The Harlem Taco Guide


Harlem taco guide
The birria tacos at Ollin.

If your idea of celebrating Cinco de Mayo involves a plate of soft, warm tacos and a margarita or two to wash them down, you're in luck: Harlem's taco game is strong.

Not sure where to start? Here are seven sure-to-please destinations, listed from south to north:


Ollin

East Harlem 339 E 108th St between First and Second Aves

This colorful mom-and-pop—the owners came from Puebla some 30 years ago—specializes in birria made with goat (a.k.a. the original way) and beef. Try the tasty stew wrapped in tacos and don't skip the melted cheese.


ICYMI: Where to find delicious birria tacos—plus burritos, ramen, you name it—in Harlem


Cantina

Central Harlem 2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 113th and W 114th Sts

Central Harlem 329 Lenox Ave at 126th St

Come for the wide choice of specials and the endless varieties of tequila and mezcal. The beef brisket taco is always a solid choice.


Taco Mix

East Harlem 234 E 116th St between Second and Third Aves

The rotisserie in front beckons to passers-by with its endless layers of chile-marinated pork and roasted pineapple crown—both are used in Taco Mix's famous al pastor taco. There's a spacious sidewalk cabana, but no alcohol, so plan accordingly.


The al pastor tacos at Taco Mix
The al pastor tacos at Taco Mix.

La Chula

East Harlem 137 E 116th St at Lexington Ave

Washington Heights Northend Food Hall, 4300 Broadway at W 183rd St

You won't find any fresher tortillas uptown—they're prepared from scratch and are the perfect base for the super flavorful, Mexico City-style tacos (chef Julian Medina was raised there). The Tajin-rimmed margaritas are a perfect match.


La Diagonal

Central Harlem 185 St. Nicholas Ave and 119th St

Nab a table at this stylish Mexican, then pair your tacos (from steak to shrimp to vegetarian) with any of the handcrafted cocktails—La Diagonal specializes in agave spirits, including tequila, mezcal and more.



Harlem taco guide
A trio of tacos at Oso.

Oso

Hamilton Heights 1616 Amsterdam Ave between 139th and 140th Sts

Don't miss the fish tacos—pan-fried porgy with pickled red cabbage, crispy onions and chipotle aioli—at this hip spot serving elevated Mexican street food. The margaritas are some of uptown's best.


Frijolito's

Hamilton Heights 3446 Broadway between W 140th and W 141st Sts

This casual mom-and-pop with sidewalk seating on Broadway features a wide variety of taco fillings, including sautéed tilapia, braised pork, spicy chorizo, and even birria. If you like it spicy, ask for the morita sauce. Note: They don't serve alcohol.


ICYMI: 7 uptown mom-and-pop alternatives to that big Tex-Mex chain


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