20 Orlando tacos you need to try ASAP 

A kaleidoscopic cornucopia of tacos

click to enlarge Market on South

photo by Hannah Glogower

Market on South

This is a wonderful time to eat tacos in Orlando – partly because we have so many options, and partly because we're able to embrace a multiplicity of opinions. People who have extremely strong feelings about cheap, authentic street-meat tacos can coexist with those who make a run for the border every afternoon to grab a Crunchwrap Supreme and a Meximelt. Those who won't touch a tortilla that wasn't kneaded in the back of the store with house-nixtamalized maize and carefully garnished with locally raised greens and meats can live happily alongside folks who can't resist an overstuffed burrito bursting with lettuce, black olives, queso and sour cream. There's even room for those who hold a fondness for the packet-seasoned ground beef in a hard corn-chip shell served to us in our childhoods.

It's a many-taco'd world, and yes, we can all get along.

So here are a few of our favorite things – 20, to be exact, listed here in alphabetical order – a kaleidoscopic cornucopia of every type of taco we love. If you eat two a day starting the Wednesday this issue hits the street, you can try them all before Cinco de Mayo. – Jessica Bryce Young

617 E. Central Blvd., 407-849-9779, baoery.com

Lush, tender short rib on a crisped flour tortilla, topped with jalapeño, cilantro, cabbage and a dusting of Asian five-spice.

click to enlarge Black Rooster - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Black Rooster

Black Rooster Taqueria
1323 N. Mills Ave., 407-601-0994, blackroostertaqueria.com

Try the chicken tinga taco with pulled roasted chicken in a chipotle chile-and-tomato sauce with lettuce and crema fresca.

Border Grill Fresh Mex
5695-A Vineland Road, 407-352-0101, bordergrillorlando.weebly.com

Their chorizo taco tops spicy crumbled Mexican sausage with chopped onion and cilantro on your choice of tortilla.

click to enlarge Cocina 214
  • Cocina 214

Cocina 214
151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407-790-7997, cocina214.com

They offer two fish tacos, but we'll take the Don Carlos: blackened mahi with cabbage slaw, avocado, shredded red bell pepper, jalapeño and citrus dressing.

Cousins Maine Lobster
321-236-6050, cousinsmainelobster.com/orlando

The truck's lobster tacos are simple but sumptuous, comprising chunks of Maine lobster topped with crisp cabbage, pico de gallo and a cilantro-lime sauce.

El Patron
12167 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, 407-238-5300, elpatronorlando.com

Duck al pastor tacos with grilled pineapple, guajillo chili glaze, cilantro and duck chicharrones are juicy, savory, sweet and crispy.

4 Rivers Smokehouse
multiple locations; 4rsmokehouse.com

Taco Tuesday brings something special: tender smoked brisket topped with cilantro, lime crème fraîche, fresh pico and queso blanco.

Gringos Locos
20 E. Washington St., 407-841-5626; 2406 E. Robinson St., 407-896-5626; gringoslocos.net

Gringos' Double Ds are a double-decker treat consisting of queso spread on a soft tortilla and wrapped around a crunchy shell. What's inside doesn't matter, but it's your choice of meat, more cheese, lettuce, pico and sour cream.

Hunger Street
407-617-1140, facebook.com/hungerstreettacos

Follow Hunger Street's feeds to know where they'll pop up next (you'll often find them at the Audubon Park Community Market); their grilled cheese taco is a slab of grilled halloumi over rich black beans with thin-sliced onions.

Infusion Tea
1600 Edgewater Drive, 407-999-5255, infusionorlando.com

The teahouse's cauliflower-chickpea tacos – roasted veggies with crispy kale slaw, cilantro, guacamole and sour cream – are surprisingly succulent.

Jimmy Hula's
multiple locations, jimmyhulas.com

The culinary equivalent of jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, the Johnny Utah taco melds smoked pork, barbecue sauce, mac & cheese, pickles, bacon and scallions. Vaya con Dios.

Kalbi Hau5
407-403-0115, kalbihau5.com

Off the food truck that serves "Asian marinated meats in Mexican vessels," try the kalbi taco: spicy charred pork sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions and finished with mandarin orange segments.

Market on South
2603 E. South St., 407-613-5968, marketonsouth.com

The closest thing we have to San Antonio-style puffy tacos: barbecue jackfruit or smoked tempeh with purple kraut, pineapple salsa and coconut crema served in a chewy-crispy fried shell.

Mucho Tequila and Tacos  
101 S. Eola Drive, 407-843-9676, muchotequilatacos.com

Don't miss Mucho's drunken shrimp taco: grilled tequila-and-chili-glazed shrimp sprinkled with red onion, pico de gallo and sour cream, wrapped in a soft flour or hard corn shell.

Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa
1326 N. Mills. Ave., 407-203-0866, pigfloyds.com

A brilliant curveball from the Latin barbecue joint: juicy chopped chicken, jasmine rice, creamy orange tikka masala sauce, pickled jalapeños, roasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro, drizzled with yogurt "crema" and served on a flour tortilla.

Tako Cheena
932 N. Mills Ave., 321-236-7457

It's hard to pick just one of the Latin-Asian fusion tacos here, but we'll go with the Indian yellow curry-dusted crispy tofu, wrapped in a flour tortilla with mixed green and purple cabbage, crisp juicy celery, scallions and cilantro.

Rocco's Tacos
7468 W. Sand Lake Road, 407-226-0550, roccostacos.com

We love the hongos (mushroom) tacos, served with manchego cheese, garlic and crema (pro tip: Ask for pickled red onion and choose the soft corn tortilla).

Taqueria Ameca
3558 S. Orange Ave., 407-851-1876

At this humble joint with a huge array of proteins, it's a tough choice between buche, chicharron and cabeza (beef cheek), but we go for the latter. And don't skimp on the pickled veggies from the salsa bar.

Tacos El Rancho
multiple locations, tacoselrancho.com

Say yes to lengua tacos: buttery-soft cubes of beef tongue with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream layered atop two soft tortillas.

Zona Fresca
1035 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-622-4840, zonafresca.com

One of the few places in town to serve nopales (peeled, chopped, grilled cactus paddles). We love the machaca (spicy braised shredded beef) taco with poblanos, tomato, queso fresco ... but we always add nopales for a refreshing juicy crunch.


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