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 place. Which 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 an extensive 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 city, their tacos al pastor and assorted varieties but they did not have as much flavor. Another small local chain is, El Farolito, despite its growth in the city they have a very special 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, this place has a lot of magic and a lot of barbecue. During the week they prepare all their production 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 have 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 and 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 stand out and should be on any list is: El Huequito, which is literally a hole with two shawarmas and the best tacos the pastor of the city. A few blocks away is, Tacos Cocuyos with a very peculiar offer that includes cheek, brains, tongue, head, gut and ear trunk tacos. Other very legitimate 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 and 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 is amazing. 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!
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