Where to find the best tacos in Charleston

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Mex 1 tacos | Photo provided by Mex 1

Asked: Can the CHStoday team share a conversation about tacos without loading it up with puns? 

Answered: No way, José.

In queso you didn’t know, today is National Taco Day. To celebrate, we asked our readers to spill the beans on where to find the best tacos in town. 

Beanough is beanough with the puns – let’s taco bout some tacos, shall we?

Our readers’ #1 choice: Taco Boy

The Vegan Al Pastor Taco at Taco Boy – Housemade al pastor seitan, pickled veggies, pineapple + cilantro. $3.95 each. | Photo provided by Taco Boy

Locations: 217 Huger St.  downtown, 15 Center St. on Folly Beach, + 106 Front St. at Nexton in Summerville, right off of N. Main St.

Price: Tacos are $3.95 each.

Pro tip: Start with the appetizer trio ($8.95) before moving on to the tacos – tortilla chips served alongside salsa, queso, + fresh guacamole. 

Must order: 2-3 tacos (there’s really not a bad choice on the menu) depending on your appetite. Make it a meal by adding a side of their Mexican street corn ($3.50).

The hidden gem: Taqueria Espres

Tacos start at $1.50 each at Taqueria Espres, a food truck located on Ashley Phosphate Rd. in North Charleston | Photo by @missmandu1123

Location: This is a food truck parked at  2704 Ashley Phosphate Rd. in North Charleston.

Price: Priced at $1.50-$2 each, these just might be the cheapest tacos you’ll find around Charleston. 

Pro tip: Bring cash – credit + debit cards aren’t accepted here.

Must order: Make it a taco trifecta and order the steak, chicken + pork tacos. All tacos are served with an assortment of pickled veggies.

If you’re looking for the real deal: El Pincho Taco

El Pincho Taco | Photo by @taylorkflynn

Location: 616-C Meeting Street downtown, in the row of businesses where Mozzo Deli + Local 616 are located.

Price: All tacos are $4 each.

Pro tip: This is a family-run restaurant that uses family recipes, so don’t hesitate to ask your server for menu recs. 

Must order: There are plenty of vegan + vegetarian options for the plant-based eaters out there. For those who do eat meat, we recommend the al pastor taco.

Location: 100-A Spring Street (downtown).

The choice for happy hour: Pink Cactus

Pink Cactus | Photo provided by Pink Cactus

Price: Tacos are $5 each.

Pro tip: The guac is served with tostadas, so don’t go in expecting a big bowl of tortilla chips like you see in many other places.

Must order: We all ordered a chicken taco, and there were no regrets to be found at the table of four. If you’re drinking, wash it down with a Pink Cactus margarita ($5 during happy hour), which is equally refreshing as it is pretty.

The tried-and-true classic: Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

Mex 1 tacos | Photo provided by Mex 1

Price: Tacos are $4.50-$5.95 each.

Pro tip: No matter the vibe you’re looking for, Mex 1’s atmosphere will not disappoint (true story: I’ve been to the West Ashley spot during a job interview, on a date, and for a margarita-heavy girls night out). Nor will the favorites on their menu – though we still suggest asking about what’s new, as Mex 1 is constantly rolling out new specials.

Must order: There are too many options to recommend just one. We say choose 2-3 different tacos for yourself and grab an order of queso ($6.50) for the table.

For a swanky night out on the town: Minero

The Fried Catfish Taco at Minero – pickled green tomato tartar, cabbage, + red onion. $4.75 each. | Photo by @parisismykitchen

Location: 153 East Bay Street (Downtown).

Price: Tacos are $4.50-$5.50 each.

Pro tip: If you’re going for happy hour or dinner, expect a crowd. Minero isn’t available for reservations on OpenTable or Resy, either, but you can put your name down at the host stand + get a text when your table is ready – and if there are no seats available at the bar, there are plenty of pre-dinner drink options within walking distance of the restaurant.

Must order: The fried catfish taco ($4.75) is a popular favorite. If you’re with a crew, go big + order the taco party ($47-$50), which will bring about ten tacos worth of meat, tortillas + a variety of toppings straight to your table.

The locals’ favorite: Torres Superettes

Torres Superettes | Photo by @folksingingrobot

Location: 843 Rutledge Avenue (Downtown).

Price: Tacos cost $2.79 each.

Pro tip: There’s no seating – it’s located inside the back of a convenience store on Rutledge – so plan on grabbing your tacos to go (conveniently, there is a parking lot)

Must order: The carnitas + the carne asada tacos are our favorites, but we recommend checking out their daily special before making a decision.

Honorable Mentions:

Carmen y Juan | Located at 1118 Park West Blvd. in North Mount Pleasant.

Tiki Taco | Located at 1525 Old Trolley Rd. + 1131 College Park Rd. in Summerville, and in North Charleston at 7089-A Rivers Ave.

Cantina 76 | Located at 819 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant, + at 219 Farm Lake View Rd. at Freshfields Village on Kiawah. 

Zia Taqueria | Located at 1956-A Maybank Hwy. on James Island, by Terrace Theater.

Dashi | Located at 1262 Remount Rd. in North Charleston.

Semilla | Find the food truck’s location + schedule on Facebook.

Tattooed Senorita | Located at 1846 Old Folly Beach Rd. on James Island, close to Folly Beach.

This list is based on reader recommendations and is not meant to be exhaustive. If we missed your favorite place, share it with us in the comments (along with your recs on what to order there).