If you haven’t figured it out by now, Bushwick is one of New York’s premier taco destinations. Our thin rectangle of North Brooklyn is home to a large community of Mexican immigrants mostly hailing from the region around Puebla; that means rich, nuanced, complex flavors — Tex-Mex it ain’t. A taco may be the simplest of street foods — a bit of meat wrapped in a toasted corn cake with splash of sauce to be eaten with your hands — but once you’ve worked your way from Flushing to Myrtle, each one sparkles as uniquely as a snowflake. In the dead heat of summer, inhaling warm tacos with enough red sauce to melt your gums is one of life’s purest pleasures. Tacos are just a starting point, of course; best just work your way through them all.
Here we present our top ten Bushwick taco joints with our recommendations for each place in bold — it won’t always be the tacos.
La Tortillería Mexicana Los Hermanos
Much-hyped by the New York media, this is just the beginning of our hood’s famed roster of amazing taquerías. It’s a taco shop wedged inside of a tortilla factory. The tacos and tostadas are decent and always heavy on the crema. Great place to wow the visitors — despite its Not For Tourists listing, it is very much for them — then head deeper in for more varied offerings.
A real closet of a space. Slip in. Order five tiny tacos with chorizo, al pastor, or suadero: veal flank hit with vinegar and lime. Eat standing up. Marvel at their simplicity and miles of flavor. Don’t forget a pile of the fat-bulbed grilled spring onions on the side.
This mini-empire started as a small bodega selling Mexican products and blossomed into one of the best Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. Everything, from the fried whole porgies, to the enchilada platters, to the avocado salad, sings with flavor. The tostadas, cemitas, and anything with carne enchilada kills.
El Paisa Taquería & Restaurant
The place to go when the crowds at the tortilla factory on Starr are too deep. Good tacos, especially al pastor. Watch out for your shoes — the supple tacos will dribble pineapple and chile-flecked pork juice down your face, hands, neck. Get it to go and get messy in Maria Hernandez Park, just across the street.
Vianny Vero & Bere Mexican Store
A bodega with a raised platform in back to feed the homesick. Fine tacos but even better platters of enchiladas, chilaquiles, and a pleasantly spongy chile relleno in tomato sauce. Great rice and beans.
There’s always a revolving door of taco entrepreneurs at this busy intersection. You can find elote vendors, torta carts, and taco trucks staking out their corners. Tacos La Carcachita, a truck usually parked closer to the Palmetto side, has grand squash blossom quesadillas (calabacitas )and a peppy green sauce.
Taquería El Paisa
Not associated with El Paisa Taquería & Restaurant, this is just stand with a couple stools outside. Al pastor is the real deal here, a massive slow-spinning spit with pineapple and onion wedged between the layers of marinated pork.
Los Tres Marias
A handful of folding tables and a moldering deer’s head mounted on the wall, this cafeteria sends out amazing tiny tacos with avocado tomatillo salsa. Mole on the weekends draws crowds. Good huaraches and sopes, too — the simpler, the better.
Overshadowed by the Mexican-American diner on the corner, Foca has an impressive line-up for the cornmeal-centric snacks, antojitos. Memelas, huaraches, molotes, and chalupas? You’ll be happy even if you don’t know what you’re eating. They’re all made-to-order and better than the standard tacos.
Taquería El Fogon
It doesn’t have the fine-tuned precision of the other local antojito joints but the kids swear by this place. Big honking burritos, big floppy tacos, and 40oz. of cold Sol. It’s like a much better LA Burrito.
Best goat tacos in the hood, hands down. Not only is the kid braised into submission then crisped on the griddle but is also given the enchilada treatment — marinated with citrus and a boat-load of chiles.