Nine Must-Try Taquerias In The Heart Of South Philadelphia

Some of the city's best tacos can by found in the tucked-away taquerias of South Philly...

Philadelphia is home to dozens of awesome Mexican restaurants all over the city, ranging from classic, hole-in-the-wall cantinas to three- and four-star modern Mexican restaurants.

But there’s one section of the city that specializes in a deliciously critical piece of Philly’s dining scene: the informal, casual, authentic taquerias of South Philadelphia.

Converging around 9th Street and the Italian Market, there seems to be a taco shop on each and every block — the area’s thriving Mexican population is a big reason why. These taquerias are serving tasty and authentic tacos that are inexpensive, yet come fully loaded with some combination of chopped onions, cilantro, roasted veggies and a wide variety of meaty fillings.

You can opt for the classics like chicken, carnitas, al pastor and steak or head in a more adventurous (and potentially more delicious) direction with tacos filled with tripa (tripe), cabeza (cheek), lengua (tongue) and more.

Regardless of what type of taco you’re craving, the next time you have an appetite for tacos (of any kind) remember to head to one of these great, unassuming (read: small) taquerias in South Philly. You’ll be happy you did.

Also important to note: many of these shops are BYOB so they’re the perfect place to head with a six pack or a bottle of wine the next time you’re seeking out epic tacos and a totally casual night out.

Our picks for South Philly taquerias, below.

Los Gallos

At South Philly storefront Los Gallos, colorful flags wave overhead, friendly service beckons and platters heave with generous, exceedingly fresh tacos, available in combinations of grilled and roasted meats. Diners can pair their fare with Mexican sodas from the fridge or choose to BYOB.

Los Gallos

Where:Los Gallos, 951 Wolf Street

www.losgallosmexicantaqueria.com

Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla

Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla specializes in small tacos, and there’s a gigantic menu of tacos of all textures and regional styles here — grilled smoked pork chop, steak with Chihuahua cheese and al pastor. For the daring, beef eye and tripe make up some of the more bizarre taco options. Guests are encouraged to bring wine or beer to enjoy with their food.

Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla

Where:Los Taquitos de Puebla Restaurant, 1149 S. 9th Street

www.taquitosdepuebla.com

El Jarocho

Everyone has a favorite neighborhood taco joint, and for many, El Jarocho is it. The bare-bones storefront slings memorably flavorful al pastor and nopales-tangled carne asada in tortillas. Be sure to tote along a six pack of beer or bottle of wine to this BYOB spot.

El Jarocho

Where:El Jarocho Restaurant Taqueria, 1138 S. 13th Street
Phone: 215-463-2205

South Philly Barbacoa

What used to be a food cart is now a small, friendly brick and mortar restaurant that serves slow-cooked lamb barbacoa and pancita tacos that come loaded with fresh toppings. The menu also features an insanely delicious consommé – like a brothy soup – that you should try as well. Drinks like atole, soda and agua frescas are available for purchase, and diners are welcome to bring their own (BYO) alcoholic beverages along.

South Philly Barbacoa

Where:South Philly Barbacoa, 1703 S. 11th Street
Phone: 215-694-3797

Taqueria La Veracruzana

Often called the original authentic South Philly taqueria, Taqueria La Veracruzana has paved the way for countless others with its super-cheap (3 for $6) dishes of simple soft tortilla-wrapped delicacies, such as stewed bistec, grilled shrimp and cheese-stuffed jalapenos. To keep up with the super-cheap theme, the restaurant is BYOB.

Taqueria La Veracruzana

Where:Taqueria La Veracruzana, 908 Washington Avenue
Phone: 215-465-1440

Blue Corn

Located in the heart of the Italian Market, Blue Corn is a tucked-away restaurant that delivers lots of flavor with an assortment of tacos (some even served in a blue shell) and overflowing margaritas. Tacos come filled with everything from chorizo to al pastor.

Blue Corn

Where:Blue Corn, 940 S. 9th Street
Phone: 215-925-1010

Prima Pizza Taqueria Mexicana

Overflowing with fresh ingredients, Prima Pizza Taqueria Mexicana in Bella Vista serves up majorly flavorful tacos and non-alcoholic beverages (so, BYOB) in an assuming storefront. And with many of the tacos ringing in at just $2 a pop, there’s no excuse not to visit this authentic spot.

Prima Pizza Taqueria Mexicana

Where:Prima Pizza Taqueria Mexicana, 1104 S. 9th Street
Phone: 215-339-5000

El Zarape

Should taco cravings take a backseat to a hankering for a burrito, or even, say, the sizzling fajita salad, El Zarape delivers. In addition to reputable fried fish and chorizo tacos, the restaurant offers a full menu of Tex-Mex classics and sodas. Note that those looking to enjoy alocholic beverges should plan to bring their own.

El Zarape

Where:El Zarape, 1304 S. 9th Street

www.elzarapehiladelphia.com

Tacos El Rodeo

While technically a taco truck and not a taqueria, the tacos from the Tacos El Rodeo truck at 10th and Washington are just too good to omit from this list. El Rodeo offers the classics like carnitas, al pastor and bistec as well as some more adventurous varieties including tripa (tripe), suadero and cabeza (cheek).

Tacos El Rodeo

Where:Tacos El Rodeo, 1001 Washington Ave

Want more tacos? Check out a guide to some of the latest-and-greatest taco spots around town on visitphilly.com.

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2 comments

  1. Try this: order the same things from from El Jarocho, Veracruzana, and Quetzally and taste them side by side by side. You won’t even be able to taste Jarocho or Veracruzanna. Quetzally is that much tastier.

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