The Taco Lowdown: Where To Find Auckland's Tastiest Tacos
From night markets and food trucks to the tucked-away gems that locals whisper about, Auckland has no shortage of epic taco joints to discover.
Words by: Nicola Amy Hinman
Photos by: Nancy Zhou, Anna Briggs & Supplied
Ferociously adored by foodies worldwide, there is arguably no food so universally loved as the humble taco. Whether you prefer the traditional street food style or innovative twists that push the boundaries, Auckland’s got the goods to satisfy every taco yearning.
When that taco craving hits, nothing else is going to satisfy. Thankfully, Auckland, being the foodie haven that it is, offers a plethora of spots to sink your teeth into some mouthwatering, oh-so-edible taco goodness.
From night markets and food trucks to the tucked-away gems that locals whisper about, there’s no shortage of taco joints to discover. So grab some friends, put on your stretchy pants, and get ready to take your tastebuds on a taco tour of the big smoke.
The Best Beef Birria In Town
Genuine Birria tacos have become a must-try for any self-respecting Auckland foodie, with the traditional Mexican dish steadily gaining popularity on the big city’s food scene. Topped with tender beef that's been slow-cooked in a fragrant broth and served with a side of rich consommé, these tacos are messy, delicious, and utterly addictive. With Birria’s popping up on menus all over town, how do you choose the best ones to sink your teeth into?
Without a doubt, the reigning King of Birria in Auckland is Broke Boy Taco. Local foodies dig his grungy street vibe and line up around the block for the best Birria’s in town. Aptly described as ‘the naughtiest taco’, Broke Boy’s Deluxe Birria is the perfect combo of juicy beef, onions, coriander, melted cheese and the ultimate dipping consommé. There’s no way you’re not coming back for more of these.
If you miss out on Broke Boy (or can’t hack waiting in line for an hour), there are a few other options around Auckland for a truly knock-out Birria. For an epic street food taco experience, get yourself to Toko’s Tacos for their crazy popular taco trios. Or, for sit-down vibes, you can’t go wrong with the Birrias from Loco Bros or La Mexicana.
The Most Authentic Tacos Al Pastor
Originally created by Central Mexico’s Lebanese immigrants in the 1930’s, this staple Mexican street food is now found in taquerias all over the world. The irresistible combination of marinated pork slow-cooked on a spit and served with juicy pineapple, onions, and coriander is a little hard to pass by. When it comes to finding the most authentic Tacos Al Pastor, there are a few stand-out spots in Auckland that are definitely worth a visit.
Tucked into an unassuming little spot just off Victoria Street, you’ll find Mr Taco, perhaps the most authentically Mexican food in all of Auckland. In this colourful little inner-city nook, Mexican-born Manuel Moreno serves up the goods that will keep you coming back time and time again. His Tacos Al Pastor is the real deal and will transport you back in time to vibrant nights on the streets of Mexico City.
Another great spot for slightly less authentic (but in no way less delicious) Pastor is Taco Medic in Ponsonby or Quay St. The pineapple salsa on these babies is on point. Ghost Donkey’s Tacos Al Pastor, with a sneaky addition of chipotle mayo, are also worthy of devouring. Not to mention the Mexico-meets-NYC influences at Ghost Donkey are a total vibe.
The Ultimate Veggie Tacos
When you need a few extra veggies in your life, there could not possibly be a more delicious way to achieve this than hoeing into some tasty tacos. Aside from the classic Nopales (cactus), vege tacos are unfortunately not a common occurrence in traditional Mexican cuisine. Lucky for us, a few taco joints around Auckland have dreamed up some mighty fine vegetarian versions of our beloved taco.
Since 2013, food truck duo Sarah and Otis of The Lucky Taco have been serving up truly legendary tacos inspired by their extensive travels around Mexico and Southern California.
Their Tacos De Calabacita, a chilli-stewed zucchini affair topped with all sorts of goodies, is a must-try, as is The Vege Breakfast Taco featuring Marinated Portobello. Taco Medic is another standout joint with the ‘Soil’ section of their taco menu featuring a sweet and sticky bbq jackfruit taco alongside another topped with a walnut and pepita croquette and avocado vegan mayo.
Synonymous nationwide with creatively delicious Mexican fare and bangin’ wall art, Mexico Ponsonby also features a solid rotation of innovative vegetarian taco choices. Other honourable mentions include a chipotle jackfruit taco with spiced peanuts and papaya slaw by Ghost Donkey and Mushrooms Al Pastor from Taco Loco.
The Tastiest Fish Tacos Around Town
Is there anything more perfect than a really good fish taco? We think not. Crispy fried fish, warm, soft tacos and fresh zingy salsa is a hard combo to beat. Every taqueria has its own spin, but there are a few that really stand out above the crowd.
For a fish taco, you absolutely can’t find anywhere else in New Zealand, search out Toko’s Tacos at night markets around Auckland. Made with fresh snapper, their Fish Birria is the stuff taco dreams are made of. The famous secret green sauce and rich dipping consommé make these fish tacos a truly drool-worthy experience.
When it comes to a classic beer battered fish taco, Loco Bros take first place. Their pickled slaw and citrus mayo are the perfect accompaniments to crispy fried fish. For a non-battered and gloriously moreish spiced fish taco, try the Tacos de Pescado Picante from The Lucky Taco, topped with their famous pink pickle. Or the Oaxacan-style fish taco from Taco Medic, complete with lemon pickled onions. Delish.
Unique Tacos With a Twist
While we love a classic street food style taco, there is always room in our hearts for a little taco innovation. A few Auckland eateries have put their own unique spin on the classic Mexican food, and we’re so here for it!
RagTag, an almost taqueria in Westmere, unapologetically declares to be 100% not authentic. An innovative menu of tortilla-based dishes brings us unique texture and flavour combinations from across the globe. From fish and pear tostadas to duck carnitas with plum salsa, the offerings at RagTag will constantly surprise and delight you.
For the adventurous eaters out there, The Lucky Taco truck has a couple of menu options you’re unlikely to find elsewhere in Auckland. Although hugely popular across Mexico, Tacos de Lengua (braised beef tongue) is a little less common in our part of the world but served up Lucky Taco style, it’s truly mouthwatering. Perhaps even more obscure (but equally tasty) is their Taco de Sesos, a fritter made with lamb’s brain and spiced egg topped with avocado cream and a classic pico de gallo.
Auckland’s Most Authentic Taquerias
If you’re looking for a truly Mexican experience without leaving the country, then you’re in luck. From a bustling inner-city hole-in-the-wall style joint to a laid-back neighbourhood taqueria, Auckland has you covered.
Cielito Lindo is a family-owned and operated neighbourhood taqueria that’s been serving up some of the best tacos in Auckland for as long as we can remember. The colourful exterior and no-frills vibes are reminiscent of something you’d come across on the backstreets of adorable Isla Mujeres. Known for their beef cheek tacos served with classic drinks like horchata and agua de jamaica, nothing will transport you back to the Eastern Coast of Mexico faster than a trip to Cielito Lindo.
If you find yourself trudging up the steep slope of Victoria St and feeling a little peckish, we recommend a short stop to rest the legs and satisfy your tastebuds at Mr Taco. Touted as the most authentic Mexican food in the whole of New Zealand, when you’re after the real deal, this is where you’ll find it. Carnitas, Nopales, Birrias, and Al Pastor they serve all the classics with an abundance of friendly Mexican hospitality.
The Taco Food Truck Experience
597 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland, Auckland
Tacos are the quintessential food truck fare. Iconic mainstays on the bustling streets of Los Angeles and Mexico City, we couldn't be happier that this trend has finally made it to our shores. Somehow tacos just taste even better eaten outdoors surrounded by good friends and great vibes.
OG’s on the food truck scene, The Lucky Taco, have been dishing up the goods since 2013. We can thank their pioneering spirit for bringing this LA-style taco experience to Aoteoroa. Drawing inspiration from their travels and rubbing shoulders with giants of the food truck scene abroad means The Lucky Taco’s menu is always chock full of tasty and genuinely epic taco experiences.
The Roaming Flamingo is a relative newcomer to Auckland’s street food scene but making waves with some seriously tasty tacos. Focusing on fun, seasonal, and ultimately delicious fillings, the small menu (just four to choose from) is original, incredibly well thought out, and absolutely drool-worthy.
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