Tijuana tacos are legendary. Many people, including myself, believe that Tijuana has the best tacos in all of Mexico. In Tijuana, delicious tacos are served around the clock from breakfast until the early morning after the bars close. This guide outlines the best tacos in Tijuana. First, I’ll list some of the best taco shops and street taco stands in the city. Next, I’ll outline the best types of tacos to try while visiting Tijuana.
The city of Tijuana is currently in the middle of a major renaissance. Fresh and exciting restaurants are popping up all over the city. Tijuana is becoming a foodie destination. It’s one of the best places to sample Mexican cuisine, including Tacos. Hopefully, this guide helps you find the best tacos in Tijuana.
What is a Taco?
Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish. A taco consists of a small corn or flour tortilla that is topped with some kind of filling.
A wide range of fillings are used for making tacos. Most tacos contain some type of seasoned meat. Beef, chicken, pork, goat, and fish are all common options. Organ meats are commonly used for tacos as well. The meat is often seasoned with lime juice, salt, and various spices.
The meat filling is then topped with vegetables. Diced tomato, onion, cilantro, lettuce, and chiles are traditional taco toppings.
The taco is then topped with some type of condiment. Various types of salsas, sour cream, and guacamole are common options.
A range of other toppings are available including vegetarian/vegan options, beans, cheese, etc. I’ll outline some of the best types of tacos to try later on in this guide.
In Mexico, tacos are served on a soft, flat tortilla. To eat the taco, you fold the tortilla around the filling, pick the taco up, and eat it by hand. Tacos are commonly served from street stands all across Mexico. They are also served in restaurants.
The Best Tacos in Tijuana
There are hundreds of places to eat tacos in Tijuana. While walking around, you’ll pass by plenty of taco restaurants and street taco stands. They all offer good tacos. In fact, it’s hard to find a bad taco in Tijuana.
That said, some are better than others. Some offer a better value. Some offer a tastier salsa or a better marinade. In this section, I’ll outline some of the best taco restaurants in Tijuana.
1. Tacos el Frank
Tacos el Frank is widely considered to be the best taco restaurant in Tijuana. They serve traditional Tijuana street tacos filled with flame-grilled meats. Their tacos are topped with traditional onion, cilantro, salsa, and guacamole. They are a no-frills taco restaurant. They make tacos the way they have been made for decades.
Tacos el Frank opened in 1996. The place is always crowded. Even on weeknights. When you arrive, you’ll see a massive vertical spit (trompo) of slowly rotating marinated pork. You’ll definitely want to try their adobada. They also serve perfectly marinated and grilled carne asada. Their tacos de Cabeza are phenomenal as well.
Tacos el Frank is also conveniently located just 5 minutes from the border by car. It’s located just outside of downtown Tijuana in Zona Río, the city’s business district. It’s possible to walk there from downtown or Zona Río.
Hours: 4:00 pm 1:00 am Monday-Thursday. 3:00 pm-3:00 am on Friday and Saturday. Closed Sundays.
What to order: Adobada, Carne asada, Suadero
Taconazo specializes in traditional Tijuana street tacos. They offer fast service and a simple and straightforward menu. Their tacos are made with high-quality ingredients. The tortillas are handmade.
This all makes Taconazo a great place to start for those who are visiting Tijuana for the first time. Many consider Taconazo to be the best taco restaurant in Tijuana.
Taconazo is a relatively new taco restaurant in Tijuana. They opened in 2008 in Playas de Tijuana and quickly expanded. These days, they have six locations across Tijuana. Wherever you’re staying, chances are there is a Taconazo in your neighborhood. They are always busy but the wait time is short due to the quick service.
When you walk into Taconazo, you’ll see a spectacular rotating spit of adobada, as is traditional in Tijuana taco shops. Be sure to try out an adobada taco. It’s one of their specialties. Each one comes with a generous dollop of guacamole on top.
Taconazo also offers vegetarian tacos. This makes Taconazo an excellent choice if you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t eat meat.
Taconazo isn’t just a taco restaurant. They also serve a variety of other delicious Mexican dishes including quesadillas, tostadas, burros, sopes, birria, and more. It’s a great place to sample some other popular Baja California dishes.
Location: Taco Nazo has six locations in Tijuana. The two most conveniently located locations for visitors include Av. Hipódromo 126-Int. B, 9 Section, Hipodromo and P.º Ensenada 712, Playas, Jardines Playas de Tijuana. You can find the other locations on their website.
Hours: The hours vary by location. Most are open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM. They’re often open later on Friday and Saturday nights.
What to order: Adobada
3. Las Ahumaderas (Taco Alley)
This isn’t really a single taco shop. It’s actually a long strip of separate taco shops along Avenida Guillermo Prieto. A few of the shops include Tacos los Paisas, Tacos el Paisano, and Las Tres Salas. I’m not sure if they’re all owned by the same company or if they’re actually separate businesses. Taco Alley has been serving Tijuana tacos since 1960.
The tacos at all of the shops are similar in terms of style, quality, and offerings. Las Ahumaderas serves traditional Tijuana street tacos. There are some minor differences between each of the taco stands. They’re all great, in my experience, but you may prefer one over the others. I recommend you try a couple of them to find your favorite.
This is a great place to sample some different types of tacos. You’ll find all of the local favorites including al pastor, carne asada, birria, chorizo, cabeza, lengua, vampiro, suadero, tripa, and more. The only thing you won’t find here is fish tacos. All of the tacos at Las Ahumaderas are made from beef or pork meat and organs.
All of the taco stands here really pile on the toppings. Your tacos will arrive with a massive dollop of guacamole on top. They offer some excellent salsas as well. Portion sizes are good. These days, tacos at Las Ahumaderas cost about 22-30 pesos depending on the type.
Of all of the taco restaurants in Tijuana, the late Anthony Bourdain chose to eat here while filming for his show ‘No Reservations’ back in 2012. That says something about the place. Many consider this to be the best place to eat tacos in Tijuana. It’s hard to argue. The place is authentic and it’s been there forever. This place also gets excellent reviews. On Google, Las Ahumaderas has 4.5 stars with over 4300 ratings.
Another great thing about this place is that it only closes for a few hours per day very early in the morning. You can almost always grab a taco at Taco Alley. During peak periods, such as after the bars close, this place gets incredibly busy. It’s hard to find a seat. If you go in the morning or afternoon outside of lunchtime, you can usually find a place to sit.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 AM Sunday through Thursday. 8:00 AM to 6:00 AM Friday and Saturday.
What to order: Al pastor, carne asada, cabeza, chorizo.
4. Mariscos El Mazateño
When you’re in Tijuana, it’s easy to forget that you’re by the sea. You can’t see the ocean from most of the city. Downtown sits around 2 miles inland. While walking around, it feels like you’re in a desert.
Tijuana is actually one of the best seafood cities in Mexico. It’s the largest city in the Baja Peninsula, which has some of the best fishing in all of Mexico. Fresh fish arrives daily. The seafood here is phenomenal.
While visiting Tijuana, you definitely need to try the fish taco. Baja California is famous for them. They were actually invented just a couple of hours down the coast from Tijuana in the city of Ensenada.
Mariscos El Mazateño offers some of the best seafood in Tijuana. They offer fresh fish, large portions, fair prices, and good service. This is probably the best place to get a fish taco in Tijuana.
The fish here is fresh and perfectly fried. It’s crispy, tender, and delicious. The fish tacos are topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and fresh lime juice. They’re perfect.
While you’re here, also try the tacos de camarón (shrimp tacos). They’re served overflowing with shrimp and melted cheese. They’re excellent as well. Mariscos El Mazateño also offers tacos de calamari (squid) and pulpo (octopus).
Mariscos El Mazateño doesn’t just serve tacos. They offer all types of seafood including ceviche, oysters, shrimp cocktail, fried fish, seafood platters, and more. If you’re into seafood, this is the place to go in Tijuana. The quality of the food is high.
This place is set up kind of like a food court. There are several stands cooking up fresh seafood. You order from one menu. The restaurant is spotlessly clean. Food hygiene standards here are excellent.
These tacos are a little more expensive than your average street tacos. Seafood is expensive. If you want to try some authentic fish tacos, they’re worth it.
Location: Calz del Tecnológico 473, Tomas Aquino, 22414 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. This place is located outside of the main touristy zones of Tijuana. To get here, you’ll have to drive or take a taxi. Parking is good.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
What to order: Fish tacos, shrimp tacos, marlin
Website: Mariscos El Mazateño Facebook page
5. Tacos Fitos
This popular taco stand is well known for its birria. They make some of the best birria in the city. Birria is a stew that is usually made from beef or goat.
They also offer tacos campechanos. These include a mix of both tender birria and crispy tripa (tripe). This makes for an excellent combination of flavor and texture.
Tacos Fitos also offers tacos dorados (fried tacos). Consider ordering your taco dorado for a little extra crunch.
Tacos Fitos is a taco stand with a small indoor seating area. They only serve tacos. The place is extremely clean and the staff are friendly.
Interestingly, Tacos Fitos closes when they run out of meat for the day. Usually around 1:30 in the afternoon. Some types of meat sell out earlier. The birria seems to be the most popular. You’ll have to come for breakfast or an early lunch if you want to try it.
The benefit of this system is that you know the food is fresh every day. This place gets busy. It’s one of the best and most well-known taco stands in Tijuana.
Location: Francisco Javier Mina 1695, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22010 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. They’re located just across the street from Mercado Hidalgo, in Zona Rio.
Hours: 5:00 AM to 1:30 PM. They close early.
What to order: Campechano, birria, tripa, tacos dorados.
Website: Tacos Fitos Facebook page.
6. Tras/Horizonte by Kokopelli
Tras/Horizonte offers gourmet tacos that you can’t try anywhere else. This is not a traditional taco restaurant.
The chef, Guillermo ‘Oso’ Campos, brilliantly fuses traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking techniques with a range of non-traditional ingredients and techniques to create some truly incredible tacos. You’ll find tacos filled with smoked meats, seafood, mushrooms, Mexican cheeses, and interesting sauces and marinades.
For example, their Gringo en Vacaciones taco is filled with a chile relleno and adobo shrimp. The Kraken taco is octopus grilled in a Mexican-style pesto sauce. Everything is cooked with fresh and high-quality ingredients.
Tras/Horizonte isn’t just a taco shop. They offer burgers, steaks, and seafood dishes as well as appetizers, sides, and desserts. Vegan options are also available.
They also offer a range of interesting mixed drinks. This place is known for its cocktails. They also serve a wide range of beers. On Sundays, they also offer brunch. Everything is made with a unique fusion style.
This place is a bit more upscale than the others on this list. It’s not your average taco shop. Tras/Horizonte is a contemporary-style Mexican restaurant. Prices are a bit higher than what you would pay at a street taco stand. Tacos cost around 50-80 pesos each ($2.50-$4). It’s a proper sit-down restaurant. Not a street taco shop. This place is worth visiting if you’re looking to try something different.
Location: Río Colorado 9680, Marron, 22015 Tijuana
Hours: 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM Thursday through Saturday. 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM Sunday. Closed Monday-Wednesday.
What to order: Tacos and cocktails
7. El Tío Pepe
This is one of the top-rated taco restaurants in Tijuana. El Tío Pepe is a Jalisco style restaurant. They import many of their ingredients from Guadalajara. Their tacos and other dishes are made in the Jalisco style. They offer generous portion sizes. The tacos are large.
This is a great place to go if you want to try some tacos that aren’t available at other shops or if you want to try cuisine from another part of Mexico. For example, El Tío Pepe offers tacos de borrego (lamb) and tacos de sesos (brains). If you feel like adding a layer of texture to your tacos, you can order tacos dorados. These tacos are fried in carnitas fat until they are crispy. Of course, El Tío Pepe also offers the classics such as adobada, bistec, and birria.
Consider ordering a torta ahogada while visiting El Tío Pepe. This isn’t a taco but it is one of their house specialties. A torta ahogada is a pork sandwich that has been submerged in spicy red salsa. This is a specialty from the state of Jalisco. El Tío Pepe makes a great one.
It’s important to note that the prices here are a bit higher than average. Most of their tacos cost 40 pesos ($2). This is a bit steep for tacos but the tacos are larger than most. They use a generous amount of filling.
Location: El Tío Pepe has multiple locations across Tijuana. Their original location is Calle Garcia # 9925, Gabilondo, Cubillas, 22045 Tijuana. They have another location in closer to the border at Calle 15 y Anzures #11716 Col. Libertad. They also have two food trucks. You can view all of their locations on their website.
Hours: The hours vary by location. The original location is open from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is closed on Tuesdays.
What to order: Borrego, carnitas, birria, tacos dorados, torta ahogada.
8. Taco Stand
This is a street taco stand located in Zona Norte. I don’t know the actual name of the place. On Google Maps, it’s just called Taco Stand.
This is a great place to visit after a night of drinking in downtown Tijuana or the red light district. They serve big tacos with a generous amount of filling. Their salsa is spicy and delicious. The service is fast and efficient. The guys running the stand are also friendly, fast, and professional. Prices are reasonable as well. Last time I was there, tacos cost around 25 pesos ($1.20) each.
The tacos you get here may not be as high of quality as what you would get in a restaurant. Flavor-wise, they are some of the best I’ve ever had. I always order the tacos al pastor. They’re excellent.
This taco stand operates a little differently from others. You place your order and pay a man sitting at the end of the stand. He’ll give you your receipt. He’ll also give you your drink if you order one. You then give your receipt to the taquero (the guy making the tacos). He’ll make your tacos and hand them to you. At most other taco stands, you just pay the taquero directly and there is no receipt. I think they do it differently here because they get so busy. It’s faster this way.
It’s important to note that this taco stand is located in a pretty sketchy area. This taco stand is located right on the edge of the main red light district area (Zona Norte) on Avenida Coahuila. While walking here, you will pass by some seedy-looking people. The streets surrounding the stand aren’t the cleanest or nicest. It’s not in the safest area either.
In my opinion, this all adds to the atmosphere. Particularly at night. This place can be an adventure. It’s worth making the walk for some excellent Tijuana street tacos. This is also one of the more well-known taco stands in the city.
Location: The corner of Calle Coahuila and Avenida C Niños Héroes in Zona Norte. Here is the location on Google Maps.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 3:00 AM
What to order: Al pastor, asada, birria, Birria consomé (stew served in a cup).
9. Tacos de Birria del Rio
Tacos de Birria del Rio is probably the best place in Tijuana to get birria. It’s their specialty. The birria is hot and spicy. The ingredients are all fresh. The flavor is spectacular.
This restaurant uses a family recipe. You can’t get birria like this anywhere else in Tijuana. You can order your tacos dorados or suaves (hard or soft). They also offer something called a quesabirria. This is a birria taco with cheese.
I recommend you visit this place early in the day, before 11 AM. The reason is that they get extremely busy during lunchtime. Even though the seating area is large, it can be difficult to find a place to sit. They can also run out of birria if you go too late in the day. When they run out, they close for the day. Usually around 2:00 p.m.
Location: Guadalupe Victoria 20, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana. Just across the street from Mercado Hidalgo in Zona Río.
Hours: 4:00 AM to 2:00 PM Monday through Friday. 3:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. They close early. This is a breakfast, brunch, and lunch place.
What to order: Birria, consume
10. Tito’s Mariscos
Tito’s is a chain of seafood restaurants in Tijuana. They offer large portions of fresh seafood, friendly service, and reasonable prices. Most of their locations offer both indoor and outdoor dining options. They also offer a seafood buffet on the weekends.
It’s a great place to grab a Baja style fish tacos and shrimp tacos. You can choose from flour or corn tortillas. The tacos come topped with cabbage, tomato, guacamole, crema, and salsa. They’re delicious. The shrimp tacos are excellent as well.
This place doesn’t just serve seafood tacos. They also offer a wide range of seafood dishes including ceviche, fish fillets, tostadas, burritos, quesadillas, and more. They offer various types of fish including marlin and tuna as well as shrimp, octopus, calamari, and more.
Location: Tito’s has six locations across Tijuana and Rosarito. For tourists, the most convenient locations are probably Playas de Tijuana (Paseo Islas Coronado #1107, Playas de Tijuana) and Calle Sexta downtown (Ocampo #1002 esq. Calle Sexta, Zona Centro).
Hours: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 9:40 AM to 5:30 PM Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday.
What to order: Fish tacos and shrimp tacos
11. La Taquería Vegiee
La Taqueria Vegiee is probably Tijuana’s best vegan taco shop. Everything on the menu is completely vegan. If you don’t eat meat but still want to enjoy some Tijuana tacos, La Taqueria Vegiee is a great option. They offer generous portion sizes, extremely fresh ingredients, and friendly service.
La Taqueria Vegiee offers a range of tacos that are designed to taste like meat-filled tacos. For example, they offer vegan adobada tacos, carne asada tacos, and fish tacos. The fillings are made from soy, wheat, mushroom, beans, and other ingredients. They top their tacos with fresh and delicious guacamole and salsa as well as onion, lettuce, cilantro, tomato, cabbage, and other fresh veggies. In addition to tacos, La Taqueria Vegiee also serves mulitas, tostadas, empanadas, and burritos.
Location: Blvd. Agua Caliente 11300, Aviacion
Hours: 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM Monday through Thursday. 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM Friday and Saturday. 12:00 to 8 PM on Sunday.
What to order: Adobada (made with a wheat-based filling), Ensenada fish tacos (made with a portabello mushroom cap filling), asada (made with a soy based filling), Gobernador (made with a soy based filling).
Website: La Taquería Vegiee Facebook Page
12. Tacos Mike
Tacos Mike offers a great variety of tacos that aren’t commonly available at other taco stands including chile relleno and milanesa. Milanesa is chicken or steak that has been pounded, breaded, and fried. It’s like a Mexican style schnitzel. Tacos Mike’s milanesa is so large it extends out of the tortilla. They also offer more common options such as birria and carne asada.
The taqueros working here are fast, efficient, and friendly. Even if there is a line, you won’t have to wait for more than a few minutes. The portion sizes are also large. The prices are reasonable. They make a spicy salsa and tasty guacamole. This is an all-around great taco stand.
Location: C. 8va. Miguel Hidalgo 8910, Zonaeste
Hours: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.
What to order: Chile relleno and milenesa tacos
13. La Especial
Opened in 1952, this classic Tijuana restaurant does things the old fashioned way. They serve their tacos with a side of pickled vegetables, as was traditional in Old Tijuana. They also offer a somewhat unique style of Tijuana taco.
La Especial is famous for their tacos al vapor (steamed tacos). These are tacos that have been coated in oil and steamed for around 20 minutes. These tacos are usually filled with pulled meat. This style of taco is traditional in northern Mexico and Baja.
La Especial operates both a taco stand and a full restaurant. Some of the restaurant specialties include carne asada, brochetas (kabobs), and milanesa (breaded beef steak). They also offer some excellent breakfasts and desserts.
La Especial taco stand is conveniently located in downtown Tijuana on Avenida Revolucion. You’ll probably walk past it while sightseeing. It’s a great place to stop for a couple of tacos. Their restaurant used to be located here too but unfortunately, it closed down. They opened a new restaurant location a couple of miles away.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
What to order: Tacos al vapor
14. Tacos el Jockey
Tacos el Jockey serves its tacos wrapped in paper and topped with delicious homemade guacamole. This place serves one of the better guacamoles I’ve tried. It’s thicker than others and contains lots of avocado. Tacos el Jockey is known for its carne asada. It’s thick-cut, smoky, and delicious.
They also serve campechano tacos. These tacos combine different types of meat that complement one another into the same taco. Usually, some type of beef and pork are combined. For example, a popular combination for campechano tacos is carne asada and chorizo.
They also serve other common types of tacos including adobada, suadero, lengua, cabeza, and more. In addition, they serve some less common types of tacos such as chile relleno (stuffed chile), pollo (chicken), labio (lips), and tripa (tripe). They also serve several different types of steak tacos including sirloin and arrachera. In addition, they also offer burritos, mulitas, tostadas, vampiros, quesadillas, and papas locas (stuffed potatos). Some consider this to be the best taco restaurant in Tijuana.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM
What to order: Carne asada, adobado, campechnano (mixed meat)
15. Tacos el Gordo
Tacos el Gordo is an international chain of taco restaurants. You don’t actually have to go to Mexico to eat at Tacos el Gordo. They have expanded into the United States. These days, they have a number of locations across the San Diego area and the Las Vegas area.
The original is located in Tijuana. The family that owns the chain has been in the food service business since 1972.
Tacos el Gordo serves authentic Tijuana style tacos. They use handmade corn tortillas, high-quality meats, and fresh vegetables. They make their salsa and guacamole fresh daily. Tacos el Gordo offers a range of classic tacos including carne asada, adobada, suadero, cabeza, buche, lengua, tripa, chorizo, and more. They’re an all-around great taco restaurant.
Location: There are three locations in Tijuana. Probably the most convenient for visitors is their downtown location at Av Constitución 992, Zona Centro. They also have a Zona Río location at Blvrd Gral Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada 9210-Int. 8. You can also view their U.S. locations on their website.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Open every day.
What to order: Carne asada and adobada tacos
16. Hipódromo Tacos
Hipódromo Tacos is one of the oldest taco shops in Tijuana. Many Tijuana natives have been eating here for decades. It’s a local favorite.
The specialty here is carne asada tacos. They are lean and perfectly marinated and charred. They’re topped with cilantro and red onion. Hipódromo Tacos also makes their own salsas. They are somewhat mild but extremely flavorful. The tortillas are handmade.
Consider trying the caldo de res here. This is a Mexican style beef soup. It’s excellent. They also offer vegetarian tacos.
This place is both a taco stand and a restaurant. You can choose to eat your tacos standing up outside or you can go into the restaurant and sit down to eat. They do get busy so you may have to wait for a table during peak periods.
Location: Av. Hipódromo 14, Hipodromo. They’re located near the Xolos stadium. This is a great place to go before or after a game.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM Monday through Thursday. 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM Friday and Saturday. 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Sundays
What to order: Carne asada tacos, caldo de res
This is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with kind of a hipster vibe. The place is small but well-run. They serve up fresh and authentic food with fast and friendly service. The prices are reasonable as well.
It’s not surprising that they have one of the best ratings of any restaurant in Tijuana. On Google, they have a rating of 4.7 with almost 350 reviews.
While vising Maíz, Try the tacos de canasta (basket tacos). This style of taco isn’t really common in Tijuana. They come from central Mexico. Tacos de canasta are filled with stew and coated in oil or melted butter. They’re simple and flavorful.
Maíz isn’t just a taco shop. It’s a full restaurant. A range of authentic Mexican dishes are available including soups, quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, birria, and more.
This is also a great place to go for breakfast. They make some great omelets and pancakes. They also offer excellent drinks. Try a café de olla, hot chocolate, or agua fresca. They also offer desserts including cheesecake.
Location: Av Gobernador Balarezo 366-Local 1, Davila. This place is a bit hard to find. They’re located in the corner of a strip mall with a small and narrow parking lot.
Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday
What to order: Tacos de canasta
18. Tortas Washmobile
Tortas Washmobile gets its unique name from its location. Originally, this stand was located in front of a car wash. This isn’t a taco shop. It’s actually a torta shop. I decided to include it anyway because the tortas are so good.
Tortas are Mexican-style sandwiches. They consist of a soft bun filled with meat, veggies, and various sauces. They’re basically tacos in sandwich form. They have a soft bun instead of a tortilla.
The tortas are made with telera rolls. These Mexican style rolls are similar to French bread but a bit softer. They are common all over Mexico. The sandwich is filled with meat. Tortas Washmobile offers an excellent smoked brisket as well as carne asada.
Tortas Washmobile opened in 1964. Since then, they have been serving Tijuana’s best tortas. This is just a hole-in-the-wall place. It’s not a fancy restaurant. They do one thing and do it really well. There is no seating here. You’ll just have to eat your torta outside or take it with you.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
What to order: Carne asada torta
19. Random Street Taco Stands
While walking or driving around Tijuana, you’ll pass by plenty of random taco stands set up on street corners or on the side of the road. If you see one that looks good, stop and check it out. Chances are, you’ll get a phenomenal taco.
I like to try different types of tacos. When I visit a new taco stand, I ask the taquero what types of tacos they have. If they’re serving up something I’ve never tried before, I’ll give it a go. I love trying new things.
It’s also fun to try different types of salsa and guacamole. Every taco stand uses a slightly different recipe. Usually, it’s a family recipe that’s been passed down. Sometimes the recipes comes from different parts of the country. Some salsas are spicier than others. Some guacamoles are thicker than others. It’s fun to sample the different styles.
Street taco stands tend to be a bit cheaper than taco restaurants. They’re a great place to score a cheap lunch. You can often get a taco for 20-25 pesos. Restaurants often charge 5-10 pesos more per taco. You can get a nice lunch for under $5 at a taco stand.
Eating at a street taco stand is also a cultural experience. These are places where locals go to grab a quick lunch or snack. They’re not touristy at all. Eating a delicious taco on a street corner is a Mexican experience.
Street taco can be hit or miss. You might visit one that uses tough or fatty meat. Sometimes the portions are small. Hygiene standards can also vary. Try to choose a stand that is busy and clean looking. If the food looks like it’s been sitting around for a while keep walking. Chances are, you’ll encounter another taco stand in a few blocks.
How Much Do Tacos Cost in Tijuana?
The cost of tacos varies depending on the size, filling, and where you’re getting them. At street taco stands, a taco usually costs 20-30 pesos ($1-$1.50). At restaurants, they’re usually a bit more expensive. Most taco restaurants charge 30-40 pesos per taco ($1.50-$2).
The cost also varies depending on the filling you choose. For example, fish tacos are always more expensive than tacos al pastor or carne asada tacos because fish is more expensive than pork or beef. A fish taco might cost 60-80 pesos ($3-$4). Shrimp tacos are often a bit more expensive than fish tacos.
Taco size also varies. Some tacos stands serve tiny little tacos for 20 pesos. Some stands serve large tacos overflowing with filling for 30 pesos. The larger taco might offer a better value, even though it costs more.
The price is the same regardless of the toppings you order on your tacos. If you order a taco con todo (with everything) it costs the same as if you order it without cilantro. Most taco stands also offer salsas, fresh lime, and radish for no extra charge. You serve these condiments yourself.
Taco shops also serve drinks. Most offer sodas and bottled water. Sometimes beer is available. Some taco stands sell fresh juices or agua fresca (a drink made from fruit, water, lime juice, and sugar). A drink usually costs 20-40 pesos ($1-$2) depending on the type and size.
A single taco isn’t really a meal. 2-4 tacos make for a nice lunch, dinner, or late-night snack. If you’re particularly hungry, you might need 5-6 tacos to fill you up. A meal might cost you $3-$10 depending on the type of restaurant you go to and the size of the tacos. Add a drink and you’re looking at spending $5-$12 for a nice taco meal.
At a taco stand, expect to spend around $5 for a couple of tacos and a drink. At a restaurant, expect to spend around $10 for 2-3 tacos and a drink.
How to Order Tacos in Tijuana
Ordering tacos is pretty easy. Most taco stands and restaurants have a small menu with only a few types of tacos to choose from. The menu is in Spanish. At street taco stands, there often isn’t a menu.
At most taco restaurants and street taco stands, English isn’t spoken. You don’t have to speak Spanish to order tacos in Tijuana but it can really help if you know a few words.
If you’re ordering from a street taco stand, you can ask the taquero (taco maker) what kinds of tacos they have (que tipos de tacos tiene?) You can also look at what they’re cooking and point at what you think looks good. Hold up your fingers to indicate the number of tacos you want.
The taquero will usually ask you if you want everything on your taco. They’ll ask ‘con todo?’ This means with everything. If you say yes (sí), they’ll serve the tacos however they usually serve them. Usually with onion, cilantro, salsa, and guacamole. They could also come with diced tomato, cabbage, lettuce, and other ingredients.
If you don’t like a particular ingredient, you could order your taco without it (without in Spanish is ‘sin’). For example, some people don’t like cilantro. If you don’t want cilantro on your tacos you would order them ‘sin cilantro’. If you don’t want onion, you would order them ‘sin cebolla.’
When you’re struggling to order, Google Translate can help. You can use it to communicate with the taquero. The photo function can help you read menus in restaurants. You can also look up individual words if you’re not sure what a particular ingredient is.
At most street taco stands, you pay for your tacos after you order them and eat them. This way, you can order more or order a drink without having to pay twice. When you’re finished, you can pay for everything all at once. At some taco stands, you pay before receiving your tacos. The cashier will hand you a receipt, that you give to the taco maker.
At casual taco restaurants, you usually order at the register and pay first. Just like at a fast food restaurant. A server will bring you tacos to your table or they’ll make them in front of you and hand them to you. At a regular sit-down restaurant, you’ll order from a menu and a server will bring you your tacos and you’ll pay after, just like at any other restaurant.
Most taco stands and casual taco restaurants are cash only. Credit and debit cards aren’t accepted. Most mid-range and higher-end restaurants accept both cash and cards.
In Tijuana, most restaurants accept both dollars and pesos. It’s always best to pay in pesos. You’ll always get a better price. When you pay in dollars, you end up overpaying.
At restaurants in Mexico, it is customary to leave a tip. 10-15% is standard. You’re only expected to tip at sit-down restaurants where you’re served. You don’t have to tip at taco stands or at casual restaurants where you order from a window and seat yourself.
How to Eat Tacos
Tacos are designed to be eaten by hand. They are finger food. Simply fold the tortilla over the filling, pick the taco up, and go at it.
Before eating your tacos, try squeezing some fresh lime on top. It gives the taco a nice tangy citrus flavor. Every taco shop offers fresh lime.
Tacos are usually eaten on their own. They are a meal on their own. They have all of the food groups including bread, meat, and vegetables.
If you’re ordering tacos in a restaurant, you might want some sides. Rice and refried beans are a good choice. Soups and stews can also go well with tacos. Consider ordering a cup of birria if it’s offered. As for drinks, tacos pair well with a cold beer, soda, or agua fresca.
Types of Tacos to Try While Visiting Tijuana
Dozens of different types of tacos are served in Tijuana. Many, you’ve probably never heard of. In this section, I’ll outline some of the best types of tacos to try during your visit. I’ll include the popular choices such as carne asada and adobada as well as a few more interesting choices.
For a more complete list, check out my guide: 42 Types of Tacos to Try in Mexico.
- Al pastor- Thinly sliced pork leg or shoulder meat that is marinated in a mixture of red chiles, vinegar, and a range of herbs and spices including oregano, achiote, and cloves. The meat is then stacked onto a vertical spit called a trompo in Spanish. As the meat rotates, the outer edges cook and char. The cooked outer edges are shaved off for tacos. As the meat spins, it continues to cook and char. In Tijuana, al pastor is sometimes referred to as adobada.
- Adobada- In Tijuana, adobada is often the same as al pastor. The terms can be interchangeable. Adobada tacos are made from sliced pork leg or shoulder that is marinated in a mixture of red chiles, vinegar, and herbs and spices. The marinade used is similar or the same as the marinade used to make tacos al pastor. The meat is also the same. Adobada meat is traditionally grilled or braized. It can also be cooked on a trompo (spit)
- Carne asada- Carne asada means grilled meat. This is beef that has been marinated, grilled, and sliced into small chunks. The marinade is made from lime juice, salt, and various Mexican seasonings. Grilling the meat gives carne asada its distinctive charred flavor. Carne asada is usually made from chuck steak, flank steak, or skirt steak. This is one of the most popular taco fillings in Tijuana. Almost every taco restaurant and street taco stand offers it.
- Pescado- Battered and fried fillet of fish. Different species of fish are used. Most commonly, fish tacos are made of white fish. Angel shark or Angelito is the most common. Other common types of fish include cod, yellowtail, haddock, and flounder. These fish are popular because they hold up well during frying and don’t get mushy. Fish tacos are traditionally served in a corn tortilla topped with purple cabbage, salsa bandera, pico de gallo, crema, and hot sauce with a squeeze of fresh lime on top. These are slightly more expensive than tacos filled with beef or pork. Baja is famous for its fish tacos. They were invented here. I highly recommend you try fish tacos in Tijuana.
- Camarones- Shrimp tacos. The shrimp are seasoned and fried. Sometimes they are breaded and sometimes they aren’t. Shrimp tacos are traditionally topped with cilantro, onion, cabbage, and salsa. Some shrimp tacos in Tijuana come with cheese. Some are only filled with shrimp. These are usually a bit more expensive than other types of tacos due to the high cost of shrimp. They are delicious though.
- Carnitas- Mexican style pulled pork. Carnitas are made from pork shoulder that has been slow cooked until it’s tender. The meat is then pulled apart or shredded. Before cooking, the meat is seasoned with lime juice and herbs and spices including salt, cumin, chile powder, garlic, and oregano. Carnitas are sometimes fried to crisp them up after cooking. Carnitas tacos are usually topped with cilantro, onion, tomato, and salsa. This is one of my favorite types of tacos.
- Birria- A soup or stew made from goat or beef, dried chili peppers, garlic, cumin, thyme, and other herbs and spices. Birria is traditionally made from goat meat but beef birria is probably more common. The stew is slowly simmered at low heat for hours. This cooking process makes the meat incredibly tender and flavorful. Birria tacos are filled with the tender meat from the stew. The remaining broth is served in a cup on the side. You dip your birria tacos in the broth. Kind of like eating a French dip. Birria is originally from the state of Jalisco but is commonly served in Tijuana taco restaurants. It’s one of the most popular types of tacos.
- Cabeza- These are tacos made from the meat from the head of an animal. Usually a cow. A pig head can also be used. The head is steamed or roasted until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. The cheeks, neck, tongue, lips, eyes, and skin are used to fill tacos. Oftentimes, the meat from the whole head is removed and then mixed together. This mixture is used to fill tacos. Sometimes the meat is separated and you can specify which part of the head you want. For example, you could order a taco with cheek, eye, skin, etc. This is a popular style of taco in Tijuana. Most restaurants offer it. It may sound unappetizing to those who don’t eat organ meat but tacos de cabeza are delicious. They are tender and full of flavor. The meat tastes like any other type of beef. You wouldn’t know you’re eating head meat.
- Pollo- Grilled chicken that has been diced or shredded. Chicken tacos are topped with cilantro, tomato, onion, and sometimes Mexican cheese. These are a little less common in Tijuana but some shops serve them.
- Chorizo- Seasoned sausage made from chopped or ground pork. Chorizo is seasoned with paprika, garlic, and a range of other herbs and spices. When making tacos, the chorizo is removed from the casing, broken up, and fried until it’s chewy and crispy. Chorizo tacos are topped with cilantro, onion, and fresh lime. They’re spicy and delicious.
- Suadero- Thinly cut beef brisket. Brisket is a cut of meat from the center of the cow between the belly and leg. This cut of meat has a smooth texture. This cut of meat has different names across Latin America. In Mexico, it’s called suadero. The suadero is slow cooked and then thinly sliced for tacos.
- Barbacoa- Slow cooked beef, goat, pork, or lamb meat. Barbacoa refers to a style of cooking that originated in the Caribbean. The meat is heavily marinated in herbs and spices then slow cooked. Traditionally, it’s wrapped in agave leaves and then slow cooked over an open flame. Most restaurants cook it in the oven and then char it on the griddle.
- Lengua- Beef tongue. The tongue is usually braised with garlic and onion. It’s cooked slowly at a low temperature. The brazing liquid and slow cooking process tenderize the tough tongue. The tongue is then sliced and fried. This gives the tongue a crispy outer layer. Pork tongue can also be used but it’s much less common.
- Tripa- Small intestines of a cow, pig, or goat. Beef intestines are most commonly used. First, the intestines are cleaned. They are then boiled and grilled. They can also be braised and fried. Tacos de tripa are topped with cilantro, onion, salsa, and guacamole. These tacos need to be prepared properly. If they aren’t they can have a rubbery texture.
- Chicharrón- Chicharrón is the skin and fat from a pork belly. This is deep fried until it’s crispy. Like a pork rind. The crispy chicharrónes are usually stewed in a salsa. This mixture is used to fill tacos. Sometimes chicharrón is served crispy without being stewed. Tacos de chicharron are usually topped with onion, cilantro, and fresh lime.
- Chile relleno- These are stuffed peppers. Chile rellenos are made from roasted poblano peppers that are filled with meat or cheese. Cheese is the most common filling. The seeds are usually removed to make the pepper milder. The stuffed pepper is then battered and fried. This chile relleno is used to fill a taco. This recipe comes from central Mexico. Chile relleno tacos aren’t that common in Tijuana but they are available. They are served on their own as a meal as well.
- Milanesa- This is basically a taco filled with schnitzel. Milanesa is usually made with round steak that is pounded then breaded and fried. Chicken milanesa is also available. The meat is seasoned with various Mexican herbs and spices. Tacos de milanesa are topped with tomato, salsa, and guacamole.
- Borrego- Lamb tacos. The lamb is seasoned with various Mexican herbs and spices and then barbecued slowly at low heat until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender. Alternatively, the lamb can be braised until it’s tender. The meat is then pulled apart and used for taco filling. Tacos de Borrego are usually topped with cilantro, onion, salsa, and guacamole. These are commonly eaten on special occasions in Mexico. These tacos are popular all across Mexico.
- Campechano- These tacos contain a mix of beef and pork. They are filled with carne asada, longaniza sausage, and chicharrónes. Various types of steak and sausage can be substituted. Campechano tacos are usually topped with caramelized onion, cilantro, salsa, and fresh lime juice. Campechano tacos originate in southern Mexico in the state of Campeche. These days, they are available all over Mexico.
- Sesos- Tacos filled with brains. Usually beef or goat brains are used. The brains of other animals, such as pigs, can also be used. The brains are usually braised with tomato and onion. They can also be boiled or grilled. The cooked brains are chopped, mixed with seasonings, and used for taco filling. Tacos de sesos have a soft and smooth texture when properly cooked. Almost like a custard. This pairs well with crunchy toppings such as fresh onion and cabbage. The smooth and crunchy textures go well together. These aren’t that common but they’re worth trying. They’re interesting.
- Buche- Pork stomach. The stomach is first washed and parboiled. It is then stewed with onion, garlic, jalapeños, ancho chiles, oregano, and other, herbs, and spices. The meat is then used to fill tacos. Tacos de buche are topped with onion, cilantro, guacamole, salsa, crema, and lime. Tacos de buche are more tender than tripe but a bit chewier than carnitas.
- Labios- Labios means lips in Spanish. Tacos de labios include meat from the lips of a cow. In most cases, meat from the cheeks and face are also used. This is some of the juiciest and most tender meat on the cow. The meat is usually stewed for several hours with onion, garlic, oregano, salt, and other herbs and spices until it’s tender. It’s then used to fill tacos. Tacos de labio are topped with onion, cilantro, salsa, guacamole, and fresh lime juice. The meat has the same flavor as any other type of beef. It is tender, juicy, and really tasty.
- Vegetarian/vegan- Tacos don’t have to be filled with meat. These days, vegetarian and vegan options are commonly available. There are even taco restaurants that specialize in vegan tacos. Usually, the filling is designed to mimic the filling of meat tacos. For example, vegan tacos may be advertised as adobada, carne asada, or fish. The filing is usually based on soy, mushrooms, or wheat. Vegan tacos are topped with the same toppings as meat tacos. Most come with guacamole, salsa, cilantro, onion, lettuce, cabbage, pico de gallo, lime, etc. Sometimes additional sauces are used to add extra flavor. For example, vegan mayo may be added. These days, many traditional taco restaurants offer a vegan or vegetarian option in addition to traditional meat-filled tacos. This allows those who eat meat and those who don’t to enjoy dining together. Even if you’re a meat eater, it’s worth trying vegan and vegetarian tacos. They can be really tasty.
- Papa- Potato tacos. These are usually filled with mashed potatoes that are seasoned with garlic, cumin, and various other herbs and spices. Fried potatoes can also be used. Potato tacos are common in Mexico during Lent.
- Tacos al Vapor- These are steamed tacos. The tortilla is brushed with seasoned oil or butter. This mixture usually contains chiles and garlic. It adds a lot of flavor. Various types of filling are used including meats, vegetables, beans, and cheeses. Some popular fillings for tacos al vapor include carne asada, chicharron, chicken, and potatoes. The tacos are then wrapped in paper or cloth and cooked in a steamer. Tacos al vapor are sometimes called tacos de canasta (basket tacos) because they are commonly sold on the street out of a large basket. This is common in central Mexico. In Tijuana, they’re usually served in restaurants.
- Tacos dorados- This is a style of taco rather than a filling. Tacos dorados (golden tacos in English) are tacos that are fried until they are crispy. They’re hard shell tacos. Various fillings can be used including chicken, beef, and cheese. Tacos dorados are sometimes rolled rather than folded. They are also known as taquitos.
My Favorite Tacos in Tijuana
Personally, I think Tacos el Frank is the best taco restaurant in Tijuana. They serve classic street tacos made from quality ingredients. The service is fast and friendly. They get busy but the wait isn’t usually too long. The prices are reasonable as well. I’m also a big fan of Las Ahumaderas (Taco Alley) for the same reasons.
I also really enjoy sampling different street taco stands because they’re all slightly different. Different stands use different recipes for salsas, marinades, guacamoles, etc.
For example, one taquero might have gotten his salsa recipe from his grandma from Oaxaca. Another taquero might have experimented over the years and created his own unique salsa recipe. One taquero might serve tacos that are typical of central Mexico. Another might serve tacos that are typical of Baja. They each offer their own unique flavor.
Different taco stands also offer different types of tacos. Some serve carnitas and cabeza. The stand down the street might offer chorizo and lengua. It’s nice to try something different.
I’m not really a fan of fancy gourmet tacos. To me, tacos are supposed to be a quick, cheap, and simple meal. They’re just meat, veggies, and salsa piled on a tortilla. Instead of buying expensive fancy tacos, I’d rather buy a regular entrée with sides. That said, gourmet tacos can be really tasty. They certainly have their place.
My favorite type of tacos are tacos al pastor. I almost always order at least one. Carnitas tacos are a close second. Of course, carne asada is great as well. I’m also a big fan of fish and shrimp tacos. I always order them when I’m in Baja.
A Note About Food Hygiene Standards in Tijuana
Most restaurants and taco stands in Tijuana are clean and safe to eat at. You don’t have to worry about getting sick when you eat at a popular and busy restaurant, like the ones outlined on this list. They take food hygiene seriously. Many of the restaurants on this list have been in business for decades. If they were making people sick, they wouldn’t be around.
Having said that, you do have to be careful about where you eat in Tijuana. Food hygiene at some taco stands and less popular restaurants may not be up to the standard that you’re used to.
At some taco stands, the taquero may let food sit around too long. It’s not held at the proper temperature. Sometimes food sits out in the open where it’s exposed to bugs and other contaminants. If the taco stand isn’t popular, the taquero may use old meat.
If the food isn’t stored properly, it can make you sick. You can greatly reduce your likelihood of getting sick by taking some simple precautions.
Before ordering at a taco stand, take a peek at the taquero’s work surface. Is it reasonably clean? Look at the food. Is it hot? Is it covered? If the food is just sitting out and it’s not cooking, consider going to another stand. At restaurants, it’s harder to tell whether or not the place is clean. If they keep the dining area clean, the kitchen is probably clean.
I try to only eat at places that are busy. That way, I know the food is fresh. It’s not sitting around. There is turnover in the inventory. I avoid eating anywhere that is completely empty. The food might be old. It may not have been stored properly.
One time, I got food poisoning from a taco stand in Tijuana. I was heading to the border kind of early in the morning and I decided to stop for a couple of quick tacos on the way. A couple of hours later, I started feeling sick. I hadn’t eaten anything else so I’m pretty certain that the tacos made me sick.
My theory is that the guy was serving leftover meat from the previous night that hadn’t been stored at the proper temperature. The stand looked clean but I was the only one eating there. I got pretty sick for about 3 or 4 days, then it passed. Of course, I never ate at that taco stand again.
This experience didn’t put me off Tijuana street food. I’m just more careful about where I choose to eat. I try to stick to busy restaurants and food stands. If a place is busy, the food is likely fresh.
Final Thoughts About the Best Tacos in Tijuana
Tijuana is one of the best places in Mexico to eat Tacos. Part of the reason is that Tijuana attracts people from all over the country. It’s somewhat of a melting pot. Tijuana is also a big city. It’s the 5th biggest city in Mexico. In addition to Baja cuisine, you’ll find restaurants cooking up food from Jalisco, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Central Mexico, and more. Tacos are a regional food. In Tijuana, you can sample tacos and other dishes from all over the country.
Tijuana’s food scene has also exploded over the past 5 or 10 years. The city is becoming a foodie destination. In Tijuana, you can enjoy classic street tacos, gourmet tacos, fusion tacos, vegan tacos, seafood tacos, and more. You can sample a range of meats including various cuts of beef, pork, goat, and lamb as well as fish, shrimp, and other kinds of seafood. Organ meat tacos are also popular. If you’re adventurous, you can also sample tripas (tripes), lengua (tongue), sesos (brains) buche (stomach), hígado (liver), corazón (heart), riñon (kidney), and more.
Tijuana also offers great beer and wine options. A number of phenomenal craft breweries have opened up across the city. Tijuana’s craft beer scene rivals San Diego’s. You can also enjoy some excellent wines from the nearby Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s top wine region. If you enjoy Mexican cuisine, Tijuana is an excellent destination.
Which are your favorite types of tacos in Tijuana? Share your favorite restaurant or taco stand in the comments below!
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Zachary Friedman is an accomplished travel writer and professional blogger. Since 2011, he has traveled to 66 countries and 6 continents. He founded ‘Where The Road Forks’ in 2017 to provide readers with information and insights based on his travel and outdoor recreation experience and expertise. Zachary is also an avid cyclist and hiker. Living as a digital nomad, Zachary balances his professional life with his passions for hiking, camping, cycling, and worldwide exploration. For a deeper dive into his journey and background, visit the About page. For inquiries and collaborations, please reach out through the Contact page. You can also follow him on Facebook.