Once I asked a Mexican friend, born and raised in the capital, what would be his last dinner in this world? His response was quick and concise, tacos al pastor of el Tizoncito. Proclaimed as the creators of tacos al pastor, since 1968, they have been at the forefront of being one of the most consistent taquerías in the city.
Many countries around the world have some version of a wrapped meal that is eaten with their hands, whether gyros, egg rolls, arepas, durum, baleadas, crepes, pupusas, kati rolls, burritos, sandwiches, and in the case of Mexico, tacos.
Tacos are the most typical dish in the country, so I ask all the locals what their favorite place is. To anyone’s surprise, everyone has a different location. This is ideal for me since I can try a variety of places to enjoy, compare, and share.
Walking through one of the streets of La Condesa, I came across Tacos Don Juan. Their sudadero tacos, with many onions a wide variety of exquisite sauces, make them worth repeating them again and again. In the neighborhood, there are also Las Costillas, a very local joint with ribs and biftec tacos. Order them with or without cheese, add roasted onions, and a little salt and lemon. La Roma is home to Tacos Orinoco, where their pork rind tacos late at night revive the dead. In Mercado Roma, you can find Don Chato and his barbecued lamb tacos with a native and particular flavor. Very close to this market, is El Parnita, with a wide variety of beef or vegetarian tacos that have given the city much to talk about. Another stop is Taco Naco, although they have several branches in the town, their tacos al pastor and assorted varieties they did not have as much flavor, and you should skip them. Another small local chain is, El Farolito, although its growth in the city they have an exceptional season and volcanoes are a must, it was one of my favorites.
Once the weekend is approaching, you have to make plans to visit El Hidalguense, and this place has a lot of magic and a lot of barbecues. During the week, they prepare all their products in the state of Hidalgo (one hour from CDMX) using pre-Hispanic cooking techniques and bring them to the city. To balance the diet and the high amounts of meat consumed, Por Siempre Vegana, a taco place where they recreate traditional tacos with vegan alternatives. Their tacos al pastor (seitan) are so rich that you will not miss the meat. In La Roma there is one of the branches of Tacos El Califa; although his presentation looks modern, their tacos al pastor were a disappointment. Hidden between the streets of the northern part of Roma is the Taquería El Faraon, although they are not the best in the city, they are worth visiting.
If you are feeling fancy, you can go to one of the most exclusive areas of the city, Polanco. Here you will find El Turix, where its stew tacos will surprise you, and you will be full of flavor. Also, and although it is with reservation, Pujols – the best restaurant in LatAm – offers a taco tasting and pairing in its bar where you will see the fusion of ingredients from all over the country with high-end techniques. However, the place you cannot miss in this area is Taquería Los Villanos, which has a very interesting variety of charcoal tacos that includes rib eye, biftec, and flank steak. A little further west of this area, by Anzures, two taquerías caught our attention, Los Panchos with its already famous carnitas and Taquería Selene who claim to have one of the best tacos to the pastor of the city. Although they are good, they are average. Also, in that area, you can explore the tacos of El Califa de León, unpretentious, simple, and pure meat.
In the Historic Center of the city, there is a diversity of taquerías that must be visited at least once in a lifetime. The one that stands out and should be on any list is El Huequito, which is a hole with two shawarmas and the best tacos, the pastor of the city. A few blocks away are, Tacos Cocuyos with a very peculiar offer that includes cheek, brains, tongue, head, gut, and ear trunk tacos. Another very rightful place is Tacos La Authentica, a few blocks from the Palace of Fine Arts, were their tacos do justice to the name.
In these 30 days of visiting the city, we had the pleasure of visiting about 25 places that specialized in tacos. Although they do not represent even a tiny part of the thousands of places in the city, we could have a clearer idea of the history behind each taco. The work, sweat, and effort they put into each ingredient are fantastic. But the most important thing in each taco we ate in this great city is that the national pride is felt latently in each bite.
Long live the tacos!
Paul E González Mangual is an author of four books, founder of FOODIEcations, columnist for Sabrosía Puerto Rico, TEDx speaker, Guinness World Record Holder, whiskey enthusiast, coffee addict, and producer of the Coffee & Chocolate Expo.
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