An Illustrated Guide to San Antonio’s Most Important Taco Styles

Tacos are plentiful in San Antonio, and they appear in numerous kinds, from Michoacán-type carnitas tacos to the renowned hometown puffy tacos to barbacoa tacos that pair oh-so-perfectly with Huge Purple soda. It will help that you can roll pretty much anything up in a tortilla, top rated it with salsa, and phone it a taco.

There’s a taco out there for every person in this metropolis, with a diverse landscape of resources, such as meals trucks, conventional taquerias, donut outlets, Tex-Mex restaurants, and extra. Here’s a quick overview of San Antonio’s taco offerings and some of the most effective sites to find them.

Watercolor painting of a bacon and egg breakfast taco wrapped in foil.

Breakfast taco

What to know: Breakfast tacos are San Antonio’s satisfaction and pleasure, which is why you will find them on just about each taqueria’s morning menu. A breakfast plate wrapped in a flour tortilla, these tacos consist of any mix of refried beans, eggs, chorizo, potatoes, bacon, and cheese, between tons of other fillings. Other tacos served at breakfast incorporate carne guisada, a gravy-large beef taco, and barbacoa, which tends to be served solely on weekends.

In which to come across it: Patty’s Taco House (2422 South Hackberry) and the Unique Donut Shop (3307 Fredericksburg Street) are two taquerias that are bustling in the mornings for good rationale. But once more, these are some of the most frequent tacos in the town, and most areas do them really effectively.


What to know: Originating from Michoacán, a western Mexican state, carnitas is in essence chopped pork, both shoulder or butt, that has been seasoned and sluggish-cooked in fat until finally tender. The juicy cuts are put on a corn tortilla, sprinkled with onions and cilantro, and a taco is born. Salsa verde is a community beloved topping for carnitas tacos, as is pickled cabbage.

Wherever to discover it: Carnitas Lonja (1107 Roosevelt Avenue) and Carnitas Don Raúl (2202 Broadway) have both garnered countrywide interest for their carnitas recipes.

Watercolor painting of a puffy taco with tomatoes and lettuce.

Puffy taco

What to know: The specific origin of the puffy taco shifts depending on who you inquire, but San Antonio is exactly where the fried tortilla shell actually took off many thanks to the Lopez brothers, all of whom started dining places that have been in organization for a long time. What will make puffy tacos so distinctive is that corn tortillas puff up when fried in oil to turn into an airy delight right before staying loaded with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. The legendary staple has grow to be so ingrained in San Antonio’s culture that it’s begotten merchandise and even a preferred athletics mascot.

The place to locate it: Henry’s Puffy Tacos (6030 Bandera Road) and Ray’s Travel-Inn (822 SW 19th Road). That is the listing. Anywhere else is serving their finest attempt at what two of the Lopez brothers now perfected.


What to know: Name a far better duo than barbacoa tacos and Big Pink soda. In San Antonio, you just can’t, especially on Sunday mornings when a hangover cure is vital.

Usually, barbacoa is made by burying a cow’s head underground in a pit lined with sizzling coals or rocks until finally the cheek meat cooks to perfection, although right now in Texas, much more present-day approaches of steaming are commonly utilised to get the meat wonderful and tender.

In which to uncover it: Some of the city’s most renowned barbacoa tacos can be identified at Tommy’s Cafe, which, the good thing is for eaters, has a number of destinations throughout the city.

Watercolor painting of a a meat trompo with a pineapple at the top.

Tacos al pastor

What to know: Tacos al pastor are a spinoff of shawarma, which was introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 20th century. The tacos consist of pork that is sliced from a rotating spit, also acknowledged as a trompo, which is usually served as mini tacos–small corn tortillas laid flat on a plate and served with onions, cilantro, and lime.

Exactly where to discover it: Tacos al pastor is a common dish for taco vehicles like Tacos y Burritos Metro Basilica 2 (11070 Shaenfield Road), but you can locate them at taquerias as nicely, like Taquitos West Avenue (2818 West Avenue), which famously offers al pastor Thursday via Sunday.

Carne asada

What to know: A different favorite selection for mini tacos, carne asada is beef steak, ordinarily flank or skirt, which is been marinated with substances like lime, cilantro, and chile powder. The steak is then grilled and sliced up to be served in tacos topped with grilled onions, cilantro, and, of training course, some spicy salsas.

Where by to discover it: One particular of the most well known taco alternatives, you can come across carne asada all over the place — but for superior carne asada, look at out Taqueria Datapoint (1702 West Gramercy Position) and Tacos El Regio (2726 North Saint Mary’s Road).

Watercolor painting of birria tacos on a red and white checkered serving tray.


What to know: Birria has experienced a surge in attractiveness in San Antonio in the final couple of decades, with more dining places popping up around the notion. The dish, which is produced with beef or goat, hails from the Mexican state of Jalisco, wherever it was originally served as a stew, but in San Antonio, nearly anything can be turned into a taco with the proper tortilla.

Exactly where to come across it: The food truck El Remedio (2924 Culebra Road) gets resourceful with its birria taco choices, whilst some lesser Jalisco-oriented taquerias have a tendency to have a additional traditional stew version of the dish.

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