When in Austin—or Texas in general—you owe it to yourself to enjoy as much authentic Mexican food as you can, because it’s unlike any other in the country. The homemade tortillas, the fresh salsa, and the perfectly cooked meats are enough to make you want to stay in Austin forever, even on the hottest summer days!
And, while you can get good tacos all over the Lone Star State at places like Torchy’s or Velvet Taco, these are the seven best tacos you can only get in Austin, Texas:
- Taco Bronco
- Paprika ATX
- Cuantos Tacos
- Vaquero Taquero
- Taco Flats
- Tyson’s Tacos
Let’s get started!
1. Taco Bronco
After being featured in Austin360, Austin Monthly, and Culture Map Austin, this classic Tex-Mex spot has been popular among locals and tourists alike.
This one-of-a-kind Austin taco truck offers three different types of “deluxe: tacos:
- Brisket suadero
- Smoked chicken tinga
- Sweet potato and poblano
When in Austin, I always recommend the brisket. They also offer smoked carnitas tacos that are out of this world. They’re filled with smoked pork shoulder, griddled (oh-so crispy) jack cheese, pickled onions, bronco sauce, onions, cilantro, and—wait for it—smoked pecans! It might sound like a strange combination, but trust me, it is incredible.
Grab a local craft beer or a prickly pear margarita from Saddle Up, find a picnic table with friends, and enjoy your meal! And if you’re in the mood for barbecue, check out their sidekick trailer, Micklethwait Craft Meats, parked right next door.
2. Paprika ATX
Parked just outside Michi Ramen on North Lamar Boulevard is Paprika ATX, a bright-orange taco truck serving tacos, tortas, and quesadillas. Their kind staff and handwritten sign add to the authentic charm of this humble Texas joint.
Try any or all three of their taco options, and you’ll immediately fall in love. They’ve got meat options like brisket or pork and veggie options like prickly pear cactus, along with homemade red and green salsa.
To take your tastebuds over the top, make it a “Quesitaco” by adding a layer of fried mozzarella cheese to any corn or flour tortilla. Yup—this queso treat is as crispy and tasty as it sounds.
3. Cuantos Tacos
Cuantos Tacos launched its Austin food truck in 2019, setting up shop at the Arbor Food Stop on 12th Street. And let me tell you, they are packing so much flavor in that little taco truck.
Their menu is full of all sorts of tacos, costras, and quesadillas made with authentic Mexican flavor. Their Mexico City street-style tacos are small but mighty. Each tiny tortilla is filled with your choice of protein and topped with the traditional onion, cilantro, and a lime wedge. The proteins range from mushrooms to barbacoa to pork stomach.
You can devour each taco in two to three bites, so it’s recommended to get five to seven for a meal. This is perfect if you want to try all six of their different protein options. I tried one of each, pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try pork stomach and beef cheek. I really enjoyed all of them!
Make sure to load up on limes if you aren’t used to the heat—their salsa has some serious kick.
Discada, a food truck nestled in central East Austin, gets its name from the popular northern Mexican style of cooking mixed-meat dishes.
The owner, José, learned how to cook from his father, a Mexican native who’s been cooking his own discada recipe for over 25 years. His recipe combines the northern Mexican style of cooking with central Mexican flavors. José and his high school buddies have been serving up the recipe to Austin locals since 2018.
So, what are they serving up at Discada? It’s simple. They only serve one style of taquito—which is great if you’re as indecisive as I am.
Each taquito is prepared using the discada method of cooking five cuts of beef and pork, and a mix of veggies, cooked on a piping-hot plow disk. The meats are added one at a time, allowing each type to be cooked fully before pushing them to the outer edge of the disk to make room for the next meat.
These melt-in-your-mouth taquitos come in quantities of three, five, and eight. They’re topped with cilantro, onion, and pineapple, and served with lime, salsa verde, and pink habanero salsa. No matter how many taquitos you get, you’ll want to save room for their elote—it’s just incredible.
5. Vaquero Taquero
If you’re visiting the University of Texas campus or wandering down historic 6th Street and have a hankering for tacos, then you’ll want to visit Vaquero Taquero. This little taqueria is serving up authentic flavors from Mexico—the home of brother business owners Dani and Miguel Cobos.
All of their dishes are served on fresh, handmade tortillas, which you can taste in every bite. Spice up your morning with breakfast tacos filled with chorizo or Machaca (shredded Mexican dried beef) on your choice of flour or corn tortillas.
For lunch and dinner, enjoy an assortment of meats, from chipotle-marinated chicken and flame-seared marinated pork, or veggie tacos packed with sautéed poblanos or nopales (sautéed cactus). No matter what you order, make sure to get a side of their homemade salsa that’s got a sweet and spicy kick.
Keep your eye out for more locations to pop up around Austin, because this taqueria is not slowing down anytime soon!
6. Taco Flats
Taco Flats is a local Austin hangout that’s been serving up great beer and tacos since the 1970s. With three locations across Austin, these taquerias welcome anyone to come sit and stay for a while.
Offering over 20 varieties—from breakfast tacos to those stuffed with beef tongue or local veggies—you’re sure to find one you love at this taco joint. A popular choice is the “Pirata,” a tortilla filled with grilled jack cheese, refried black beans, grilled beef fajita, grilled onion, and cilantro. The beef is juicy, the cheese is melty, and you’ll want to devour it all in one bite!
I highly recommend saving room for a side of their guacamole. It’s incredibly fresh, and it comes with a heaping pile of homemade, paprika-dusted tortilla chips. Chase everything down with any of the 25 beers on tap, and you’ll understand why their slogan is “Come for the tacos, stay for the beer.”
7. Tyson’s Tacos
I think we can all agree—tacos are amazing any time of day, especially when you’re spending time in Austin.
Whether you want them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can get your fix at Tyson’s Tacos. This cute taqueria features a huge pink neon heart sign and is open all day, every day for your taco needs. Literally—they’re open 24/7.
Start your day with a classic bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast taco or their Avocado Abogado, which is loaded with egg, rib eye, avocado and skillet potatoes. For lunch, try their Burnt Ends, which is filled with —you guessed it—burnt ends, fried onions, and cilantro. And for dinner, enjoy their classic Al Pastor or take a walk on the wild side and try their Chrispy Pork Belly, made with chicharron de serrano, fried parsley, and mandarin orange pico. Their Crispy Duck, served on a corn tortilla or flour tortilla, is also a popular pick.
Tyson’s has plenty of outdoor, covered seating for you and friends to grab a bite any time of day.
Thinking about moving to Austin?
These seven spots are only the beginning. If you choose to live down south, you can find hundreds of other great food trucks and restaurants serving up authentic Mexican food.
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Want to read more about my Texas adventures? Check out my blog post, “Tales of a Digital Nomad: How I Spent Three Months Living in Austin, Texas.”