The Burg’s Top Taco Spots

casitatacos

Tacos are our go-to meal. There’s no shortage of spots to enjoy them in our city. Whether you’re looking for casual street food with a hint of So Cal inspiration, or want to sit down and enjoy meticulously constructed and packed shells, there’s a spot calling your name in the Sunshine City.

After devouring the dish for years all over the Burg, we’ve narrowed down our personal favorite spots to enjoy tacos locally. Of course, we understand this is not a definitive list and invite residents who have recommendations to let us know in the comments below! We’re always up for something new.

 

redmesamercado

Red Mesa 

It was hard to decide between the street tacos at Mercado or the duck tacos at Cantina, so we decided to include the Red Mesa concepts all in one slot. The original Red Mesa Restaurant on 4th Street offers an inviting sit-down meal experience. Cantina serves up one of the finest margaritas in the city, which is a perfect complement to their savory tacos — both the fish and duck tacos are exceptional. Mercado’s West Coast-inspired menu delivers a killer chicken street taco that we find ourselves craving on a weekly basis.

The restaurateurs behind Red Mesa aren’t stopping with restaurants. By the fall of this year, they hope to launch a new wedding/events venue called Red Mesa Events above their Cantina location. If you’re looking for a good deal, it’s hard to top Red Mesa Restaurant’s sangria special on Wednesdays — 50% off pitchers and glasses for all of their sangrias.

Red Mesa Mercado, 1100 1st Avenue North

Red Mesa Cantina, 128 3rd Street South

Red Mesa Restaurant, 4912 4th Street North

 

taqueriaemanuel

 *Photo via Coty S. on Yelp 

Taqueria Emanuel

The legendary and locally-owned Taqueria Emanuel is a staple in most Tampa Bay residents’ diets.Their popularity grew so much that they just recently opened a second location in Pinellas Park (4505 Park Boulevard, Unit 2). Before you savor a cup of sweet champurrado with a slice of 3 Kings Rosca, we recommend you fill up on their exquisite tacos.

The Alambre Tacos — handmade tortillas, grilled steaks, green and red bell peppers, grilled onions, lemon and mozzarella cheese — are a hearty delight. Tacos De Tripa — Tripe on handmade tortilla with cilantro and onions — is a crave-worthy entree. Pair anything with their Horchata for a complete Taqueria experience. If you’re hungry for something more than tacos, you can’t go wrong with their juicy steak empanadas. Follow them on Facebook to learn more about daily specials. Taqueria Emanuel is located at 4505 Park Boulevard, Unit 2.

 

 

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Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant 

While we can’t get enough of the churros at Carmelita’s, it’s the Tacos Al Carbon that keep us coming back.The dish features three flour tortillas filled with grilled steak, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. We add a little of Carmelita’s green hot sauce to the mix for a slight kick.

If you’re famished, we highly recommend you order the Del Rey burrito — seasoned chicken, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese all wrapped inside a flour tortilla and covered with ranchero sauce, sour cream and an olive. Follow Carmelita’s on Facebook for some mouthwatering culinary inspiration. Carmelita’s is located at 5211 Park Street North.

 
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 *Photo via Steven L. on Yelp

Señor Taco 

Señor Taco delivers a flawless haymaker to our taste buds each and every time we visit. The arroz imperial (Mexican stuffed rice), fried ice cream and handmade tamales are glorious. Their tacos are equally remarkable.

When you visit, we recommend you order the Machete tacos — fried pork mushrooms and onions smothered with melted cheese and served on a flour tortilla topped with salsa verde. If you have room, treat yourself to the el trí — smoked ham, chorizo, bacon, onions and poblano peppers, all grilled together and topped with melted cheese, cilantro, guac and sour cream on a flour tortilla.

Complete the trifecta with a cochinita taco — Mayan pork. Follow Señor Taco on Facebook to learn more about the family-owned and operated business. Señor Taco is located at 6447 Park Boulevard North, Suite 1.

 

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Casita Taqueria 

We’re forever endeared to Casita bowls. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cold beer with chips and guac outside at their Grand Central District location on a spring afternoon. Casita’s iconic beer and tacos insignia painted above the front entrance has long served as a beacon of bold flavor for residents. Personally, we’re huge fans of their fish tacos — lightly seasoned and blackened cod, topped with shredded cabbage, homemade pineapple salsa — on Casita’s homemade corn tortillas.

Owners Don and Gwen Arvin are beloved figures in the St. Pete community. Their passion for our city is evident in the food they serve and the atmosphere they’ve created in their restaurant. We encourage you to follow them on Facebook to catch a glimpse of their rotating specials. Past dishes include barbacoa tacos topped with tomato, pickled jalapeño and olive salsa, and fried chick pea tacos topped with shredded lettuce, onions, crema and cilantro.

Casita Taqueria has two locations in St. Pete with a planned expansion to Seminole Heights in Tampa:

  • 2663 Central Avenue
  • 2701 4th Street North

 

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D’Mexican 

Located just a quick drive from Treasure Island on Central Avenue, D’Mexican packs a lot of authentic Mexican flavor into a small space. The flan is exquisite and the chicken and shrimp fajitas are legendary. When you visit, we recommend you pair your mason jar of homemade sangria with tacos campestres — three tacos with a mix of marinated steak, chicken and sausage, cilantro, red pickled onions and homemade campestre hot sauce.

Follow D’Mexican on Facebook for updates. The restaurant is located at 6630 Central Avenue.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Smoked meat taco trio — Proper Kitchen and Cocktails
Cornbread taco with pulled pork — Urban Brew and BBQ
Loaded grouper tacos — Cali Tacos on 4th Street
Cochinitas y pibil (spiced pork, lime, cilantro, pickled onions, queso fresco) — Nueva Cantina
The Donald (Sliced, spiced and pan seared duck breast topped with mixed field greens, mango cilantro salsa fresca and ginger dressing) — The Lure

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of iLovetheBurg.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: andrew@rkc.me