Top tacos on LI: 17 must-visit restaurants
Tacos are the ultimate grab-and-go cuisine. But just because they're portable doesn't mean they shouldn't be made with care.
These LI restaurants create tacos with first-rate ingredients, from making the soft corn tortillas from scratch to slow-cooking meats until they're melt-in-your-mouth sumptuous.
Nelly's Taqueria(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
For taco buffs, fresh handmade tortillas are the Holy Grail. Hicksville now has a worthy pilgrimage site. Every taco at Nelly's Taqueria is made with corn tortillas that chef Nelly Palacios makes by hand with fresh masa (cornmeal dough). Their flavor is earthier, their texture more delicate than store-bought. Fillings include pork, chicken, steak and fish (grilled, not fried).
Lucharitos Taqueria and Tequila Bar(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Tacos at Lucharitos Taqueria and Tequila Bar in Greenport are best ordered traditional style, in soft corn tortillas topped with salsa verde, pickled radish, chopped onion and cilantro.
One Block East(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
Chopped brisket tacos on soft corn tortillas with a bright pico de gallo are nothing short of sensational at One Block East in Wantagh.
Taqueria Mexico(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Taqueria Mexico in Riverhead makes spare, elegant tacos with homemade tortillas. Try the toothsome tongue, the subtly fiery tacos de longaniza, or Mexican spicy sausage, and lush, braised pork carnitas (pictured), all topped with cilantro and chopped onion.
Salamander General Store(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Salamander General Store in Greenport is famous for its fried chicken, but the fish tacos are every bit as good. The fish, crisp and light, are perfectly complemented by fresh green salsa and guacamole.
Oaxaca Mexican Food Treasure(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)
Authenticity and depth of flavor define the soft corn tacos at Oaxaca Mexican Food Treasure in Huntington. Favorites include chorizo tacos, tacos al pastor (made with roasted spice-coated pork) and carnitas tacos with citrus-marinated pork.
Pinatas Mexican Grill(Credit: Timothy Fadek)
Among the winning soft corn tacos at Pinatas Mexican Grill in Bethpage are the spicy chorizo, the succulent tongue and the authentic fish tacos. Request sauce on the side.
El Rodeo(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Among the authentic Mexican tacos at El Rodeo Restaurant in East Moriches are the chorizo, the al pastor (marinated pork) and these campechanos, filled with beef, pork and sausage.
Pico Tequila Grill(Credit: Heather Walsh)
Admirably, corn tortillas are house-made at Pico Tequila Grill in Bay Shore, but you have to request them. A carne asada "street" taco (pictured) with grilled beef, salsa verde, onion and cheese is a treat. So, too, is a taco of pork, pico de gallo and avocado sauce.
Taqueria Cielito Lindo(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
The menu is impressive at Riverhead's Taqueria Cielito Lindo, with tacos that feature handmade soft corn tortillas, savory pozole rojo and a unique spin on the Cubana torta. This taco trio (from left): campechanos (in the style of the province of Campeche, made with several different kinds of meat), de lengua (tongue), and al pastor (shepherd style, with spit-roasted pork and grilled pineapple).
Little Mexico(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
At genuine Mexican eatery Little Mexico in Westbury, you can get all manner of soft corn tacos, including tacos de lengua, piled with succulent cubes of beef tongue, pork (pastor) and chorizo (sausage), plus all the fixings.
El Paso Taco Grill(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)
Spanish is the predominant language at this authentic taqueria that draws a taco-savvy clientele. At El Paso Taco Grill in Farmingdale, the soft corn tacos are filled generously. The taco al pastor, stuffed with marinated roasted pork, is a treat. Better still is the taco de lengua (tongue taco, pictured) crammed with juicy pieces of well-marinated grilled beef tongue.
Chichimecas(Credit: Johnny Simon)
Bi-level Farmingdale Mexican restaurant Chichimecas serves authentic soft corn tacos al pastor, with roasted spice-coated pork, chopped onion and cilantro, chicken (pictured) and other choices, too.
El Ranchito Mexican Grill(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)
Fine soft corn tacos are the rule at El Ranchito Mexican Grill in East Northport. There's juicy beef tongue, smoky crisp carnitas (pork) and a fish taco (pictured) made with lightly breaded red snapper topped with cabbage and pico de gallo.
Señor Nacho(Credit: Jin Lee)
Street tacos at Señor Nacho in Great Neck mean soft corn tortillas piled with your choice of filling, showered with cilantro and served with lime and sliced radishes. Best is the succulent tongue and spicy pork al pastor, featuring rotisserie-roasted marinated meat.
Cilantro Mexican Inspired Food(Credit: Yana Paskova)
At counter-service spot Cilantro Mexican Inspired Food, with locations in Huntington and Northport, roasted, spiced chicken thighs are the filling of choice for soft corn tacos. Top, perhaps, with bright tomato salsa fresca, roasted chili-corn salsa and chopped cilantro.
Mi Ranchito Bar & Grill(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Authenticity informs the tacos Jalisco at Mi Ranchito in Port Washington: Soft corn tortillas are crowned with juicy, smoky cubes of grilled skirt steak showered with cilantro and chopped onion, plated with a spirited salsa verde.