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Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, or just having a festive brunch with friends, tacos are always a hit. Eating one—or two, or three—filled with delicious pork tenderloin or braised chicken tinga, while sipping on a frozen margarita, is the perfect way to enjoy a day in Greater Boston.
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We asked readers for their favorite places to get a taco in Greater Boston, and we heard nearly 500 readers respond. In an overwhelming vote, 54% of readers recommended Yellow Door Taqueria, which has locations in Lower Mills, Mission Hill, and the South End. The local taqueria has long been a favorite with readers, making our 2019 list of favorite taco spots. A classic that readers enjoy is the alberia taco, often made with beef stew, grilled, and served with a dipping gravy. We spoke to co-owner Colin Hagerty, who told us about the inspiration behind Yellow Door’s tacos.
“We’re taking traditional Mexican street food and giving it a New England twist,” said Haggerty. Many restaurants will serve fried fish tacos with pico de gallo and slaw or lettuce, but Hagerty explained, “We have butternut squash puree, which is very New England. It’s not your typical Tex-Mex or Mexican food.”
Below, find a complete, reader-recommended guide to the best taco restaurants across Greater Boston. We’ve listed our top five picks and included a full list of recommended readers below, along with a map so you can find a location near you.
a 🏆 Means this place was among the top five in 2023 and 2019.
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Although Waltham’s is small, don’t be mistaken: the tacos are great. The place was recently named one of the best Yelp restaurants in America, and it’s not hard to see why. You’ll be able to enjoy a variety of different tacos here, from al pastor made with pork and chili peppers, to lengua, or tongue, and carne asada filled with steak. They’re all served with onions and cilantro, and they make mini tacos for the kids, too. Complete your meal with a strawberry milkshake, jarritos soda, or better yet, horchata. Reader Brian of Jamaica Plain said, “Everything is delicious—the most authentic taco place in the area, and none come close.” Taqueria El Amigo received 2% of the vote.
196 Willow Street, Waltham
Located in the heart of Kendall Square, Mex Taqueria and Bar is a happening place. The restaurant features three levels including a dining room, lounge, terrace, tequila bar, and rooftop deck, making it the perfect place to bring your friends. But what about tacos? Served on yellow corn tortillas, they come in a variety of creative flavors like Japanese eggplant, served with burning tomato salsa and crispy shallots. Or you might want to dip into the baja, which is made with golden bay shrimp, avocado, sriracha aioli, and mango chutney. Reader Christine G of New Hampshire said, “All of their tacos are delicious, and I especially love their lamb barbacoa! In one word—it’s amazing! The meat is so tender and juicy, and the preparation is always done.”
500 Technology Square, Cambridge
When you visit the Time Out Market in Fenway, there are many excellent restaurants to stop by, but readers prefer Taqueria El Barrio. They specialize in authentic North Mexican food, specifically from Servio Garcia’s hometown of Sonora. The flour tortillas are homemade, while the corn chips come from Mi Tierra. When you want a taco, where do we begin? The tacos are filled with fried mahi-mahi fish, pico de gallo, chipotle mayonnaise, and cabbage. Meanwhile, vegetarian chorizo will satisfy non-meat eaters with toppings of taqueria salsa and guacamole. Reader Melvin T. of Framingham said, “I love the fish tacos, (the) biría quesadillas, and the carne asada nachos. Also, the service is really good!” Taqueria El Barrio captured 3% of the vote.
Time Out Market, Landmark Center, 401 Park Dr., Boston
With nine different locations in the Greater Boston area, Chilacates appears to have something of an empire within the city’s taco scene, with 21% of the vote. Fresh tacos made with our handmade corn tortilla and served with a choice of grilled chicken, green chile pork, papas con chorizo, lingua, vegetables, and more. Try the reader-recommended carnitas tacos or the al qusour platter, which is grilled pork tenderloin thinly sliced and marinated in annatto and pineapple.
If you opt for the Chicken Tenga Taco, it will arrive with chicken nuggets and onions cooked in a spicy chipotle sauce. Founder Socrates Abreu told us what inspires our tacos, which are made with time and care.
“It all started on my first trip to Mexico. I used to eat ana hats and things like that. Then I went to Mexico for my brother’s wedding, and I realized I (was) eating very American Mexican food,” Abreu said. “I was like, Oh my God, these flavors are so amazing. Why can’t we do that in Boston?”
Readers have spoken: Yellow Door Taqueria has some of the most satisfying tacos in the area. With its newest location in Mission Hill opening last fall, the restaurants feature vintage design in a “beautifully distressed” setting. And the taco menu is worth celebrating, too. You’ll find things like chili duck, topped with vanilla purée, pickled red onions, cream, and plantain threads. The fish frito is another popular option, which comes with local, chile-cured and battered fish and Calabaza puree. Co-owner Colin Hagerty shared how the Perria Tacos, their best seller, are made.
“It’s slow-cooked shredded beef; then we soak it in this incredibly delicious Mexican gravy,” Haggerty said. “We’re going to take a mix of chihuahua and cheddar cheese, and put it right on top of the flat top so it’s nice and gooey and chewy. Then we’ll put the piñara meat on top of that. We add some white onion and it’s grilled on our tortilla. Drip tomato broth over the tacos as they cook. Then we crunch them. And we serve it with a side of tomato gravy.”
Lizzy L. of Dorchester told us what she loves most about Yellow Door, saying, “Birria tacos are incredibly cheesy in the best way, and the sauce we dip them in is perfect! Their toast is unparalleled. Their queso is delicious and addictive. The tequila selection is (top) top notch.” And the margaritas are the best. Not to mention the great service every time.”
If you’re looking for something to drink while enjoying a round of tacos, consider sipping Waking Up in Tijuana, where the Yellow Door has an espresso martini. You can’t go wrong with the many flavors of margaritas, from passion fruit to raspberry, mint, coconut, watermelon, and basil.
Villa Mexico Cafe: In the Financial District, this darling venue, run by Jolie King, is a gem. The tacos are served in tortillas stuffed with meat, then topped with cheese, cilantro, and onions, with a side of salsa. 121 Water Street, Boston
Readers say: Their black salsa is iconic. –Samantha, Boston
El Pelon Taqueria: Visit El Pelón in Fenway or Brighton, and settle for a grilled chicken taco, served with cucumbers, pickled cabbage, fire-roasted salsa, and more. Lemonade and Jarritos sodas complete the meal perfectly. multiple sites
Readers say: “Pescado and Caramellos tacos are out of this world!” –Rob, Needham
Akilito Taqueria: This Mexican chain offers a wide variety of taco options: try the spicy steak, grilled cod, fried shrimp, or the vegan Impossible. They also offer a menu of build your own burritos. multiple sites
Readers say: “Achilleto Taqueria (has) the best burritos and tacos, the staff is super friendly, and (they have) the best customer service.” –Omar M, Hyde Park
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