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14 Spots for Fantastic Tacos in the Seattle Area

With guisado tacos made with heirloom corn, crispy quesabirria tacos, tender carnitas, and more

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There are several time-worn Seattle narratives that need to be retired. You can’t get good pizza in Seattle. Obsolete, there’s tons of great pizza here now. The Mariners will never break the playoff drought in our lifetime. They just did last season. Umbrellas are for tourists. Okay, maybe that one is still true. But it’s time to add one other narrative to the junk heap: It’s hard to find good tacos in Seattle.

No, it’s not hard to find good tacos in Seattle anymore! The baseline for tacos here has improved considerably since the 2010s, and we’re not the only ones who think so. From maximalist Baja-style tacos to tacos representing the Lebanese-Mexican diaspora, it’s possible to find quality and variety all over town. Here are some of the absolute standouts.

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Tacos and beer

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This Crown Hill spot is a case study in “don’t judge a book by its cover.” You might pass by and write it off for the irreverent name and accompanying Word art-ass-looking sign. But Linda and Héctor Oropeza’s restaurant is an absolute gem. Tacos here are Baja-style; big and maximalist. Their chorizo is made even heartier with potatoes and pinto beans and their carne asada is practically ahogada in salsa ranchera without losing any beefiness. The tortillas are fresh and supple, yet up to keeping all that meat contained.

The tacos at this popular Ballard spot celebrate local and sustainable meat and seafood and come on masa made from Oaxaca-grown heirloom corn. These are relatively high-end tacos (Gracia is a sit-down place), but worth the $6 price. The bar here has a fantastic tequila and mezcal selection.

Tacos at Gracia
Gracia’s tortillas use Oaxaca-grown heirloom corn.
Gracia

El Legendario Mexican Restaurant

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Tucked away on Aurora Avenue right before the bridge, you might miss El Legendario on your way south. But the Rodriguez family has been slinging fantastic comida here since 2015. The spot is in a vibey former roadhouse with an utterly charming vintage bar to boot. Once you find El Legendario, you’ll also find some of the best lamb tacos around. Tender, chile-spiked, and pleasantly messy, these don’t suffer from the dryness that sometimes trips up other purveyors of barbacoa de borrego. Carne adovada is another standout, with its signature big red chile flavor. 

Sazon Kitchen

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An offshoot of the well-liked food truck Sazon Tacos, the Mexican restaurant (with a location in Ballard as well as Queen Anne) has expanded its repertoire with some brunch dishes like chilaquiles. But the tacos are still on point, with stewy guisado options like beef and salmon machaca and diabla shrimp.

Tacos Chukis

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This hotspot tucked away on Capitol Hill churns out tacos and burritos from a limited but still terrific menu. The tiny tacos are all good, especially the pork adobada topped with grilled pineapple, or the special house adobada taco with cheese. The nopal tacos, too, are tangy and a good accompaniment to the meatier options. The growing company also dishes them out at locations in South Lake Union, the Central District, and Beacon Hill.

Carmelo’s Tacos

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Hiding in the same building as Capitol Hill’s Hillcrest Market, this Mexico City-style taqueria is a true gem. Among the highlights are the campechano, featuring chorizo, steak, and potato, as well as a satisfying vegan taco with mushrooms, refried beans, garlic, guajillo chili, and onions.

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Campechano #tacos#seattletacos#chorizo#mexicanfood#pnw

A post shared by CARMELOSTACOS (@carmelostacos) on

Situ Tacos

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Musician Lupe Flores (drummer for the bands Wild Powwers, Tacos the Band, and LORBO) has drawn long lines for her Lebanese-Mexican taco pop-up, praised for its delicately fried tortillas. Now she’s found a more permanent home at popular Belltown bar Jupiter. The tacos come in varieties such as Lebanese brown butter beef, creamy garlic potatoes, and spicy cauliflower, with sides that include comforting soups. Updates can be found on Situ Taco’s Instagram.

Maíz, a new tortilleria and counter-service shop in the heart of Pike Place Market, is a temple to corn: kernels of varieties like red cónico, blue chalqueño, and yellow bolita line the counter above the griddle, and heirloom corn is the base of every dish. The shop is also rare in the Seattle area for focusing on guisado tacos — filled with stewy, comforting blends of meats, vegetables, beans, and herbs and spices. Though available guisados rotate throughout the week, a good bet is the bistec — made with well-browned steak and caramelized onions.

Carnitas Michoacan

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The Santacruz family’s Beacon Hill taqueria became an instant favorite when it opened in 2016. Corn tortillas are made in-house, so they’re always at peak freshness and vibrantly flavorful. Meat is richly seasoned and succulent — the namesake carnitas include crisped bits of pork skin for maximum decadence, while the carne asada is eminently tender and juicy. It’s kind of a conundrum that Carnitas Michoacán has one of the greatest selections of salsas around: The tacos don’t need anything added, but you’ll want to try all the salsas. A good reason to order more tacos!

Taqueria La Fondita

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This inexpensive, stationary food truck in White Center with an offshoot on Aurora Avenue is one of the Seattle area’s best. A special request for extra grilled mini-onions and spicy serrano peppers is key.

Tacos with sides in a white container from Taqueria la Fondita.
Taqueria La Fondita serves some of the best tacos in the city out of a truck.
Teresa Lam

Taco Street

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This unassuming spot in a strip mall near the Othello light rail station is one of the few places around that regularly serve al pastor made in the traditional style: thin cuts of pork shoulder stacked on a trompo, roasted vertically, and sliced as the surface of the meat browns; a preparation brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. It makes for a next-level tender pork that is scattered with extra savory browned bits, along with distinctive flavors of achiote and warm spice. Taco Street also serves a variety of other tacos that can go toe to toe with the rest of the taquerias on this list. But the al pastor, that’s your fighter. 

Carnitas Mr. Porky Taqueria

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A sister restaurant to birria specialists Birriería Tijuana, Carnitas Mr. Porky is all about, well, carnitas. So if you want tacos here, you’re getting carnitas tacos; no decisions required. The pork here is pulled in thicker chunks than at most area taquerias, glossy with rendered fat and golden with shattering chicharron and surface bits that have crisped in that rendered fat. A single $4 taco is nearly a feast itself, an exemplary house-made tortilla stuffed very generously with the main ingredient, but the menu offers many other ways to go whole hog. They even sell deli containers of lard to take home.

Birrieria Tijuana

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Burien’s taco counter inside a Mexican supermarket specializes in quesabirria tacos, which involve slow-cooked, shredded beef topped with gooey mozzarella inside fried tortillas, best washed down with a refreshing horchata. There are also locations in Lakewood and Everett.

El Cabrito

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Though this Burien gem is better known for its Oaxacan specialties like mole and molotes, El Cabrito also serves up great tacos, served simply with onions, cilantro, and smoky morita chili salsa. Meat options are asada, carnitas, al pastor with pineapple, roasted vegetables, and a particularly satisfying chicken mole taco.

Tacos and beer

This Crown Hill spot is a case study in “don’t judge a book by its cover.” You might pass by and write it off for the irreverent name and accompanying Word art-ass-looking sign. But Linda and Héctor Oropeza’s restaurant is an absolute gem. Tacos here are Baja-style; big and maximalist. Their chorizo is made even heartier with potatoes and pinto beans and their carne asada is practically ahogada in salsa ranchera without losing any beefiness. The tortillas are fresh and supple, yet up to keeping all that meat contained.

Gracia

The tacos at this popular Ballard spot celebrate local and sustainable meat and seafood and come on masa made from Oaxaca-grown heirloom corn. These are relatively high-end tacos (Gracia is a sit-down place), but worth the $6 price. The bar here has a fantastic tequila and mezcal selection.

Tacos at Gracia
Gracia’s tortillas use Oaxaca-grown heirloom corn.
Gracia

El Legendario Mexican Restaurant

Tucked away on Aurora Avenue right before the bridge, you might miss El Legendario on your way south. But the Rodriguez family has been slinging fantastic comida here since 2015. The spot is in a vibey former roadhouse with an utterly charming vintage bar to boot. Once you find El Legendario, you’ll also find some of the best lamb tacos around. Tender, chile-spiked, and pleasantly messy, these don’t suffer from the dryness that sometimes trips up other purveyors of barbacoa de borrego. Carne adovada is another standout, with its signature big red chile flavor. 

Sazon Kitchen

An offshoot of the well-liked food truck Sazon Tacos, the Mexican restaurant (with a location in Ballard as well as Queen Anne) has expanded its repertoire with some brunch dishes like chilaquiles. But the tacos are still on point, with stewy guisado options like beef and salmon machaca and diabla shrimp.

Tacos Chukis

This hotspot tucked away on Capitol Hill churns out tacos and burritos from a limited but still terrific menu. The tiny tacos are all good, especially the pork adobada topped with grilled pineapple, or the special house adobada taco with cheese. The nopal tacos, too, are tangy and a good accompaniment to the meatier options. The growing company also dishes them out at locations in South Lake Union, the Central District, and Beacon Hill.

Carmelo’s Tacos

Hiding in the same building as Capitol Hill’s Hillcrest Market, this Mexico City-style taqueria is a true gem. Among the highlights are the campechano, featuring chorizo, steak, and potato, as well as a satisfying vegan taco with mushrooms, refried beans, garlic, guajillo chili, and onions.

View this post on Instagram

Campechano #tacos#seattletacos#chorizo#mexicanfood#pnw

A post shared by CARMELOSTACOS (@carmelostacos) on

Situ Tacos

Musician Lupe Flores (drummer for the bands Wild Powwers, Tacos the Band, and LORBO) has drawn long lines for her Lebanese-Mexican taco pop-up, praised for its delicately fried tortillas. Now she’s found a more permanent home at popular Belltown bar Jupiter. The tacos come in varieties such as Lebanese brown butter beef, creamy garlic potatoes, and spicy cauliflower, with sides that include comforting soups. Updates can be found on Situ Taco’s Instagram.

Maíz

Maíz, a new tortilleria and counter-service shop in the heart of Pike Place Market, is a temple to corn: kernels of varieties like red cónico, blue chalqueño, and yellow bolita line the counter above the griddle, and heirloom corn is the base of every dish. The shop is also rare in the Seattle area for focusing on guisado tacos — filled with stewy, comforting blends of meats, vegetables, beans, and herbs and spices. Though available guisados rotate throughout the week, a good bet is the bistec — made with well-browned steak and caramelized onions.

Carnitas Michoacan

The Santacruz family’s Beacon Hill taqueria became an instant favorite when it opened in 2016. Corn tortillas are made in-house, so they’re always at peak freshness and vibrantly flavorful. Meat is richly seasoned and succulent — the namesake carnitas include crisped bits of pork skin for maximum decadence, while the carne asada is eminently tender and juicy. It’s kind of a conundrum that Carnitas Michoacán has one of the greatest selections of salsas around: The tacos don’t need anything added, but you’ll want to try all the salsas. A good reason to order more tacos!

Taqueria La Fondita

This inexpensive, stationary food truck in White Center with an offshoot on Aurora Avenue is one of the Seattle area’s best. A special request for extra grilled mini-onions and spicy serrano peppers is key.

Tacos with sides in a white container from Taqueria la Fondita.
Taqueria La Fondita serves some of the best tacos in the city out of a truck.
Teresa Lam

Taco Street

This unassuming spot in a strip mall near the Othello light rail station is one of the few places around that regularly serve al pastor made in the traditional style: thin cuts of pork shoulder stacked on a trompo, roasted vertically, and sliced as the surface of the meat browns; a preparation brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. It makes for a next-level tender pork that is scattered with extra savory browned bits, along with distinctive flavors of achiote and warm spice. Taco Street also serves a variety of other tacos that can go toe to toe with the rest of the taquerias on this list. But the al pastor, that’s your fighter. 

Carnitas Mr. Porky Taqueria

A sister restaurant to birria specialists Birriería Tijuana, Carnitas Mr. Porky is all about, well, carnitas. So if you want tacos here, you’re getting carnitas tacos; no decisions required. The pork here is pulled in thicker chunks than at most area taquerias, glossy with rendered fat and golden with shattering chicharron and surface bits that have crisped in that rendered fat. A single $4 taco is nearly a feast itself, an exemplary house-made tortilla stuffed very generously with the main ingredient, but the menu offers many other ways to go whole hog. They even sell deli containers of lard to take home.

Birrieria Tijuana

Burien’s taco counter inside a Mexican supermarket specializes in quesabirria tacos, which involve slow-cooked, shredded beef topped with gooey mozzarella inside fried tortillas, best washed down with a refreshing horchata. There are also locations in Lakewood and Everett.

El Cabrito

Though this Burien gem is better known for its Oaxacan specialties like mole and molotes, El Cabrito also serves up great tacos, served simply with onions, cilantro, and smoky morita chili salsa. Meat options are asada, carnitas, al pastor with pineapple, roasted vegetables, and a particularly satisfying chicken mole taco.

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