Charleston may not be known as a taco town, but there are plenty of vendors serving up classics and fusion versions. Maybe you demand free chips with your order or expect the joint to serve offal speckled with cilantro and onions — there's a taco joint of every sort in Charleston. From handmade tortillas to Americanized offerings to places with giant margaritas, this is the list of the top taquerias in town. Don't see your favorite? Leave us a comment.Read More
10 Essential Taco Stops in the Lowcountry
Lengua or chorizo?
1. El Alteño
If you like the food truck experience, but hate chasing down the mobile kitchens, then stop by El Alteño in Summerville. The taco truck parks permanently next to the no-frills dining room for easy access to carnitas, lengua, longaniza, and other traditional meats sprinkled with onion and cilantro on a fresh tortilla.
2. Tiki Taco
Tiki Taco is a bit like a dive bar that happens to serve good tacos. It’s a bit grungy, has cheap booze, and the service is nonchalant. Order a Corona, sit in the parking lot patio, and try the lengua or chorizo tacos.
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3. Taqueria Espres
Charleston, SC 29418
Consistently rated as some of the best tacos from a truck around, Taqueria Espres gathers an almost cult following in North Charleston. The doubled up tortillas are stacked with perfectly seasoned meats, onion, and cilantro. Each order comes with a few pickled carrots and a jalapeño.
4. Lucy’s Deliveries Y Mas
Petite eatery Lucy’s Deliveries Y Mas (previously known as La Cocina De Lucy) doesn’t have many seats, but it does have multiple options for tacos — asada, pollo, chorizo, lengua, and more come with containers of fresh salsa, limes, radishes, and a roasted pepper. Sit outside if it’s a nice day.
5. El Molino Supermarket
Mexican supermarket El Molino offers a variety of traditional fare to go, including tacos. Choices range from cabeza to carnitas to suedero — all at $2.25 (thought the lengua will cost an extra 15 cents). The taco box full of 15 tacos is a popular item for groups.
6. Las Lupitas
The sign outside Las Lupitas states, "The Best Mexican Food in Town," so it's worth a trek to sample the traditional tacos like the barbacoa or tripe. The small space has a roadside diner sort of feeling with booths to slide into after ordering from the massive menu. Remember: It's cash only here.
7. Torres Superette
Charleston, SC 29403
In the back of convenience store Torres Superette sits some of the best tacos in the Lowcountry. The carnitas with corn tortillas is a popular option, but be sure to take a look at the specials board.
8. Santi's Restaurante Mexicano
A favorite since 2003, Santi’s is a staple of the Charleston community. The outdoor patio is the place to be when the weather is nice. Order a giant margarita and then decide if you want Mexican or American-style tacos. The chips and fresh salsa are free and actually worth eating.
9. Taco Boy
A visit to Taco Boy is all about the experience. The interiors are open and full of fun details. It has a long list of tacos with unexpected fillings. Korean beef tacos are stuffed with kimchi and grilled flank steak and the sautéed shrimp tacos come with ancho chile yogurt sauce and cabbage. On a nice day, enjoy the patio with a few friends and a frozen screwdriver to go with the other selections.
10. Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
Looking for fried shrimp tacos or Baja fish tacos? Then Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is the place to be. With several locations across the Lowcountry, Mex 1 is an easy stop for those looking to capture the Baja California Peninsula vibe.