Seven Under-the-Radar Austin Taco Joints

Because you all know about Torchy's

In Texas, we take our tacos seriously – so much so that legislation has been introduced that would make breakfast tacos Texas’ official morning dish. In our famously red state, that's something that just might get bipartisan support.

If this isn't your first SXSW rodeo, you've probably heard about the big guys, Torchy's and Tacodeli. So, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite locally owned taco joints that don't have as many locations. We promise each deliciously satisfying spot will keep you full between panels and parties – and will give you plenty of opportunities to take that all-important taco Instagram shot.

Papalote Taco House

Offering up tacos lengua and pastor and filled with Cantinflas movie posters, Papalote has the casual feel of a Mexican street stand. The tacos here cater to almost everyone's taste buds with plenty of vegetarian options. We like the hongos y epazote filled with mushrooms and hominy and the puerco en pipian, shredded pork loin covered in mole. Whatever suits your taste, this spot is perfect for a midday snack after you had one too many free drinks.

Photo by John Anderson

El Primo

Out of the cramped quarters of a food truck, El Primo offers up famous breakfast tacos that are the ideal foundation for your crazy morning. With Tex-Mex classics like bacon and egg, or more traditional Mexican tacos like chorizo or migas, the truck is exhibit A to why the breakfast taco is so huge in Austin. If you’re rushing to a show and in need of some lunch, their pastor, barbacoa, and tripas tacos are pretty dang good too.

Cabo Bob’s

We know Cabo Bob's might seem like another Chipotle, but hear us out. The locally owned shop does allow you to choose your own options from an assembly line counter, but that line starts with tortillas cooked on the spot and the meat choices include Texas classics like chicken fajita and brisket. Oh – and there's a dizzying array of sauces covering the Scoville scale from mild to ouch.

Photo source: Cabo Bob's FB

El Tacorrido

A quick drive-through taco joint, El Tacorrido offers up tortas, gorditas, and menudo on the weekends, but we live for the tacos. Their al pastor is a popular among locals, with its awakening slow-cooked pineapple-marinated pork. Pro tip: If you’re in need of some caffeine (which is ALWAYS during South By), grab their El Equinox – an iced horchata with a shot of espresso.

Photo by John Anderson

Mellizoz Tacos

This mobile taqueria isn't about to top your tortilla with some wilted cilantro and a clump of fry beef. Instead, they offer sumptuous raised beef, fried avocado, and ancho pulled pork. Their tempura shrimp taco is perfect for a light snack, and their fried avocado taco is a unique twist on a local favorite. If you have time to spare before an event, grab a seat and order their top shelf queso and chips, made with queso mixed with ground beef, avocado, and pico de gallo.

Photo source: Mellizoz Tacos FB

Rosita's Al Pastor

Maybe no one can truly get tired of eating tacos, but if you’ve had your fill these past few days, this spot may wake those taco taste buds up again. Offering plenty of tacos à la carte, Rosita's gets back to the basics like picadillo and chicharron. Be sure to wash it all down with one of their daily aguas frescas.

Pueblo Viejo

Pueblo Viejo's tacos are so stuffed, they require your core strength. Our favorite is the vegetable version, with a mountain of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, carrots, zucchini, and corn – but there are plenty of options for omnivores. One warning though: Go easy on the sauce if you are sensitive to heat. Pueblo Viejo means business!

Photo source: Pueblo Viejo FB
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Pueblo Viejo, Rosita's Al Pastor, El Primo, El Tacorrido, Cabo Bob's, Papalote Taco House, Mellizoz Tacos

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