Best tacos in Salt Lake City

Utah, USA

By Brandon O.Published on Aug, 2020

T his list was a doozy to make! We started by aggregating the review scores of 80+ taquerias. Next, we utilized your votes to select the top restaurants to try. We realized that some restaurants had great al pastor but dry, chewy carne asada tacos. Others called their tacos by popular titles like “al pastor.” But they were really serving pork asado tacos, seasoned with clone spices. We grouped each style of taco and ranked them based on the tortilla, the filling, and the salsa. This required us to eat dozens and dozens of tacos. Here are the results of our taco adventures. Not all tacos are created equal so here’s your list for the best tacos near you!

Tacos al pastor

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

This shepherd-style taco is among the most popular in Mexico, and most plentiful in Utah! It’s inspired by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico, and an Arabic dish called the shawarma. Pork, pineapple, Mexican, and Middle Eastern spices create a sweet and savory taco.  

Taqueros cook the meat on a rotating charcoal trompo (doner kebab rotisserie). It allows the meat juices to drip and caramelize on the edges. A good al pastor should be crisp on the edges, tender, and smokey. I could only find gas trompos used in Salt Lake County. Yet, most restaurants still shave off the meat fresh when you order. If you’re looking for good tacos al pastor in Utah, look to these restaurants:

Best restaurants for al pastor:

Santo Tacos
Rosepark – Salt Lake City, Utah

El Morelense
South – Salt Lake City, Utah

Tacos Mi Caramelo
West Valley, Utah

El Mexiquense
Sandy, Utah

Maize Tacos
Downtown – Salt Lake City, Utah

Tacos de canasta (basket tacos)

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

This is a breakfast taco. It’s traditionally served in bicycle baskets on the streets of Mexico. Hence the name, the “basket taco.” Common ingredients include potatoes, chorizo, chicharron, and beans. In some areas, people call them “tacos al vapor,” since they’re steamed. To be honest, few shops serve them in Salt Lake City. A good canasta taco should be moist, savory, and filling. This restaurant served an amazing version:

Best restaurants for basket tacos:

La Casa Del Tamal
Azteca Indoor Bazaar – West Valley, Utah

Birria de res tacos

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

We have some great, authentic birria tacos in Utah! This style hails from the state of Jalisco. It’s a stewed chili soup or taco dish, served at Mexican celebratory events. In Salt Lake County, you’ll mainly find Birria De Res Tacos (braised beef roasted). It’s also traditionally made with goat and lamb. A good birria taco should be succulent with bold flavor. Queso crusted tortillas also add a nice touch! Look to these shops for great birria tacos. Also, don’t forget to dip them in the rich, birria broth!

Best restaurants for birria tacos:

Santo Tacos
Rosepark – Salt Lake City, Utah

La Casa Del Tamal
Azteca Indoor Bazaar – West Valley, Utah

Los Tapatios
Fairpark – Salt Lake City, Utah

Carnitas

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

We had a hard time finding good carnitas in Salt Lake City. Translated to “little meats,” carnitas originated in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Taqueros cook the pork confit. This results in tender, succulent, juicy meat. However, many places that we went to didn’t prepare the meat this way. Dry carnitas or pork broiled on the grill, and titled “carnitas” on the menu, were all too common. Oddly enough, we discovered the best carnitas at a contemporary taqueria. Intense time and attention go into preparing this dish. I expected Mexican natives to make the best, but many cut corners. Here are our favorite places to get carnitas in Salt Lake City:

Best restaurants for carnitas:

Tacos Garay
Downtown – Salt Lake City, Utah

Fácil Taqueria
Food truck – Salt Lake County, Utah

Taqueria 27
4 locations – Salt Lake County, Utah

Carne asada tacos

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

Again, we struggled to find good carne asada tacos in Salt Lake County. Carne asada stems from the Mexican state of Sonora, which is cattle country. They’re amongst the most popular types of tacos in the USA. To our surprise, many carts, trucks, and restaurants in SLC use low-quality skirt steaks. Many also cook a large batch of meat and then set it to the side. This makes the street tacos cheap, but it also creates dry, chewy meat with gristle. Very few places that we tried used cuts better than a flat iron steak. 

A select few used choice sirloin. For us, a good carne asada must have tender meat, little gristle, a good tortilla, and flavorful salsa. Surprisingly, we discovered the best carne asada at a contemporary taqueria, with nopales salsa (cactus leaf). Better ingredients and cooking techniques created a fantastic taco! The runners up came from Mexican natives.

Best restaurants for carne asada:

Lonestar Taqueria
Fort Union – Cottonwood Heights, Utah

El Paisa Grill
West Valley, Utah

Bandidos Taco
Food truck – Salt Lake & Davis County, Utah

Big Tortas Big Tacos
South Salt Lake City, Utah

Taqueria 27
4 locations – Salt Lake County, Utah

Chorizo tacos

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

We found some delicious chorizo tacos in West Valley and Salt Lake City. From Spain, the flavor of chorizo is sharp and robust, with deep notes of paprika. Mexicans add cinnamon, cloves, and chilis to make it unique. Homemade tortillas, fresh salsas, and bold chorizo flavors made these taquerias stand out:

Best restaurants for chorizo:

Big Tortas Big Tacos
South Salt Lake City, Utah

La Casa Del Tamal
Azteca Indoor Bazaar – West Valley, Utah

Tacos de suadero

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

This is one of the less popular taco styles in Utah. From Mexico City, suadero tacos, or “sweaty tacos,” are made by roasting the lower cuts of a cow. Next Mexican spices and chilis stew for hours! One of the most popular cuts used in tacos de suadero is brisket. So if you’re at a Utah restaurant and see brisket tacos, you’ll likely be getting a suadero taco. You might even find a Tex-Mex Dallas inspired taco too. Here are our favorite joints to find suadero tacos in Salt Lake City.

Best restaurants for suadero:

El Morelense
Salt Lake City, Utah

Brisketzilla
Delivery and Takeout Only – Murray, Utah

Tacos de fusión

📷  Credits: @sifteyreviews

Salt Lake City’s food scene is changing! Amongst the latest trend is hybrid tacos. Korean bulgogi beef tacos, buffalo chicken tacos, you name it you can find them all in the valley. We tried several contemporary taquerias and these were our favorite tacos. Enjoy!

Best fusion tacos:

Duck confit taco
Taqueria 27

Smoked prime BBQ brisket taco
Fácil Taqueria

* IMPORTANT! Allergy options presented are based on speaking with the restaurant and/or online research. The actual food prepared in any of the listed restaurants may contain the following ingredients: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, or other allergens. If you have a food allergy, please notify your server before consuming any food and be aware of cross-contamination. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.