There are so many taco spots in the Texan city of San Antonio, it can be difficult to narrow down your search.
From taco trucks, to neighborhood restaurants, local chains, and taquerías, each one has their own take on Mexican staples and there are some forward thinking options too.
The local residents will have their own favorites so it may be worth asking around for their recommendations.
When you have made a list, take a good look at the menu as there are so many items to choose from and only so much time.
In this guide, we will look at why the Texan city of San Antonio is renowned for its taco spots and investigate the Puffy Taco.
We will also detail 17 of the taco spots you should seek out on your next visit.
Why San Antonio Is Renowned For Its Taco Spots
San Antonio is likely to be well-known for its part in the great stand-off known as the Alamo and it remains a site renowned for its Hispanic heritage.
That has continued into the modern age through its food and Tex-Mex cuisine.
The city offers so many great taco spots and the key difference from most cities is how authentic those Mexican flavors are.
No processed foods here, the sauces and even the tortillas are typically made from scratch for that homemade taste that you should rave about.
The eateries themselves are great places to socialize, take someone out for a date to, or simply eat some great Mexican food.
With great service, tender prepared meat, and flavorful food, this may be a list you revisit whenever you find yourself in the city.
Occasionally, a taco spot’s prowess can be down to how simple the food is prepared with nothing too experimental to offer.
Some eateries excel at fancy presentation whereas others prefer to let a set of rudimentary menu items done very well stand up for themselves.
As a city known for its Mexican history, you are sure to find many of your Tex-Mex favorites on most menus.
However, the city is fast getting a reputation for some more modern takes on some original dishes. If there is a city to enjoy tacos north of the Mexican border then San Antonio is it.
The Must-Try Menu Item In San Antonio: The Puffy Taco
If you have heard about the Puffy Taco then there is only one city to try it in and that is San Antonio.
As a forward-thinking foodie city, San Antonio invented the Puffy Taco so it should be most authentic when found in the city’s taco spots.
One of the finest places to sample this delicacy is at Henry’s Puffy Tacos. While the recipe is said to have come from Ray’s Drive-In as an accidental invention, Henry is Ray’s brother and initially worked there to learn the ropes.
The recipe is said to have come from Great-Grandma Lopez who dropped a taco round and deep-fried it.
Its rescue proved so successful that the Puffy Taco was born and swiftly added to the menu.
While Henry learned the recipe at Ray’s, he branched out to open his own taco shop along with his own secret Puffy Taco recipe.
Should you be limited on time, head to Henry’s Puffy Tacos for a light and airy taco which is fluffy and soft while also being rewardingly crunchy.
Make Your Own Puffy Tacos
Original tacos may pale in comparison to a puffy one and they are relatively easy to do, so you could try making them at home with the right ingredients.
From a ball of flattened masa about the size of a golf ball, you can create a thin round by placing them in freezer bags and using a tortilla press.
You can also use a skillet, flat plate, or flat bottomed bowl, or roll them out between wax paper sheets. Whichever method you decide to use, roll them out one at a time and turn them around for an even thickness.
The rounds can then be stacked one by one between wax paper layers then each round will be deep-fried in around three inches of oil to golden, crispy perfection.
After around ten seconds, the round will need to be flipped and lightly pressed in the center to create a U-shape.
Without this light pressing during the deep-frying process, the taco fails to create the U-shape and may snap if you try to bend it.
As the masa puffs up during the deep-frying, it earns the fully deserved title of a Puffy Taco and is sprinkled with salt and drained of oil.
Once cooled, each round can then be filled with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and taco meat.
Even if you cannot find fresh masa, you can whisk together corn flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, Kosher salt and very hot water to then knead into a soft dough.
San Antonio has a lot to be proud of, including its Hispanic heritage and its claim for Breakfast Tacos.
While the latter may be disputed, the city remains so proud of its Puffy Tacos that you may bump into its Puffy Taco mascot.
As a mixing pot for various cultures, it is perhaps no surprise that Texas and Mexican, as well as German, French, and indigenous cultures have created their very own food item which has roots in Aztec cooking that is well worth trying.
17 Of The Very Best Taco Spots To Find In San Antonio
- Taco House
- Carnitas Lonja
- Torchy’s Tacos
- Taquitos West Ave
- Taquería El Trompo
- Tacos And Chelas Mexican Kitchen
- Pete’s Tako House
- Tommy’s Restaurant
- Henry’s Puffy Tacos
- Taquería Datapoint
- Rita’s Fiesta Café
- Garcia’s Mexican Food
- The Original Donut Shop
- Tacos El Regio
- Tacos N Salsa
- Cascabel Mexican Patio
- Pollos Asados Los Norteños
1. Taco House
Address: 6307 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216
Found in North Shearer Hills, The Taco House is located in a relatively sedate neighborhood. Yet this restaurant is well worth seeking out, even though the indoor decor is relatively tedious.
Occasionally, such pleasant looking restaurants excel simply based on their cooking and there are some stand-out menu items.
Try the Carne De Puerco en Chile Colorado yet the Chorizo And Eggs are an excellent start to the day.
2. Carnitas Lonja
Address: 1107 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210
Few restaurants have a table as sought after in San Antonio as those found in Carnitas Lonja.
Opened by chef Alejandro Paredes from Morelia in Mexico back in 2017, the restaurant is located near to Highland Park and Denver Heights so you will need to head down to the South Side of the city.
When you get in, take some time to enjoy the festive vibes, from picnic tables to streamers, it’s a great place for a family meal.
The service is super and there are some traditional Mexican dishes to delve into such as Carnitas, Michoacán and a Quesadilla served with salsa, pickled onion, Oaxaca cheese, and pico de gallo.
3. Torchy’s Tacos
Address: 17627 La Cantera Pkwy #105, San Antonio, TX 78257
Find The Rim shopping mall and you will find Torchy’s Tacos which is a food chain but do not let that put you off.
Not if you want some traditional takes on Mexican street food and an upbeat atmosphere.
This is the sort of place you can spend hours in, whether you start or end with Happy Hour or get there early enough to feel the buzz from their coffee (see also ‘The Best Drinks At Dutch Bros. You Need To Try‘).
Torchy’s Tacos is ideal for breakfast with their Fried Avocado, Street Corn, and Queso featuring highly.
The Trailer Park is also worth trying and their handmade flour tortillas are among the best in the city.
4. Taquitos West Ave
Address: 2818 West Ave, San Antonio, TX 78201
For possibly the very best tacos that San Antonio has to offer, Taquitos West Ave has quite a reputation. The well-loved taquería has two locations but the one on West Ave may pip it simply for convenience.
Service is simple enough, choose your meat then have them on mini corn tortillas alongside cilantro and raw onions.
Then again, you can choose from a range of toppings including cucumbers, sliced radishes, and grilled onions.
Staff will take down your drink order at the table and then bring out some of their house salsa to enjoy with the tacos.
Perhaps the salsa is the star of the show as it has that perfect combination of vinegar and spicy to get through the rich taco.
Then again, the tacos are so simple and effective with high-quality ingredients that are bursting with flavor.
This is the ideal place for mini tacos (not street tacos that are sold as street food) to start or end your night so try the Lengua, Cabeza, Tripas, Bistec, and Suadero which are all served on nixtamalized corn tortillas, slick with oil.
5. Taquería El Trompo
Address: 7863 Callaghan Rd Suite 108, San Antonio, TX 78229
While some restaurants are renowned for their Breakfast Tacos, Taquería El Trompo is ideal for lunch and dinner too. Even if you are struggling with what to order, the staff are well-known for their recommendations.
Try the staple dish of El Trompo Taco which comes with pastor mix, cheese, country sausage, and Asada. Alternatively, if you need a pick-me-up for breakfast then try the Breakfast Burger for a handheld treat.
6. Tacos And Chelas Mexican Kitchen
Address: 9902 Potranco Road, San Antonio, TV 78251
For a less traditional spot, try Tacos and Chelas Mexican Kitchen which is making fast waves in San Antonio’s food scene.
That means their take on traditional street tacos but then a more modern twist on Tex-Mex with some Shrimp Tacos and Asada Fries.
The flavors should be recognized yet the presentation is fun enough to be ideal as a place to impress.
Such presentation means that the dishes may take a while to come out but are well worth the wait.
For a truly memorable dish to write home about, try The Costra for melted cheese with meat, ideally carnitas.
Then topped with onions, diced tomatoes, red salsa, green salsa, and served with mini tortillas.
7. Pete’s Tako House
Address: 502 Brooklyn Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215
Pete’s Tako House can be easy to miss, located near to the CPS Energy Headquarters even though it has a huge sign on a tan building.
This is one of San Antonio’s hidden gems and is a considerably modest restaurant where the food does all the talking so the decoration does not have to.
If you were to ask the locals, they would likely insist you try the Beef and Barbacoa tacos then, if you have room, try the Burritos. This is also another place to try if you have a hankering for Breakfast Tacos.
8. Tommy’s Restaurant
Address: 8823 Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, TX 78240
Then there is Tommy’s which has five spots to choose from in San Antonio (Parkway, Silicon Drive, Pedro Road, Nogalitos, and the Medical Center.
Whichever one you pick, try the Barbacoa yet try to make room for the Big Red combo too.
Their range of lunch plates all come served with rice & beans so should be filling enough. Then again, the nachos and caldos are well worth diving into as well.
9. Henry’s Puffy Tacos
Address: 6030 Bandera Rd, San Antonio, TX 78238
An alchemical creation made by deep-frying a raw corn masa tortilla until it inflates then crimped into a U-shape, San Antonio is known for its Puffy Tacos.
This is to the extent that the city’s Missions baseball team has one as their mascot. There are those Puffy Tacos and then there is Henry’s Puffy Tacos.
This is a great spot near to the city’s aquarium and is easily found if you look for the Connally Loop.
With a casual atmosphere and a full-service bar, this is a restaurant that rewards those who want to relax. The decoration is modest as the food is spectacular.
These are recipes that have been handed down through generations so you can rely on the cuisine.
In the local community, their Puffy Taco has been a staple and has drawn in families down the years.
Each of their sauces is made from scratch and the meat is juicy, tender, and flavorful.
It may be difficult to pick what you want yet the Chicken Enchiladas and Shrimp Tacos come highly recommended.
10. Taquería Datapoint
Address: 4063 Medical Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229
Taquería Datapoint may be tricky to find as it seems hidden on a strip mall but once you find it you will want to tell your friends.
There remains a welcoming friendly vibe with no frills, just tasty home-cooked food, and limonada.
If you like your tacos simple yet effective then this is the place as you can pick however many you want with the fillings of your choice.
This is where it may become a little tricky and you may end up ordering the Pastor, Carnitas, Barbacoa, Tripa, and even the Lengua too.
Then there is the accompanying cilantro, avocado, and onions too.
However, if you decide on tacos as a late-night treat then it is open from 6am through to 12am on Mondays to Thursdays.
11. Rita’s Fiesta Café
Address: 612 Bandera Rd, San Antonio, TX 78228
If you like parrots then there is only one taco place in town to go and that is Rita’s Fiesta Café.
The restaurant has a welcoming atmosphere with family portraits hanging on the walls and an air of nostalgia.
There are also West Side’s most renowned breakfast plates and Barbacoa Tacos.
However, if someone does not quite fancy tacos then their alternative menu includes their very own Menudo with lime slices and fresh tortillas.
12. Garcia’s Mexican Food
Address: 842 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78201
Some restaurants are so well-renowned that you should expect a line coming out of the door. That’s certainly the case at Garcia’s Mexican Food and with good reason too.
This is a West Side neighborhood institution where you can expect some traditional Mexican fare with some Tex-Mex thrown in.
There may be an extensive menu yet the standouts include the Brisket and Puerco Con Chile.
For a few offerings you simply will not find anywhere else in the city, this is a place to seek out. Even their rice is excellent and their Bone-In Pork Chops are worth raving home about.
This is a decidedly thin pork chop that’s seared then grilled and comes with a steak knife. You do not need the utensil as it is best to simply dip it in jalapeño relish and nibble around the bone.
13. The Original Donut Shop
Address: 3307 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78201
Granted, the donuts served from the right may be tempting yet visit The Original Donut Shop for their tacos.
These are served from the left and the restaurant mashup has been going since the Fifties so they know what they are doing.
The tortillas remain hand-rolled and staunchly made to order so dip them into the breakfast tacos.
You may find yourself returning later for some donuts, and their Crispy Chicken Tacos, maybe some Chilaquiles too. There is even a drive-through if you are in such a rush.
14. Tacos El Regio
Address: 2726 N St Mary’s Street, San Antonio, TX 78212
Another great late-night option is Tacos El Regio so if you are spending a night out, get some delicious tacos before heading home.
Their Asada Tacos are ideal for that cheeky fix yet the Tostadas are incredibly filling so you may not need breakfast the following day.
Give in to the onions, queso fresco, and cilantro with the freshly squeezed lime juice. If the downtown spot in St Mary’s is a bit out, there is also the spot on Nacogdoches.
15. Tacos N Salsa
Address: 5123 N Loop, 1604 San Antonio, TX 78249
Sure, it sounds like a simple enough restaurant name which is kinda the point at Tacos N Salsa.
The portion sizes are comparatively larger than a lot of other establishments which is great if you need a filling meal.
Especially for the first meal of the day and their Breakfast Tacos come highly recommended.
Even if you are in a rush, the service is quick enough so it should not be too long before you have your hands on some tasty Chilaquiles Tacos.
There are two locations in the city so one should not be far away in the morning. Try their Chicken Cilantro Tacos yet their Street Taco Plate is also worth trying.
16. Cascabel Mexican Patio
Address: 1000 S St Mary’s Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
Tacos may seem like a dangerous option for a date (always go for a napkin), yet Cascabel Mexican Patio is so cute it can seem like a divine choice.
The huge patio brings a friendly atmosphere of its own which typifies San Antonio. Vintage at heart but with delicious Mexican food as its fuel.
Here, you can rely on a rustic serving with food cooked from scratch for a more Mexican take rather than Tex-Mex.
For example, their slow-braised meats and mole are suitably spicy but smoky and indulgently cooked.
As far as recommendations go, try the Huaraches for a range of meat alongside green salsa, onions, cabbage, and appropriately thick corn tortillas.
Make sure you get the limeade as well as the Puerco a la Cascabel and Tinga.
17. Pollos Asados Los Norteños
Address: 4642 Rigsby Ave, San Antonio, TX 78222
For stand-out mesquite chargrilled chicken, there is only one place in San Antonio and that is Pollos Asados Los Norteños.
The menu item is brought in from the city of Monterrey in Mexico so you can expect authenticity.
If you are struggling to work out what to order, simply opt for the Chargrilled Chicken Taco for a fresh corn tortilla, simply prepared spicy chicken served with sweet roasted onion and finished with freshly squeezed lime juice.
Alternatively, if you are going with a group of friends then share the entire Chargrilled Chicken with some sides to make your own tacos.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Breakfast Tacos So Important In San Antonio?
Many eateries in San Antonio take their Breakfast Tacos very seriously.
Some would even argue that they remain one of the most important features of the city and should be on every single morning menu.
If they cannot be found at a taquería then it can be a sign that the eatery is not as authentically Mexican as it claims to be.
When they are found on the menu, the tacos should consist of a plate including a flour tortilla stuffed with eggs, refried beans, chorizo, bacon, potatoes, cheese, and plenty of other possible fillings.
Aside From Tacos, What Else Is The City Of San Antonio Known For?
When you have filled yourself up with Breakfast Tacos you should be set for a day of exploring San Antonio.
Take the time to visit the main attractions including the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and SeaWorld.
There are also Spanish missions, some world-class museums to spend the afternoon in and even amusement parks.
San Antonio is one of America’s friendliest cities so the city is also well-known for its Hispanic heritage.
For traditional Tex-Mex cooking (see also ‘17 Most Popular Chili’s Menu Items’) and some more forward thinking approaches to Mexican food, head to San Antonio.
This is the home of The Alamo as well as the Puffy Taco, and arguably the best Breakfast Tacos you can find anywhere north of the border.
With so many taco spots, it may be a case of taking the time to look at the menus for items you know and love, as well as those you must try.
From taquerías to taco trucks and street food, let your nose and taste buds guide you to your new favorite taco spots.
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