You loved them in the cafeteria as a kid, in the drive-thru during college, and chances are, you still love them today. Tacos are one of life’s simple pleasures made even better by the fact that they’re cheap, portable and super versatile. But perfecting a recipe isn’t always that easy, which is why many of us opt to go out when taco temptation sets in. So whether you like meat, seafood, or eggs wrapped in your tortilla, here are a few New Orleans restaurants that give us even more reasons to ditch the fork and dig in.
The Best Places to Get Tacos in New Orleans
One of the most popular tacos in New Orleans comes from the Anthony Bourdain approved Taceaux Loceaux food truck. Their “Messin’ With Texas” tacos are piled high with tender, slow-roasted brisket, shredded cabbage, thin-sliced radishes and fresh cilantro. Follow Taceaux Loceaux on Twitter to find out where they’re parked, or hire them to cater private events. Two tacos per order for $7.
Or Try: Rum House on Magazine Street’s popular “Calypso Beef” that features tender slices of seasoned flank steak topped with fresh guacamole and lime cream. One taco per order for $3.25.
One might think that Metairie’s own Big Easy Roasted Corn and Churros on 20th Street only serves, well, roasted corn and churros. Their sign might not say, “We have awesome tacos!”, but that’s exactly what this tiny churreria’s got going on. Beef and chicken are the only options right now but Mexico-born owner Betsy and her husband, Joe, plan to expand the menu soon. I was really impressed with their chicken tacos, which are made by simmering chicken with fresh tomatoes and some vinegar to season and tenderize the meat. The chicken is shredded by hand, spooned onto handmade tortillas blistered from the grill, and topped with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, diced red onion and a spritz of lime. Delicious house salsa made from Mexican chilies is served alongside for those of us who believe hotter is better. Three tacos per order for $5.
Or Try: Sarita’s on Freret Street has a grilled chicken taco that you can “dress” yourself with up to four toppings, including black beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese. One taco per order for $2.25.
The most alternative of New Orleans Mexican restaurants, Juan’s Flying Burrito on Magazine and in Mid-City, likes their music loud and their food even louder. Try the shredded pork tacos with melted jack and cheddar cheese, spicy red cabbage slaw and diced jalapeños in grilled flour tortillas. Three tacos per order for $6.95.
Or Try: El Gato Negro‘s grilled pork tacos, served a la carte for $3.75.
Authenticity meets quick service at Felipe’s in the French Quarter, Uptown and Mid-City, where the cafeteria-style restaurant allows you to create your perfect burrito, taco salad, tostadas or tacos. I like their shrimp tacos, which are served lightly battered and fried inside two soft corn tortillas. The toppings are up to you but Felipe’s recommends them with pickled vegetables, cilantro, diced red onion, and spicy house-made baja sauce. Two tacos per order for $5.75.
Or Try: Baru Bistro has a Columbian-inspired shrimp remoulade taco with avocado, cabbage and red onion. One taco per order for $4.
St. Charles Avenue is now home to Tacos and Beer, which has fish tacos as part of their a la carte menu. These delightful morsels of fish are served either beer-battered or grilled, wrapped in two corn tortillas and topped with red cabbage, chipotle sauce and pico de gallo. Sit on the porch and sip ice-cold Pacifico beer with lime while watching the streetcars pass. Viva NOLA! One taco per order for $2.69.
Or Try: Cowbell on Oak Street’s grilled fish tacos with black beans, rice and cilantro-lime crema. Three tacos plus rice and beans for $14.95.
Meat free? No problem. Taceaux Loceaux’s “All Hat, No Cattle” tacos are prepared the same way as the “Messin’ with Texas,” subbing re-fried black beans for the brisket. But you won’t find any mushy beans served out of this food truck; Taceaux Loceaux manages to cook their beans so that they retain a nice, crispy bite. Two tacos per order for $6.
Or Try: Mizado’s “Verduras” vegetarian/vegan tacos that come with wood-grilled portabella mushrooms, onions, peppers, peppery arugula, carrots, and roasted chilaca chilies. Salsa de almendra y anacardo crema, or almond and cashew crème, is served alongside. Four tacos per order for $13, served family-style with accompaniments.
Make your morning exceptional with breakfast tacos from Pagoda Café on N. Durgenois. Two flour tortillas come loaded with re-fried beans, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and “Villa Arcos” sauce (similar to salsa verde). One taco for $3 or two tacos for $5.
Or Try: Taceaux Loceaux’s “Woke Up In Oaxaca.” A delicious combination of creamy scrambled eggs with house-made chorizo on warm locally sourced corn tortillas topped with crema, salsa picante, fresh cilantro and cotija cheese. Check the truck’s menu for availability and pricing.
You don’t have to be a Mexican restaurant to get in on the taco fun. At Mint Modern Vietnamese restaurant on Freret, they serve steamed bun tacos, or “bacos,” stuffed with delicious char-grilled pork, Sriracha aioli and sprigs of fresh cilantro. Two tacos per order for $6.
Or Try: Ba Chi Canteen on Maple Street’s Coconut Curry Shrimp with basil aioli and sweet potato sticks. One taco per order for $3.25.
All photos by Emily Smith.