In my world, there’s no such thing as #tacotuesday. My motto is tacos. EVERY. day. Okay, I don’t eat tacos every single day (though, that would be impressive), but I eat them a lot. St. Petersburg has some incredible restaurants that offer delicioso tacos but I’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 taco spots in St. Petersburg. Many are in the heart of downtown where all the action takes place and some are hidden gems tucked away in areas you may never think about going to.
Top 10 Taco Spots in St. Pete, FL:
RED MESA CANTINA
It’s likely you’ve been to or at least heard about Red Mesa Cantina. The beloved Mexican restaurant has been around since before St. Pete “blew up” and has one of the best patios in the city. The duck tacos are a favorite among locals and why shouldn’t they be? This “gourmet” taco is filled orange braised duck confit, grilled pineapple, goat cheese, cilantro and red chile jelly served on a hand made soft corn tortilla shell. I happen to love the Ahi Tuna taco just as much, in large part due to the freshness of the fish. Oh, and the wasabi aioli.
WHAT TO ORDER: Duck taco and ahi tuna taco.
This has become my go-to spot taco spot for many reasons. My love for Casita started with the barbacoa taco and grew from there. It’s one of those order-at-the-counter, quick bite kinda places… if you want it to be. The festive decor and friendly service (seriously, the staff is always smiling and upbeat) will easily make you want to order a local craft beer or a refreshing sangria and stay awhile.
WHAT TO ORDER: Barbacoa taco, pollo verde taco and carne asada taco.
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EL HUARACHE AZTECA
For a more traditional taco experience, head to El Haurache Azteca. This one is a little off the beaten path but let me tell you, it’s worth the drive. I have yet to find a place that serves a better Al Pastor taco. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s marinated pork with grilled pineapple. It will change your love of tacos forever! I recommend getting Mexicanos style with cilantro and onion. Because I can’t help myself, I typically ask for a side queso fresco to sprinkle on top.
WHAT TO ORDER: Al pastor tacos served Mexicanos style.
One of the more underrated taco spots in town is Taco Son. I’m still exploring the menu, but one taco I have to order every time I go is the veggie taco. The menu calls it the ‘Flexitarian’ (disclosing that some items may flavored with chicken) and it is packed to the brim with black beans, rice, colache (Mexican style grilled zucchini), cheese and sour cream. Don’t underestimate this meatless taco as you may begin to feel full after only one of these babies. Another great thing about Taco Son? The prices. The ‘flexitarian’ taco will only cost you a whopping $2.50.
WHAT TO ORDER: ‘Flexitarian’ veggie taco
RED MESA MERCADO
No surprise here that another Red Mesa restaurant made my list of best tacos. When Mercado opened a couple years ago, I was ecstatic knowing there would be a walk-up Red Mesa restaurant. Especially since it’s located to one of St. Pete’s best breweries, Green Bench. The grilled shrimp tacos come with dos tacos and pair perfectly with local craft beer.
WHAT TO ORDER: Shrimp tacos and pork carnitas tacos.
This casual eatery serves.. you guessed it.. Cali-style tacos. Most famous for their tempura-battered grouper taco, which was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It’s a monster but a very delicious one.
WHAT TO ORDER: Original grouper fish taco.
ST. PETE TACO LADY
For these famous tacos, you’ll have to track down the St. Pete Taco Lady as she bounces around town in her colorful food truck from one local market to the next. One thing is for sure, you will find her at the Fall Saturday Morning Market serving up Huevos Rancheros and fresh Mahi tacos.
WHAT TO ORDER: Any and all tacos served on that particular day.
St. Pete Taco: Schedule via Facebook Page
The ultimate hole-in-the-wall authentic taco joint perfect for the most adventurous of eaters. Plenty of traditional tacos to choose from like the Puerco (grilled pork) or Cochinita (slow cooked Mayan pork). They also offer Speciality Tacos, such as the Chori-Queso – chorizo (Mexican sausage) and melted cheese on a flour tortilla topped the Mexicanos way with cilantro, onion and salsa.
WHAT TO ORDER: Chori-Queso taco and any traditional taco.
The famous refurbished school bus, made famous by multiple TV appearances (also on Divers, Drive Ins & Dives, among others), has many locations around Tampa Bay. The St. Pete location is in the heart of the Grand Central District so you can stumble over from one of the local bars (Dog Bar is literally step away) after having a few to fulfill that late-night taco craving.
WHAT TO ORDER: Cochinita Pibil and Rajas Con Queso (vegetarian).
THE BURG BAR & GRILL
Cozy neighborhood bar and grill, appropriately named The Burg, has some killer Mahi tacos. Known mostly for their burgers, many people don’t know their fish tacos are some of the freshest around. Head here before a Rays game to get a more local’s experience.
WHAT TO ORDER: Mahi tacos.
What do you think of my list of top 10 Taco Spots in St. Pete? What’s your favorite place to get a taco in St. Pete or Tampa Bay? Leave a comment and let me know!