10 Tacos Every Philadelphian Needs to Try

From barbacoa lamb to fried chicken, these are tacos for your bucket list
April 30, 2017
by Kelly Alderfer

Grilled wild shrimp tacos at Mission Taqueria. 

Whether they come filled with beer-battered fish, fried chicken or barbacoa lamb, Philly loves tacos. There's certainly no shortage of them either from small taquerias to big-name Mexican eateries. With so many spots and so many tacos, it's hard to know where to start. No need to worry, though, here are the 10 can't-miss tacos in the city.

Fish tacos. Courtesy of Tired Hands Brewing Company

Fish taco at Tired Hands Fermentaria

The chefs at the Fermentaria take a simple fish taco and make it exceptional thanks to a house beer batter on the fish, citrus slaw and chipotle mayo. They're so good, ordering them is the easy part. Then there's a whole list of Tired Hands brews to choose from, which is never a small feat.

35 Cricket Terrace; 484-413-2983

Cholula fried chicken tacos. Courtesy of Jason Varney

Cholula fried chicken taco at Lolita

Fried chicken is the star of the show in these tacos. Add a bit of Cholula hot sauce, celery heart, pickled cabbage, smoked morita mayonnaise and blue cheese crema to get one crunchy-spicy snack that's a must-try. Wash it down with a pitcher of housemade margaritas in the stylish Lolita space. 

106 S. 13th St.; 215-546-7100

Brussels sprouts tacos. Courtesy of El Poquito

Brussels sprouts taco at El Poquito

At El Poquito, you'll find the ubiquitous Brussels sprouts with a new touch. The sprouts come roasted with puffed wild rice and smoked onion ranch dressing on a corn tortilla. Be sure to enjoy each bite on the taqueria's massive outdoor patio with a cold pint.

8201 Germantown Ave.; 267-766-5372

Grilled wild shrimp tacos. Courtesy of Neal Santos

Grilled wild shrimp taco at Mission Taqueria

Among a menu of interesting choices like veal tongue and braised goat tacos, the grilled wild shrimp taco with mole verde, jalapeño and red onion criollo is a Mission favorite. Hard time choosing? Go the tasting-menu route and try three different tacos. 

1516 Sansom St.; 215-383-1200

Roast duck taco. Courtesy of Kory Aversa

​Roast duck taco at Revolution Taco

With roots as taco truck owners, you can expect some pretty interesting street-style bites from Revolution owners Carolyn Nguyen and Michael Sultan. Starting with a scallion pancake shell, this taco is filled with roast duck, plum barbecue sauce, ginger cabbage slaw, pickled oyster mushrooms, crispy chicken skin and a sprinkle of sesame seeds to top it off. 

2015 Walnut St.; 267-639-5681

Breakfast taco. Courtesy of @joeyheartburn/Instagram

Breakfast taco at Honest Tom's Taco Shop

When breakfast is calling, don't just settle for a plate of eggs and homefries. Honest Tom's is putting those in a taco with pico de gallo, guacamole and cheese. Your breakfast routine just got a lot tastier.

261 S. 44th St.; 215-620-1851

Chilorio taco. Courtesy of Loco Pez/Instagram

Chilorio taco at Loco Pez

Traditional pork dish from Mexico, chilorio, gets the Loco Pez treatment with pickled red onion, serrano peppers and cilantro added to the mix. The slow-cooked pork has that irresistible melt-in-your-mouth quality that makes this one standout taco. The cozy North Liberties taqueria is also cash-only, so plan ahead.

2401 E. Norris St.; 267-886-8061

Korean short-rib tacos. Courtesy of @Crafty_CCC/Instagram

Korean short-rib taco at Sancho Pistola's

Sancho Pistola's pico de gallo is definitely not your run of the mill tomatoes, jalapeño and onion mash-up. The pico here packs a flavorful punch with Asian pear and tops the tender Korean short-ribs tacos. Slices of avocado mellow out the bold flavors just a bit. Craft beers are in abundance too, so don't forget to order at least one of those.

19 W. Gerard Ave.; 267-324-3530

Atlantic mahi mahi tacos. Courtesy of Buena Onda

Atlantic mahi mahi taco at Buena Onda

It isn't a true trip to Jose Garces' Baja Peninsula–inspired Buena Onda without ordering the Atlantic mahi mahi tacos, either batter fried or with the tequila lime glaze. Pair them with a cold beer and you'll be dreaming about a beach vacation in no time.

1901 Callowhill St.; 215-302-3530

Pancita taco. Courtesy of @Daniel_liong/instagram

Pancita taco at El Compadre

Husband-and-wife duo Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez' pancita taco is the stuff of legend around Philly when the couple first started serving it at the now shuttered South Philly Barbacoa. Now serving on weekends in the sister spot El Compadre, lamb is butchered in-house and the bits not headed to the barbacoa tacos (i.e. stomach, heart and other organs) becomes pancita, which is served on housemade corn tortillas. Be sure to get a side of consummé to go with it.  

1703 S. 11th St.; 215-360-5282

fish tacos
adan trinidad
taco tuesday
tacos al pastor