Food & Drink

Portland’s 13 Best Taco Joints

Published On 02/12/2015 Published On 02/12/2015
Drew Tyson/Thrillist

The worst decision you can make in Portland is... well, one of these 33 things... or only getting your tacos at a place like Taco Bell, especially when there're so many authentic or otherwise outstanding taco joints in PDX. From former food carts to one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country, these are Stumptwon's 13 best taco spots...

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Taqueria Nueve

Central Eastside/Industrial District
What you’re getting: Wild boar
Rising from the ashes to become one of our favorite new restaurants last year, T9 (as it’s lovingly referred to) makes some of the freshest Mexican food in town. What else do you expect with a lineup of tacos that includes wild boar, brisket, achiote & banana roasted pork, and, depending on the day, a fish du jour that rivals the city’s best?

¿Por Qué No? Taqueria

¿Por Qué No?

Various locations
What you’re getting: Crispy calamari
Sure it’s one of the most popular taco joints around. Okay, it is THE most popular place to grab a taco, but it didn’t get there by accident. It’s got the right vibe and quick enough service to keep the line moving. Plus the seafood options are plentiful with a daily fish, shrimp, and squid options.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Angel Food & Fun

Cully
What you’re getting: One of everything
A hole-in-the-wall just South of Killingsworth, it would be easy to overlook this spot on your drive to a more popular street. You’d be remiss, however, as an old Bluehour chef has recently taken over the lease and is putting out some truly incredibly Yucatecan food. Including made-to-order tacos for a steal at $1.50.

Stella Taco PDX

Stella Taco

Alberta
What you’re getting: Chile Colorado
This airy, newer restaurant on Alberta has some of the city’s absolute best tacos. They're bringing in Three Sisters organic corn tortillas and topping them with Tex Mex favorites like fried avocado, refried black beans, and shredded brisket. They've also created knockout house sauces, the best being a by-request-only super-spicy concoction that you'll want to smuggle out with you.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Taqueria Portland

Southeast Industrial
What you’re getting: Carnitas, and extra salsa
Gaining a following in St. John’s before moving Downtown, Taqueria Portland has set up shop across the street from Robo Taco in a small strip mall, but vaulted ceilings and large front windows make the space seem larger than it is. The tacos are only $1.25 and come with a never ending order of chips and a house-made salsa they could bottle and make millions.

ROBO TACO

Robo Taco

Southeast Industrial
What you’re getting: Whatever sounds best at the time. You’re probably not going to remember.
Although the handmade tortillas and can be inconsistent, Robo Taco captures the vibrant atmosphere a taco stand should at two in the morning. There’s no fuss in the menu, expect classics like pastor, barbacoa, asada, and carnitas. And there’re even four vegetarian options (three vegan!) so there’s something for everyone.
 

Nayar Taqueria

Foster-Powell
What you’re getting: Chile verde
A friendly staff and formidable menu make this spot one of the best options in the Southeast. Choose one of about a million toppings at the counter before having a seat in an eclectically decorated dining room.

DREW TYSON/THRILLIST

La Taq

Vernon
What you’re getting: Brisket
The guys from Podnah’s put a tequila-soaked Tex Mex joint next to their absurdly popular barbecue restaurant and everyone immediately wanted to know if their brisket tacos would be the best in town. Duh! Another bonus is that their puffy tortillas outta San Antonio make for a lighter, crispier, and crunchier taco.

Thrillist

Nuestra Cocina

Division
What you’re getting: The pork...
Not only does it have one of the best tacos in Portland, but Nuestra Cocina also gets the nod as one of our 21 Best Mexican Restaurants in America. This is largely because of the tacos de puerco, a handmade tortilla wrapped around spicy pork and arbol chile.

Tamale Boy

Tamale Boy

Dekum Triangle
What you’re getting: The tinga de pollo
Apparently last year was a good time for food carts to go brick and mortar. A standout has been Tamale Boy’s seamless transition to popular neighborhood hangout in an area with no shortage of good food. Although it’s hard to resist its namesake tamales, don’t miss out on a stellar lineup of tacos. Our favorite? The tinga de pollo.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Tienda Santa Cruz

Various locations
What you’re getting: One of everything
With two locations based around a bakery and market, Tienda Santa Cruz serves some of the most authentic tacos around. Since it's only a buck, go ahead and order the whole menu.

DREW TYSON/THRILLIST

Uno Mas

Various locations
What you’re getting: Octopus
Having recently opened a second location near the Timbers’ stadium, Uno Mas is now feeding customers on both sides of the river. Some 17+ variations adorn each menu, and that’s not counting the breakfast tacos offered in the morning. You can’t go wrong with the octopus or lengua, or the all-day happy hour on Sundays.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Los Alambres

Montavilla
What you’re getting: Birria
What’s essentially a food truck with a small covered patio parked outside the brightly colored panaderia on 82nd, Los Alambres set itself apart by offering an enormous list of tasty tortas, but a lighter and cheaper option is the excellent selection of tacos. Try the birria or marinated pork.

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1. Taqueria Nueve (T9) 727 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214 (East Portland)

A successful Kickstarter campaign funded this little taco joint. Located in the rapidly evolving area tentatively called “south eastside industrial” this spot can credit itself for inspiring Portland’s taco craze.

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2. Stella Taco 2940 NE Alberta, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

Stella Taco has quietly given the hipster neighborhood a legit Tex Mex joint, thanks to super garlicky salsa and posole and an assortment of quality tacos, plus there's a giant margarita machine!

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3. Angel Food and Fun Mexican Restaurant 5135 NE 60th Ave, Portland, OR 97218

A hole-in-the-wall just South of Killingsworth, it would be easy to overlook this spot on your drive to a more popular street. You’d be remiss, however, as an old Bluehour chef has recently taken over the lease and is putting out some truly incredibly Yucatecan food. Including made-to-order tacos for a steal at $1.50.

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4. Robo Taco 607 se Morrison, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Just opened on SE Morrison, Robo's the soft-shelled brainchild of some Mex-loving dudes with fine-dining chops, who've popped out a low-key joint with a '70s vibe, striking bright-tiled bar, and robot art that references the rotating, gyro-type broiler that puts the Robo in the name, which awesomely and unintentionally translates in Spanish to "I steal taco", also the catchphrase of the post-NAFTA Hamburglar.

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5. Nayar Taqueria 5919 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206

A friendly staff and formidable menu make this spot one of the best options in the Southeast. Choose one of about a million toppings at the counter before having a seat in an eclectically decorated dining room.

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6. Nuestra Cocina 2135 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Se Portland)

Owned by a husband and wife team, Nuestra Cocina isn't your average Mexican restaurant. The couple behind it take a high-end approach to the cuisine and succeed wildly, offering up authentic, delicious dishes like stuffed chilis, barbecued lamb, and grilled Mexican prawns. If your preferences still lie with a certain 'Mexican Grill,' at least do yourself the favor and check out the Mole Room at Nuestra, where you can take private cooking classes from head chef and co-owner Benjamin Gonzales.

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7. La Taq 1625 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97211 (Ne Portland)

The guys from Podnah’s put a tequila-soaked Tex Mex joint next to their absurdly popular barbecue restaurant and everyone immediately wanted to know if their brisket tacos would be the best in town. Duh! Another bonus is that their puffy tortillas outta San Antonio make for a lighter, crispier, and crunchier taco.

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8. Tamale Boy 1764 Northeast Dekum Street, Portland, OR 97211

With colorful murals and an outdoor patio, this food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar spot is slinging some sweet tamales in NE.

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9. Taqueria Portland 820 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Taqueria Portland has set up shop in a small strip mall, but vaulted ceilings and large front windows make the space seem larger than it is. The tacos are only $1.25 and come with a never ending order of chips and a house-made salsa they could bottle and make millions.

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10. Uno Mas 2337 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232 (Ne Portland)

Offering tiny tacos -- and nothing else -- Uno Mas's deceptively simple menu's the baby of a chef who's cooked at some of the best Mexi spots in PDX (Authentica, Mextiza). Here he's got 20+ tacos the size of drink coasters rocking everything from carnitas, to chicharron, to octopus.

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