A lot has happened in Detroit taco culture over the years. For decades, the taco at a typical Mexican American restaurant in the region was fried and crispy or utilized a soft flour tortilla. But along with waves of migration of Mexican immigrants over the years came what many of us know today: small corn tortillas, filled with marinated meats, and accompanied by cilantro and onions. More recently, the ubiquitous taco in Detroit has displays even more regional distinctions, with seafood offerings, quesabirrias, specialities traditional to northern Mexico, and even halal options. In Southwest Detroit and throughout the greater metro area, restaurants and trucks are creating their own takes on this affordable and satisfying meal. From food truck slinging al pastor tacos to restaurants serving barbacoa, below find 21 excellent taco spots in metro Detroit to try right now.Read More
21 Top-Notch Spots for Tacos in Metro Detroit
Where to find quesabirria, tacos chihuas, and more
This popular Mexican grocery store is also one of Pontiac’s favorite spots for tacos. Customers can choose from several proteins including barbacoa, al pastor, and grilled chicken and customize their tacos with the market’s fresh salsas. The beloved mercado expanded in 2021 with a stand-alone restaurant at 23019 W Outer Dr. in Allen Park, offering many of the spot’s favorites for the Downriver crowd.
One of Oakland County’s finest taquerias is located inside a Mexican market off John R. Road. Tacos here are served on corn tortillas with standard cilantro, onion, and lime accoutrements. The restaurant’s enormous tortas are also worth the trip. Dine-in or carry out.
This 24/7 Royal Oak diner puts a creative spin on Mexican American comfort food. On top of its popular breakfast menu featuring chilaquiles made with green tomatillo salsa, chorizo and egg sandwiches, and choco flan, O.W.L. features a taco of the day, including chicken, chorizo and potato, steak, carnitas, and beef barbacoa.
Diners and bar hoppers swear by this Ferndale restaurant's tacos. Imperial keeps its menu fresh with a selection of fillings that rotate weekly. Specials have included roasted cauliflower masala, blackened shrimp, and roasted butternut squash, complementing the menu’s standby carnitas, adobada de pollo (chicken marinated in a chile-based mixture), and beef barbacoa. Vegan options are also available, as are the California-style bacon wrapped Sonoran hot dogs and quality margaritas.
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Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen
Mezcal Mexican Bar & Kitchen is Ferndale’s newest option for tacos, ushering in a much-needed boost to Oakland County’s Mexican food world. While the bar emphasizes 30 different types of agave spirits, the spot also features an impressive lineup of tacos, including birria, fish, campechano (a blend of chorizo and carne asada), and alambre — with bacon, chorizo, melted cheese, and choice of chicken or steak.
Dos Locos Tacos
This Hamtramck shop inside the former Campau Tower offers carne asada and shredded chicken tacos as well as halal beef chorizo, ground lamb, and marinated mushroom tacos. As an added perk, Dos Locos stays open until midnight for the neighborhood bar crowds.
El Charro St. Clair Shores
The cult of the Tex-Mex puffy taco is alive and well in metro Detroit thanks to local chain El Charro. This San Antonio-style taco features a hefty, deep fried corn tortilla with a choice of filling, plus plenty of shredded cheese, lettuce, and chopped tomatoes.
El Taco Veloz
This Southwest Detroit taco spot located on Toledo Street has a serious following that only grew after it expanded to a counter inside Midtown’s Marcus Market. The restaurant’s menu features steak, chicken, chorizo, and marinated pork tacos topped with grilled onions and cilantro. The meal is often accompanied by grilled peppers and lime.
The buzz-worthy Antojitos Southwest food truck landed on the corner of Wabash and Bagley in 2021 and with it, its popular quesabirrias. Using halal beef, these griddled, these tasty tacos are available with consomé for $1 extra. The truck is open for operation from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
La Jalisciense Supermercado Y Taqueria
It’s a supermarket with a bountiful butcher’s counter. But La Jalisciense is also a notable dining destination in Southwest Detroit. In addition to its quality Mexican breakfast menu, chicarrones prepared daily, and full-service bar, diners can nosh of plates of tacos with birria de chivo (goat stew), carnitas, beef tongue, and other traditional protein fillings.
Taqueria El Rey
Southwest Detroit’s wildly popular Taqueria El Rey was sadly damaged in a fire earlier this year, however, fans can still enjoy its offerings at a twice-a-weekly popup at Batch Brewing Company at 1400 Porter St. in Corktown from opening time until supplies run out every Monday and Tuesday. El Rey fills tacos with a generous helping of meat, cilantro, and onion with sliced limes and radishes. The restaurant offers more than 10 options for filling the tacos (the buche and pastor are particularly tasty). Newcomers with a big appetite should also be sure to order a whole grilled chicken, which comes with a side of tortillas for a build-your-own taco experience. The house salsas help to amp up the flavors.
Loncheria El Parian
With multiple locations dotting Southwest Detroit, El Parian may be the most prolific fleet of taco trailers in the area. Tacos al pastor (marinated pork shaved from a spit) is the standout at this restaurant, though customers can also savor lengua (beef toungue), pollo (chicken), and more. The mobile restaurant also serves up a mean cheese quesadilla in a grilled and folded flour tortilla and massive tortas topped with sauce and sliced hot dogs. During the pandemic, the ownership expanded to include a brick and mortar location, La Palapa Del Parian at 1633 Lawndale St in Springwells, where the tacos are freshly prepared on the outdoor comal. On Taco Tuesday at the restaurant, order five tacos for $7 or 30 for $30.
Las Cazuelas Grill
Gas stations food culture is definitely a thing in Detroit and Las Cazuelas Grill in Southwest is among a cohort of metro Detroit restaurants that upholds that tradition. The restaurant’s tacos come with a choice of protein including steak, chicken, or marinated shredded pork. Everything is prepared on the flat top grill behind the counter. It’s also a great spot for breakfast burritos.
The taco offerings at Los Altos are plentiful, ranging from al pastor, tripas, asada, and chorizo to egg, fish, shrimp, and chicharron. They’re available with corn for $2.50, flour for 50 cents more, and for another 50 cents, they can be prepared with handmade tortillas. Make it a meal and get three tacos with choice of meat, rice, beans, and lettuce and tomato on the side. The spot’s extensive bar menu features margaritas and margarita-adjacent cocktails, micheladas, and Mexican beers.
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Taqueria Mi Pueblo
This family-owned institution in Southwest serves an expansive menu with options like Detroit-style botana and menudo, but many customers simply spring for the tacos. Mi Pueblo’s selection of fillings includes options like chicharron en salsa roja (pork rinds in red sauce), lengua (beef tongue), and lomo (shredded pork loin). The establishment also recently opened an express restaurant for patrons in need of a quicker, carryout meal.
Taqueria y Cenaduria Triángulo Dorado
Focusing on cuisine typical of the northern Mexican states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua, Triángulo Dorado offers a variety of regionally unique tacos, with an emphasis on incredibly flavorful carne asada. Among the specialties are the tacos chihuas are filled with beef cheek and tongue, the crispy Sinaloa-style tacos dorados come with shredded beef and potato, while the taco molote features steak and shrimp in a flour tortilla. Also recommended is the taco discada, a meaty medley of griddled ham, chorizo, bacon, ground beef, and pico de gallo.
This restaurant and live music venue in Springwells is known for Mexican seafood dishes as well as soups, and, of course, plenty of tacos. For a crisp, golden shell meal order the quesabirrias, filled with tender beef birria and pull-worthy melted cheese. Another unique-to-Detroit offering, the taco gobernador, featuring spiced Baja California-style griddled shrimp and melted together with mozzarella cheese, available with a corn or flour tortilla.
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Tacos El Caballo
This popular truck in Springwells is a mecca for many local taco connoisseurs. Choose from corn or flour tortillas and a selection of meats ranging from chorizo to beef tongue and pastor. Don’t forget to bring cash.
El Asador Mexican Steakhouse
This slightly upscale Mexican restaurant boasts a strong selection of tasty tacos. Fans like the seafood versions best including the shrimp diabla option. The tacos are served with soft, fried, and hard-shell flour or corn tortillas. Reservations are not required, however, they are recommended.
M Cantina’s chef-owner Junior Merino’s Nuevo Latino street food restaurant dishes up halal trios of enticing tacos such as mole braised short rib, duck carnitas, and chile relleno. Each tortilla receives a generous amount of filling and customers can dress them up even more with the restaurant’s extensive selection of salsas. Meals can be paired with Merino’s signature cocktails and non-alcoholic libations.
The Taco Stand Taqueria
Downriver’s Taco Stand serves five types of tacos with either corn or flour tortillas. Don’t miss the extra spicy chorizo or the campechano — a blend of griddled chorizo and steak. The tacos are filled generously and topped with onions and cilantro.