Vancouver's top taquerias for tasty tacos

It appears as though the traditional street snack of Mexico has finally made its way north and found a hungry and welcoming second home in Vancouver. That all these worthy taquerias are vying for supremacy can only mean excellent things for your Mexican food cravings. ¡Hola, tacos! [Image courtesy of Tacofino. Photo credit: Laura McGuire]

Tacofino Cantina Inc

2327 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V6

Long a fixture in surf mecca Tofino, Tacofino won instant die-hard fans when it rolled into Vancouver. Initially a food truck, the crew knew there was enough demand for a restaurant, and the tacos – chicken karaage and award-winning fish are signatures – have been flying out of the kitchen ever since. Whether a mobile lunch from the truck or a full dinner (with cocktails!) at the Commissary, you can’t go wrong with one of this city’s favourites.

La Taqueria Taco Shop

322 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1K6

The speedy, friendly service and the reward of these delicious little packets more than make up for the crammed space that is this tiny outfit on Hastings. Choose from a selection of carne, pescado and vegetarian tacos, all distinct in flavour and ingredient combinations. Take them to go or make friends with the Gastown workers and VFS students in the boisterous crowd – you’ll no doubt be sharing a table with them in these intimate quarters.

Sal Y Limon Mexican Cuisine

5-701 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K6

In the city’s recent explosion of more-than-decent Mexican food, the fight for authenticity may be over. Housed in a small strip mall at the corner of Fraser and Kingsway, brightly lit and always busy Sal y Limon packs a flavour punch with its house-made salsas, mouth-watering tacos and other truly Mexican delicacies. Recently expanded to manage the constant line-up of locals in the know, you can bet this gem won’t remain hidden for long.

Los Cuervos Taqueria

603 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K5

The classic street food of Mexico has never been at risk of being upscale. But if anyone in Vancouver is doing a fine-dining equivalent to the taco, it’s Los Cuervos. Sustainably sourced and artfully arranged ingredients – think seared Albacore tuna with wasabi crema or pork shoulder with pineapple pico de gallo – top tortillas perfectly warmed over their traditional flat-top griddle. Their fine selection of tequila and stirred margaritas take your taco-tasting to the next level.

La Mezcaleria

1622 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3Y4

Best to hit this Commercial Drive newcomer at 5 pm when it opens. Otherwise their packed house may deprive you of the delicious array of tacos on offer at this lively establishment. Platters of four perfectly seasoned tacos are best shared – pescado are delicious and ask about their daily special. And, if you manage to grab a seat before 6:30, you’ll be treated to happy hour margaritas, the perfect accompaniment to those tasty tortillas.

El Camino's

3250 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M5

Perfect for after-work gatherings, El Camino offers 2 smallish tacos with every order – excellent snacks to help absorb the deadly margaritas (only $5 on Mondays). In warm, dry weather, if you’re lucky to be one of only a restricted number of people on their sidewalk patio (capacity bylaws are strict!), it’s an excellent perch to watch some Main Street action. Enjoy lime and pepper popcorn on the house while you wait for those tacos.

Budgies Burritos

44 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3H9

Originally just a tiny burrito joint overrun by bearded and toque’d Main Street hipsters, Budgie’s expanded in 2012 to not only accommodate sit-down diners, but also to add a nice variety of tacos to their menu. Pair one (or two) of these with a Pacifico, grab a seat at the Formica table and appreciate the kitsch wall décor. Always vegetarian, always delicious, always just slightly indifferent, Budgie’s delivers.

Bandidas Taqueria

2781 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4C5

The rad women behind this Commercial Drive taqueria don’t hide their commitment to good causes or their community. Having donated profits to out-of-work teachers during 2014’s epic teachers strike only increased their equally epic line-ups. Non-traditional vegetarian tacos – think fillings like walnuts, butternut squash and chipotle tofu – are best enjoyed at the bar while you watch the cooks press fresh tortillas. Spicy tequila Caesars are a more-than-worthy chaser.

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