Fishy Food Rankings

Best tacos in America list includes few Houston mentions — and snubs renowned restaurants

Best tacos in America list snubs renowned Houston restaurants

El Real chicken puffy taco
El Real's chicken puffy taco, right, and pork puffy taco Photo by Laurie Smith
Torchy's Tacos on picnic table
Torchy's Tacos including, at left, the famous and loaded Trailer Park taco Torchy's Tacos/Facebook
El Real chicken puffy taco
Torchy's Tacos on picnic table

Noted foodie website the Daily Meal bravely ranked 35 of the nation's best tacos, doling out accolades to no less than 13 Texas restaurants and taquerias.

While it's wonderful to see the Lone Star State dominate more than a third of the list, taco devotees may want to prepare themselves for a round-up heavy on Austin and San Antonio selections. Amazingly, neither Fort Worth nor Dallas — home to Texas Monthly's favorite taco at the Fuel City gas station — score a single mention.

Houston enjoys a spot in the top 10 thanks to El Real's San Antonio-style Chicken Puffy Taco. The Austin-based Torchy's empire, which now boasts several Space City locations, took the No. 5 slot with its Trailer Park Taco.

Seemingly out of left field is the barbacoa taco from Bob's Taco Station in nearby Rosenberg. The Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives alum maintains a loyal following in Fort Bend County . . . in spite of the restaurant's link to a recent cyclospora outbreak.

The Daily Meal asked more than 200 national food writers for their favorite individual tacos in the county. To leave room for future lists, the website excluded taco trucks, carts and stands as well as breakfast tacos, which is an entirely different culinary beast.

Tacos in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York made up the top three, respectively. Click here to see the full list or read below for the Texas results (Houston-area tacos in bold):

  • #34 — Joe's Bakery, Austin: Carne Guisada Taco
  • #33 — Taco Taco Café, San Antonio: Puffy Taco with Picadillo
  • #32 — La Condesa, Austin: Arábicos Taco
  • #30 — Bob's Taco Station, Rosenberg: Barbacoa Taco
  • #26 — Papalote Taco House, Austin: Cecina Taco
  • #23 — Ray's Drive Inn, San Antonio: Carne Guisada Puffy Taco
  • #20 ​— Taquería Arandas, Austin (not the Houston chain): Al Pastor Taco
  • #18 — Matt's Famous El Rancho, Austin: Al Carbón Taco
  • #15 — Henry’s Puffy Tacos & Cantina, San Antonio: Spicy Beef Fajita Puffy Taco
  • #14 — Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia, San Antonio: Carnitas Michoacan Taco
  •  #9 — Chico's Tacos, El Paso: Chico's Taco
  •  #7 — El Real Tex-Mex Café, Houston: Chicken Puffy Taco
  •  #5 — Torchy’s Tacos, Various Texas Locations: Trailer Park Taco