“Where are the best tacos?” “Where can I find legit tacos?” As a writer who spends his time traveling across the country in search of tacos near and far — and I’m based in Texas, so many excellent tacos are nearby — I get those questions all the time, and the response is trickier than you might think. My answer is always, “What kind of tacos are you looking for? Cheap tacos? Gourmet tacos? Regional tacos?”
Such particularity is usually met with a mix of blank stares and slumped shoulders for people looking for some simple instruction on where to get an inexpensive meal. But alas, tacos are no simple subject. There’s a variety of things that need to go right in order to execute a truly transcendent taco — and really, when it comes down to it, isn’t that the kind of taco you should be after?
While there’s no 100% failsafe formula, I’ve developed a list of questions and criteria you can use to quickly evaluate a taqueria and determine whether or not it’s worth your time, and whether or not you’re likely to find it worthy of a second, third, and fourth trip. Free chips have nothing to do with it. Neither does whether or not they’re cash-only. The following items, however, do.