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Pineapple and mango-accented shrimp, huitlacoche (corn smut), and nopales (cactus) tacos.
Pineapple and mango-accented shrimp, huitlacoche (corn smut), and nopales (cactus) tacos at DC Corazon.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

16 Outstanding Tacos to Try in D.C.

Where to find tortillas topped with tilapia, beef tongue, chicken tinga, and more

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Pineapple and mango-accented shrimp, huitlacoche (corn smut), and nopales (cactus) tacos at DC Corazon.
| Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Any time is a great time to eat tacos in D.C.

This roundup highlights newcomers like Adams Morgan’s Taqueria Al Lado (which unveiled a pint-sized location off H Street NE this month), Rita’s Tacos inside Roy Boys in Shaw, or DC Corazon in Columbia Heights, and as well as standbys such as El Rey and Taqueria Habanero. Most options — wrapped with flour or corn tortillas — start at $3 a pop, which means going on a citywide taco crawl is very doable.

For familiar tacos in brand new digs, consider Santa Rosa Taqueria on Capitol Hill. And there’s even more taco deliciousness on the horizon, when Oyamel alum Christian Irabien finally unveils his long-awaited Mexican restaurant Amparo.

The featured bars and restaurants are not ranked. They are arranged geographically from north to south.

Don’t see a personal favorite on the list? Sound off in the comments or shoot us an email (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Little Miner Taco

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Little Miner Taco’s birria de res tacos oozing with melted jack cheese became so popular that the food truck added multiple locations across the DMV, including a takeout-only spot in D.C. There are now four fillings for the quesotacos: birria, chicken tinga, grilled chicken, and mushroom, all served with consommé for dipping.

Beef birria tacos with consomme
Beef birria tacos with consommé from Little Miner Taco.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

DC Corazon

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Inspired by the the mom-and-pop shops in Mexico City known as fondas, DC Corazon offers meaty tacos as well as all sorts of interesting options for vegetarians like fried avocado, huitlacoche (corn fungus), nopales (cactus), or hibiscus flowers sauteed in achiote paste.

Mezcalero

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This street food-centric taqueria fills its tortillas (corn or flour) with over a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes) as well as blackened fish with pico de gallo.

Taqueria Habanero

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This festive Petworth eatery is a casual and cool destination inspired by cuisine from Puebla, Mexico. Its native Mexican owners serve hits like tinga poblana (shredded chicken and sausage) and tilapia-filled tacos.

El Chucho

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Whether they come for the boozy tequila drinks or the chance to soak up some rays on the spacious rooftop deck, confidence is high that every customer that walks into this Columbia Heights mainstay isn’t leaving without polishing off at least one of the kitchen’s inventive tacos. Example: sesame-crusted rare ahi tuna topped with grilled pina salsa, pickled shallots, and jalapeño aioli with cilantro. ⠀

Mayahuel

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This colorful Day of the Dead-themed eatery is worth the trek up to Woodley Park. A best seller is the trio of beef tongue tacos; the meat is braised four hours and served with habanero-mango salsa, fresh mango, chopped white onion, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Assorted tacos at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo

Taqueria Al Lado

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This year-old taqueria in Adams Morgan prides itself on grinding its own masa. Handsome blue-corn tortillas are the base for tacos simply dressed in traditional garb of cilantro, onion, and a razor-thin radish slice. The al pastor gets cooled down with some pineapple, while tempura-battered cod has a thicker blanket of crunchy cabbage slaw and chipotle crema. Owner Rolando Frias just added a late-night location across town off H Street NE that slings tacos until 2:30 a.m.

Tacos on a white plate
Taqueria Al Lado one of the few restaurants in town that nixtamalizes corn masa on the premises.
Evan Caplan/Eater D.C.

Rita’s Tacos at Roy Boy’s

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The fried chicken-and-bloody mary bar in Shaw added a wildly popular taco pop-up during the pandemic that’s here to stay. The Mexican menu features fillings like chicken, carnitas, lamb, and al pastor, a Nashville hot variety features its fried chicken, mac and cheese, and hot sauce. Any order can be dunked in a cup of rich consommé for $3.

El Tamarindo

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Shredded chicken tacos are the name of the game at this funky taqueria, which hosts a booming Taco Tuesday with $4 to $4.75 tacos and drink specials.

A taco trio
Tacos by El Tamarindo
Carla Sanchez/El Tamarindo

Taqueria Xochi

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Chef Teresa Padilla, a longtime veteran of José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, serves up dishes inspired by her hometown of San Jose Teacalco in Tlaxcala, Mexico from a hot pink takeout window on U Street. That includes cheesy quesabirria tacos with either a blend of chuck and brisket or lamb, as well as tacos spotlighting fillings like carnitas, chorizo, or mushroom.

A trio of tacos on a table with accoutrements on the side
Taqueria Xochi co-owner Geraldine Mendoza says authentically Mexican tacos — like these nopales-filled tortillas — have only onion and cilantro as a garnish with salsa on the side.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Espita Mezcaleria

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This hip destination for Mexican fare and tons of mezcal is still going strong (and the Espita team recently branched out with Taqueria Las Gemelas). At Espita in Shaw, try the carnitas taco with confit pork belly and shoulder, salsas verde and picante, onion, and cilantro. For a meat-free version, there’s the cauliflower barbacoa taco, topped with sesame crema, eggplant salsa, and crispy garbanzo beans.

If its legendary grasshopper tacos aren’t your thing, José Andrés’ whimsical Oaxacan eatery has lots of other $5 options at the ready. Try the Yucatán-style pit barbecued Rocky Hollow Farms pork with Mexican sour orange and pickled red onion, or one with shredded local beef in a homemade tortilla with white onions and a sauce made of pasilla and guajillo chiles.

The popular taqueria in Shaw recently expanded across state lines with an outpost in Ballston, complete with a 50-foot long bar and 10 different tacos on the menu. Those options include a “DC Taco” filled with panko-coated fried chicken breast strips, crispy potato frites, cilantro, and El Rey’s own mumbo sauce.

An industrial-styled bar with colorful stools
El Rey’s industrial-styled outpost in Ballston resembles the original in Shaw. 
Mykl Wu/El Rey

Taqueria el Poblano (Multiple locations)

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This homegrown chain covers all the bases, serving taco favorites (seasoned pork, beer-battered fish, grilled vegetables) along with upscale proteins including roast duck (and sometimes lobster tacos). There’s also grilled shrimp drizzled with avocado sauce on a flour tortilla and shredded chicken stuffed into crunchy shells.

Taco Bamba (Multiple locations)

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Restaurateur Victor Albisu keeps growing his Taco Bamba chain: the newest location in Alexandria’s Landmark neighborhood serves his signature tacos with new-fangled ingredients like shawarma spiced grilled beef and burnt eggplant or slaw-topped Korean-style chicken nuggets. Taco Bamba will make a triumphant return to D.C. later this year.

Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax
Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax.
Greg Powers for Taco Bamba

Chop Shop Taco

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A former auto shop in Alexandria is now a taco spot with big windows that swing open on nice days and a side patio for al fresco dining. Try tacos stuffed with the likes of citrus-ginger marinated chicken or crispy glazed pork belly.

tacos in silver containers
Tacos arrive in camping-style containers at Chop Shop Taco.
Chop Shop Taco

Little Miner Taco

Beef birria tacos with consomme
Beef birria tacos with consommé from Little Miner Taco.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Little Miner Taco’s birria de res tacos oozing with melted jack cheese became so popular that the food truck added multiple locations across the DMV, including a takeout-only spot in D.C. There are now four fillings for the quesotacos: birria, chicken tinga, grilled chicken, and mushroom, all served with consommé for dipping.

Beef birria tacos with consomme
Beef birria tacos with consommé from Little Miner Taco.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

DC Corazon

Inspired by the the mom-and-pop shops in Mexico City known as fondas, DC Corazon offers meaty tacos as well as all sorts of interesting options for vegetarians like fried avocado, huitlacoche (corn fungus), nopales (cactus), or hibiscus flowers sauteed in achiote paste.

Mezcalero

This street food-centric taqueria fills its tortillas (corn or flour) with over a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes) as well as blackened fish with pico de gallo.

Taqueria Habanero

This festive Petworth eatery is a casual and cool destination inspired by cuisine from Puebla, Mexico. Its native Mexican owners serve hits like tinga poblana (shredded chicken and sausage) and tilapia-filled tacos.

El Chucho

Whether they come for the boozy tequila drinks or the chance to soak up some rays on the spacious rooftop deck, confidence is high that every customer that walks into this Columbia Heights mainstay isn’t leaving without polishing off at least one of the kitchen’s inventive tacos. Example: sesame-crusted rare ahi tuna topped with grilled pina salsa, pickled shallots, and jalapeño aioli with cilantro. ⠀

Mayahuel

Assorted tacos at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo

This colorful Day of the Dead-themed eatery is worth the trek up to Woodley Park. A best seller is the trio of beef tongue tacos; the meat is braised four hours and served with habanero-mango salsa, fresh mango, chopped white onion, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Assorted tacos at Mayahuel.
Simo Ahmadi/Photography by Simo

Taqueria Al Lado

Tacos on a white plate
Taqueria Al Lado one of the few restaurants in town that nixtamalizes corn masa on the premises.
Evan Caplan/Eater D.C.

This year-old taqueria in Adams Morgan prides itself on grinding its own masa. Handsome blue-corn tortillas are the base for tacos simply dressed in traditional garb of cilantro, onion, and a razor-thin radish slice. The al pastor gets cooled down with some pineapple, while tempura-battered cod has a thicker blanket of crunchy cabbage slaw and chipotle crema. Owner Rolando Frias just added a late-night location across town off H Street NE that slings tacos until 2:30 a.m.

Tacos on a white plate
Taqueria Al Lado one of the few restaurants in town that nixtamalizes corn masa on the premises.
Evan Caplan/Eater D.C.

Rita’s Tacos at Roy Boy’s

The fried chicken-and-bloody mary bar in Shaw added a wildly popular taco pop-up during the pandemic that’s here to stay. The Mexican menu features fillings like chicken, carnitas, lamb, and al pastor, a Nashville hot variety features its fried chicken, mac and cheese, and hot sauce. Any order can be dunked in a cup of rich consommé for $3.

El Tamarindo

A taco trio
Tacos by El Tamarindo
Carla Sanchez/El Tamarindo

Shredded chicken tacos are the name of the game at this funky taqueria, which hosts a booming Taco Tuesday with $4 to $4.75 tacos and drink specials.

A taco trio
Tacos by El Tamarindo
Carla Sanchez/El Tamarindo

Taqueria Xochi

A trio of tacos on a table with accoutrements on the side
Taqueria Xochi co-owner Geraldine Mendoza says authentically Mexican tacos — like these nopales-filled tortillas — have only onion and cilantro as a garnish with salsa on the side.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Chef Teresa Padilla, a longtime veteran of José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, serves up dishes inspired by her hometown of San Jose Teacalco in Tlaxcala, Mexico from a hot pink takeout window on U Street. That includes cheesy quesabirria tacos with either a blend of chuck and brisket or lamb, as well as tacos spotlighting fillings like carnitas, chorizo, or mushroom.

A trio of tacos on a table with accoutrements on the side
Taqueria Xochi co-owner Geraldine Mendoza says authentically Mexican tacos — like these nopales-filled tortillas — have only onion and cilantro as a garnish with salsa on the side.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Espita Mezcaleria

This hip destination for Mexican fare and tons of mezcal is still going strong (and the Espita team recently branched out with Taqueria Las Gemelas). At Espita in Shaw, try the carnitas taco with confit pork belly and shoulder, salsas verde and picante, onion, and cilantro. For a meat-free version, there’s the cauliflower barbacoa taco, topped with sesame crema, eggplant salsa, and crispy garbanzo beans.

Oyamel

If its legendary grasshopper tacos aren’t your thing, José Andrés’ whimsical Oaxacan eatery has lots of other $5 options at the ready. Try the Yucatán-style pit barbecued Rocky Hollow Farms pork with Mexican sour orange and pickled red onion, or one with shredded local beef in a homemade tortilla with white onions and a sauce made of pasilla and guajillo chiles.

El Rey

An industrial-styled bar with colorful stools
El Rey’s industrial-styled outpost in Ballston resembles the original in Shaw. 
Mykl Wu/El Rey

The popular taqueria in Shaw recently expanded across state lines with an outpost in Ballston, complete with a 50-foot long bar and 10 different tacos on the menu. Those options include a “DC Taco” filled with panko-coated fried chicken breast strips, crispy potato frites, cilantro, and El Rey’s own mumbo sauce.

An industrial-styled bar with colorful stools
El Rey’s industrial-styled outpost in Ballston resembles the original in Shaw. 
Mykl Wu/El Rey

Taqueria el Poblano (Multiple locations)

This homegrown chain covers all the bases, serving taco favorites (seasoned pork, beer-battered fish, grilled vegetables) along with upscale proteins including roast duck (and sometimes lobster tacos). There’s also grilled shrimp drizzled with avocado sauce on a flour tortilla and shredded chicken stuffed into crunchy shells.

Taco Bamba (Multiple locations)

Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax
Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax.
Greg Powers for Taco Bamba

Restaurateur Victor Albisu keeps growing his Taco Bamba chain: the newest location in Alexandria’s Landmark neighborhood serves his signature tacos with new-fangled ingredients like shawarma spiced grilled beef and burnt eggplant or slaw-topped Korean-style chicken nuggets. Taco Bamba will make a triumphant return to D.C. later this year.

Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax
Special “nuestros tacos” from the Taco Bamba in Fairfax.
Greg Powers for Taco Bamba

Related Maps

Chop Shop Taco

tacos in silver containers
Tacos arrive in camping-style containers at Chop Shop Taco.
Chop Shop Taco

A former auto shop in Alexandria is now a taco spot with big windows that swing open on nice days and a side patio for al fresco dining. Try tacos stuffed with the likes of citrus-ginger marinated chicken or crispy glazed pork belly.

tacos in silver containers
Tacos arrive in camping-style containers at Chop Shop Taco.
Chop Shop Taco

Related Maps