Need help navigating Mexico City’s taco scene? Culinary Backstreets has you covered. Known for our intimate food tours and engaging reads, our local guides have handpicked the absolute best tacos in town. To make the most of every bite.Less
This brick-and-mortar taquería in the Zona Rosa has quietly used the same recipes to great acclaim for almost 110 years. Even President Porfirio Díaz dined here over a century ago. While the menu features Mexican classics, we go straight to the tacos. Our favorite might be the rajas con queso (poblano peppers with cheese). The guisados, stewed meats and veggies, are highlights, too. Think tinga de pollo (chicken in tomato sauce), chicharron in green sauce, and spicy and sweet red mole.
A car repair shop by day and a taquería by night. The draw here is al pastor. The spit-roasted pork and pineapple is some of Mexico City’s best. The chef masterfully slices succulent fruit and pork into corn tortillas. You add the fixins’ from there – we like the green chili salsa, diced onion and cilantro. The gringa has the same pork with melted cheese on a flour tortilla. Customers can fuel up at the stool-lined counter or tables. Many spill onto the sidewalk to eat standing up.
Pilar and Jorge’s first foray in selling tacos was via a bike cart outfitted with a meat smoker they’d cart around music festivals. You can feel this history at Tize Tacomotora’s Del Valle location, where the neo-industrial decor makes this mouthwatering taco spot seem more like an underground club. Here, the slow-smoked brisket, fatty pork belly and barbecue ribs all melt in your mouth, their intensity balanced with fresh ingredients. All headbanger worthy.
At Expendio de Maiz, “the corn stand,” Jesús Tornes is all about preserving nixtamalization – an ancient and important method of processing corn birthed by Mesoamerica. Freshly made dough from blue (prieto) and yellow (cremoso) Guerrero is sold to restaurants across the city, and what they save for themselves is converted into an endless variety of open-faced tacos served at family-style tables steps from the kitchen. Every day changes, but we are bigs fans of the hoja santa and Guerrero cheese.
At “The Prof” in Mercado Jamaica, almost obscene-looking piles of uncooked meat are stacked along the counter behind a clear glass panel. In business for half a century, former teacher Sergio Blanco serves up tacos of barbacoa – pit-roasted mutton with diced onion and cilantro. The meat is wrapped in maguey leaves and slow-cooked for hours in its own fat and juices, eliminating any gamey flavor. While the barbacoa can’t be beat, the tacos de suadero, a Mexican beef brisket, are also a must-try.
Red chorizo is common in Mexico City, but our favorite green chorizo taco is harder to find. Every day except Tuesdays, Juventino and his staff make the trip to CDMX from Toluca – famous for its chorizos – to set up shop at Las Más Altas Montañas inside Jamaica Market. Always pork, the chorizo color comes from the cilantro, green peppers and pumpkin seeds used in its preparation. But the pine nuts, peanuts and almonds are what give this sausage its unique taste and satisfying crunch.
There’s no need to find a table at Taquería Los Parados. Shuffle in (we come for the 2-for-1 tacos al pastor on Monday), wait your turn and dive into your taco. A variant of the shawarma that was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, al pastor is an essential taco of seasoned pork cooked on a vertical spit. But there are many more tacos to choose from. Here, the lack of chairs, quality food and Spartan décor reflect the utilitarianism of the taco – meat plus tortilla, no fuss.