

What to order: The whole fried mojarra, a type of fish, comes out with crispy skin and succulent flesh. Burritos are large, with one reviewer saying they got two meals out of one. Ask for extra creamy green salsa because customers love the spicy stuff.

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Mississippi: Tamale Shak

Gulfport What people say: Tamale Shak is a tiny, quirky, beachy restaurant with walls covered in license plates, bumper stickers, dollar bills and tourism brochures. They serve corn husk wrapped tamales, which are extremely popular in the state, plus much-praised tacos, burritos and quesadillas.

What to order: Get the unique tamale pie, made with four of their mild or spicy tamales topped with chili, cheese, black beans and pico de gallo, or an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad with tamales on top.

a dish is filled with food

Missouri: Pablito’s Taqueria

Osage Beach What people say: The strip mall location of Pablito’s Taqueria is clean and bright but otherwise unremarkable. The food is always the real looker though, so the atmosphere doesn’t matter. The prices are inexpensive too, with one reviewer commenting that it “tasted like I spent a fortune, but didn’t.”

What to order: Grab the Durango burrito special if they have it because it’s filled with cheese-stuffed peppers. Otherwise, try the mixed chicken and beef fajitas served with all the fixings.

a plastic container of food

Montana: El Vaquero Taqueria

Helena What people say: This taqueria is small but mighty. El Vaquero is only open for lunch, but customers line up outside for their massive burritos and tacos. One reviewer calls it a “must stop when visiting the state capital.” Don’t miss the display of Mexican candy to purchase on your way out.

What to order: The chile Colorado is beef simmered in guajillo chile sauce, and it’s great on taco locos, a 6-inch taco with pinto beans and every topping you can imagine. If a burrito is more your style, try the burro, which is pressed on a griddle to brown and can easily feed two people.

a tray of food on a plate

Nebraska: Roble’s Taqueria

South Sioux City What people say: Roble’s Taqueria has a typical menu of Mexican favorites, but with a couple conveniences that make it stand out: a drive-thru, and a huge topping and salsa bar. Prices are cheap for the quality and quantity you get, and reviewers say the service is friendly and quick. While the restaurant is closed for construction until Jan. 18, watch for the taqueria’s food truck around town.

What to order: Barbacoa and carnitas are customer favorites. When they ask if you want grilled onions and peppers on the side, definitely say yes.

a pan of food on a plate

Nevada: Taqueria Casa Del Pastor

Las Vegas What people say: Open 24 hours a day and always busy, Taqueria Casa Del Pastor is a truck that parks in a tire store lot just north of downtown Vegas. There’s no place to sit, so most just eat standing, or in their car, but no one seems to mind. Customers love the huge tortas and fresh, meaty tacos.

What to order: Tacos al pastor are the specialty, and are sliced off huge cones of layered meat on vertical rotisseries. For a bigger appetite or to share, get an alambre, a mix of meats and vegetables griddled together, topped with cheese, and served with a dozen tortillas.

a plate of food on a table

New Hampshire: Begy’s Taqueria

Manchester What people say: Begy’s is a small, cave-like taqueria with an adorable shaded and secluded patio. It’s a “well kept secret if you don’t live in the area,” and sometimes not all items on the menu are available. But the friendly atmosphere and traditional food keep bringing people back.

What to order: Bistec a la Mexicana with chopped onions and peppers is a hefty platter served with rice and beans. Flautas are served golden brown and crisp, and the weekend menudo is worth a special visit.

a plate of food on a table

New Jersey: El Pueblo Taqueria

North Cape May What people say: Bright and cheery but small, El Pueblo Taqueria serves traditional Mexican food but with some modern flair. You can watch your order being made in the corner kitchen where you order, and customers say the employees are friendly and eager to please.

What to order: Tacos are served on handmade corn tortillas and served four to an order with radish and grilled spring onion. Try them filled with campechanos, a mix of steak, chorizo and chicharrónes. Try a rice bowl loaded with toppings like guajillo crema and grilled corn, which is especially good with the chunky, crispy carnitas.

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New Mexico: Perea’s New Mexican Restaurant

Albuquerque What people say: New Mexico has their own regional Mexican-derived dishes, including the famous red and green chile. Perea’s has both in abundance, in a no-frills diner atmosphere that serves only breakfast and lunch. It’s been open and family operated since 1981.

What to order: For breakfast, huevos rancheros on a thick flour tortilla smothered in red or green chile is a must. For lunch, get a freshly fried sopapilla stuffed with beef and beans and covered in chile, or a plate of rich, dark red carne adovada pork.

a plate of food on a table

New York: Taqueria Los Mayas

Cheektowaga What people say: From the outside, Taqueria Los Mayas isn’t much to look at, customers say, but its small interior dining room and bar is festively decorated and lively. It’s a full service sit down spot with a large menu of all the usual favorites, plus a salsa bar with unique items like a cactus pico de gallo.

What to order: Tortillas are handmade, so tacos al pastor or pescado with grilled tilapia are a good bet. The choriqueso cheese dip is creamy and spicy, and the parrillada, a sizzling platter of mixed meats and sides serves two people. Wash everything down with a frozen mango margarita.

a plastic container filled with food

North Carolina: Taqueria Las Ahumaderas

Rodanthe What people say: Located on the Outer Banks, Taqueria Las Ahumaderas is a taco truck that’s parked right on Pamlico Sound, so you get an amazing view of the water as you eat. It’s right on the main road, but reviewers warn that it’s easy to miss, so pay attention.

What to order: Steak nachos with black beans and all the fixings are big enough to share for two people. For something smaller, get a pellizcada, a thick corn cake topped with cheese, cilantro, onions and proteins like shrimp or barbacoa.

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North Dakota: El Paricutin

Dickinson What people say: El Paricutin is part restaurant and part Mexican goods and grocery store. You can buy everything from fresh meats to pinatas, and have a margarita and tacos while you’re doing it. Bright colors and plenty of decorations make it feel homey and energetic.

What to order: The chile relleno-stuffed burritos are huge and a great value at under $10. Speciality tortas are also great here, like the torta Cubana with milanesa, al pastor, ham, egg, beans, avocado and veggies.

a plate of food on a table

Ohio: Los Agavez Taqueria

Columbus What people say: It’s hard to miss Los Agavez Taqueria truck because it’s painted bright orange. It parks in the lot of a liquor and convenience store, and there are a couple picnic tables complete with umbrellas and potted succulents for atmosphere. Many reviewers call this the best taco truck in Columbus, though it remains a hidden gem.

What to order: Tacos al pastor are the specialty, and the bright orange marinated and roasted pork is sliced thinly and topped with pineapple spears. You can try that or thin, fried milanesa in a torta that gets pressed to a crunchy brown before serving.

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Oklahoma: Tacos Don Francisco

Tulsa What people say: The building Tacos Don Francisco is housed in looks big from the outside, but inside is tiny (that’s why there’s a couple tables in the parking lot) and ramshackle. But it’s a “special place” with a “loyal following,” which is why there’s often a line out the door. The menu is simple, with enchiladas and fried tilapia being the most complicated dishes.

What to order: The namesake Don Francisco is a platter of three tacos of your choice with rice and beans, and it’s hard to go wrong with the crispy seared asada or carnitas. Chips and creamy white queso are a customer favorite.

a plate of food

Oregon: Tacos El Gordo

McMinnville What people say: If you’re looking for a quick Mexican spot, skip the Tequila Grill right next door and head to the outdoor kitchen of Tacos El Gordo. It’s set up right on a big, beautiful patio full of picnic tables. Order at one end of the line, then head down the topping and salsa bar to load up your meal. It’s cheap and there’s often a line, but service is fast.

What to order: The menu is small, so stick with someone like tacos chido, a big taco with steak, al pastor or carnitas with pico de gallo and guacamole. Don’t go skimpy on the purple pickled onions from the toppings bar.

a plate of food on a table

Pennsylvania: Aqui Es: A Taste of Mexico

Bethlehem What people say: You can watch your food being prepared downstairs in the kitchen at Aqui Es, but when it’s ready, take it up the little flight of stairs to the small dining room with bright tablecloths covered in vinyl. The menu is simple, but always look for specials that often include seafood like salmon or scallop tacos.

What to order: Chips are homemade and reviewers love the table salsa, though some ask for hot salsa and get an assortment. Both steak and chicken tacos are made with large chunks of meat and come with rave reviews.

a plate of food on a table

Rhode Island: Tacontento

Pawtucket What people say: Tacontento is a strip mall spot with a faded picture board menu and mismatched decorations, but it’s the food that keeps everyone coming back. Despite having a small menu, there are some harder-to-find items on it, plus the usual classics like tacos and burritos.

What to order: Enchiladas here are prepared with folded tortillas that are lightly fried and then covered in salsa for a unique texture. Also consider the pambazo, a torta filled with meat and cheese, then dipped in red chile salsa for a messy, delicious meal.

a plate of food with rice and vegetables in a cup

South Carolina: Taqueria Guiri Guiri

Anderson What people say: The exterior of Taqueria Guiri Guiri doesn’t inspire much confidence with its name spray painted on the side of the building, but the interior is cozy with orange walls. A little attached and covered patio makes a nice addition for al fresco dining. It’s a little hard to find, “but that doesn’t matter once you have had what they offer inside!”

What to order: The meat choices here are long and varied, including three types of chicken, cochinita, and tripa. Try any of them in the burrito Guiri Guiri, which is wrapped in slices of bacon. Flautas ahogadas (similar to taquitos) smothered in salsa verde are top notch as well.

a sandwich sitting on top of a plastic container filled with food

South Dakota: Tortilleria Hernandez

Sioux Falls What people say: If great Mexican food is your goal, then it’s never a bad idea to head to a tortilla maker. At Tortilleria Hernandez, they make tortillas by the bag, and they also serve a tiny menu of classics you can sit and eat right next to the pallets of Maseca (masa flour) and other supplies. Diners also note that it’s a cash-only operation.

What to order: What’s available can vary from day to day, so check the handwritten whiteboard sign. You can always get really great tacos, of course, with steak, chicken or pork. Turpidos, or sub-like sandwiches with meat and veggies, are huge and filling. Whatever you get, add a liberal dose of squeeze bottle salsa.

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Tennessee: El Loco Taco Taqueria

Kingsport What people say: There isn’t much to look at in the lime green-painted El Loco Taco — except the food, of course. The strip mall restaurant offers a pretty robust menu, with everything from shrimp cocktail to chimichangas. The service is outstanding, so there’s a lot of repeat business and regular customers.

What to order: Check out the big specials chalkboard above the counter for the day’s best offerings, including pollo rojo with chicken covered in grilled onions, pico de gallo, and queso over rice. The chorizo is especially good here, so try it on top of huaraches.

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Texas: Taquitos West Avenue

San Antonio What people say: Taquitos West Avenue is really just one expansive outdoor kitchen, with a large, covered eating area to match. People form huge lines at all times of the day for their tacos, so they’re doing something very right.

What to order: Tacos de trompo made with marinated pork and sliced off a vertical spit, are what they’re known for, and you’ll be faced with the rotisserie right next to the cashier to tempt you. If you prefer beef, get suadero, a thin cut that hangs from the breastbone. Make sure you order grilled onions and radishes on the side, and use salsa from the self-serve containers you normally see holding maple syrup.

a plate of food with a slice of pizza

Utah: Street Tacos Don Joaquin

Provo What people say: Customers love Street Tacos Don Joaquin so much because it’s fast, cheap and delicious. The storefront restaurant is about as plain as they come, but it’s comfortable, and you can watch the cooks working the griddle.

What to order: Tacos gringas are the standout here, where they top any taco you like with a disc of caramelized, crispy-around-the-edges white cheese. Hit the salsa bar for some habanero pineapple salsa to heat it up.

a tray of food on a table

Vermont: Taco Gordo

Burlington What people say: Taco Gordo started life as a taco cart, but was so popular it moved into a permanent home. It’s a bare-bones, warehouse-like space with a tiny menu of snacks, tacos, and sides (the cocktail menu is longer, though). Everything is made fresh, including the corn tortillas.

What to order: The al pastor tacos sell out every night, so it’s a popular choice if they have it. If not, pork belly and chunky carnitas are recommended by reviewers. Jicama slaw is a refreshing side.

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Virginia: Taqueria El Paso

Christiansburg What people say: A couple years ago, Taqueria El Paso made the jump from an outdoor cart in a grocery store parking lot to a counter inside the store. Now customers can sit and eat “the best authentic tacos ever for a great price” at folding tables and chairs out of the weather.

What to order: The menu is short and sweet, so go with tongue or chicken tacos, which are topped with finely chopped pico de gallo. Customers also praise the torta especial filled with three kinds of meat.

a plate of food on a table

Washington: Taqueria Fiesta Brava

Spokane What people say: Taqueria Fiesta Brava is known locally for serving the best Mexican food in the area. The atmosphere is described as cozy, and the prices are reasonable.

What to order: Fans rave about their cane asada as well as their burritos.

a box filled with different types of food

West Virginia: Taqueria Lou Lou

Clarksburg What people say: The dining room at Taqueria Lou Lou looks like it’s been a few other types of restaurants in the past, and feels cave-like despite the cheery colors. Regardless, customers often feel “weirdly at home and happy just from walking in the door,” which is pretty high praise.

What to order: The sopes are popular and piled high with your choice of meat. For a specialty plate, try the chori camaron, shrimp sauteed with chorizo and topped with melted cheese.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table

Wisconsin: La Rosita

Monona What people say: La Rosita is a grocery store and taqueria — don’t mistakenly go to the buffet restaurant of the same name next door. You’ll get fresh, amazing food here, and you’ll eat it at booths set up amongst the aisles. You’ll also get quick service, customers say.

What to order: The carnitas are the big draw, covered in sticky pork fat and with just enough crispy fried bits. Get it in a huge burrito, or let the pork shine inside a taco. The creamy, slightly chunky salsa verde is great for cutting through the pork fat. If you’d rather get carnitas by the pound to take home, they do that too.

a bowl of food on a plate

Wyoming: Taqueria El Vaquero

Alpine What people say: Taqueria El Vaquero, aka the Taco Bus, is a full size school bus that’s been converted into a restaurant on wheels. Walk in to order, and you can even sit at one of the bar-like benches and eat, which is a really important feature come winter.

What to order: Get a plate of enchiladas in either pork with verde sauce, or Puerto Vallarta style with a creamy orange parmesan sauce. The taco Tuesday special should also not be missed: three tacos with rice and beans for under $10.

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