The 15 Best Tacos in the Twin Cities, According to a Local

I’ll be honest. When I first moved to Minnesota, I was pretty skeptical about its Mexican food scene.

As someone who grew up in Texas, just miles from the Mexico border, I wondered whether a state so far north would have good Mexican options.

Boy, was I wrong. Minneapolis and St. Paul have some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever come across!

IF you know where to look…

Along those lines, today I’m sharing all my favorite spots for getting the best tacos in the Twin Cities.

While I haven’t eaten at every taqueria in town, I’ve gotten pretty darn close. (Which is no easy task… there’s a ton of taco joints in this city!) So I’ll add the disclaimer that while this might not be a totally definitive list, you can rest assured that it’s a honest, authentic list that’s been vetted by yours truly – now a long-time Twin Cities local.

Map of the Best Tacos in the Twin Cities

My favorite tacos in St. Paul: Tavial Grill

best tacos twin cities - tavial

There’s just something about this homey Mexican joint on West 7th Street that has me coming back again and again. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so clearly family-run. Or more likely, it’s those unbelievable tacos al pastor, which are everything that good tacos al pastor should be.

  • Address: 1199 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
  • Website: Tavial Grill

My favorite tacos in Minneapolis: Habanero Tacos

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Habanero Tacos groupie. For years, I followed this food truck around the city to get my taco fix at whatever brewery or event it happened to park itself for the day. So, you can imagine my thrill when they announced a move into a permanent location on Lake Street.

There, you can get those some incredible tacos that I fell in love with so many years ago, all prepared simply and authentically. You can tell this place is serious about their tacos from the moment you walk in. They’ve got a tiny little menu, with tacos listed front and center, and a limited selection of just six meats, each done perfectly.

They know what they’re good at, and they do it better than just about anyone in the cities. Gah, do I love this place.

  • Address: 3223 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
  • Website: Habanero Tacos

The most popular Tacos in St. Paul: El Burrito Mercado

El Burrito Mercado is one of the longest running staples in St. Paul’s “Distric del Sol” – a neighborhood just south of downtown that prides itself on its Hispanic influence.

Every day at lunch time, Burrito Mercado – part Mexican grocery store, part sit down restaurant, part taco bar – gets filled to the brim with eager locals ready to chow. And they all know one truth… if you’re looking for authentic tacos, the people can’t be wrong about this one!

The most popular tacos in Minneapolis: El Taco Riendo

This Northeast Minneapolis restaurant has long been one of the most popular spots in Minneapolis for tacos. And those masses must know their way around tacos, because these things are the real deal!

You order at the counter and then watch the magic happen right in front of you. All the tacos are served authentic style, meaning corn tortillas with plenty of onions, clinatro, and lime. From there, it’s up to you to enjoy these delicious masterpieces!

  • Address: 2412 NE Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418
  • Website: El Taco Riendo

Guy Fieri’s favorite: Andale Taqueria & Mercado

Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives loves visiting Minneapolis, and on the show’s visit to Andale Taqueria in Richfield, Guy Fieri raved about their al pastor taco. You can even watch his full video here:

These days, Andale has a huge autographed picture of Guy on the wall, boasting that they’re “Guy Approved.” Well, good news, Andale! You can now brag that you’re DiscoverTheCities.com approved, too! Because I couldn’t agree with Guy more – these tacos rock.

My favorite tacos in Northeast: Maya Cuisine

Any time I find myself at Fair State Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis, it’s a legitimate struggle to avoid grabbing some quick tacos just one block down the street. Because that’s where Northeasterners will find Maya Cuisine, a funky little spot where you can either order cafeteria style or full-service in their adorable Mexican courtyard.

No matter which route you take, you’ll find some fantastic authentic tacos. They come with all the usual meat options, including regular chicken, chicken tinga, al pastor, chorizo, and even my favorite, cochinita pibil.

  • Address: 1840 NE Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418
  • Website: Maya Cuisine

Best upscale taqueria and tequila bar: Centro

centro taqueria minneapolis

Centro sits in a trendy location in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis, and for my money, it’s one of the nicest taco spots in town.

Nothing beats an afternoon sipping margaritas on their patio (one of the best in Minneapolis) except for… sipping maragaritas on their patio while downing some of their legendary tacos! Their takes are a little fancier than some of the authentic joints on this list, including ingredients like cured cactus, unique salsas, cabbage slaw, and more. But the risks pay off, and every single taco I’ve tried is well-crafted and delicious.

This is one of the most popular taco spots in town for a reason.

  • Address: 1414 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
  • Website: Centro

The best cheffy tacos in Minneapolis: Colita

It’s gotten to the point where if local chef Daniel del Prado has a restaurant in whatever category I’m writing about, then I just know it’s going on the list.

That’s certainly the case with his Oaxacan concept, Colita. Here, you’ll find one of the Twin Cities’ most celebrated chefs and his takes on shrimp tacos, green chile pork tacos, lamb barbacoa tacos, and even mushroom tacos.

Also, I’m not sure if it counts for this article, but I’ve also got to throw a shout out to the unbelievable tostadas here.

  • Address: 5400 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
  • Website: Colita

Most authentic tacos in St. Paul: Taqueria Los Paisanos

If you ever find yourself in St. Paul, driving along West 7th Street until it turns into East 7th Street, you’ll notice something magical. As you head further and further to the east side of the city, you’ll notice taqueira after taqueria sprouting up on both sides of the road.

In an area that’s known for its Mexican joints, for my money, there’s no spot that has their tacos quite as dialed in as Taqueria Los Paisanos. It brings zero frills (which I consider a good sign) except for a menu that’s filled with all the authentic taco flavors you could expect, even including beef head, beef tongue, pork stomach, or tripe.

Best Mediterranean tacos: World Street Kitchen

Who said tacos had to be Mexican?

One of my favorite spots in the entire Twin Cities is World Street Kitchen, ran by Iron Chef America winner Chef Sameh Wadi. And he’s getting in on the taco action with his Mediterranean spins on the cuisine. At WSK, don’t miss their awesome beef schwarma tacos.

Most underrate taco spot in St. Paul: Taco N’ Madre

best tacos n madros

Taco N’ Madre is one of the newer additions to the St. Paul taco scene. Located just south of downtown, right in the middle of an unassuming neighborhood, I think I drove by this place a couple dozen times before they ever even bothered getting a sign. (Although to be fair, as of this writing they still don’t have a sign, just a flag they stick out front…)

All that probably explains why the Twin Cities foodie scene is totally sleeping on this place, despite it having some of the best tacos anywhere. They also bring one of the widest of meat choices around; they offer well over 15 different flavors in everything ranging from traditional grilled chicken to authentic cochinita pibil, buche, and lengua. (My favorite is the cochinita pibil, which I think they do better than just about anyone.)

Best fast food tacos: Boca Chica Taco House

Okay, I just had to include this one.

I’ll be honest… Boca Chica is basically a more authentic (and much, much better) version of a Taco Bell. That is to say that these tacos are served in a fast-food environment, for a heck of a deal. Maybe not the fanciest or most authentic on this list, but you could do worse than supported a local favorite with an odd cult-following.

Best national chain tacos: Rusty Taco

Rusty Taco has a loyal following all over the country, so us Minnesotans were excited when our first “R Taco” came into town.

These days, you’ll find five Rusty Tacos around the Twin Cities and its suburbs. Each one features their signature menu handcrafted street tacos. Flavors are somewhat Americanized, like their Fried Chicken Taco, Crispy Shrimp Taco, or even Cauliflower Taco, but still a solid option here in the cities.

  • Address 1: 508 Lexington Pkwy S, St Paul, MN 55105
  • Address 2: 522 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
  • Address 3: 3345 Central Park Village Dr #100, Eagan, MN 55121
  • Address 4: 13000 Technology Dr. Ste 120, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
  • Address 5: 6346 Vinewood Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55311
  • Website: Rusty Taco Minneapolis

Best local taco chain: Taco Libre

Taco Libre has expaned from its West St. Paul origins and now features a few locations around the Twin Cities. Each serves build your own tacos (and burritos, bowls, and more) with all the usual fixings. That said, my usual order here is actually their “Machete” – a massive 18 inch corn tortilla taco.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble deciding on flavors, you can go half-and-half on your machete with two different meats!

  • Address 1: 1221 S Robert St, West St Paul, MN 55118
  • Address 2: 1270 Promenade Pl #140, Eagan, MN 55121
  • Address 3: 5125 Edina Industrial Blvd #800, Edina, MN 55439
  • Address 4: 8364 3rd St N, Oakdale, MN 55128
  • Website: Taco Libre

The yelper’s favorite: Taquieria y Birrieria las Cautro Milpas

And lastly, a little bonus inclusion as the only spot on this list that I personally haven’t gotten a chance to try yet. That said, I figured it was worth included anyway, since it seems to have been thoroughly vetted by the Yelp.com users, who consistently rate this unassuming spot off Lake Street and Bloomington Ave as some of the best tacos in the Twin Cities. Add it to my list!

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