8 of the best tacos in Mexico City!

11 December, 2020

Tacos are probably the most popular Mexican dish in the country and all over the world. It is a simple dish made with a tortilla (Northern Mexico uses the flour tortilla while Southern and Central Mexico prefer the maize tortilla) and any filling to wrap like meat, vegetables, insects, eggs, cheese… any combination you want. Then you can add extra toppings like lime juice, salsa, onion, and cilantro… these lists go on and on. You can make a taco out of any ingredients you want.

Maybe the reason we love tacos so much are because they make such a versatile meal. Or maybe because it’s comfort food, something you grow up with as a Mexican. No matter if you’re having homemade tacos or eating them tipsy at 3 am, tacos are a comfortable, democratic food we all enjoy. As Anthony Bourdain once said:

Mexico, it’s one of the places we, as a crew, are happiest when the day’s work is over. We’ll gather round a street stall and order soft tacos with fresh, bright, delicious tasting salsas—drink cold Mexican beer, sip smoky mezcals, listen with moist eyes to sentimental songs from street musicians”.

Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknow: Under the volcano

That’s what tacos are all about. If you’re wondering where to start your taco exploration, here we have eight popular varieties in Mexico City, the kind of tacos chilangos like the most. There are tacos for any occasion, so you’ll see a brief explanation of each and where to find them. 

tacos al pastor mexico city

Tacos al pastor

A favorite and a must-try in Mexico City. Its ancestors are Lebanese shawarmas, which arrived in Mexico in the 20s. Then this recipe was adapted to Mexican ingredients such as pork, chile, achiote, and other spices. Al pastor meat is slowly cooked in a spinning grill called trompo, and it is usually served with a pineapple slice, onion, and cilantro. Pro tip: this is usually a late-night taco, the one you have after partying hard.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

tacos suadero mexico city

Tacos de suadero

A Mexico City specialty, and my favorite taco in all honesty. It is made with a tough beef cut from between the skin and ribs, which needs to be slowly cooked for a long time to achieve a tender texture.

So suadero is confined in its fat for hours in a round griddle called choricera. The result is tender juicy meat with a crispy brown surface, it only needs some salsa and a little bit of cilantro and onion on top to be perfect. 

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

tacps barbacoa mexico city

Tacos de barbacoa

Important: Barbacoa is not like an American barbeque; in fact, it’s a completely different dish. Barbacoa consists of lamb meat wrapped in pencas de maguey (maguey leaves) and traditionally cooked in an underground cooking pit. The meat is usually served with lamb broth and chickpeas, and of course, salsa borracha made with pulque. This is a typical hangover breakfast.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

tacos carne mexico city

Tacos campechanos

Even though they’re called campechanos, these tacos have nothing to do with Campeche. Somehow in the XX century chilangos adapted this word to refer to a mix of different things, so tacos campechanos are made with steak and longaniza, or suadero and chicharrón, or steak and green chorizo… the ingredients might change depending on the taquero’s recipe.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

tacos mexico city

Tacos de canasta

The traditional academics breakfast from UNAM. These tacos are filled with mashed potatoes, chicharrón, beans, and adobo, then they’re carefully stacked in a basket covered with a plastic bag and a cloth, and then poured with adobo. Tacos must sweat for an hour before eating them. Its name comes from the basket (canasta) where the vendors keep them, some of them go around the city by bike.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

carnitas tacos mexico city

Tacos de carnitas

From Michoacán to the world. Carnitas are made of pork, this includes both the meat and tripes,  which are cooked for a long time in lard, similar to a confit, then some people add cola or orange soda to give a golden crispy surface. This tender pork meat can be served in tacos, gorditas, or even tortas. 

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

Tacos de guisado

tacos guisado mexico city
Tacos de guisado from La Güera.

Guisados are traditional mexican preparations that include rice a la mexicana, beans, and some kinds-of-stews such as chiccharrón en salsa, steak with salsa, chicken tinga, potatoes with chorizo, sausages a la mexicana, and many others.

The best part about them is that you can mix different guisados to create the perfect taco for you, so don’t be shy when you order! Often guisados are served in clay casseroles.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

tacos suadero mexico city

Tacos de cabeza

As its name says cabeza or head, includes brains, eyeball, cheek, ears, horns, maciza; basically the whole head of the beef. Each part is steamed until the meat is tender, then put in a round griddle and covered with plastic to keep it steamy and moist; tortillas are also heated in here. These tacos come from el Bajío, a region of Central Mexico, and are often eaten in the morning or at night.

  • Where to try them?

El Vilsito.
Petén #248, corner with Universidad.
Monday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am

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