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NYC’s Best Traditional & Untraditional Tacos

tacosIt’s tough for New York to truly challenge L.A. on the classic Mexican taco front, but when it comes to inventive, multi-cultural tortilla sandwiches, our game is especially strong.  Which is why we’ve rounded up a handful of the city’s very best tacos, both utterly traditional and decidedly non — from the gold standard carnitas at Tacos El Bronco in Brooklyn to the lamb-filled parathas at Goa Taco & the pan-Asian creations at Korilla BBQ!

Korilla BBQ

Korilla BBQ
23 3rd Ave
East Village,New York 10003
(646) 823-9423

Right at the forefront of the Asian-inspired taco trend, this collection of trucks and forefronts pad their awesome tortillas with Korean barbecue, from beef bulgogi to spicy pork to gochujang-marinated chicken, topped with black beans, burnt scallion sauce, and fiery red kimchi.

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Tortilleria Mexicana Tres Hermanos

Tortilleria Mexicana Tres Hermanos
271 Starr St
Bushwick,New York 11237
(718) 456-3422

Tacos can often live and die by the quality of their tortillas, and they simply don’t come fresher than at this Bushwick cantina; a tiny adjunct to a bustling tortilla factory.  Toppings like feisty orange chorizo, salted beef and spicy pork are applied with a deft hand; complimenting (but never obscuring) those truly superior, made-on-site tortillas.

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Greenpoint Fish and Lobster

Greenpoint Fish and Lobster
114 Nassau Ave
Brooklyn,New York 11222
(718) 349-0400

Summer just isn’t complete without a flaky fish taco, and this Brooklyn-based fishmonger-cum-restaurant serves some of the best.  Think grilled corn tortillas crowned with filets of crispy battered Gloucester pollock, finished with chipotle-lime mayo, crunchy radishes, and a scoop of citrus cabbage slaw.

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Empellon Al Pastor

Empellon Al Pastor
132 St Marks Pl
West Village,New York 10009
(646) 833-7039

The most recent addition to Alex Stupak’s series of elevated Mexican eateries, this narrow, East Village hotspot concentrates exclusively on tacos, stuffed with smoky chipotle chicken, spicy chorizo and potatoes, and the namesake al pastor — ribbons of spit-roasted pork rubbed with chiles, drizzled with red and green salsas, and garnished with fresh pineapple chunks.

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Goa Taco

Goa Taco
79 Delancey St
Lower East Side,New York 10002
(347) 218-2918

This entirely original storefront specializes in tacos made with parathas, a flaky Indian flatbread.  And the fillings are wholly unexpected, too — instead of braised beef and carnitas, popular options include lamb shoulder with tzatziki, paneer cheese with spinach pesto, and poached turkey breast Vietnamese banh mi.

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Tacos El Bronco

Tacos El Bronco
4324 4th Ave
Sunset Park,New York 11232
(718) 788-2229

It’s tough to find a cut-rate taco in Sunset Park, but this duo of trucks reliably draw some of the longest lines in the neighborhood.  So you know their offerings are about as authentic as it gets, filled with everything from pollo, carnitas and pastor to barbacoa (goat), lengua (tongue), and tripa (tripe), slathered in a trio of salsas and a snowdrift of cilantro, and served with whole, grilled cambray onions.

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Fletcher’s

Fletcher’s
433 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11215
(347) 763-2680

This Brooklyn barbecue joint serves so much more than pulled pork and brisket.  In fact, pitmaster Matt Fisher is especially fond of experimenting with smoked meat tacos, including wood-fired steak, tender, hoisin-slicked duck, and lamb with charred ramp hot sauce and cilantro-carrot slaw.

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Javelina

Javelina
119 E 18th St
Gramercy,New York 10003
(212) 539-0202

While we don’t endorse the entire menu at Tex-Mex trendsetter, Javelina, they might just offer the very best version of that San Antonio favorite, Puffy Tacos; a pair of appealingly greasy, aerated shells (tasting rather like Indian poori), cradling wads of spicy marinated pork shoulder, pickled red onion, and cotija cheese.

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