1. Latin American Aroma Cocina, Nevada, Henderson
Carnitas, fried avocado, and chicken tinga tacos at the top; pork belly taco in the bottom right; Chef Steve Kestler in the bottom left. This minuscule taqueria in the Las Vegas area has risen to the top of the map with only three tacos. Chef and co-owner Steve Kestler’s establishment has amassed hundreds of 5-star Yelp ratings and ascended to the top spot for taco enthusiasts in the United States in just 18 months. He insists, “We are not your average taco shop.” “If it is possible to prepare my taco at home, it will not be included on the menu.”
The Pork Belly Taco, Aroma’s best-selling item, exemplifies the reason why the taqueria receives such high marks from both local residents and tourists. Steve explains that more than thirty hours are required to refine the pork belly. Following a 24-hour marinade in a 15-ingredient mixture containing citrus and lime, the meat is slow-braised over low heat for an additional 8 hours. “It is a labor of affection,” he declares.
The identical level of care and attention is devoted to Aroma’s Fried Avocado and Carne Asada tacos. Carne asada is prepared utilizing Brazilian picanha, a savory beef portion sourced from the posterior portion of the animal. It is seared to a medium-rare doneness, sliced, and garnished with lime juice and Maldon sea salt before being tucked into a tortilla alongside guacamole and fresco queso. What was the result? “Extraterrestrial in flavor” describes this burrito.
Aroma’s success is also dependent on other premium ingredients, including creamy Mexican avocados utilized in the “perfectly cooked” Fried Avocado Taco. “At first, our [price points] were difficult for individuals to comprehend,” Steve explains of Aroma’s tamales, which can cost up to $7 each. What now? “They obtain it after consuming one taco.” They have an understanding of our actions.”
Steve has had a long-standing aspiration to operate his own restaurant specializing in cuisine originating from his native Guatemala. His initial concept was Mesoamerican, incorporating Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine. He states, “Historically, there were no borders between nations.” Presently, he is creating fusion dishes that incorporate components from Argentina, Peru, and other regions of Latin America. “That is my identity. “For four decades, I have been consuming this cuisine as a Hispanic,” Steve asserts. “It circulates within my veins.”
Pork Belly Tacos, which feature a crusty exterior crust and a “exploding with flavor” interior, are Aroma’s most popular items. A fan-favorite off-menu item is the Chicken Tinga Taco, which consists of queso-filled tortillas that have been melted, chicken tinga, pico de gallo, and salsa verde inside. By request, weekend breakfast tacos are available with refried beans and scrambled eggs in place of the beef. Patrons partake in the Pastel de Queso, a deconstructed cheesecake that draws inspiration from Latin American delicacies. This dessert consists of a soft scoop of cheesecake encircled by candied pumpkin seeds, fried plantains, guava sauce, and crumbled champurradas (Guatemalan cookies).
Yelpers express: “I would award one hundred stars if I could. Upon encountering this establishment while viewing a social media video titled “Best pork belly tacos in Las Vegas,” the claim was not made. A sizable, impeccably prepared portion of belly, accompanied by warm maize tortillas and a bed of fresh pico and guacamole. Analogous to the asada sandwiches! An ideal medium-rare cut, with each taco requiring approximately 4 ounces. The Pastel de Queso, which consisted of guava and deconstructed cheesecake, served as the apex of an exceptionally magnificent meal. I will without a doubt return and cannot highly recommend this incredible restaurant.” Crystal K. C.
2. Little Tijuana Birrieria, Riverside, California
Although the birria craze may have reached its zenith only recently, this strip-mall beauty is no fleeting fad. Birrieria has risen from #20 on our list of the Top 100 Taco Spots 2022 to #2 this year. Local Yelpers proclaim Little Tijuana to have “the most delicious” birria tacos. The birria, which is stuffed with guajillo chiles, is presented in a variety of ways: torta or sandwich, ramen, heaped on top of nachos, fries, or pizza, and taco, of course. The fall-apart beef, which was described as “soft and tender,” has received hundreds of five-star ratings.
Although this modest mom-and-pop shop features only a few tables and wall-mounted televisions, “outstanding” service and staff assistance in navigating the birria voyage are lauded by all reviewers. Acquire the Combo Birria to transform your taco into a complete meal, accompanied by “ridiculously good” refried beans and Mexican rice; finish with a “absolutely delicious” Jamaica (hibiscus tea).
Classic birria tacos garnished with chopped onion, salsa, and cilantro are the house specialties, but don’t overlook the crispy, cheesy, meaty quesabirria, which is a hybrid of a taco and a quesadilla. Two maize tortillas are stuffed with birria and melted cheese in a generous portion. For dipping, both tacos should be accompanied by a side of “piping hot and so good” consomé.
“I tried birria for the very first time, and this establishment did not let me down!” Three birria tacos, one quesabirria, a small consomé, and birria potatoes were on our order. Every item was served steaming and fresh. I regret not having placed an order for three of the quesabirria. I delighted in the amalgamation of the tortilla, which was just barely crisp, the melted cheese, and the ample serving of birria. Everything contained an excessive amount of meat; even the consomé contained birria pieces at the bottom. “Everything was incredibly tasty.” Respected Yelp Elite Grace T.
3. Fish tacos from Deckhand
Travel north if you have a craving for ultra-fresh fish tacos. This downtown Juneau taco truck serves “some of the best fish tacos” in the country, comprised of sustainably caught Alaskan seafood of the highest quality. Select from “nice and flaky” charred rockfish, beer-battered halibut that is “juicy on the inside, light and crispy on the outside,” and “must-try” fried salmon,” all of which are accompanied by fresh pico de gallo, house-made avocado crema, and pickled cabbage on corn tortillas. “Three fish, prepared in three distinct ways,” proprietor Dave McCasland describes his taco showcase. Dave prepares every dish from the ground up, including his revered halibut batter, which he attributes to its popularity, after purchasing freshly captured fish (occasionally directly from his fishing companions). “It must be frequently made fresh and stored cold to prevent it from going flat,” he advises.
Dave, a self-taught chef who honed his culinary skills while working as a commercial fisherman, sold all of his possessions in 2016 in order to purchase his food van. He converted it into the focal point of Alaska’s inaugural food-truck park three years later. Patrons place their orders through the narrow blue window and, when the weather permits, select an outdoor table to take in the picturesque ambiance. Humidity and precipitation do not impede the amount of space available beneath heated shelters.
The Taco Trio sampler, comprising one of Dave’s “lightly battered, moist, and non-greasy” tacos, is an ideal selection for visitors who are undecided or extremely hungry. Additionally, be on the lookout for his blackened shrimp tacos with seared corn salsa, which will be added to the menu as soon as he locates fresh shrimp.
“Believers assert that there is no way to go wrong here!” The 3-fish sampler tacos comprised a crusted salmon taco, a beer-battered halibut taco, and a blackened rockfish taco. The entire spread was crisp and fresh, and the salmon was to die for. Since our last meal, these tacos have been in my dreams. Moreover, their tartar sauce is without a doubt the finest I’ve ever tasted. Siobhan A. Yelp Elite Stateside.
4. Granny’s Tacos, located in Austin, Texas
Considered to be the most popular taco establishment in Austin, this pink-and-white truck that serves homestyle Mexican cuisine is featured twice on Yelp’s list of the best tacos. Granny’s, which was founded in 2016 by Guanajuato native Maria Rios Vega from a refurbished ambulance by her son (and current proprietor) Rey Hernandez, has amassed an ardent fan base ever since. “This is not street food,” explains Rey. “Comida de casa” translates to “home-cooked.” The unknown? The majority of their tacos are stuffed with traditional Mexican fare, such as chicken in mole sauce, picadillo (a flavored beef and potato stew), and migas (crispy tortilla strips with eggs), which are based on recipes passed down through at least three generations of women in Rey’s family. Yelp Elite Avi R. declares them “without a doubt the finest tacos I have ever had” due to their intricate flavor.
Granny’s is renowned for its breakfast tacos, including the Chilaquil, which is an original creation of Maria and consists of crispy tortilla chips coated in sweet guajillo salsa, tomatillo verde salsa, or earthy mole, over which poached eggs are atop. The Campechano Taco, a lunchtime staple, combines succulent carne asada and chorizo (comprising a minimum of 30 ingredients, including an assortment of spices). On weekends, arrive early; the store becomes extremely crowded and frequently runs out of popular items.
Pleasing fare: The Abuela taco, which bears the name of Rey’s grandmother, is the truck’s rendition of birria; pork butt is substituted for beef at Grannys’. It is marinated in chiles negro and blanco, giving it a darker appearance and a slightly milder, spicy flavor than traditional birria. “During my time in Austin, this taco was without a doubt the tastiest option I encountered. “Each bite was bursting with flavor,” remarked Yelp Elite Edward W.
“This establishment frequently runs out of meat for a reason: it’s that good!” Yelpers exclaim. Due to a beef shortage, my significant other and I dined on a Saturday afternoon at this establishment. We ordered a Chilaquil Taco and a marinated pork taco. Although there was a brief delay for the tacos, it was well worth the wait! The tacos were extraordinarily tasty and flavorful. “Absolutely the finest tacos we’ve ever had in Austin!” Jasmine Z., a member of the Help Elite…
5. Gourmet Tacos, located in Los Angeles, California
Frogtowns Gourmet Tacos, which offers “the best” shrimp tacos according to local Yelpers, has risen from position 35 in 2022 to the top five this year. In 2017, chef-owner Javier Muñoz commenced the sale of his distinctive tacos from his front yard situated in “Frogtown,” a residential area tucked along the Los Angeles River in which he spent his childhood. Javier began operating a pop-up at local markets and events after his lawn grew too small, prior to launching his mobile purple food truck. Presently, his clientele diligently monitors his social media profiles in order to ascertain his daily setup locations, which are frequently local establishments such as the Frogtown Brewery, Paperback Brewing, and others.
In addition to his well-liked Shrimp Tacos, he also serves asada, al pastor, poultry, and vegetables. Each is accompanied by Monterey Jack cheese, housemade pico de gallo, robust guacamole, and chipotle aioli. Additionally, “amazingly thick,” tender, and moist maize tortillas that are hand-pressed daily and cooked at a specific temperature are lauded by customers. Javier asserts that they are crucial to the success of the seafood tacos.
Favorite dishes: Yelpers adore the Shrimp Tacos, which are grilled to a smoky char and marinated in a secret garlic and pepper marinade; they are described as “stuffed with shrimp and bursting with flavor.” Fans also proclaim that the Al Pastor Taco, which consists of caramelized pineapple and sweet, tangy pork with a charred crust, is “extremely tasty.”
Yelpers exclaim: “Absolutely incredible! Their shrimp tamales provided me with a transcendent experience. The shrimp was exceptionally succulent, and their tortillas are to die for. Strongly recommended! They are deserving of the attention. —Wetter, Isabella W.
Discover additional delectable tacos in Los Angeles.
6. Latin Cuisine Xalisco, Redmond, Oregon
Mezcal-flambéed shrimp that have been sprinkled with bacon and pineapple. Fried colossal octopus drizzled with aioli made with chipotle. “Delicious and tender pork carnitas.” These are only a few of the specialty tacos served at Xalisco Latin Cuisine in central Oregon. “People do not anticipate encountering our type of [high-end] cuisine here,” says Lupe Medina, who along with her siblings Angeles and Evaristo opened the restaurant in 2021. (Other relatives operate the Carnaval Mexican Grill adjacent.) Lupe observes, “Neither San Francisco nor New York City are comparable to us.” Yelpers describe them as a “hidden gem” that possesses “wonderful flavors.
This is primarily due to the efforts of chief chef Angel Buenrostro Medina, the son of Angeles, who refined his culinary skills in Guadalajara and is responsible for the extensive menu—which features an inventive selection of tacos that consistently entice patrons to return. “Angel strives for flawlessness. “We desire the food to have a homemade flavor while also featuring refined flavors and presentation,” Lupe explains. “Vegetarian, seafood, and meat options; something for every palate and individual.”
The star of the show are the Tacos Kraken, which consist of fried and marinated octopus tentacles atop three hand-rolled tortillas with avocado, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and a spiral of peppery aioli. Spicy peanut sauce drizzled over “incredible” fried halibut completes the trifecta of well-liked seafood tacos. Vegan Street Tacos, which are “moist and flavorful” and comprise cactus, mushroom, or both ingredients and are garnished with homemade salsa, are also popular. “Many establishments either fail to season the mushrooms adequately or dice them to an unnoticeable degree,” advises Francisco C. Yelp Elite. “These vegan tacos were exceptionally tasty.”
“This is among my favorite restaurants in all of Redmond, Oregon,” say Yelpers. Octopus tacos, a delicacy I have never before encountered at a Mexican restaurant, are my favorite dish. Outstanding service is provided. This is the primary establishment I suggest visiting whenever an acquaintance arrives in town.”