Seattle's 10 Best Tacos

By Leslie Kelly  |  April 29, 2014
Credit: Paola Thomas

In honor of #ZagatTacoTuesday, we've devoured tacos all over town - from the beloved trucks of White Center to a cool new taco bar in Fremont - to bring you the best meat and tortilla combinations this city has to offer. We've also broken the winners down into handy categories. So you can flip through our slide show to learn who rules at carne asada, carnitas, pollo, tongue, fish and - yes - even Korean short rib tacos. 

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Adobada at Taqueria La Fondita

    Why We Love It: This taco truck in White Center with covered indoor seating does a tremendous job on all its taco fillings, including lengua (tongue) and cabeza (head meat). But this spicy shredded pork stands out as a fiery winner, with juicy chunks of meat tucked into a tortilla. 
    Insider Tip: To get a little bit of everything, go for the No. 3, which is five tacos. And order a side of the above-average guacamole, a deal at $1.25. 
    Price: $1.75 each, or $7 for the whole enchilada.
    9811 15th Ave. SW; 206-551-0529

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Alambre at Chorizo Loco

    Why We Love It: This converted school bus that sits at a gas station in White Center has a huge menu that hits on stuff you're not going to find elsewhere like a Cubano in a quesadilla, green chorizo and strawberry-infused horchata. The Alambre is a mash-up of carne asada and chorizo piled onto cheese melted on the flat-top grill and rolled up into a savory flavor bomb. 
    Insider Tip: There's a teeny indoor seating area in the back of this bus, where from the barstools you can watch your order being made in the galley kitchen.
    Price: $2, but we'd pay twice that price for this taco two-fer.
    1520 SW 100th St.; 206-538-7334

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Korean Short Rib at Red Star Taco Bar

    Why We Love It: This new hot spot in Fremont does a standup job on the traditional versions. We especially enjoyed the blackened cod. But the Asian-influenced taco topped with pineapple has quickly become its best-seller. One bite and you'll taste why: it's the way slightly sweetened soy sauce marinade caramelizes on flavorful, pleasantly chewy beef.  
    Insider Tip: We can't wait for the outdoor patio to open in the next couple of weeks - so we can eat a plate of tacos and sip a cocktail in the sunshine. Order the bourbon jam sour. It's a brilliant mix of tart and sweet.
    Price: $5 each.
    513 N. 36th St.; 206-258-3087

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Carne Asada at Rostiteria Y Cocina El Paisano

    Why We Love It: No surprise: this hole-in-the-wall in White Center does a spectacular job with its meaty tacos, as it also owns the butcher shop next door. The beef is expertly cut, so it's more tender than most and it's finished on the grill, so it has a nicely browned exterior. They also do a dynamite chorizo taco, and there's a great braised goat taco.
    Insider Tip: Come for lunch and pick up one of the rotisserie chickens the place is famous for to take home for dinner.
    Price: $2 each.
    9615 15th Ave. SW; 206-763-0368

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Pollo at El Camion

    Why We Love It: This brick-and-mortar spot that started out as a crazy popular truck soars where many others stumble, serving chicken tacos that are moist while too many versions we tried were dry. The secret might be that the mix of dark and white meat is chopped slightly larger than most, so it stays juicy. 
    Insider Tip: If you're a cilantro hater, be sure and ask for the kitchen to hold it. The green garnish is used with abandon here.
    Price: $3 each.
    5314 15th Ave. NW; 206-297-1124

  • Veggie at Fonda la Catrina

    Why We Love It: This buzzy Georgetown cantina is beloved for its commitment to use local, organic ingredients, but beyond that it scores high marks on the flavor front, coaxing the meaty character out of chopped mushrooms by seasoning them with cumin, garlic and onion. Criminis are nicely browned and tucked into a housemade corn tortilla that's filled with tangy Monterey Jack. 
    Insider Tip: Grab a seat at the bar, where you can watch those corn tortillas being made to order.
    Price: $8.50 for three tacos.
    5905 Airport Way S.; 206-767-2787

  • Happy Hour Tacos at El Borracho

    Why We Love It: The taqueria with locations at Pike Place Market, in Fremont and Ballard does a really good job on its traditional taco fillings - though we do wish they'd season the fish taco a little more assertively. Borracho gets big bonus points for serving $1 tacos from 4 to 7 PM weekdays, along with its fairly famous $4 "el cheap-o" Margarita. 
    Insider Tip: Be sure and ask for the housemade red and green salsas, served in squeeze bottles.
    Price: $1 for most selections, while the carne asada and the fish tacos are $2 apiece. 
    5465 Leary Ave. NW; 206-420-8945

  • Credit: Leslie Kelly

    Breakfast Taco at Kaisho

    Why We Love It: What a genius idea to fry an egg right on top of a tortilla, joining the two ingredients so the yolk stays extra runny. At this Asian-fusion spot in Bellevue, the taco is moo-shu-ized with the addition of seared pork belly and an edamame and akuki bean salsa.
    Insider Tip: This starter is offered at weekend brunch and best ordered alongside a kimchi Bloody Mary.
    Price: $6 for two.
    504 Bellevue Sq., Bellevue; 425-453-6094

  • Credit: Paola Thomas

    Fish Tacos at Little Water Cantina

    Why We Love It: Location, location, location. It's on the eastern shores of Lake Union, so it's only natural we're drawn to the fish taco at this slightly upscale spot. The seafood shifts, depending on what's available, but a recent cod taco hit the mark by being well cooked, seared but still flaky and moist and topped with pickled onions and a habanero tartar sauce on the side. 
    Insider Tip: The outdoor tables fill up quickly when the weather's nice, so come early in the evening to avoid the rush.
    Price: $15.50 for three.
    2865 Eastlake Ave. E.; 206-397-4940

  • Credit: Geoffrey Smith

    Lengua at Edgar's Cantina at Safeco Field

    Why We Love It: We can't imagine another ballpark in the country serving these truly authentic tongue tacos, nicely seared and embellished with chopped onions and pico de gallo. They tasted even better when you know they're made with local, grass-fed beef from Painted Hills. Other choices include carne asada, carnitas and chicken tacos.
    Insider Tip: Get a side of crunchy chiccarones on the side, the best fried pork rinds you'll ever eat while watching the Seattle Mariners.
    Price: $3 each.