Cinco de Mayo is coming, which means (definitely) a margarita or two (or ocho), and also... lots and lots of tacos. Chef Brian Poe (Poe’s Kitchen at The Rattlesnake, The Tip Tap Room, Estelle’s Southern Cuisine) has quite the affinity for this traditional Mexican street food, so we asked him to share his list of faves. He generously agreed to school us on where to get the best tacos in town.
Tremont 647 (info and address)
Grab a seat at the bar, quench your thirst with a Paloma, and prepare yourself for gluttony. Go for the Tequila Scallop (hard shell, Lunazul Blanco, celery, onion, Nappa cabbage), the Lengua (beef tongue, pomegranate pineapple salsa), or the Fried Fish (chipotle lime aioli, cabbage salad). The menu rotates (and the tacos are $2 on Taco Tuesdays!), so you probably should stop by every week. For science.
Angela’s Café (info and address)
Chef Poe says, "It’s just not fair how special the food is there." You’ll agree. This family-owned spot, featuring authentic Poblana cuisine, is the real deal. Chef/owner Angela Atenco Lopez and her sons (Joel and Luis Garcia) bring the tastes of Puebla to East Boston with selections like pineapple-studded al Pastor, tilapia with creamy chipotle sauce and avocado, or diabolically simple steak with a little onion and cilantro.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar (info and address)
For starters, this Back Bay taco paradise hosts all-you-can-eat Taco Mondays (no alliterative Tuesdays?). For a mere $7 you get a bucket (literally) of taco shells and a large paddleboard stocked with tasty fixings. Full assembly required, but you won’t mind. At all. On the standard dinner menu, eight options await you -- treat yourself to fried chicken (bacon, lettuce, tomato, corn, chorizo aioli), garlic ribeye (horseradish crema, tobacco onions), or slow-cooked brisket (chile-rubbed, pico de gallo, shot of gravy). See you next Monday. And the next.
Anna’s Taqueria (info and address)
Everyone’s go-to spot for burritos makes legit, traditional recipe tacos with their famed arsenal of ingredients (Anna’s is, after all, a taqueria). A fresh, hot corn tortilla with beans, salsa, and hot sauce establishes the base for your choice of ten savory fillings: grilled chicken, chicken ranchero, steak, steak en salsa roja, lengua (beef tongue!), carnitas, chile verde, al pastor (rotisserie pork!), grilled veggies, and beans & rice. With six locations, Anna’s enables your taco addiction wherever you are in town.
Baja Taco Truck (info and location)
There’s something about eating an authentic, piping-hot Baja-style taco while standing on the sidewalk, and Baja Taco Truck helps you live that dream (without the long flight to San Diego). Selections include beef, chicken, three rolled tacos (with guac & cheese), carne asada, fish taco, and guacamole (yep). Add a side of poblano rings or green chili dip with fresh chips for the full experience. The truck is always on the move, so check their Facebook or Twitter to stalk them effectively.
Olé (info and address)
Chef/owner Erwin Ramos rocks some serious tacos with unique flavor combos at his Inman Square institution. The Baja Fish Tacos (beer battered shrimp or fish of the day, fresh cabbage slaw, cilantro pesto, chipotle aioli, black sesame seeds, two corn tortillas), Cauliflower Baja Tacos (beer-battered cauliflower, black bean spread, roasted chipotle salsa, corn tortilla), and Swordfish Taco Olé (fresh wild Atlantic swordfish marinated in achiote and citrus, green avocado salsa, house crema, and homemade corn tortillas) are all noteworthy. And habit-forming. Order a pitcher of sangria and the award-winning Guacamole en Molcajete for next-level goodness.
Zocalo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar (info and address)
For 25 years, Zocalo has been serving up contemporary Mexican cuisine and creative taco temptations. House favorites include Tacos de Pescado or Camaron (grilled or Baja-style beer-battered fish or shrimp, pickled cabbage, cilantro pesto, chipotle mayo, sesame seeds, radish, corn tortillas) and grilled beef, chicken, or pork tacos (pickled cabbage, crema Mexicana, avocado sauce, radish, pickled onions, and cilantro). Thirsty? Try a hibiscus margarita. Or a regular margarita. Really, you can't go wrong with a margarita.
This South End eatery serves up American grub, with flair -- fried chicken with rosemary biscuits, fontina-stuffed tater tots, and a .5lb "Burger Daddy". Don't miss their epic brunch, which the staff serves in their PJs.
Angela’s Café offers a niche interpretation of Mexican food: cuisine from the city of Puebla. The East Boston restaurant’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus satisfy cravings for guacamole (it’s an award-winning recipe at Angela’s), soups, salads, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and hearty meat platters. For days after eating at this colorful, family-owned joint decorated with red, purple, blue, and green paper doilies, guests dream of the stellar mole sauce, made with a blend of chocolate, almonds, cachuate, raisins, sesame seeds, crackers, banana, house-made tortillas, rice, and beans, and served with chicken breast or pork loin. Top your meal off with a creamy flan, which consists of decadent sweet vanilla custard and cinnamon-covered Mexican rice pudding. Look out for Angela’s ever-changing seasonal dish -- blink, and you’ll miss it.
Lolita is Back Bay’s vampy, dimly lit tequila temple with over 50 different types along with Mexican-inspired cuisine. Pair tequila flights, one of the many margaritas (think a Spicy Cucumber made with blanco tequila, serrano chilies, and muddled cucumber), a plain old cerveza, or, if you’re feeling fancy, a $100 tequila with one of many authentic Mexican dishes like, thick yucca fries, crispy beef and pork empanadas, and flavorful Carne Asada with skirt steak, roasted red peppers, and charred jalapeños. On the less traditional side, the menu features Pork Meatballs al Pastor with pineapple chile sauce and sweet, crunchy Chopped Jicama Salad with manchego cheese and chile-lime ranch dressing. The kitchen stays open late Thursday through Saturday, and Monday is all you can eat tacos.
Although not much about Cambridge screams Mexican food, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the authentic eats coming out of this Inman Square joint's kitchen. They're serving up modern takes on traditional dishes, offering baja style fish tacos, tamales stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, and a chorizo-stuffed pork chop, among others. Without a doubt, the highlight is their tableside-made guac, which they've been doing since way before that became a super popular trend. So give them credit for that before giving them your credit card, too.
Between its days in Brighton and now in the Back Bay, Zocalo has spent 25 years serving up faves like grilled jumbo shrimp in chimichurri sauce and chicken-stuffed batter-fried poblano peppers accompanied by killer margaritas.