Top 10 taquerias in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10

Sonora Grill Caramelos tacos JSummers (500x345).jpg
It's taco time
Here in Minnesota, we're much closer to the land of elk burgers and Molson beer than the land of tamales and Tecate. We're never going to have the abundance of killer taquerias that pepper Los Angeles or Dallas. Nevertheless, we do have a handful that come close to conjuring a balmy Mexican breeze even on the darkest, coldest Minnesotan night. Here are our top 10 picks.

See also:

Top 10 Mexican restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 margaritas in the Twin Cities
Top 10 pizzerias in the Twin Cities

10. Taqueria Los Paisanos

LosPaisanos.JPG
A burst of color marks Taqueria Los Paisano's place on a hilly street in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood of East St. Paul. Its small parking lot is host to all manner of creative parking jobs by those looking for a quick taco fix. The space is clean, bright, and festive, with friendly counter service that's more menu-based than the typical point-at-the-meat-that-looks-yummiest method of taco construction found at many taquerias. The pollo (chicken) taco is juicy and vibrant, the al pastor and carnitas (pork) are solid and robust, and the beef head and tongue give adventurous carnivores something to sink their teeth into. The rice and beans are straightforward, and the horchata is icy cold. Each table has its own mini fixings station, with a couple kinds of salsa in squirt bottles and spice shakers to allow heat lovers to adjust the kick to their liking. (825 Seventh St. E., St. Paul; 651.778.8062)


9. Andale Taqueria & Mercado

Andale Exterior.jpg
This Richfield restaurant and market has attracted glowing reviews from diners and critics alike since it opened its doors on Nicollet Avenue in the summer of 2012. The tacos, like the rest of the menu, are traditionally prepared with authentic ingredients and techniques. From marinated pork to slow-cooked roast beef to house-made chorizo, they do all the standards quite well, but they don't stop there. Lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (beef head), buche (pork stomach), and tripa (beef tripe) tacos are also available, all for less than $2 a pop. I don't think we're at Taco Bell anymore, Toto. The space (a former Embers), looks like it could just as easily double as a church of Scientology, with its extreme angles and glass front wall. Parking is plentiful, and the attached market has everything you need to open your own taqueria at home.
(7700 Nicollet Ave. S., Richfield; 612.259.8868)


8. Masa

Masa restaurant.jpg
What if your corner taqueria had not just flavor but high style? What if each plate were composed to look as if it were the many-colored, multi-textured creation of an upscale chef? What if the tomatillo salsa, a Mexican standard for generations, mijo, were a little sweeter and a little more vividly green? What if the tacos came arrayed on a white rectangle of china and were served up in a techno palace of glass and tile? Accompanied by a thoughtful wine list, a long list of top-shelf margaritas and sangrias, and exotic fruit juices? If your corner taqueria were as stylish as all that you'd have Masa--where homey cooking and familiar flavors are gussied up with elegance, forward-looking design, and margaritas fit for a weekend on the yacht off the Acapulco coast. The downtown location makes it a perfect destination for everything from after-work happy hours to pre-show dinner dates. (1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.338.6272)


7. Pineda Tacos

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There's an old adage about taquerias: The worse the joint looks, the better the food must be. None of the four Twin Cities Pineda Tacos locations offers a white-tablecloth experience, but they do provide the best excuse for a food coma this side of the McDonald's-owned Chipotle behemoth. The tortillas are soft and chewy and are wrapped around a hearty mound of your choice of wonderful: chicken tinga, all smoky, complicated, and full of the dusk of spice; chicken or pork in salsa verde, green and tart; beef all kinds of ways, including well married with onions or soaked in a smoky blend of deep chile splendor; rich roast pork carnitas; double-fried pork skin of chicharron, and much, much more. One Spanish dictionary translates the word pineda into English as "a kind of linen garter." Rest assured you'll bust yours after a Pineda platter of tacos. (1304 Robert St. S., West St Paul; 651.455.6833. 2150 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.729.5320. 311 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.825.7466. 60 Nathan Ln. N., Plymouth; 763.545.1977)


6. Sonora Grill

Sonora Grill Caramelos tacos JSummers (500x345).jpg
The Midtown Global Market is home to several Mexican restaurants, but Sonora Grill distinguishes itself by adding influences from Spain and South America and submitting traditional dishes to a gourmet chef's makeover. Around these parts, expressing a preference for Mexican food topped with sour cream or cheddar inspires mocking--there goes another Midwesterner bastardizing authentic cuisine. But in Sonora, Mexico, such pairings are common enough that there's a term, caramelos, for a taco served with melted cheese. The tacos may be ordered with pork, chicken, and beef, as well as tempura shrimp, mild and meaty slow-cooked tongue, and crispy, breaded eggplant. The heaviness of the taco fillings is tempered by their delicate toppings, including salsa, cilantro, and cabbage. Sonora's aioli is made every morning and blended with various chiles and herbs. The cilantro aioli is an ultra-creamy mayonnaise with a raw garlic bite and a fresh grassiness that adds an extra layer of richness and flavor to the tacos. (920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.871.1900)

Location Info

Venue

Map

El Taco Riendo

2416 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant

5748 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria Los Ocampo

417 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria Los Ocampo

895 Arcade St., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria Los Ocampo

920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria La Hacienda

2000 Williams Drive, Burnsville, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria La Hacienda Taco

1515 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Taqueria La Hacienda

334 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Sonora Grill

920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Pineda Tacos

1304 Robert St. S., West St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

Pineda Tacos

311 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Masa

1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Andale Taqueria y Mercado

7700 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Larry Saenz
Larry Saenz

Who would of thought... there are at least 10 Taquerias in the Twin Cities. Here, in San Antonio, there are nearly 10 on every block! Problem is...they are ALL pretty good! Honestly, I'd take the elk burger any day. Tired of tacos. ;-)

RaÚl Tornel
RaÚl Tornel

Now this made me crave tacos from Andale restaurant.

Sarah Mulfinger
Sarah Mulfinger

And no lettuce available, just shredded cabbage and cilantro were the greens. Pineda is known for chimichangas deep fried and served with shredded iceberg lettuce and loaded with cheese. Not americanized?

Sarah Mulfinger
Sarah Mulfinger

Boca Chica had the best beef tongue tacos and queso fresca that night, no ground beef even available- not my idea of Americanized and you picked Pineda which is like a fast food version compared to that?! I like Pineda, but not sure I agree Krista Schnelle.

Krista Schnelle
Krista Schnelle

The tongue tacos at Pineda-West St Paul are the best! I will have to take a walk over to Taqueria Paisanos before the weather gets nasty.

Krista Schnelle
Krista Schnelle

Boca Chica is Americanized Mexican food. *see tacos loaded with cheese and lettuce.

Sarah Mulfinger
Sarah Mulfinger

Had the best taco Tuesday at Boca Chica in West St. Paul this week- this is really not mentioned? Nor El Burrito Mercado? Huh. The West Side is home to the largest Hispanic community in the Twin Cities so that is odd.

Keith Morioka
Keith Morioka

The Buche tacos at Andale Taqueria & Mercado are some of my favorite things ever! I just had them on Wednesday, and now I want more!

Idalia Robles De León
Idalia Robles De León

Y'all need to add El Taquito Taco Shop Inc to this list. Some of the best tacos around!

Barry131
Barry131

had lunch at Riendo today, hard to beat this place. Best burritos ever also.

 

bkmn
bkmn

The 311 Lake St. location of Pineda has been closed for over a year (the location in the photo you used)...FYI.

fivesixzero
fivesixzero

@astronautalis @citypages Spoiler alert: Riendo is #1! I think I'ma go there for lunch today, in honor of their 'victory'.

fivesixzero
fivesixzero

@astronautalis Looks like all of @citypages and @VoiceMediaGroup's blogs are offline. This is complicating my taco search.

Keith Morioka
Keith Morioka

Andale has easily become one of my favorite places to go... a little secret, on Sundays, ask if they have the Barbacoa De Chievo tacos (braised Goat), they are amazing! They only serve them on weekends, mostly just sundays, and only if you ask...

erinmgibson
erinmgibson

@dbrekke @citypages I'm going to hit up Andale tonight... barely a mile from my house and I've never actually been there.

Vruno
Vruno

@citypages Apropos, because it is Taco Tuesday!

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Glad to see two NE places at the top of the list...but Maya is better than Reindo, and (come on) neither is even close to as good as Sonora.

Charles Awad
Charles Awad

Now this list totally nailed it, though I may have placed Sonora a bit higher. MAYA Cuisine is fantastic. Central Ave NE is just loaded with great ethnic food options these days.

Daniel Loftus
Daniel Loftus

Los Oscampo, Lake Street. Huarachazo's and other Masa delights FTW!!

Erins_Voice
Erins_Voice

@fivesixzero @astronautalis The only appropriate way to celebrate. Or, you could review 'em on City Pages' directory: http://t.co/z7rSOXES

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