Food & Drink

The 11 Best Under-the-Radar Taco Spots in Houston

Published On 08/12/2015 Published On 08/12/2015

You already know about the best tacos spots in Houston. And you鈥檝e likely hit up killer trucks and shops like Tacos Tierra Caliente, Brothers, and Laredo Taqueria (or at least we really hope you have). But there are a number of tiny-yet-fantastic taquerias and trucks that likely aren鈥檛 on your current taco rotation, and that's a crime in and of itself. These 11, to be exact...

Taquito Joes

Chorizo & egg taco

Sunrise Taquito (address and info)
Memorial/Rice Military
Though this sister restaurant to Taquito Joe鈥檚 and offshoot of Villa Arcos has garnered some loyal fans, you may have missed this legitimately great taqueria anyway. Why? Because you probably thought it was a gas station. Look past the Shell sign and you鈥檒l find some of the city鈥檚 finest breakfast tacos, locked and loaded with chorizo & eggs, potato & eggs, or (if you really know what you鈥檙e doing) chorizo, potato & eggs with beans and cheese.

Karanchos

Trompo

Karanchos (address and info)
Channelview
Gone is the tiny taco stand this once was. Today you鈥檒l find a full-service eatery with waitstaff, a patio, and TVs to boot. Don鈥檛 worry. The street-style tacos are still as authentic as ever. Get yours loaded with fantastically delicious trompo, but know you鈥檒l need about five of them to quench your appetite.

Taco Keto

Carne deshebrada (braised beef in red sauce)

TacoKeto (address and info)
East End
The fiery rust-colored sauce that coats each tortilla may be a house secret, but the tiny red taqueria on wheels shouldn鈥檛 be. Hit it to get a packet filled with a duo of seriously addicting two-biters accompanied by a whole roasted jalape帽o, grilled potatoes and onions, and wedge of lime.

Brooke Viggiano/Thrillist

Lengua

El Gallo de Jalisco (address and info)
Heights
Don鈥檛 forget your cash. You鈥檒l need multiple two-dollar bills to get your fill of nice-sized, made-to-order tacos packed with carne guisada, cactus and egg, lengua, and house salsa verde. Or you could bring a few ones, a five, or a 10-dollar bill. All of those would work, too.
 

Mollejas

Taqueria Tacambaro (address and info)
Heights
Don鈥檛 fill up on samples at Canino Produce. You鈥檒l want to save room for this taco trailer in the back of the farmers' market, where you can stuff yourself silly with fat, greasy gorditas and cheap, freshly made tacos loaded with hard-to-score things like birria (goat stew) and mollejas (sweetbread).

Dona Maria

The breakfast taco

Dona Maria (address and info
East End
This family-owned haunt on Navigation cranks out homemade eats just as good as your abuela made. Light and fluffy corn tortillas make the perfect bed for bright orange, oily-in-the-best-way chorizo & huevos. And don鈥檛 forget to pack on some house-made salsa verde.
 

Super Bacon

Villa Arcos (address and info)
East End
This almost 40-year-old taco house on Navigation may be known for dope-as-hell breakfast tacos, but the lunch-ier chicken and beef options are no joke, either. Don鈥檛 worry, everything comes on the same addicting, cooked-to-order flour tortillas.

Flickr/Katharine Shilcutt

Machacado

El Ultimo Taco Truck (address and info)
Spring Branch
This Long Point standby may not be fancy, but it鈥檚 an absolute must-hit for taco aficionados. Load up on chubby flour and corn tortillas stacked with everything from barbacoa and machacado (shredded beef & eggs) to tripe and nopalitos (cactus). Then pour on some salsa verde and wash it all down with aguas frescas.
 

Trompo taco

El Taconazo Taco Truck (address and info)
Northside Village 
Don鈥檛 let the no-frills look of this Northside taco truck fool you. A double stack of thick corn tortillas filled with things like lengua and tender barbacoa will have you dreaming of your last Mexican getaway (unless your last Mexican getaway was your college spring break, in which case you鈥檙e diet more likely consisted of tequila shots with tequila chasers). While you can鈥檛 go wrong, the trompo tacos -- stuffed with spiced and marinated pork cooked on a rotating spit -- are a must-eat.

Taqueria Taconmadre

Al pastor or chicharr贸nes

Taqueria Taconmadre (address and info
South Houston
$1 breakfast tacos aren鈥檛 the only things that make this bright green taqueria-and-taco-truck hybrid special (though those really, really help the cause). It鈥檚 the fact that you can get fat, beautifully greasy tacos 24/7 that really makes this spot next level. The tender al pastor and crisp chicharr贸nes, both loaded with fiery salsa, chopped onion, and lime, are particularly excellent after a night out at the bars.
 

Tacos de mixtos

100% Taquito (address and info
West University
What started out as a school project has blossomed into a 100% fantastic taco shop. Though every order comes with three small tacos of your choice of house-made corn or flour tortillas, big appetites may need to add on sides like chicharr贸n con guac or salsa. Get the tacos de mixtos to get a sampler of carne asada, al pastor, AND tinga (spicy chipotle brisket).

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1. Sunrise Taquito 5601 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007 (Memorial City)

While this taqueria may look like a Shell station, it's actually home to some of the city's best breakfast tacos. Come by for a taco loaded with chorizo, potato, and eggs with beans and cheese.

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2. Karanchos 620 Sheldon Rd, Channelview, TX 77530

This former tiny taco stand might have transformed itself into a full-fledged Mexican restaurant, but that doesn't mean it ever lost touch with its authentic street food roots. With tacos for only a buck a pop, you can load up on al pastor, trompo, chicken and barbacoa with cilantro and onion (wrapped in your choice or flour or corn tortilla) for a ridiculously low price. The restaurant has ample seating and full bar inside, but the best way to eat from Karanchos is still to take your food outside to the patio (it is street food, after all).

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3. TacoKeto 1401 Cullen Blvd, Houston, TX 77023 (East End)

Here you will find two-biter tacos wrapped in tortillas coated in a fiery rust-colored secret sauce, and accompanied by a whole roasted jalape帽o, grilled potatoes & onions, and a wedge of lime.

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4. El Gallo De Jalisco 3220 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

This tiny, unassuming building in the Heights looks almost like a little prison, with cinderblock walls and barred doors. And I guess we can say that the Mexican food being cooked up inside is so good it should be illegal. This spot is only open until 3pm during the week and 5pm on weekends, so get in early to order your fill of tacos

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5. Taqueria Tacambaro 2520 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77009 (The Greater Heights)

This under-the-radar food truck, which is usually parked behind a farmer's market in Heights, is what locals call the best taco truck in the city (a bold statement for Houston). The menu is pretty standard for a Mexican joint, but what's special about this place, according to regulars, is the way it's all cooked. The mollejas, tacos and gorditas are practically worshipped for the beautiful crunch of the tortillas and the meat's crispy outsides and tender insides. Because this place has no seating, ordering to go is your best option unless you want to east as you explore the market.

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6. Dona Maria Mexican Cafe 2601 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003

This East End restaurant/catering business offers up homemade corn tortillas, chorizo-packed huevos, and top-notch house salsa verde.

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7. Villa Arcos 3009 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003 (East End)

This East End Tex-Mex treasure has been around for almost 40 years, and here there are two very important words you need to know: Breakfast tacos. This joint's serves them (and other breakfast dishes) all day long, and the options are almost endless. For the few spare dollars in your pockets you can load up on a combination of eggs, cheese, potatoes, beans, rice, bacon, chorizo or pork sausage. Dining atmosphere here is ... well, it's your typical Tex-Mex restaurant. If you don't want to sit, however, takeout is incredibly quick.

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8. El Ultimo Taco Truck 7403 Long Point Rd, Houston, TX 77055

Want big flavor without spending big bucks? Look no further than El Ultimo. Tacos start at $1.50 and ratchet all the way up to $1.75 for el ultimo on thick flour tortillas. This place is known for its breakfast taco selection, but you can never go wrong stopping by on your lunch break (shouldn't be hard, their usual spots are right outside the loop). Pick your meat (go for the de chicharron y barbacoa, trust us) and have it topped with salsa verde, grilled onions, cilantro, white cheese, and avocado slices.

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9. El Taconazo Taco Truck 4001 Fulton St, Houston, TX 77009

At this no-frills truck, you you really can't go wrong, but the real winner are the trompo tacos -- stuffed with spiced and marinated pork cooked on a rotating spit.

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10. Taqueria Taconmadre 905 Edgebrook Dr, Houston, TX 77034

This 24/7 bright green taqueria-and-taco-truck hybrid has $1 breakfast tacos plus tender al pastor and crisp chicharr贸nes, both loaded with fiery salsa, chopped onion, and lime, for later in the day.

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11. 100% Taquito 3245 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77027

This 100% fantastic taco shop offers order of three small tacos on your choice of house-made corn or flour tortillas. Bigger appetites may need to add on sides like chicharr贸n con guac or salsa.

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