More than something quick and delicious, devouring tacos is a religious experience in Austin, Texas.
Yet, life in Austin has more to offer. The city is the live music capital of the world, a fast-growing tech hub, and home of the interactive South By Southwest Conference and Festivals. South by — for short, also SXSW — brings in thousands, and I mean thousands, of out-of-towners. Every venue, bar, restaurant, hotel — you name it — is packed during these nine days of the conference and festivals.
So, for those of you visiting the city for this wild South By Southwest week who want to indulge in Austin’s culture, here are some of the best taco spots to look for. (Although, it’s hard to be disappointed by any of the taco choices in Austin.)
Just remember, wannabe taco connoisseurs: always ask (the server, cashier, owner) about their most popular taco—and trust the kitchen when it comes to corn or flour tortillas. (They usually know what tastes best with what you ordered.)
What to order: Don Juan El Taco Grande
This giant taco is plenty for a meal and then some, filled with egg, potato, bacon, and plenty of cheese. Served on a tortilla with a side of extra tortillas. Come hungry for this infamous breakfast taco.
What to order: Norte Taco
Nestled on the side of West 6th Streets bar district, and connected to Little Woodrow’s. This taco stand is perfect for any cravings you’ll have while hopping around one of Austin’s busiest scenes.
What to order: Al Pastor, Barbacoa
One of the best-hidden gems in East Austin, and easy to drive past. This taco trailer is located next to an auto lot. You can’t go wrong choosing any of the meats for tacos. All are pretty simply put together with onion, cilantro and maybe a salsa, which—for the flavor of the meat—is all you need.
What to order: Al Pastor, Taco Bueno
Make your taco experience more than a quick eat — order a taco plate at Pueblo Viejo and get two tacos plus rice and beans. Al Pastor is a classic! Even that image of it shows how mouth-watering it is.
What to order: Al Pastor, Carnitas
Tacos at a brewery — what more could you want? Lazarus Brewing Company is definitely doing something right with both their beers and the selection of food they serve — all of it is delicious. Be sure to order a beer or two with any of the delicious tacos ordered.
What to order: Breakfast Tacos (build your own; with bacon or chorizo is delicious)
Habanero Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch and only accepts cash. Yet it’s always packed with locals. With quick service and amazing breakfast tacos, you’ll want to make sure you hit this spot while in the south-central part of Austin. Think of it as a food adventure and escape from the downtown craziness for an hour.
7. La Mexicana Bakery, South 1st
What to order: Barbacoa, Migas Breakfast Taco
This bakery is open 24-hours — twenty-four hours. It’s easy to be distracted by all the pastries inside, but rest assured, the tacos worth trying. They’re served on homemade tortillas (of course). The only problem? Choosing between breakfast or dinner tacos. I suggest getting both.
What to order: Bistec, Breakfast Tacos (build your own, three-ingredients; chorizo is a must!)
With a drive-through, it’s pretty hard not to pass up El Tacorrido. Breakfast tacos all day with the most crisp-perfectly cooked bacon. You’ll want to try their Equinox coffee drink (made with horchata and a shot of espresso) and their queso (that’s not listed on the menu).
Katie Kuchta is a gardening and outdoor living guru, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos. Follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen