Tuesday, February 26

2013 SXSW Taco Map

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.

*- Good
** - Amazing
*** - Spit Hot Fire!


Shitty service. Great tacos and coffee.  Update: Apparently this is the "Spotify House" during SXSW.  We're guessing this means no shitty service OR coffee.

*El Pollo Rey
Great Al Pastor & Carne Asada tacos!

*Piedras Negras
Awesome tacos. A bit of a walk/drive, but worth it.

"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.

***Joe's Bakery
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 Up.

**Mi Madre's
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.

*Tamale House East
Great 2nd location of the Austin Original. They have extended hours during Music Fest and beer & wine, craft beer, local kegs and music. Good stuff!

West Sixth

*Whole Foods
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!

This is chain fish tacos. Seriously, don't do it unless you are really hungry.

They serve decent tacos but they're a bit overpriced. Also, they seem to be confused about what carnitas are.

This trailer is in the parking lot of Little Woodrow's. We enjoyed their straight-up bean and cheese tacos. Everything else? Not so much.


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.


El Sol Y La Luna
Certainly not my favorite, but some people swear by their enchiladas. Its convenient location on Red River and 6th St guarantees it will be packed.

*La Condesa
Probably the best fancy tacos downtown. Try the huitlacoche!

South Lamar-ish

Amazing breakfast tacos and lunch special. Eat everything!

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.

**El Primo

2101 South First. Great tacos, friendly service.

*Mellizoz Tacos
Great tacos on S. 1st - and if they are around try the lobster rolls at Dock & Roll next door.

La Mexicana
Open 24 hours. Great tacos. Go there anytime.


*Paco's Tacos
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!

*Tamale House
An Austin institution. A bit off the beaten SXSW path, but not that far.

SXSW Taco Map

View SXSW Taco Map 2013 in a larger map

View SXSW Taco Map 2013 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
  • Tripas: Intestines
  • Menudo: Tripe Soup
  • Chicharron: Fried (or not) Pork Skin

SXSW Taco Eating Hints
  1. Everything tastes the same after 6 beers. Feel free to skimp on the quality.
  2. If you have consumed less than 6 beers, walk the few extra blocks to eat the good stuff.
  3. Unless otherwise stated, avoid the chicken tacos.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Up, in which case it is TOTALLY OK to eat them.
  6. 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.
  7. Even if the order taker doesn't speak English, waving your hands and pointing usually works well enough.
  8. Order a Jarritos (a Mexican fruit flavored soft drink) or a Mexican coke with your taco. It's just natural.
  9. A lot of trailers, and some restaurants, are cash only. Bring some just in case.
Did we miss your favorite taco spot? Tell us and we'll rectify that shit -  tacojournalism@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

Small correction: Tripe = menudo. Tripas = tacos.

Also, accents do matter in Spanish. Otherwise, you've got a ton of misspellings all over your site. A missing accent can change the meaning of a Spanish word entirely. Just sayin'.

Nikki R said...

Just tried to download your taco app and can't get it to work. I get an error saying "this app not available in the US". Then went directly to ITunes app store and searched for "taco journalism" and "itacos", but search results came up with nada. Can you help?

Jneece said...

Nikki - The taco app es broken. :) If anyone wants to help fix it we can pay in al pastor.

Anonymous - Thanks for the heads up. It's just a blog so we'll just let it all the grammar slide. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a great list! I love you guys.

Steve Odom said...

You left out two of my favorites: Veracruz All Natural on Cesar Chavez and the counter service at the La Michaocana on e. 7th.

Anonymous said...

any Austin taco list that rates Tacodeli a 1/3 stars is flawed and should be largely disregarded

Anonymous said...

"any Austin taco list that rates Tacodeli a 1/3 stars is flawed and should be largely disregarded"

Any commenter who can't read that 1 star is still "good" but not "spit hot fire!" good should largely be mocked mercilessly for their lack of grade school reading comprehension.

Tacodeli IS good - but there are more unique options out there which any visitor to our city should enjoy, before trying a chain taco shop.