Where to find incredible tacos in Atlanta

Our restaurant critic shares her favorite taco spots
531

Contrary to popular belief, Atlanta’s best Mexican food isn’t only found along Buford Highway. Recently, the concentration has shifted to other neighborhoods such as Tucker, Jonesboro, and Smyrna, where you can find top-notch tacos in all manner of styles. While this list is by no means exhaustive, my picks span the spectrum of authentic to Americanized indulgence. Did your favorite taco spot make the cut?

Taqueria La Oaxaquena
Taqueria La Oaxaquena

Photograph by Ted Golden

Taqueria La Oaxaquena 
This Southside Atlanta taqueria makes excellent tacos with a variety of flavorful fillings like tripe (beef stomach) and asada (beef). An  impeccable condiment bar lets you customize your taco with smokey salsas or pickled chilies. Oaxaca is considered the culinary capital of Mexico, and the kitchen makes an impressive regional specialty: a tlayuda, which looks like a pizza made with Mexican toppings like chorizo and avocado on an oversized tortilla. 605 Mount Zion Road, Jonesboro, 770-960-3010

El Rey de Taco.
Tacos at El Rey de Taco.

Photograph by Jennifer Zyman

El Rey de Taco
Whether for lunchtime or a late-night taco run, you can’t beat the vibrant atmosphere at this Buford Highway mainstay, which is always appropriately decorated for the holiday of the season. El Rey de Taco, which means “the king of tacos,” lives up to its name with an exhaustive list of fillings such as chivo (goat), cabeza (beef cheek), and carnitas (slow-cooked pork). Pro-tip: Ask for the handmade tortillas (tortillas hecho a mano). They cost a little extra, but they add a homespun freshness to the tacos. 5288 Buford Highway Northeast, Doraville, 770-986-0032

The fried chicken taco at Taqueria del Sol
The fried chicken taco at Taqueria del Sol

Photography courtesy of Green Olive Media.

Taqueria del Sol
Would my Mexican ancestors approve of me eating a fried chicken taco on a flour tortilla with a side of cheese dip? Probably not, but Taqueria del Sol’s unique flavor combinations and consistency across its multiple locations cannot be denied. The fried chicken taco, owner Eddie Hernandez’s love letter to his adopted home, has reached legendary Atlanta comfort food status. Other all-star options include the carnitas, brisket, ever-changing daily blue-plate specials, and, of course, the cheese dip. Multiple locations

Tacos La Villa.
Tacos La Villa.

Photograph by Jennifer Zyman

Tacos La Villa
Tucked away next to a Japanese restaurant in a nondescript strip mall in Smyrna, this taqueria is always full of people who know the tacos here are something special. My favorite are the spicy lamb or crumbled chorizo tacos. The richness of each filling makes for a lovely counter to an acidic salsa or pickled carrots from the salsa bar. Flautas, tamales, nachos for the kids, and platters including daily specials round out the menu. 2431 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, 770-951-0415

San Pancho Taqueria
When my parents come into town, they always make me drive them to this Tucker taqueria for the tacos al vapor, a hard-to-find style of steamed taco. The steam seals the edges of the tortilla, creating something that looks a bit like a taco calzone. San Pancho’s fillings include everything from cow’s brains to beef cheek, but if you aren’t feeling adventurous, they serve many other dishes including a homemade fried hard shell taco, tortas, burritos, and Mexican breakfast. 4880 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker, 770-493-9845

Tacos and tamale at Chicago Supermarket.
Tacos and tamale at Chicago Supermarket.

Photograph by Ted Golden

Chicago Supermarket
Don’t worry about a language barrier at the taqueria inside of this Mexican supermarket. Most of the taco fillings are either listed on the menu in English or are easily spotted in the steam trays, which cater to home cooks. Anything in these trays, like the crispy carnitas, is a good bet. The taqueria uses its own freshly ground masa for its taco tortillas. The same masa is also used to make creamy tamales, which are sold in both sweet and savory varities. 5263 Buford Highway Northeast, Doraville, 770-452-1361

Tacos at Taqueria Acapulco.
Tacos at Taqueria Acapulco.

Photograph by Ted Golden.

Taqueria Acapulco
Situated directly at the fork in the road at the entrance of the Riverside district, this tiny taqueria painted red, white, and green like the Mexican flag packs a big punch with a small but strong menu of classics. Crispy chicken tacos dorados (rolled and fried tacos) are sold for just $7 for 7 and arrive covered with shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, crema Mexicana, sliced avocado, and crumbled queso fresco. Another excellent taco features carne asada served on thin, sturdy tortillas, loaded with cilantro and onion. 2102 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, 404-941-7865

Advertisement