Best Tacos in Philadelphia

Traditional cantina fare
August 29, 2016
by Zagat Staff

It's taco time! Philly's best bets include a spot that serves California-style mini tacos and a tiny authentic taqueria with great carnitas.

La Calaca Feliz
Mexican · Fairmount · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

Making Fairmounters "muy feliz" is this "fun" , "friendly" sibling of Cantina Feliz and its "outstanding" "modern twists" on "traditional" Mexican comida; whether dropping in for "the best happy hour" or "meeting up with friends" for a "night out" , expect a "fiesta" vibe fueled by "super drinks" (including an impressive tequila and mezcal lineup); P.S. don't miss the "hidden back patio.
El Rey - Mexican Restaurant
Mexican · Rittenhouse Square · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

The “beautiful people meet” over "tasty dishes" and “sensational margaritas” in a "bro-free atmosphere" at Stephen Starr's "glitzy interpretation" of a Mexican dive in Rittenhouse; "get there early" for "incomparable" happy-hour deals – if the otherwise "friendly" service runs "slow" , "you'll hardly notice.
Loco Pez
Mexican · Fishtown · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

Hipsters line up out the door " at prime times at this " fun " LA-style taqueria/dive bar in Fishtown, where the " awesome " burritos, quesadillas and other Mexican street faves brim with " fresh ingredients " and are matched with a " great " cocktail, tequila and cerveza list; you " gotta love them $1 taco nights " – though really the " normal " prices here " won't perturb your wallet" too much, and now there's a bottle shop and take-out counter as well; P.S. cash only.
Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Spruce Hill · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

“Awesome” tacos and “amazing” burritos made with “fresh" ingredients are served at this humble storefront in Spruce Hill for breakfast, lunch and dinner; many prefer takeout, as it has only a “few tables" and it’s “always busy.”
Jose Pistola's
Rittenhouse Square · $
Food - · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

"A Mexican place that specializes in beer" sums up this Rittenhouse Square bar/restaurant where a "strong happy-hour scene" heavy on "post-work pitchers" extends into the wee hours with "clever cocktails" , "margaritas" and craft drafts; it's "not the coolest-looking place" , but service is pretty "friendly."
Union Taco
Manayunk · $

Decorated with Día de los Muertos artwork on bright yellow walls, this California-style taqueria is a bright spot in Manayunk. Unusual ingredients (think strawberry habanero guacamole) pull crowds out of their comfort zones for tacos, tortas and other Mexican street food from lunch through late-night.
Cantina Los Caballitos
Mexican · East Passyunk Crossing · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.7

Unique margaritas " and " tasty " Mexican " classics " are on offer at these " cool ", " hopping " cantinas; a " solid " staff keeps the " generous chips and salsa " flowing, and there’s “ nice ” outdoor seating, but “ be prepared for the hipster crowd.”
Sancho Pistola's
Mexican · Fishtown · $$

Modern Mexican cooking is the draw at this lively Fishtown–Northern Liberties border cantina serving fusion-style tacos (think falafel or Korean rib) alongside all the classics. Expect a cozy space for dinner and weekend brunch where a broad choice of tequilas, mezcals and beers is also on offer.
South Philly Barbacoa
Passyunk Square · $

Fans say some of the "best lamb tacos in the country" can be found at this modest South Philly spot, where "friendly" husband-and-wife team Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez serve up "fantastic, soulful" Mexican cooking starring their signature "melt-in-your-mouth" slow-cooked lamb and "divine" consommé; nevermind that it's "small" and only open Friday–Sunday – the "simple and delicious" eats make it a "must-visit."