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.

Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Mexican · Spruce Hill · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.6 · Service 4.2

“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.”
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."
Loco Pez
Mexican · Fishtown · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.6 · 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.
Cantina Los Caballitos
Mexican · East Passyunk Crossing · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · Service 3.8

"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.”
El Rey
Mexican · Rittenhouse Square · $$
Food 4.1 · 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."
Jose Pistola's
Brunch · 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."
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
Mexican · 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."