Another year, another SXSW, another round of lots of non-Austinites hunting for the tacos.
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 and check the SXSW Taco Map!
** - Amazing
*** - Spit Hot Fire!
|Veracruz always welcomes you with a smile! Photo by Dennis Burnett.|
***Veracruz All Natural
The secret is out. These taco sisters and their band of taco helpers make some of the finest tacos in Austin. Eat a Migas and Fish taco and an Al Pastor call me in the morning!
You can also find these tacos in the SOUTHBITES Food Court this year!
**Tamale House East
Great 2nd location of the Austin Original (RIP). They have extended hours during Music Fest and beer & wine, craft beer, local kegs and music. Good stuff! We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!
Great tacos and coffee.
*El Pollo Rey
Great Al Pastor & Carne Asada 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.
Probably the best breakfast spot in Austin! On East 7th, pretty close to the action. The place is great. It's families and neighbors and newbies all mixed up. We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!
|Tamale House East: Photo by Dennis Burnett|
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Try the brisket tacos! Great addition to the W. 6th taco scene.
The taco bar is in the front of the store by the deli. It'll get the job done, but the real secret are the fish tacos at the seafood bar. Happy Hour from 3p-5p is where it is at!
They serve decent tacos but they're a bit overpriced. Also, they seem to be confused about what carnitas are.
Probably the best fancy tacos downtown. Try the huitlacoche!
***Southbites Food Court
Chilantro, East Side King, Ms P's Electric Cock & VERACRUZ!! Your best bet for eating downtown during SXSW.
***Habaneros Mexican Cafe
Amazing grilled meats and queso! If you can stand the heat order your beef or chicken fajita ranchero style. We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Ups!
Amazing breakfast tacos and lunch special. Eat everything!
|A Plethora of Breakfast Tacos from Habanero's Mexican Restaurant, Photo by Dennis Burnett|
Maria's Taco X-Press
Overrated, but 'ok' tacos.
Tacos done right. This isn't really on South Lamar, but its close enough if you don't mind some cross country hiking. We'll be serving their tacos at the SXSW Taco Meet Up.
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's decent, 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. Great tacos, friendly service.
Great tacos on S. 1st - and if they are around try the lobster rolls at Dock & Roll next door.
Open 24 hours. Great tacos. Go there anytime.
Near Austin Film Studios on 51st St. Great breakfast tacos and great half flour/half corn hybrid tortillas. If you are in the area. Do. Not. Miss!
SXSW Taco 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
- Tripas: Intestines
- Menudo: Tripe Soup
- Chicharron: Fried (or not) Pork Skin
SXSW Taco Eating Hints
- Everything tastes the same after 6 beers. Feel free to skimp on the quality.
- If you have consumed less than 6 beers, walk the few extra blocks to eat the good stuff.
- Unless otherwise stated, avoid the chicken tacos.
- Despite what everyone will tell you, you totally do NOT have to eat at Torchy's. No, it won't blow your mind. Punch everyone that tells you otherwise.
- Don't buy pre-made breakfast tacos at most coffee shops. Eat them fresh. Seriously. Well, unless those pre-made breakfast tacos are at SXSW Taco Meet Ups, in which case it is TOTALLY OK to eat them.
- Don't be afraid to explore taco trailers we didn't mention. If they have a small line in front of them, they're probably pretty good.
- Even if the order taker doesn't speak English, waving your hands and pointing usually works well enough.
- Order a Jarritos (a Mexican fruit flavored soft drink) or a Mexican coke with your taco. It's just natural.
- A lot of trailers, and some restaurants, are cash only. Bring some just in case.