Although the West Coast reigns supreme when it comes to infinite variations and regional styles of Mexico’s beloved street food, Miami’s taco scene continues to soar with an ambitious mix of modern Mexican spots and under-the-radar mom-and-pop taquerias serving serious corn-based tortillas stuffed with meticulously prepared fillings.
Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, and the Magic City is gearing up for an enormous fiesta jam-packed with block parties, live entertainment, and food and drink specials — the perfect excuse to get your hands on these three-bite delights. But most Miamians don’t need a holiday to fuel their hankering for tacos. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be Tuesday.
So grab an ice-cold cerveza or a refreshing margarita, and let’s taco 'bout ten of the best tacos in the 305, where taco time is all the time.
Campechano tacos with tender pork leg and crackling pork skin
Photo by Maureen Aimee Mariano
1. Campechano tacos at Viva Mexico y Algo Mas
When the original Viva Mexico closed in Little Havana, Andres Tovar’s second concept, Viva Mexico y Algo Mas, picked up the torch as Miami’s best taqueria. The menu is short and sweet: tacos filled with a variety of pig parts that are braised in their own fat, giving you more time to eat and less time spent on trying to figure out what to order. The campechano, priced at $2.25 each, uses tender pork leg and crackling pork skin for a delicious combination of flavors and textures.
Beef tongue tacos
Courtesy of Taquiza
2. Lengua tacos at Taquiza
There’s only one way to eat Taquiza’s fatty, delicately braised beef tongue piled on homemade heirloom blue corn nixtamalized tortillas: Pick up the taco, fold it, and bite into it entirely, making sure you don’t miss a chunk of meat, toasted bay leaf, or a taste of Cerveza Victoria. Savor every mouthful or order more tacos, including succulent shrimp, corn truffle, chorizo, and spicy charred poblano, which range in price from $3.50 to $5. Go on, taste them. You’ll see why Steve Santana’s Collins Avenue walk-up taqueria remains at the forefront of Miami’s taco revolution.
Tacos al pastor
Courtesy of Taqueria Morelia
3. Tacos al pastor at Taqueria Morelia
From El Toro Taco to La Pasadita, there’s never been a shortage of authentic Mexican food in Homestead. At Taqueria Morelia, you can find some of the best tacos in Miami-Dade County, but only if you’re willing to make the trek. Soft corn tortillas cradle your choice of perfectly cooked meat, including steak, shredded beef, and tripe. Stick to the tacos al pastor, a flavorful blend of stewed pork seasoned Mexican-style and topped with pineapple, cilantro, and onions. As with all tacos at Taqueria Morelia, simple is often best.
Crispy duck tacos, confit-style
Photo by Laine Doss
4. Carnitas de pato tacos at Coyo Taco
In a neighborhood with an abundance of impeccable food options, Coyo Taco stands among the best in Wynwood. The menu is full of taco choices (two per order), from charred octopus and grilled cactus to seared Angus steak, which you can convert into a burrito, salad, or burrito bowl. After a night of drinking and dancing, treat yourself to hand-pressed tortillas filled with crisp duck and serrano salsa ($9); then finish off your meal with a homemade Mexican ice pop ($4) from La Michoacana.
5. Fried chicken tacos at Huahua's Taqueria
Chef Todd Erickson's South Beach taqueria has been the go-to place for late-night eats since it opened in 2013. Order the fried chicken tacos, which merge two of America’s favorite foods — fried chicken and tacos — and prepare to be mind-blown. Warm tortillas hug perfectly cooked flour-dredged chicken, jalapeño-flecked cornbread, ancho ranch, cabbage, cilantro, and Mexican spices for $3.99 each $11 for three.
Photo by Maureen Aimee Mariano
6. Churrasco tacos at Tacos & Tattoos
The bumping music, graffiti-splashed walls, and welcoming neighborhood vibes are enough reason to draw you into this hip West Kendall taco joint, but the tacos are so tempting you’ll want to become a regular. At Tacos & Tattoos, choose from three kinds of made-to-order taco shells — corn, flour, and crispy — as well as a protein, including shrimp, pork, portobello mushrooms, and tofu. Owner Jonathan Cruz recommends the traditional corn tortilla because it holds more flavor. Fill it with churrasco ($3.75) topped with melted cheese, dollops of pico de gallo, pineapple coleslaw, and homemade sauces. Wash it down with a tall glass of craft beer, but be sure to leave room for dessert. The deep-fried Oreos and T&T Nutella doughnuts are not to be missed.
Asada de res tacos
Photo by Mayra Acosta-Sampson
7. Carne asada tacos at Mi Rinconcito Mexicano
A Little Havana mainstay since 2005, Mi Rinconcito Mexicano boasts a real south-of-the-border cantina ambiance with simple decor and no-frills Mexican fare. Take it easy on the complimentary tortilla chips and red salsa or you’ll never be able to get to the menu’s real stars: the tacos. Soft corn tortillas come with your choice of pork, lamb, tongue, chicken, or chorizo and packed with onions and cilantro. The carne asada tacos, priced at three for $6, contain marinated ground beef that's tender enough to fill the taco but substantial enough to fill your belly. Request a fiery hit of hot sauce for extra kick.
Courtesy of Lolo's Surf Cantina
8. Fish tacos at Lolo’s Surf Cantina
This beachside cantina in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood has a quaint terrace that makes for some prime people-watching and laid-back alfresco dining. New to the taco scene this year, Lolo's Surf Cantina spices up the lush area with its Baja-inspired traditional Mexican eats, including rib eye, carnitas, mushroom, and fish tacos. Try the last variety, a real gussied-up version that contains pan-fried mahi-mahi, serrano chili aioli, coleslaw, and radishes for $10. All tacos are served on warm house-made tortillas and accompanied by fresh salsas and sauces, made in-house too.
Barbacoa tacos with guajillo-braised short rib.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila via Facebook
9. Barbacoa tacos at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
Leave it to chef Bernie Matz and his extensive research on and travels to the Yucatán and Monterrey, Mexico, to add a modern twist to Mexican street food. Inside Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, casual lunch guests or late-night partiers will find a tricked-out taco truck dishing out over-the-top tacos. Think crisp calamari, a shrimp BLT variety, fish 'n' chips, and spit-broiled chicken. Savory smells waft from fresh tortillas as your tacos are brought to the table. When in doubt, spice things up with the barbacoa ($4): guajillo-braised short rib topped with cotija cheese, beautifully charred onions, salsa rosada, cilantro, and potato sticks.
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Cochinita pibil tacos
Photo by Jorge Munoz
10. Cochinita pibil tacos at Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana
From the same folks responsible for Mi Rinconcito Mexicano, this Little Havana hot spot specializes in tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Jacalito Taqueria Mexicana offers four versions of pork tacos — al pastor, adobada, carnitas de cerdo, and cochinita pibil – among its many other tasty creations. Good thing the cochinita pibil variety costs only $6 for three, because you’ll want more. But if 6 bucks is all you have, savor the slow-roasted, shredded pork cooked with achiote, sprinkled with onion and cilantro, and served in your choice of corn, flour, or crisp corn tortillas.