How you weigh up the best tacos in London may come down to opinion, although we can't help but think there’s absolutely something for everyone when it comes to these little Mexican delights. We've rounded up a whole host of options that should hit the spot, whether you're a purist looking for slow cooked pork or someone after a quick Tex-Mex hit with all the trimmings.
For us, the best tacos are small soft tortillas that can be gobbled up in just a few bites, and topped with something delicious that balances flavours and textures perfectly.
Our prices per taco are for one small taco, unless otherwise noted. So if searching according to budget bear in mind that you'll need a few tacos to fill yourself up, as the classic saying goes.
With an impressive CV behind him, Nick - who heads up the kitchen here - used to work at Pujol in Mexico City, did a stint at The Mexican Restaurant at Annabel’s, and has experience at both Breddos and El Pastor. Combining this experience in Mexico and London, Nick pays particular attention to using authentic ingredients and traditional techniques to get bold, flavour-packed fillings that appeal to meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Pick between meltingly-soft Pork Cochinita, rich Beef Short-Rib Suadero, smoky Cauliflower Al Pastor and crowd-pleasing Chicken Asado - and if yu're still hungry there are a few sides like corn and guacamole too, which are perfect for enjoying alongside a frozen Margarita or a cold beer.
Average price per taco: £3.50 (or three for £9.50)
Booking policy: Tacos Padre doesn't take bookings, just turn up and bag a seat at the bar when it comes up or takeaway and enjoy elsewhere in Borough Market.
Where: Winchester Walk, Jubilee Place, SE1 9AG
With a whole section of their menu dedicated to some of the best tacos in London we couldn’t create a list of such Mexican magnitude without including El Pastor. In fact, this restaurant is named after their signature dish, tacos al pastor, so they take these delicious bites pretty seriously. Their namesake, the taco al pastor, is made up of two soft tortillas, 24 hour marinated sweet, sticky pork shoulder, caramelised pineapple grilled alongside the pork, freshly made guacamole, punchy white onion and the citrusy hit of lime and coriander. Other offerings on the menu include fish tacos with caramelised onions and a refried beans veggie option with cheese and sweetcorn.
Average price per taco: £3.50 (although portions are served as two at around £6-8 each)
Booking policy: You can't book at Borough and Bermondsey El Pastor restaurants, but they allow you to put your name down and go off for a drink while you wait for your table. So that's something. And for those who like to pre-plan you can book a table at Plaza Pastor at King’s Cross.
Where: 7A Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
Why: Ella Canta takes Mexican food and elevates it to new heights through unusual techniques, luxurious ingredients and beautiful presentation. The menu at this Mayfair restaurant is theatrical and plays through from appetisers (named ‘overture'), where the tacos are, to desserts (labelled as ‘the final curtain’), showcasing some of Mexico’s finest ingredients. Ella Canta’s tacos are, as expected, a little snazzier than your average. Their delicious mouthfuls are made with beef chilorio, which sees beef slowly cooked down in fat (a bit like a confit) then fried with spices and dried chillies for a real explosion of flavour. Shredded cabbage, crème fraiche and arbol chile sauce finish things off. Although these are currently the only tacos on the menu, a lot of the mains are served with larger tortillas, allowing you to mix and match to create your own tacos if you wish. Albeit slightly unconventionally.
Average price per taco: £10 (for an appetiser portion)
Booking policy: Ella Canta takes bookings online and over the phone
Where: 1 Hamilton Place, W1J 7QY
Sugoi JPN, South Wimbledon
Why: Having already taken Bethnal Green by storm, taco street food merchant Sugoi JPN is continuing its expansion with a new site in South Wimbledon (there are plans to open 10 sites within the next year). Sugoi JPN is best known for its unique nori tacos, which consist of a crispy seaweed tempura shell which is filled with sushi rice and a hybrid of Japanese and Latin toppings. Flavour combinations include the likes of tempura soft shell crab paired with a spicy mayo and fried chicken karaage slathered in chilli sauce. These tacos may be a far cry from your typical Mexican snack, but they sure do deliver...and they're pretty perfect for Instagram too!
Average price per taco: £9
Booking policy: No booking required, just show up and enjoy your tacos
Where: Unit 8, The Long Shop Watermill Way (Merton Abbey Mills), SW19 2RD
Why: Sometimes Mexican cravings come in thick and fast, and all that’s needed is a speedy solution of tasty tacos. In this event our mainstay is Wahaca. This no-frills, fast and fun Mexican restaurant chain by Thomasina Miers dishes up tacos by the tonne, and a good job of it they do, too. We’re fans of choice, and Wahaca offer traditional small corn tacos in portions of three, and larger corn and flour Baja tacos in portions of two. Stipulated as being ‘grilled and filled’, each has a distinct flavour. Favourites of ours include sweet plantain paired with a smoky, spicy chipotle paste and salty feta cheese, as well as a crisp buttermilk chicken option that’s topped with chilli and onion relish and a spicy mayo – the perfect Tex Mex twist. Incidentally Wahaca have just released a new menu which pays homage to the humble taco three times over. Choose from grilled chicken & avocado tacos with ancho rub, guac and a green tomato salsa, grilled mushroom and cheese tacos with sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms and crispy grilled cheese or the rib-eye taco – chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese and fresh guac.
Average price per taco: £1.60 for small, £3 for large
Booking policy: You are able to book at most Wahaca venues, although they keep the majority of tables for walk in only
Where: 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW
La Bodega Negra
Why: Dining at La Bodega Negra’s restaurant (as oppose to the adjoined café) is certainly an experience. Tucked away behind the façade of a sex shop, this might not be for everyone, but the dimly lit basement dining has a certain appeal that is hard to find elsewhere. If we had to choose, the soft shell tacos are our favourite, from a list of five choices. The sweet crab is coated in a contrasting savoury squid ink tempura and served up with smoky chipotle aioli and a classic pico de gallo, to freshen things up at the end. Our suggestion would be to order a few and share between the table, accompanied by a margarita or two, of course.
Average price per taco: £5
Booking policy: Bookable, but open to over 18s only
Where: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF
Why: This late night diner serves up tacos alongside plenty of delicious drinks for those looking to fuel themselves through to the early hours. While the décor leaves a little to be desired (we’re not sure a wall installation of hot sauces is our thing), don’t let that fool you. Tacos are tasty and hit the spot if you’re looking for something decent before or after the theatre. While the main ingredient differs, the toppings for all tacos at El Camion remain the same – a tried and tested combination of guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and homemade salsa. The main elements vary from pork carnitas (a sort of pulled, confit pork, rich with fat and flavoured with dried chillies) to chicken tinga (sweet, shredded meat mixed into a lightly spiced tomato sauce). For the more adventurous there’s a flavourful goat mole option and for vegetarians a Portobello mushroom medley.
Average price per taco: £4
Booking policy: Bookable online or by phone
Where: 25-27 Brewer Street, W1F 0RR
Why: With tacos in their title, you’d hope Breddos Tacos know a thing or two about these Mexican mainstays. We’re happy to report we‘re of the opinion that they do. This popular restaurant grew from humble beginnings; a market stall manned by two friends who dreamt up the idea while living together in Dalston. As the queues grew, so did the revenue (we assume), allowing the duo to open up a bricks and mortar residence serving up some of our favourite tacos in London. Using best-of-British produce and giving it a hit of Tex-Mex love somewhere along the way, our favourite versions include baja fried fish with pickled red cabbage and flank steak topped with miso and macha salsa. As you might expect with a restaurant nearly entirely dedicated to this simple foodstuff, there are options. Pick between meat, veggie or sharing – where they bring salsa, pickles, limes, tortillas and your chosen toppings to the table and you build them yourself.
Average price per taco: £5 (although they offer all you can eat tacos on Sundays for £20, with the added bonus of bottomless booze for another £15)
Area of London: Clerkenwell
Booking policy: Bookable online or by phone
Where: 82 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DB
Why:If you’re in search of an elusive ‘Instagrammable’ restaurant then you’ll find it in Corazon. Fitted with sweet-shop-style pastel green cladding and softly glowing globe lights, the interiors are nearly as pretty as the plates the chefs serve up. Tacos range from the tried and tested pork carnitas and baja battered fish to options for the more adventurous diners – think grilled calves livers, beer onions, salsa negra and watercress. While the tacos aren’t the cheapest you’ll find on our list of best tacos in London, the service and ambiance allow room for a leisurely pace, so take your time and treat yourself to an evening working your way through the menu.
Average price per taco: £4.50
Booking policy: Bookable online or by phone, although the bar counter is always kept unreserved for walk ins
Where: 29 Poland Street, W1F 8QR
Why: If their claim to the best Margarita in London (held between 2017-2019) can’t tempt you, then add to that some of the tastiest tacos and we think we’ve given you a pretty solid excuse to visit Café Pacifico. Having been a Covent Garden stalwart since the 80’s, this is a well-oiled machine where the slightly scuffy, diner vibe adds to the ambiance. Being the only taqueria in our round-up, as far as we know, to offer up a duck option immediately makes this one for the to-dine list (we hope we’re not the only ones who harbour those). Breast strips are rbbed with a mole mixture and topped with crispy skin bits then finished off with caramalised onion chipotle salsa, avocado, rocket, blackberry, goat’s cheese and balsamic glaze. Not forgetting the sweet potato chips. Quite the mouthful. If you needed any further persuasion they offer a bargain lunch and kids menu.
Average price per taco: £6, although this includes sides, when ordered as a set portion of three, such as Mexican rice and sweet potato chips
Booking policy: Bookable online or by phone
Where: 5 Langley Street, WC2H 9JA
Why: Starting its life as a pop up and supper club, Santo Remedio’s first bricks and mortar restaurant in-between London Bridge and Bermondsey is inspired by traditional Mexican taquerias. Using both local produce and products sourced from Mexico, authenticity is key here. On the menu you can expect to find the likes of beer battered baja fish tacos with a morita mayo and jalapeno and cucumber slaw, pork belly tacos with chicharron and tomato salsa and braised beef barbacoa tacos with pasilla and pickled radish. Don’t forget the salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips either.
Average price per taco: Served in pairs and threes, these tacos range from £7.50- £12
Booking policy: You can book for lunch or dinner but half the restaurant is reserved for walk-ins
Where: 152 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU
Why: With the name referring to the Tempering of meats, expect a lot of meat-filled dishes here. Claiming to have the world’s biggest restaurant fire-pits, this restaurant is popular for its barbequed meats and steaks. But we’re here to talk about the tacos. With lots of quirky variations on the classic Mexican dish which include the likes of cheeseburger tacos and dorito fried fish tacos, it is worth ordering a few of these guys to accompany your slabs of meat. More regular fillings include soft shell crab and pork al pastor.
Average price per taco: Tacos range from £8-£13
Booking policy: You can book at all the Temper restaurants but they keep room for walk-ins too. They also (funnily enough) strongly recommend heading to one of their other restaurants if you can’t get a seat at the first one.
Where: 2 Angel Court, EC2R 7HJ
Why: After a stint as a street food vendor in Portobello market, the dreary London weather pushed Taquería to open their first restaurant in Westbourne Grove. If it’s a wide selection of tacos you are after, Taquería has 18 different variations to choose from. Go for something classic like the steak tacos with avocado cream and pico de gallo or the soft shell crab tacos with guacamole and pickled jalapeño mayonnaise, or try the slightly less traditional Milanesa tacos with fried breaded chicken and chipotle mayonnaise. We recommend getting a selection so you get a taste of as many as possible.
Average price per taco: Coming in pairs, prices range from £7.20- £10.80
Booking policy: You can book online but don’t be afraid to pay Taquería a visit without a booking either. They welcome walk-ins.
Where: 141-145 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RS
Del 74 Bar & Tacos
Why: This quirky taqueria in Dalston is the perfect spot for a quick margherita and a bite to eat. The dimly lit counter seating and industrial distressed décor is reminiscent of traditional Mexican taquerias while still incorporating aspects of its trendy Dalston location. Try the veggie tinga with roasted tomato and crispy sweet potatoes, or go for the pork ribeye with pico de gallo. Just a warning though, tequila shots are strongly encouraged at Del 74.
Average price per taco: £2 each
Booking policy: Booking in advance is possible but they keep lots of tables for walk ins and recommend just showing up.
Where: 129 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB
Fancy a different dish? Try one of our top Mexican restaurants in London