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An assortment of tacos in a styrofoam container.
An assortment of tacos from Los Canarios.
Matt Lardie

12 Outstanding Taco Stops in Durham, North Carolina

There are Baja tacos, Oaxacan, Tex-Mex, and even Korean

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An assortment of tacos from Los Canarios.
| Matt Lardie

There are enough taco joints in Durham that one could celebrate Taco Tuesday every day of the week, if not the month. And when it comes to taco styles, well the variety almost matches the number of restaurants. There are Baja tacos, Oaxacan, Tex-Mex, and even Korean. There are contemporary, higher-end takes on tacos, and there are tacos similar to those you’d find on the street corners of Mexico City. There are fish tacos and chicken tinga tacos and vegan tacos and — the list could go on and on. Those interested in a taco crawl might want to focus on Durham’s N. Roxboro Street, where four well-known taco joints can be found one after the other. Whichever style and filling one prefers, there is a taco for everyone in Durham.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

La Superior

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La Superior is a supermarket, carnicería (butcher shop), Mexican bakery, and, tucked into the far corner, a taqueria. Fillings include chorizo, chicken tinga, suadero (braised beef brisket), and pork carnitas. The pork al pastor tacos are a true star here, and for a slight upcharge a braised lamb taco is also available. All tacos are served street-style with onions, lime wedges, sauces, and a blistered jalapeno.

Super Taqueria

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Consistently one of the most highly-rated taquerias in Durham is Super Taqueria. The menu is filled with popular options like suadero, pollo asado, and chicken tinga, as well as cabeza, lengua, and tripe. The uber-popular carnitas are a particular standout. Like many other taquerias the fillings can also be enjoyed as burritos, quesadillas, and more, and the chile relleno has garnered many a social media mention.

Don Becerra Taqueria

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Located on the side corner of the carniceria of the same name, Don Becerra Taqueria (aka Taqueria La Becerrita), offers a menu similar to its other N. Roxboro Street neighbors, with a few notable exceptions. The nopales (a type of cactus) tacos come in a spicy and wonderfully tangy green sauce and the chicharron tacos highlight perfectly tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork skin.

Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant

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Another N. Roxboro St. gem, Guanajuato is a hive of activity around peak meal times as regulars and newcomers alike line up for their counter-service tacos, caldos, tortas, and more. Birria fans can branch out from the usual beef with the birria de chivo taco, and offal lovers might want to try the cabeza, tripa, or higado encebollado tacos. The chorizo taco is another popular option, but all tacos are complemented by one of the largest condiment bars in town, stocked with plenty of salsas, vegetables, and other add-ons.

Tasti Tacos #1

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This trailer (usually found parked in far East Durham), lives up to its name with juicy, delectable birria tacos served alongside steaming cups of broth for dipping. Choose from either brisket or chicken, or check out some of their birria mashups. There are birria sliders, birria grilled cheese, a birria pizzadilla (a pizza made of layers of flour tortillas and birria), or the broken birria noodles, a ramen-meets-taco combination.

Taqueria Los Canarios

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This women-led taco truck brings southern Mexican cuisine to Durham’s DIY district. An extensive menu of tacos features options like shrimp, fish, al pastor, and campechanos (a mix of beef, chicharron, and sausage). Unlike some of Durham’s other popular taco joints, Los Canarios also has some vegetarian options, like the tacos vegetales or the tacos champiñónes, the later of which is stuffed with griddled mushrooms in a creamy sauce.

Dos Perros

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Chef Charlie Deal’s Dos Perros restaurant has been a staple of downtown Durham’s dining scene for more than a decade. The menu is a slightly more deluxe take on the Mexican food Deal grew up with in California, with the bonus of also having one of the largest array gluten-free options in town. Taco offerings skew left coast with protein options like fried shrimp, blackened mahi mahi, and carnitas. Vegans and vegetarians will appreciate the pibil made with local tempeh, while carnivores should head straight for the substantial birria tacos, filled with short rib barbacoa, topped with an avocado and tomatillo sauce, and of course served with consomé for dipping.

The Durham Green Flea Market

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Located in East Durham, the Durham Green Flea Market has been a vital social and economic hub for the city’s Latino community for more than a decade. Shoppers can find all kinds of goods, from boots to jewelry to clothing to furniture, along with plenty of food. At any given time there are six or more different food vendors offering all manner of tacos, tortas, sopas, and more, making La Pulga (the Flea) the perfect spot for a taco crawl followed by some shopping. Look for al pastor, carnitas, birria, and a myriad of other taco options at any of the rotating or permanent vendors.

Taqueria La Vaquita‎

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“Look for the giant cow” is how many locals will explain how to find La Vaquita. This counter-service taco stand in the Tuscaloosa-Lakewood neighborhood is consistently one of the highest-rated spots in Durham. It has all the taco basics — carnitas, lengua, al pastor, asado, pollo, and more. The Tacos Dorados are four corn tortillas filled with chicken and mayonnaise then deep fried and served with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, crema, rice, and beans.

Nuvotaco

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Nuvotaco bills itself as a “modern Mexican eatery,” and its taco offerings fit that bill. Meat options include rotisserie chicken, pork butt, garlic beef, crispy chicken livers, and duck. Seafood lovers can choose from shrimp (grilled or fried), fish of the day, or calamari. Vegetarians and vegans are well served with a grilled veggie taco or vegan chorizo taco, and virtually all tacos are gluten-free.

Park`s Food Street

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Mexico meets Southern California meets Korea at Taco Park, one of the stalls inside Parks Food Street, a small Korean-inspired food hall. There are carne asada and pollo tacos but also Baja fried fish, gochujang pork belly, beef bulgogi, Korean barbecue pulled pork, and more. There are two different fusion chicken tacos, one smothered in wasabi mayonnaise and the other featuring fried chicken nuggets made from soy sauce marinated chicken and topped with pico de gallo, coleslaw, parsley, and lime juice.

Mez Contemporary Mexican

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Mez offers a dressed-up version of classic Mexican street-style tacos. The steak tacos come with guacamole, a tomato-chipotle salsa, caramelized onions, and queso fresco. Mez’s beef barbacoa tacos are served “Philly style,” with a house made queso dip, plancha roasted peppers and onions, chipotle aioli, and cilantro. Vegan’s will appreciate the mushroom “carne” asado tacos, a nice play on a meatless offering that goes beyond just roasted veggies stuffed into a tortilla. These tacos come with marinated seared Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, crispy-spicy-sweet brussels sprout leaves, pepitas, and chimichurri.

La Superior

La Superior is a supermarket, carnicería (butcher shop), Mexican bakery, and, tucked into the far corner, a taqueria. Fillings include chorizo, chicken tinga, suadero (braised beef brisket), and pork carnitas. The pork al pastor tacos are a true star here, and for a slight upcharge a braised lamb taco is also available. All tacos are served street-style with onions, lime wedges, sauces, and a blistered jalapeno.

Super Taqueria

Consistently one of the most highly-rated taquerias in Durham is Super Taqueria. The menu is filled with popular options like suadero, pollo asado, and chicken tinga, as well as cabeza, lengua, and tripe. The uber-popular carnitas are a particular standout. Like many other taquerias the fillings can also be enjoyed as burritos, quesadillas, and more, and the chile relleno has garnered many a social media mention.

Don Becerra Taqueria

Located on the side corner of the carniceria of the same name, Don Becerra Taqueria (aka Taqueria La Becerrita), offers a menu similar to its other N. Roxboro Street neighbors, with a few notable exceptions. The nopales (a type of cactus) tacos come in a spicy and wonderfully tangy green sauce and the chicharron tacos highlight perfectly tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork skin.

Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant

Another N. Roxboro St. gem, Guanajuato is a hive of activity around peak meal times as regulars and newcomers alike line up for their counter-service tacos, caldos, tortas, and more. Birria fans can branch out from the usual beef with the birria de chivo taco, and offal lovers might want to try the cabeza, tripa, or higado encebollado tacos. The chorizo taco is another popular option, but all tacos are complemented by one of the largest condiment bars in town, stocked with plenty of salsas, vegetables, and other add-ons.

Tasti Tacos #1

This trailer (usually found parked in far East Durham), lives up to its name with juicy, delectable birria tacos served alongside steaming cups of broth for dipping. Choose from either brisket or chicken, or check out some of their birria mashups. There are birria sliders, birria grilled cheese, a birria pizzadilla (a pizza made of layers of flour tortillas and birria), or the broken birria noodles, a ramen-meets-taco combination.

Taqueria Los Canarios

This women-led taco truck brings southern Mexican cuisine to Durham’s DIY district. An extensive menu of tacos features options like shrimp, fish, al pastor, and campechanos (a mix of beef, chicharron, and sausage). Unlike some of Durham’s other popular taco joints, Los Canarios also has some vegetarian options, like the tacos vegetales or the tacos champiñónes, the later of which is stuffed with griddled mushrooms in a creamy sauce.

Dos Perros

Chef Charlie Deal’s Dos Perros restaurant has been a staple of downtown Durham’s dining scene for more than a decade. The menu is a slightly more deluxe take on the Mexican food Deal grew up with in California, with the bonus of also having one of the largest array gluten-free options in town. Taco offerings skew left coast with protein options like fried shrimp, blackened mahi mahi, and carnitas. Vegans and vegetarians will appreciate the pibil made with local tempeh, while carnivores should head straight for the substantial birria tacos, filled with short rib barbacoa, topped with an avocado and tomatillo sauce, and of course served with consomé for dipping.

The Durham Green Flea Market

Located in East Durham, the Durham Green Flea Market has been a vital social and economic hub for the city’s Latino community for more than a decade. Shoppers can find all kinds of goods, from boots to jewelry to clothing to furniture, along with plenty of food. At any given time there are six or more different food vendors offering all manner of tacos, tortas, sopas, and more, making La Pulga (the Flea) the perfect spot for a taco crawl followed by some shopping. Look for al pastor, carnitas, birria, and a myriad of other taco options at any of the rotating or permanent vendors.

Taqueria La Vaquita‎

“Look for the giant cow” is how many locals will explain how to find La Vaquita. This counter-service taco stand in the Tuscaloosa-Lakewood neighborhood is consistently one of the highest-rated spots in Durham. It has all the taco basics — carnitas, lengua, al pastor, asado, pollo, and more. The Tacos Dorados are four corn tortillas filled with chicken and mayonnaise then deep fried and served with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, crema, rice, and beans.

Nuvotaco

Nuvotaco bills itself as a “modern Mexican eatery,” and its taco offerings fit that bill. Meat options include rotisserie chicken, pork butt, garlic beef, crispy chicken livers, and duck. Seafood lovers can choose from shrimp (grilled or fried), fish of the day, or calamari. Vegetarians and vegans are well served with a grilled veggie taco or vegan chorizo taco, and virtually all tacos are gluten-free.

Park`s Food Street

Mexico meets Southern California meets Korea at Taco Park, one of the stalls inside Parks Food Street, a small Korean-inspired food hall. There are carne asada and pollo tacos but also Baja fried fish, gochujang pork belly, beef bulgogi, Korean barbecue pulled pork, and more. There are two different fusion chicken tacos, one smothered in wasabi mayonnaise and the other featuring fried chicken nuggets made from soy sauce marinated chicken and topped with pico de gallo, coleslaw, parsley, and lime juice.

Mez Contemporary Mexican

Mez offers a dressed-up version of classic Mexican street-style tacos. The steak tacos come with guacamole, a tomato-chipotle salsa, caramelized onions, and queso fresco. Mez’s beef barbacoa tacos are served “Philly style,” with a house made queso dip, plancha roasted peppers and onions, chipotle aioli, and cilantro. Vegan’s will appreciate the mushroom “carne” asado tacos, a nice play on a meatless offering that goes beyond just roasted veggies stuffed into a tortilla. These tacos come with marinated seared Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, crispy-spicy-sweet brussels sprout leaves, pepitas, and chimichurri.

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