Food & Drink

Austin’s 8 Best Under-the-Radar Taco Joints

Taylor Prewitt Published On 08/18/2015 Published On 08/18/2015

In this town it’s hard to throw a tortilla without hitting three great taco spots. It’s what we’re known for. Such ubiquity has led to an equally outrageous number of best-of lists that are compelled by state law to include both Tacodeli and Veracruz All Natural. Well, we think there's more to this town than just Torchy's. These are the top eight taco joints that often don’t make the "Best Of" cut (but definitely deserve to).

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

South Austin
What you're getting: Breakfast taco with brisket

Tacos and BBQ are the two main food groups in Austin, so it only makes sense to serve them as one. Hence the genius of Valentina’s smoked brisket breakfast taco served deep in the heart of South Austin. Shhh -- don’t speak. Just let that soak in for a moment.

Courtesy of Alma's Tacos

Alma’s Tacos

South Austin
What you're getting: Barbacoa de res

Sometimes in this town of gentrified city slickers, you just wanna keep things classic. Enter Alma’s Tacos, purveyor of South Austin’s finest barbacoa, carnitas, and guisada served in traditional corn tortillas made from scratch each morning.

Nasha

Nasha India

East Side
What you're getting: Goat masala tacos

Not only can you get goat masala wrapped in "roti" wheat tortillas, but you can also get goat masala wrapped in "roti" wheat tortillas and topped with guacamole. Take that, Torchy’s. Other fusion options include chicken tandoori, egg burgi, and fish malvani.

Flickr/Ampersand72

Tyson’s Tacos

Airport Boulevard
What you're getting: The Pharr East

Incredibly, this Airport Boulevard spot is missing from big top 10 round-ups despite its penchant for the cutesy gringo taco names that Austinites hold so dear. For example, you could go with the Yoda (bean, potato, Sriracha mayo, and avocado) or keep up the imperialist theme with the Pharr East, a carnitas, jalapeño, taki, cilantro, carrot, cucumber, and chamo combo.
 

La Fogata Tacos

Allandale
What you're getting: Chicharron

What’s better than chicharron wrapped with corn tortilla and nestled in beans, cilantro, lettuce, and cheese? Two-dollar, 25-cent, made-to-order chicharron wrapped with corn tortilla and nestled in beans, cilantro, lettuce, and cheese. What’s even better than that? La Fogata’s $1.50 migas tacos. And so on.

Flickr/Stephanie

Papalote Taco House

Multiple locations
What you're getting: Tinga de res

When you reach the Torchy’s Tacos on South Lamar, keep going and don’t stop until you run smack dab into the corn tortilla embrace of a tinga de res taco served with plantains and cabbage. Your wallet will thank you.

Courtesy of One Taco

One Taco

West Sixth
What you're getting: The Gringa

It is written: tacos are best consumed under the influence of alcohol between the hours of 1 and 2am. One Taco’s numerous tacos are conveniently housed on the patio of Little Woodrow’s so you can shovel a Gringa taco (pastor with cilantro, cheese, onions, and pineapple) with one hand and guzzle trusty ol’ Dos XX with the other.

Taco Baby

Taco Baby

Multiple locations
What you're getting: Mad Frenchman

Where to start first? Stuff your piehole with the unconventional -- but delicious -- Morocco and Margahrita tacos or go the Mad Frenchman route with a twisted take on the breakfast taco that includes pork carnitas, bacon, and steak, plus fried egg and maple syrup.

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1. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ 7612 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745 (South Austin)

This family-run truck in Capital City serves some Tex-Mex, some barbecue, and some plates that combine the two. Expect mesquite-smoked brisket and ribs served three ways: as platters with coleslaw and pickles, loaded into hamburger buns, or folded into tacos house-made flour tortillas and guacamole. Its location right behind Star Bar means it's a great spot for the post-drinking munchies.

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2. Alma's Tacos 8213 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745 (South Austin)

Alma's keeps their tacos classic, but puts in extra work to make them extra special. To wrap their killer barbacoa, carnitas, and guisada, they make their own corn tortillas from scratch each morning.

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3. Nasha 1614 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

You may not have heard of Nasha, but their lamb puff samosas are really something worth knowing about. As are there tandoori tacos and spice inspired cocktails. That's right: Tex-Mex/Indian fusion.

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4. Tyson's Tacos 4905 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751

A tortilla-stuffer with some serious bite, Tyson's Tacos has $.99 migas, tacos like pork belly (w/ fried parsley & salsa taquera), baby back ribs (w/ pineapple salsa), and fried drum (w/ slaw, avocado, escabeche & Sriracha), as well as burgers featuring half-pound, house-ground rib eye.

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5. La Fogata Tacos 8513 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 (Crestview)

This taco trailer's inexpensive bites set it apart from other similar establishments with higher prices. For under five dollars you can grab two tacos. Local favorites are the al pastor, chicharron, migas and breakfast tacos.

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6. One Taco 520 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

This counter service taco trailer serves tacos fit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- or late night snacking, which is entirely appropriate given their location on the patio at Little Woodrow's.

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