Here's a quick listing of taco places in around a lot of the SXSW venues. Be warned: some of these taco places are aggresively mediocre, but are included because of their proximity to festival sites. Read the blurb before going.
Awesome tacos. A bit of a walk/drive, but worth it.
The chalupas are good but cost a small fortune. Skimp and go with the tacos.
"I've been eating at Porfiro's for over 15 years. Consistent, good quality food. I have friends from San Jose who still talk about."
Rosita's Al Pastor
Best Al Pastor in town. Except when its not. Like anything amazing in life, it is a bit inconsistent.
On East 7th, pretty close to the action. The place is great. It's families and neighbors and newbies all mixed up.
El Mundo de Mando's favorite place. A bit far away from the main venues, but worth a breakfast trip. Get the Machacado breakfast taco.
We hit this place up during our last taco tour. Its a small place, but has quick, quality service. If you are into it, the lengua here is top notch.
Not as cheesy as the name would imply. Juan is an old-school Austin institution, best known for the owner's stellar handshake.
Seriously, don't go here to get a taco. But if you do, the taco bar is in the front of the store by the deli. The vegetarian chorizo (WTF?) is, surprisingly, not completely disgusting. It'll get the job done, but there are much better places around.
They have truly great chips and salsa. Try their drowned flautas and the quesadillas. This place is definitely worth the extra walking.
Only listed here so you know not to eat here. Did you really come all the way to Austin to eat California chain tacos? No. You did not.
They serve decent tacos but they're a bit overpriced. Also, they seem to be confused about what carnitas are (hint: they are not chicken).
This trailer is normally in the parking lot of Little Woodrow's. We enjoyed their straight-up bean and cheese tacos. Everything else? Not so much. Last year, for SXSW, they parked by the Convention Center and sold "Pancake Tacos". Yes, it novel. No, it really isn't that great.
Garrido's is a sit down Fancy-Mex restaurant. It is generally expensive; but their brunch is surprisingly affordable. They have pretty good, fresh, homemade chips (but they charge for them). $2 Mimosa's at Brunch.
La Casa Del Fuego
The breakfast tacos at this trailer are pretty good. They do them right too: they cook all of the ingredients together and let the flavors mix. Their hours are indecipherable. If you are lucky, they'll be open.
El Sol Y La Luna
Certainly not my favorite, this sit down restaurant charges for chips. The food is ok, and some people swear by their enchiladas. Its convenient location on Red River and 6th St guarantees it will be packed.
As mentioned in the New York Times: An Austin institution. A bit off the beaten SXSW path, but not that far. Amazing, cheap, dingy, perfect.
Overrated, but 'ok' tacos. Film geeks: this isn't too far from the Alamo Drafthouse South. Someone will probably try to tell you this place is awesome. They are liars.
Tacos done right. This isn't really on South Lamar, but its close enough if you don't mind some cross country hiking. You'll probably see their premade tacos at coffee shops around town. Go to their real locations for the real deal.
South Congress/South First
If you are a fan of Grindhouse, you may enjoy this place (it featured prominently in it). The tacos are mediocre, at best. This is only included in case you are either desperate or tempted by the crowds.
Everyone is going to tell you to go here. It is ok, but not worth the crowds. Walk down to El Primo or La Mexicana and get twice the food for the same price.
2101 South First. OK tacos, friendly service.
If you must eat white-person tacos, it is better than Torchy's. Note they've moved a few blocks south to a Used Car lot.
Open 24 hours. Great tacos. Go there anytime.
My favorite Liquor Store/Indian Fusion Restaurant/Beer Garden/Live Music venue in the world.
View SXSW Taco Map 2011 in a larger map
SXSW Taco Dictionary
- Al Carbon: Grilled over charcoal
- Al Pastor: Pork with adobo seasoning. Excellent.
- Beef Fajita: Grilled skirt steak
- Carne Guisada: Stewed meat usually with gravy
- Carnitas: Roasted Pork
- Lengua: Tongue
- Tripe: Intestines
- Menudo: Tripe Soup
- Chicharron: Fried (or not) Pork Skin