6 Best Tacos in Mexico City: Ultimate Self-Guided Taco Tour 

by | Last updated May 3, 2024 | Best Food Mexico, Mexico

If you have one week in Mexico and need to make your bites count, this self-guided taco tour is for you! My husband and I worked out every day for months before our Mexico City vacation because we knew we wanted to eat ALL the tacos. We assembled our list based on the best taco in each category and set out to knock out a killer foodie Mexico City itinerary. Here’s our ultimate taco tour + map to help you plan your foodie trip.

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Map of Mexico City Taco Tour Stops

01- Tacos Don Juan

Omakase Taco Bar Experience

Quesabirria taco at Tacos Don Juan

BEST QUESABIRRIA TACO

Tacos Don Juan Location: C. Atlixco 42, Condesa

If you can only do one taquería, Tacos Don Juan is it! We loved it SO much, we went back MULTIPLE times.

What taco to order? The quesabirria!

I didn’t think I would like goat, but the meat is so tender and moist, and they sandwich it between ooey-gooey melted cheese. It’s then made crispy on the sides with a little heat, kinda like a grilled cheese but way more delicious.

They only serve it on Saturday and Sunday. Go at opening time because when they are gone, they are gone.

Forget planning your Mexico City vacation around Pujol. Plan it around the Quesabirria Experience!

Yes, I said it.

Now they have other delicious tacos like carnitas (only on Fridays!) and suadero (which are all delicious too), but the one to get is the quesabirria. Order 1 if you are doing more stops, 2 if that’s your only stop, and 3 if you are SUPER hungry. Expect good portions packed with meat. No skimping here.    

Order it with a side of consume. We forgot, but I heard that takes it to a whole other level if that’s even possible.

Do not forget to spoon out some homemade salsas on your plate (located inside), which is essential to the taco experience.

By the way, I strongly recommend learning how to make homemade salsa with Arturo (along with tamales). It’s surprisingly easy, and something you will actually make back home. Once you’ve had FRESH salsa made from scratch, the store bought version is going to taste horrible.

There are a few outdoor tables to enjoy this amazingness. We lucked out and got a seat both times we visited, but you may be standing eating over a plate or at a small counter if it’s really busy. People normally do not linger for too long. Enjoy and move on.

No bathrooms so plan accordingly or hold on the cervezas.

Oh, and the staff is very friendly!

02- El Pescadito

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Que-Sotote taco at El Pescadito 

BEST SEAFOOD TACO

El Pescadito Location: C. Atlixco 38, Condesa

Next up on the list is El Pescadito.

Make the long 1-minute walk across the street from Tacos Don Juan, and cross off two taco shops right away on your foodie tour.

El Pescadito is a super-friendly taco shop known for its delicious seafood tacos like fish and shrimp.

When we arrived, I quickly browsed the menu (which they kindly offered in English). My eye was quickly drawn to the “Que-Sotote” because out of all the tacos offerings this particular taco had the menu description “It’s so YUM.”

Alright, I was sold and had high expectations. All tacos are made to order and freshly fried right in front of you.

This MASSIVE taco was constructed with a cheese stuffed pepper and shrimp and was worth every bite! Order only one unless you want leftovers.

Remember, don’t forget to stop by the toppings bar in the middle which offers up all kinds of great condiments like coleslaw, pickled red onion, and of course lots of salsas.

There’s plenty of (clean!) seating indoors for a more relaxed experience while you savor those bites. Order at the register and the very sweet staff will deliver your tacos to the table.

03- El Hidalguense

Best barbacoa tacos at El Hidalguense in Roma Sur Mexico City

Barbacoa taco at El Hidalguense 

BEST BARBACOA TACO

El Hidalguense Location: Campeche 155, Roma Sur

The next taco on my list is another taco worth planning a vacation around.

Let me introduce you to one of the best tacos in Mexico City … barbacoa!

This slow-roasted ultra-flavorful lamb will taste like butter in your mouth. Barbacoa is a style of cooking that involves slow-cooking the meat for around 12 hours in a pit in the ground. In the Hidalgo state of Mexico, they wrap the meat with agave leaves to keep the meat super tender and moist.

The best barbacoa tacos in Mexico City are served up by a husband and wife team, Moises and Norma Rodriguez. For the past several decades, the couple has traveled 2 hours (yes, 2 hours!) from the Mexican state of Hidalgo to Mexico City every weekend to serve up this deliciousness.

Enjoy this mouthwatering meat on a fresh handmade tortilla and topped with delicious salsa made from scratch.

El Hidalguense is a family-run restaurant spread out on two floors. It’s only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so make sure you plan it right to avoid disappointment.

We dined here around 3 pm on a Saturday, which meant less crowds since we were in between the lunch and dinner rush. Ask to sit on the second floor overlooking the street.

Of course, the star of the show is the barbacoa, but make sure to also try their grill-roasted cheese. We got the delicious Queso Asado de la Milpa. This cheesy deliciousness is made with cheese macerated in poblano chili, topped with corn, and served on a handmade blue tortilla.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Queso Asado de la Milpa at El Hidalguense

Don’t forget the pulque! I enjoyed washing all this amazingness down with pulque curado, which is a Mexican specialty drink made with pulque and fruit and has an interesting texture.

Oh, and the staff was the sweetest! Very friendly service that truly made us feel welcome.

04- Tizne Tacomotora

Image

Kalbi Asada taco at Tizne Tacomotora

BEST GOURMET TACO 

Tizne Tacomotora Location: Guanajuato 27-B, Roma Norte

Our next recommended taco shop is not as well known but should be!

Tizne Tacomotora (meaning the “taco motor”) is known for its mouthwatering smoked-meat tacos.

Cool backstory. Partners Pilar Canseco and Jorge Vaca met at culinary school and decided to try out their concept of a gourmet smoked meat taco at music festivals. Their initial mobile taco stand was a bike cart that was actually outfitted with a meat smoker!

Their tacos were such a huge hit they decided to open a physical restaurant.

One thing I LOVE about this taco shop (besides the delicious smoked meat) is how they blend both Mexican and other international influences into their taco.

For example, one of our tacos was the Kalbi Asada, which was made with brisket marinated in miso, garlic, and sesame oil and topped with fresh chives and pickled ginger. Yum!

Although we did not try one, supposedly they also make a killer ice cream taco made with a baked flour tortilla with sugar and cinnamon, ice cream, toasted marshmallows, and homemade caramel sauce.

They have an English menu, and the staff is super sweet.

05- Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Chicharron basket taco at Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales

BEST BASKET TACO 

Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales Location: Av Francisco I. Madero 71, Centro Histórico

A less well-known taco to tourists is the Tacos de Canasta aka the “basket” or “sweaty” taco.

To make this corn tortilla taco, you must have, yes you guessed it, a basket or some type of container.

Once the basket is lined with cloth + plastic bag + butcher paper, the tacos are loaded up with all of their yummy fillings and squished in beside each other like new best friends. Lots of layers of onions are added. Hot oil is poured on top.

This arrangement helps to retain heat and gently steam the tacos. Kinda like a taco sauna.

I was a little skeptical about this taco at first. It sounded kinda greasy. Wow, these little sweaty tacos were surprisingly delicious. I love it when a place exceeds my expectations.

The best place to try these basket tacos is Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales in El Centro. Their family recipe has been serving locals and tourists for over four decades.

Supposedly, they sell a whopping 40,000 basket tacos a day! You know they’re good if their business is selling that many!

You have four choices of taco fillings:

  • Chicharron en adobo
  • Chicharron en salsa verde
  • Frijoles refritos (refried beans)
  • Papa (potato)

We loved the chicharron! But I did find out later that refried beans are a local favorite.

Maybe not a first date place because you will be wiping off those juices from your chin. Get those napkins ready because this is far from dainty eating. Luckily, my husband and I have been together for 25 years, lol.

Ordering at this taco shop is a little different than the other taco places.

At the first station, pay for the number of tacos you want plus drinks. You will be given a token. 

At the second station, pass off the token and let them know which tacos you want. Within seconds they are passing off your warm steamy tacos on a plastic-wrapped plate ready to be consumed immediately.

There’s plenty of seating in the back and of course, do not miss the condiment station filled with salsas and pickled vegetables like carrots.

Service is quick and efficient. Remember, they are serving 40,000 a day! So know which tacos you want and avoid being “that person” holding up the line. Think New York and not Georgia mentality.

06- Los Cocuyos

Breakfast Room at Casa Izeba

Suadero taco at Los Cocuyos

BEST SUADERO TACO

Los Cocuyos Location: Simón Bolívar 59, Centro Histórico

Have you heard of a suadero taco?

Me neither, until we went to Mexico City!

We discovered suadero is a delicious cut of meat from the cow’s belly in between the lower flank and the sirloin. It is slowly cooked and marinated in its own pool of fat along with onions, beef tripe, chorizo, and longaniza in a special cooking vessel called a chorizera.

After being cooked confit style until it’s super tender, then it’s chopped up into little pieces and made crispy on the hot dome in the center.

All this delicious beefiness is served in two homemade warmed-up tortillas topped with onions, cilantro, and of course salsa! And yes, two tortillas are needed to hold all this greasy goodness together. Now, you can see why my husband and I worked out for months before this trip!

One of the best taco spots to try it (that is also approved by the late Anthony Bourdain!) is Los Cocuyos in El Centro. And you don’t have to worry about timing … they are open 24/7!

Los Cocuyos has two sections: a taco stand with no seating and an adjacent restaurant.

We chose the taco stand to watch our tacos being made by the Master Taquero. Like any great taco stand, they have a toppings bar (salsa, lime, etc) to load up on your favorite condiments.

The staff was friendly and happy to offer suggestions for your next bite.

8 Taco Tour Tips

Steak and cheese taco at Tacos Don Juan in Mexico City

Bistec y queso (steak and cheese) taco at Tacos Don Juan 

✔️ #1- Travelan

Travelan is your new best travel friend. If you are like me and at least vomit once when you travel to a new country and try new foods, then I’m super excited to introduce you to Travelan.

Pop 1-2 tablets 30 minutes before you stuff that taco into your mouth, and this pill may help PREVENT traveler’s diarrhea.

Does it really work?

Well, all I can say is I took these pills before every taco experience “just in case”, and I can proudly say there were no urgent visits to the bathroom.

I’m all about the data, so here’s the NIH medical study if you’re like “yeah right.”

✔️  #2- Con Todo?

If the taquero asks “Con Todo?” Your answer is “Si.” That means they will top it with onion and cilantro.

✔️  #3- Know What You Want

Research a little ahead of time to know which tacos you may want to try, so the experience is not overwhelming when you’re in a fast-moving line and it’s your turn to order.

✔️ #4- A Little Spanish Helps

Knowing just a little Spanish goes a long way. Culture Trip has a great guide on how to order Mexican food.

✔️ #5- Bring Hand Sanitizer

There’s a lot of eating with your fingers and not always a place to wash up. It’s all about the hand and mouth experience. Bring some travel hand sanitizer!

✔️   #6- Eat at Off Hours

We found one of the best times to arrive was in between the lunch and dinner rush to avoid the massive lines.  

✔️   #7- Follow the Lines!

Long lines of locals = great place and *probably* less likely to get sick.

✔️   #8- Taste the Salsa

Always taste the salsa on the side or on the back of your hand BEFORE you douse your taco. Some are SUPER spicy!

Group Taco Tour vs. DIY Taco Tour

Pulled pork al pastor at Tizne Tacomotora in Mexico City

Pulled pork al pastor at Tizne Tacomotora

Here are some reasons you want to join a taco tour:

→   If you are visiting places a little off the beaten path like El Vilsito (mechanic shop + taco stand), then yes, I think a tour is needed.

→   Another reason is if you want more insider local information on the places you are visiting and perhaps additional recommendations for the rest of your trip.

→   Of course, a tour also takes out the uncomfortable awkwardness when you are in a new country trying to figure out how and what order with the language barrier.

These are all great reasons to join a tour for a stress-free enjoyable foodie experience.

We were going back and forth on doing a tour vs. not doing a tour. My husband and I are huge travel researchers, so we knew where we wanted to visit and felt like we could do it on our own.

If you decide you prefer to join a taco tour, here are the BEST highly-rated taco tours we found:

→   Sabores Mexico Food Tours: A Night of Tacos and Mezcal

→   El Taco Club: Bike to Taste the World’s Best Tacos

→   Night Tacos and Mezcal Crawl With Ricardo

→   Eat Like A Local By: The Taco Mensch

Final Thoughts

I really hope I inspired you to start planning your ultimate taco tour in Mexico City!

Mexico City blew us away. We experienced it all from fine dining at Pujol to the humble street taco with some world-class cocktail bars sprinkled in. Mexico City is the ultimate foodie destination.

P.S. You may have wondered why I didn’t include an al pastor taco. I’m still on the search for the best. I heard Taqueria Orinoco serves up one of the best, but we didn’t have time to try it. Please let me know in the comments below who you think makes the best al pastor taco!

Also, we did try another taco shop called Tacos Hola el Güero. We went there for their “stew tacos” but they had run out. All they had left was queso and nopales (cactus) tacos, which weren’t very good. I hope to try them again when they have their famous stew tacos available. Lesson learned. Order what a place is known for!

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