People may visit to escape the cold, but they stay for the tacos! In all seriousness, Arizona shares a border with Mexico, meaning Phoenix is a mere three hours from the nearest Mexican city. This convenience is deliciously apparent in Phoenix’s authentic Mexican cuisine.
A cruise through the city will showcase the vast variety of taquerias–all fit for indulging. However, each restaurant is unique. Some chefs prefer tradition while others practice creativity. Rest assured, regardless of where you stop, disappointment is unlikely.
But what if you want to experience the absolute best tacos Phoenix has to offer? Simply refer to this guide! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite taco spots Phoenix natives themselves rave about. Check out my list of the best tacos in Phoenix below!
4117 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016
La Santisima is a gourmet taco shop off 16th Street and Indian School Road, right off Piestewa Freeway. La Santisima works to widen the box many people place Mexican cuisine in. The fun and trendy restaurant accomplishes this by providing diverse menu options prepared with only the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients.
The taqueria’s wide variety of menu items can make ordering overwhelming. Luckily, there’s a mix and match option that allows guests to choose three different tacos. The spot also offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. In addition to a wide array of taco options, La Santisima is notorious for its creative salsa bar. I suggest covering your tacos in the cilantro crema!
3961 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Located in Arcadia off North 40th street and Camelback Road, CRUjiente serves up inventive street tacos every Monday through Saturday evening. Multiple Phoenix publications acknowledge CRUjiente as the best tacos in Phoenix and even the best restaurant! Chef Richard Hinojos is the mastermind behind the impressive menu.
Known for his creativity in the kitchen, Hinojos draws international inspiration to craft each plate. I tried the highly recommended pork belly taco. Freshly roasted pineapple and jalapenos make the meal! The laid-back spot is ideal for most days, but their Monday and Tuesday specials are the best! Start with an $8 margarita on Monday and return for happy hour-priced tacos all day, Tuesday.
2929 N 43rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85019
Ta Carbon is a small but busy taqueria on the northeast corner of 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road. The highly-recommended spot is notorious for its selection of authentic Mexican meats prepared on a mesquite grill. In addition to classic carne asada, Ta Carbon offers lengua, cabeza, and tripas.
I ventured out to try the lengua and cabeza tacos. Both cuts of meat arrived perfectly seasoned in a soft corn tortilla. After receiving my taco plate, I headed for the crowded salsa bar. Don’t worry; you’ll learn to brave the busy salsa bar as you’ll likely make multiple trips. If someone asks you for a non-mainstream recommendation, point them here!
546 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Taco Guild is on the northwest corner of 7th Street and Osborn in a repurposed Methodist Church dating back to 1893. Admired by the Food Network and Travel Channel, the fun yet relaxed spot uses locally-sourced ingredients to create some of the best Phoenix tacos. The Central Phoenix gem prides itself on elevating these traditional flavors through an innovative approach.
The classic chicken tinga and street-style carnitas are my favorite. One of each fills me up as they come in heaping servings. Stop by any day between 2 and 6 p.m. for Taco Guild’s “confession hour.” The restaurant offers $2 off all alcoholic beverages and impressively low prices on select items.
5202 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012
This modern Mexican spot is in Uptown Phoenix off Colter Street and Central Avenue. Enjoy impressively fresh ingredients in a trendy environment you’ll be dying to recommend as soon as you leave. Most people visit for the fun atmosphere, but hand-pressed tortillas are what keep them coming back.
Taco Tuesday is the best time to stop by. Select tacos are only $2.50 each, beginning at 2 p.m. Chase each bite with a $5 margarita and call it a day! The restaurant also offers a $5 till 5 p.m. deal every single day. Treat yourself to cocktails and beers by the pitcher for only $5 after a long workday.
1202 E Mohave St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Ask any local where to get tacos in Phoenix, and they’ll likely point you toward the Original Carolina’s on 12th Street and Mohave west of the airport. Carolina’s has been in business since 1968 and is close to many native’s hearts. Carolina and Manuel Valenzuela opened and grew the Phoenix gem. Since its meager start, the restaurant has passed through three generations.
Carolina’s is best known for its homemade tortillas. Their tacos come in a homemade crispy or soft corn tortilla. My typical order consists of shredded chicken tacos on a soft corn tortilla with a side of warm flour tortillas to go. On your way out, grab a large horchata for the road and plan your next return!
501 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Taco Chelo is in the creative Roosevelt Row district off 5th Street. Well-acclaimed artist Genarro Garcia designed the taqueria with decor symbolic of Mexican heritage. The words “Keep Phoenix Chido” welcome customers into a cozy environment led by Chef Suny Santana, whose love for cooking began in childhood. Santana grew up on a farm in Monterrey, Mexico, where he cooked alongside his mother, Consuelo, adoringly called Chelo.
Santana’s love of fresh ingredients is apparent in each taco plate he crafts. I ordered barbacoa and veggie tacos, and both left me craving more. If you’re anything like me, you enjoy washing away such cravings with a cold cocktail. In that case, visit between 3 and 6 p.m. for competitive happy hour prices.
2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Blanco Tacos & Tequila is in the Biltmore Fashion Park at North 24th Street and Camelback Road. The Mexican restaurant strives to provide a peaceful getaway for visitors by serving fresh tacos in a lax beach-like environment. Who would’ve thought you could find paradise at a Phoenix taco shop?
Better than paradise is their excellent servings! Each plate comes with three tacos, rice, and beans. I couldn’t avoid the award-winning slow-cooked BBQ pork tacos paired with pickled onions and crema. Once you taste them, you may want more than three. Return for happy hour prices Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Oh, but it gets better. The restaurant also flaunts an extensive tequila menu. The best way to sample the drinks is by flight!
501 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Known for the baby blue Volkswagen parked out front, The Beach House is on the corner of 7th Street and Camelback. The family-owned taco shop welcomes each guest with open arms as if they’re family. They display their love for their visitors through carefully crafted Baja California cuisine. The restaurant’s bravery to push traditional boundaries makes for binge-worthy tacos. The ordering system is also easy and convenient.
You start by picking from flour or corn tortilla. Next, you choose your protein. I went with diced chicken, but there are vegan options as well. Lastly, you smother it in a wildly flavorful sauce. My personal favorite is the mango habanero, but I’ve heard good things about each sauce! Whether you’re visiting for the fresh ingredients or funky feel, you won’t be disappointed.
308 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Cocina 10 at Crescent Ballroom has been a highly-recommended taco spot since its opening. The lively Tex-Mex style restaurant is off 2nd Avenue and Van Buren, just southwest of ASU’s Downtown Campus. As suggested by its name, Cocina 10 draws inspiration from each visitor that stops in from the I-10 Highway. Live music and food service till midnight energize the atmosphere, attracting an array of guests.
Even better? Their variety of taco options. Guests can choose from eight different plates. Spicy chicken tinga is my go-to, but I’ve also heard great things about the barbacoa tacos. Each flavorful protein comes on a freshly warm corn tortilla. Cocina 10’s versatile environment is perfect for planned or spontaneous hunger-driven outings!
1028 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014
What seems like a small hole in the wall is anything but that! Nestled between 7th and 12th Street on Indian School Road, the traditional taqueria is a restaurant recommended by locals and visitors alike. Tacos Chiwas’s homey environment stems from their classic Chihuahua-style cuisine kept from generation to generation.
Such traditional menu items don’t stop at carne asada and chicken. This taco joint also offers langua, tripas, and calabacitas. Regardless of what you order, it comes on a warm hand-made corn tortilla. If I’m being honest, I’ve tried almost everything from their taco menu and have never been disappointed. However, the tacos Chiwas plate has bold flavors I never get sick of.
1941 E Oak St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Tacos Huicho is right off the Piestewa Freeway between Thomas Road and McDowell. Most guests comment on how friendly and fast their service is, making for the ultimate experience. However, their cuisine is even better than their service. The taqueria aims to provide Arizona with a taste of Mexico’s unique flavor.
Taco Huicho accomplishes their mission in each plate they prepare. Guests can choose from seven types of meat, but their pastor is a fan-favorite. Most people leave the restaurant complimenting their homemade sauces, as well. Tacos Huicho offers green, red, and guacamole. Although seemingly simple, bold, unforgettable flavors compose each sauce.
3060 N 68th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Tacos Jalisco is a spot in Scottsdale off North 68th Street that is easy to miss but not something you want to! José Reyes runs the traditional taco spot and ensures each plate’s quality before it hits the table. He and his wife Patricia strive to create a genuine Guadalajara, Jalisco dining experience by crafting each menu item from scratch.
Tacos are served a la carte at an impressively low price. I tried the carne asada, pastor, and cabeza tacos. Each protein was full of flavor and elevated with green chile. Wash each taco down with a large horchata, and leave content.
1009 S 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Sonora Taco Shop is in Central Phoenix off South 7th Street and East Buckeye Road. If you want to avoid downtown’s busy streets on game days, stop here. Sonora is less than a mile from Chase Field and the Footprint Center but has much less foot traffic than you’d expect. It’s inside a modest brick building and home to some of the best tacos in Phoenix.
The restaurant serves beef, chicken, and pastor tacos on a corn or flour tortilla. If you ask me – one of each is the best route to take. Finish off with an authentic Mexican dessert and soda, then walk it off on your way to a Downtown Phoenix outing.
333 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
This trendy Downtown Phoenix taco spot is on the southeast corner of 3rd Street and Jefferson, next to Chase Field and the Footprint Center. The laid-back environment is usually filled with Arizona sports fans preparing for or celebrating a victory. Willie’s is also known for its decor. Colorful art enlivens the inside of the building, creating a feel-good atmosphere for locals and tourists to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine.
I tried the award-winning Green Butcher taco. Green chile pork complimented by queso fresco, onions, green cabbage, and cilantro lies atop a warm green chile tortilla. Add a classic Mi Casa Margarita, and you’ll leave satisfied! The downtown gem also provides catering and accommodates private parties.