Houston is home to thousands of great tacos, and new options keep coming. From old-school Tex-Mex to creative fusion renditions, here are a few top spots for Cinco de Mayo.
Pollo guisado at Tacos-A-Go-Go
Crunchy, savory, spicy and creamy, the hands-down favorite at this hip Midtown haunt is the pollo guisado. It's served on a housemade puffy taco, and stuffed with shredded chicken that’s been simmered in a garlic, tomato and serrano pepper sauce, and topped with cilantro, chopped onions and queso fresco. Honorable mention: custom breakfast tacos, made-to-order and served anytime.
3704 Main St.; 713-807-8226
Carne asada at Eight Row Flint
At this bright new happy hour hub in the Heights, don’t overlook the food menu while sipping your whiskey or downing a cold one. Opt for the unique antelope carne asada taco topped with cilantro rice, refried beans, peppers and scallions wrapped in a corn tortilla.
1039 Yale St.; 832-767-4002
Puffy taco at El Real Tex-Mex Café
This cool Montrose haunt by chef Bryan Caswell and Robb Walsh touts beloved vintage Tex-Mex treats like tender, slightly crackly, homemade puffy tacos, a la San Antonio. Choose from puffy shrimp tacos, ground beef, pulled pork, smoked chicken or vegan guacamole and black bean covered in shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato and onion.
1201 Westheimer Rd.; 713-524-1201
Fish tacos at Berryhill Baja Grill
Houston’s fish taco pioneer takes crispy fried white fish or grilled shrimp, red cabbage, cilantro and addictive jalapeño-cilantro cream sauce, and double-wraps it in corn tortillas. Make a meal with a side of black beans and rice.
Ground beef crispy taco at El Tiempo 1308 Annex
With locations throughout the city, this Houston institution serves giant tacos and sizzling fajitas to late-night Montrose revelers. Grab the ground beef crispy taco with extra yellow cheese (you’ll need it to soak up the booze) and spicy salsa.
322 Westheimer Rd.; 713-807-8101
Tacos de cochinita pibil at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos
Roll up your sleeves for the tacos de cochinita pibil at this Upper Kirby favorite. The slow-roasted pork, marinated in a multitude of spices and covered with pickled red onions, drips with flavor. Sides of fresh jalapeño, guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled onions, Mexican rice and black beans only add to the experience. Don't skip the incendiary house green salsa and the ultra-fresh tomato salsa.
3601 Kirby Dr.; 832-831-9940
Angus steak taco at Fusion Taco
Downtown movers and shakers can feast on two different versions of this beefy taco. The Asian Angus steak is topped with black beans, grilled onions, ginger chipotle BBQ sauce and red cabbage slaw. For a spicier option, try the Tex-Mex Angus steak with black beans, grilled onions, guacamole and Jack cheese. Now that’s the best of both worlds.
801 Congress Ave.; 713-422-2882
Breakfast tacos at Rico’s Morning, Noon & Night
Midtown denizens are smitten with this all-day kiosk in Bagby Park. Burgers and hot dogs are prime, but delicious breakfast tacos reign supreme in the morning. Look for choices like bacon, cheese and eggs, or the fluffy veggie scramble with potato and tangy homemade tomato salsa.
401 Gray St., 713-444-1212
Trailer park at Torchy’s Tacos
Nothing cures a hangover like a good taco! Especially this loaded chicken option from our favorite Austin-born taco shop. A fresh flour tortilla is smothered in fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo and cheese, all topped with creamy poblano sauce. Get it “trashy” (aka replace lettuce with queso) after an especially rough night.
2411 S. Shepherd Dr.; 713-595-8226, and multiple locations
Taquitas de malanga at Churrascos
These light crispy taquitos (small tacos) made from fried taro root are small but huge in flavor. Stuffed with moist shredded pork filling, fresh pineapple, and drizzled with rich crema fresco, the savory-fruity-creamy flavors come together in one terrific bite. Be adventurous for $6 and order during happy hour.
2055 Westheimer Rd.; 713-527-8300, and multiple locations
Crispy tikka chicken taco at Velvet Taco
Velvet Taco, which has a cult following in Dallas, is now tantalizing Houston at its new Heights location. A standout taco is the crispy tikka chicken that's drenched with rich, spicy peanut sauce, nestled over moist jasmine rice and crowned with Thai basil. Out of this world.
4819 Washington Ave.; 832-834-5908
Tacos al carbon at Ninfa’s Original on Navigation
Nothing tops the limey-stout margaritas or the addicting avocado-tomatilla green sauce at this Warehouse District gem, except maybe the sizzling beef fajitas that Mama Ninfa made famous. The tacos al carbon platter nails it with smoky tender beef fajitas charred to perfection and nestled in plushy flour tortillas housemade on the hour. Fresh lime and sprightly pico de gallo only ups the ante.
2704 Navigation Blvd.; 713-228-1175
Puffy pork carnitas tacos at Molina’s Cantina
Molina’s, with multiple locations across Houston, serves a throwback puffy taco fried to glorious perfection. Stuffed with savory pork carnitas, these brisk crispy tacos are topped with a blizzard of tomatoes, shredded iceberg and queso fresco. Pour on the table salsa and request the house pickled carrots and onions with jalapeños.
4720 Washington Ave.; 713-862-0013, and multiple locations
Tacos al carbon at Ula’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
This family-run eatery in Rice Military has the benchmarks down: spicy fresh salsa delivered warm, thick nutty chips that hit the table hot, great guacamole, and knock-your-socks off frozen ‘ritas. Our favorite on the menu is the ridiculously tender chicken tacos al carbon rolled in soft housemade flour tortillas, or the smoky flavored beef skirt steak tacos served with all the fixings.
5555 Washington Ave., 713-532-2201
Barbacoa taco at Chilosos Taco House
Perfectly priced for inhaling by the half dozen, this Heights gem serves magically fluffy, slightly chewy flour tortilla tacos that are mouth-watering. Definitely doctor up the chicken and barbacoa with all the toppings you can find: cilantro, onion, salsa verde, avocado, and lots of jalapeños.
701 E. 20th St.; 713-868-2273
Tacos de pescado at Hugo’s
At this striking Montrose mainstay, fresh catfish with a super crunchy, golden crust is nestled in housemade corn tortillas. Shredded Napa cabbage, pico de gallo and bright, spicy chipotle mayo provide the crowning touch.
1600 Westheimer Rd.; 713-524-7744
Carnitas Street Tacos at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
Head to Memorial for these build-your-own street tacos, available only during brunch. Start with chunky pork carnitas, served on thick, nutty flavored housemade corn tortillas. Then pile on the cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, peppers and multiple hot sauces for a serious feast.
6401 Woodway Dr.; 713-334-7295