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.
5 de Mayo
Whether it's an order of carnitas, chorizo or beef tongue, palm-sized tacos arrive in a flour tortilla double-layered, dressed with finely chopped cilantro and tomatoes, and served with salsas, rice and beans at 5 de Mayo in Westbury. They're straightforward and satisfying.
Fish tacos are made with expertly fried hake at Wildfeast in Long Beach.
JR El Rodeo
Fried tacos dorados with chicken and cheese are served at JR El Rodeo in East Moriches.
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
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
Chopped brisket tacos on soft corn tortillas with a bright pico de gallo are nothing short of sensational at One Block East in Wantagh.
Salamander General Store
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
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
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.
Pico Tequila Grill
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
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
El Ranchito Mexican Grill
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.
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.
Mi Ranchito Bar & Grill
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.