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Taco plates from Chido Taco.
Chido Taco

11 Stops for Excellent Tacos in Raleigh

From Baja California style to Korean fusion tacos

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Taco plates from Chido Taco.
| Chido Taco

With the right attitude, every day can be Taco Tuesday in Raleigh. Following the Eater Carolinas Best Tacos in Durham map, it’s time to shift west to the Oak City in search of some of the best bites that can be found wrapped in a tortilla.

Raleigh’s taco offerings are as diverse as the city itself. Taco aficionados can find versions representing nearly every region in Mexico, from Baja California style to northern Mexican style, from tacos inspired by the sea to fusion tacos that draw from the flavors of India, Korea, and the American South. There are enough taco joints in Raleigh that one could eat at a different spot every week of the year, but these 11 outstanding options are the perfect place to start.

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Don Beto El Poblano

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This unassuming food truck on Capital Boulevard happens to be one of the most highly rated taco joints in Raleigh. Don Beto El Poblano fills handmade corn tortillas with any variety of meats, like carnitas, lengua, barbacoa, and more. The chicharron tacos come with meltingly-tender pork skins, perfectly set off by any of the truck’s salsas. There are chips and drinks available, as well as various soups, tortas, quesadillas, and the occasional special.

Gonza Tacos y Tequila

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Gonza Tacos y Tequila serves up a menu as bright and refreshing as the decor inside its four Wake County locations. There’s a Baja-style fish taco, a chicken tinga taco, an al pastor taco, and more. The Lacko taco comes with chile-braised short ribs, roasted corn, a spicy creme fraiche, and poblano salsa. There is usually a rotating special taco del chef. All the tacos can be washed down with some of the signature margaritas and cocktails.

Chido Taco Mercado Style Taqueria

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Chido Taco is in the same family of restaurants as La Buena Vida, Cary’s Totopos Street Food, and Sanford’s heralded Fonda Lupita. The bright interior is reminiscent of a beachside Mexican taco shack and serves a variety of market-style tacos. There’s lengua and al pastor of course, but also vegan chicken, suadero (beef belly), and a quesabirria combo. On the less meaty side, it offers house specials like the chile rellenos tacos, baja-style fish tacos, and the Karma cameron — grilled shrimp that has been marinated in mezcal.

Chido Taco

Torchy's Tacos

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National chain Torchy’s recently opened its first and only North Carolina location in Raleigh’s Midtown East area. The decidedly untraditional tacos have gained a following with options like the Tipsy Chick (chicken breast, spinach, grilled corn, green chiles, cheddar, and chipotle sauce with a side of bacon bourbon jam) and the Cougar (smoked beef brisket, corn relish, guajillo chile onion strings, and both barbecue and chipotle sauce). It also offers breakfast tacos, a massive burrito, and a variety of margaritas and tropical cocktails.

A table full of Torchy’s Tacos.
Torchy’s Tacos

Lobos tacos y pupusas

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The Lobos food truck menu is simple and focuses on what it does best — tacos and pupusas. At $2 to $2.50 a taco, diners can mix and match varieties like chicharron, al pastor, and chorizo. There are three options for pupusas, and a limited number of other items like a Mexican hot dog, a burrito, and tortas — but the tacos and pupusas are the main draw here.

13 Tacos and Taps

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Fusion tacos are the star here, with perhaps one of the most unique taco menus in the Triangle. Try the Moo Moo III (seared filet mignon with rajas), the Red Bird (an achiote-marinated chicken adobado), or the Porky Asia (smoked pork belly with cabbage and apple relish). The 13th Taco is a constantly changing chef’s special, and recently was a take on tacos de canasta (basket tacos), featuring seared Gulf shrimp inside three corn tortillas, grilled in the style of birria tacos and served with arroz crema and cowboy style beans.

Gym Tacos

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What started as two taco trucks has grown into two brick-and-mortar locations serving some of Raleigh’s most-talked-about tacos. The “tacos any style” come with three tacos and the diners choice of fillings such as carne asada, pollo, chorizo, and more. The speciality tacos include the Gym Tacos (shrimp, spring mix lettuces, chipotle mayo, pico, and avocado crema) and the mahi-mahi tacos (mahi-mahi with spring mix lettuces, poblano aioli, and mango sauce). Gym Tacos also offers burgers, wings, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

Centro has been a staple of the downtown Raleigh dining scene since 2007. Owner Angela Salamanca and her team have put a slightly more upscale touch on some very popular taco combinations. The fish tacos come with fried salmon, jalapeno sour cream, red cabbage, and a sweet pico de gallo, while the tacos pibil are served with that classic achiote and sour-orange marinated pulled pork, pickled onions, and cilantro. All tacos come with a side of rice beans. Make sure to head upstairs after enjoying some tacos to check out the mezcal bar.

Taqueria El Toro

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Taqueria El Toro is classic strip mall counter-service style taco joint, with wildly affordable tacos that cover all of the classic hits. Think two pollo tacos for a mere $1.69, or two carnitas tacos for $1.89. There are also al pastor, tripa, suadero, hongos (mushrooms), and more on the menu. Virtually all the taco fillings can also be enjoyed as burritos, tortas, gorditas, quesadillas, or sopes, making the combination possibilities truly endless.

Gringo A Go Go

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Gringo a Go Go’s cantina style taco offerings are unique in that they offer a large number of vegetarian and vegan fillings alongside the classics. There are vegan versions of al pastor, pollo, chorizo, carnitas, and beef as well as vegetarian fillings like potato and nopales. Of course omnivores can always opt for a classic pork carnitas or asada steak taco. All tacos are enhanced by a huge selection of salsas such as pico de gallo, chipotle, serrano, peanut, and more.

El Rey del Taco

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El Rey del Taco serves Oaxacan-style tacos and treats from two colorful blue taco trucks that roam Raleigh. There are grilled tilapia tacos, barbacoa tacos made with slow cooked beef chuck marinated in a guajillo chile sauce, and buche tacos — pan fried pork tripe. The trucks also offer quesadillas and a torta menu featuring telera-style bread baked fresh by Neomonde Bakery.

Don Beto El Poblano

This unassuming food truck on Capital Boulevard happens to be one of the most highly rated taco joints in Raleigh. Don Beto El Poblano fills handmade corn tortillas with any variety of meats, like carnitas, lengua, barbacoa, and more. The chicharron tacos come with meltingly-tender pork skins, perfectly set off by any of the truck’s salsas. There are chips and drinks available, as well as various soups, tortas, quesadillas, and the occasional special.

Gonza Tacos y Tequila

Gonza Tacos y Tequila serves up a menu as bright and refreshing as the decor inside its four Wake County locations. There’s a Baja-style fish taco, a chicken tinga taco, an al pastor taco, and more. The Lacko taco comes with chile-braised short ribs, roasted corn, a spicy creme fraiche, and poblano salsa. There is usually a rotating special taco del chef. All the tacos can be washed down with some of the signature margaritas and cocktails.

Chido Taco Mercado Style Taqueria

Chido Taco is in the same family of restaurants as La Buena Vida, Cary’s Totopos Street Food, and Sanford’s heralded Fonda Lupita. The bright interior is reminiscent of a beachside Mexican taco shack and serves a variety of market-style tacos. There’s lengua and al pastor of course, but also vegan chicken, suadero (beef belly), and a quesabirria combo. On the less meaty side, it offers house specials like the chile rellenos tacos, baja-style fish tacos, and the Karma cameron — grilled shrimp that has been marinated in mezcal.

Chido Taco

Torchy's Tacos

National chain Torchy’s recently opened its first and only North Carolina location in Raleigh’s Midtown East area. The decidedly untraditional tacos have gained a following with options like the Tipsy Chick (chicken breast, spinach, grilled corn, green chiles, cheddar, and chipotle sauce with a side of bacon bourbon jam) and the Cougar (smoked beef brisket, corn relish, guajillo chile onion strings, and both barbecue and chipotle sauce). It also offers breakfast tacos, a massive burrito, and a variety of margaritas and tropical cocktails.

A table full of Torchy’s Tacos.
Torchy’s Tacos

Lobos tacos y pupusas

The Lobos food truck menu is simple and focuses on what it does best — tacos and pupusas. At $2 to $2.50 a taco, diners can mix and match varieties like chicharron, al pastor, and chorizo. There are three options for pupusas, and a limited number of other items like a Mexican hot dog, a burrito, and tortas — but the tacos and pupusas are the main draw here.

13 Tacos and Taps

Fusion tacos are the star here, with perhaps one of the most unique taco menus in the Triangle. Try the Moo Moo III (seared filet mignon with rajas), the Red Bird (an achiote-marinated chicken adobado), or the Porky Asia (smoked pork belly with cabbage and apple relish). The 13th Taco is a constantly changing chef’s special, and recently was a take on tacos de canasta (basket tacos), featuring seared Gulf shrimp inside three corn tortillas, grilled in the style of birria tacos and served with arroz crema and cowboy style beans.

Gym Tacos

What started as two taco trucks has grown into two brick-and-mortar locations serving some of Raleigh’s most-talked-about tacos. The “tacos any style” come with three tacos and the diners choice of fillings such as carne asada, pollo, chorizo, and more. The speciality tacos include the Gym Tacos (shrimp, spring mix lettuces, chipotle mayo, pico, and avocado crema) and the mahi-mahi tacos (mahi-mahi with spring mix lettuces, poblano aioli, and mango sauce). Gym Tacos also offers burgers, wings, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

Centro

Centro has been a staple of the downtown Raleigh dining scene since 2007. Owner Angela Salamanca and her team have put a slightly more upscale touch on some very popular taco combinations. The fish tacos come with fried salmon, jalapeno sour cream, red cabbage, and a sweet pico de gallo, while the tacos pibil are served with that classic achiote and sour-orange marinated pulled pork, pickled onions, and cilantro. All tacos come with a side of rice beans. Make sure to head upstairs after enjoying some tacos to check out the mezcal bar.

Taqueria El Toro

Taqueria El Toro is classic strip mall counter-service style taco joint, with wildly affordable tacos that cover all of the classic hits. Think two pollo tacos for a mere $1.69, or two carnitas tacos for $1.89. There are also al pastor, tripa, suadero, hongos (mushrooms), and more on the menu. Virtually all the taco fillings can also be enjoyed as burritos, tortas, gorditas, quesadillas, or sopes, making the combination possibilities truly endless.

Gringo A Go Go

Gringo a Go Go’s cantina style taco offerings are unique in that they offer a large number of vegetarian and vegan fillings alongside the classics. There are vegan versions of al pastor, pollo, chorizo, carnitas, and beef as well as vegetarian fillings like potato and nopales. Of course omnivores can always opt for a classic pork carnitas or asada steak taco. All tacos are enhanced by a huge selection of salsas such as pico de gallo, chipotle, serrano, peanut, and more.

El Rey del Taco

El Rey del Taco serves Oaxacan-style tacos and treats from two colorful blue taco trucks that roam Raleigh. There are grilled tilapia tacos, barbacoa tacos made with slow cooked beef chuck marinated in a guajillo chile sauce, and buche tacos — pan fried pork tripe. The trucks also offer quesadillas and a torta menu featuring telera-style bread baked fresh by Neomonde Bakery.

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