Our favorite taco spots on Long Island
The taco landscape in the United States in both finely tuned and fiercely competitive. Taco styles range from authentically Mexican (topped with cilantro, minced white onion and a wedge of lime) to American (showered with shredded lettuce, grated cheese and pico de gallo) to Tex-Mex (stuffed to the gills.) And being surrounded by water means that our fish tacos are among the best on the East Coast. Here’s our cull of some of the Island’s best places to land some superlative tacos.
Order at counter or kiosk in the hacienda-like dining room. The vegetarian tacos, including one with mushrooms and crispy onions, are standouts.
2340 Jericho Tpke., New Hyde Park516-373-2340 https://www.avotaco.com/
Copper & Clay
This spot is known for its al pastor (spit-roasted pork), but tacos filled with grilled local monk fish or octopus and avocado may be among the daily specials. All come on house-pressed tortillas.
6 W. Park Ave, Long Beach516-992-0628
Dirty Taco & Tequila
This spiffy spot has a roster of 15 tacos (including one filled with Korean-style short ribs) as well as an equal number of tequilas.
3261 Merrick Rd., Wantagh516-785-5300 http://dirtytacoandtequila.com/
Two doors to the left of El Mercadito bakery and deli is this sister taqueria. The simply topped tacos are dense with flavor and heat.
519 Union Ave., Westbury516-338-6346
El Paso Taco Grill
Among the tacos, all templated by the owner’s 60-something mother, the garlicky shrimp taco is a star.
787 Conklin St., Farmingdale516-752-1872 https://elpasotacogrill.com/
The tortilla chips are fresh, the salsa has a kick. Try taco campechanos (stuffed with steak, chorizo and guacamole).
280 Post Ave, Westbury516- 333-2038 http://littlemexicorestaurantbar.com/
In 2019, this food truck went brick and mortar, but the owner still uses a wood fire to cook the taco fillings.
7 West Village Green, Hicksville516-596-5182
The tacos here are based on family recipes from Matamoros, Mexico. (Other location: 47 Boundary Ave., Farmingdale)
356 W. Old Country Rd., Hicksville516-261-9177 https://nellystaqueria.com/
Piñata’s Mexican Grill
Among the winning soft-corn tacos are spicy chorizo, succulent tongue (lengua) and authentic fish tacos. (Other location: 450 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa Park)
601 Hicksville Rd., Bethpage516-502-0399 https://www.pinatasmexicangrill.com/
Rock A Taco
There are dual taco styles at this 20-seat taqueria: “street cart” tacos garnished with cilantro, onion and lime, and more elaborate “rock’n” tacos.
280 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre516-992-0477
Taco King Mexican Grill
Carnivores go for grilled skirt steak tacos— and vegans, steamed vegetables with beans. Tortillas made in house.
480 Hempstead Tpke., W. Hempsteadhttp://tacokingonline.com/
This is as close to a Tex-Mex institution as can be (at least in Suffolk County), with a lively bar scene and tacos of many stripes. (Other locations: Babylon, East Northport, Patchogue.)
430 N. Country Rd., St. James631-963-6900 http://www.delfuegorestaurant.com/
JR El Rodeo
This bare-bones storefront has made-to-order tacos, including tacos dorados, four deep-fried cheese tacos with lettuce and sour cream.
130 Montauk Hwy., East Moriches631-909-2666 http://www.elrodeony.com/
Lucharitos Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Tacos are best ordered traditional style, on soft 21 corn tortillas topped with salsa verde, pickled radish, chopped onion and cilantro. (Other location: 487 Main Rd., Bldg. D, Aquebogue)
119 Main St., Greenport631-477-6666 https://www.lucharitos.com/
Mamey Mexican Taqueria
This tidy spot near the LIRR station turns out excellent al pastor and carne asada tacos. Don’t miss the hibiscus drink called Jamaica.
122 N. Carll Ave. Babylon631-539-9144 https://www.mameybabylon.com/
At this whimsical new-wave taqueria, the Culinary Institute of America–trained chef serves tacos on organic corn tortillas. A sure bet is the Hawaiian, filled with pork that’s been stewed in orange juice and Coca-Cola.
10560 Main Rd., Mattituck631-298-7826 https://www.mattitaco.com/
Mexican Grill 2000
Both the chef and owner hail from Puebla, Mexico; the fish tacos, filled with fried flounder, have many local devotees.
703 Medford Ave., Patchogue631-607- 6554 http://litrade.net/mexicangrill/
Counter service may be in a back alley, but lines often form for their American-style tacos. (Other location: 30 E. Main St., Patchogue)
135 Deer Park Ave., Babylon631-482-1299 https://www.swelltacoli.com/
Taco Bout It
The tacos at this hidden gem are cooked by an Oaxacan chef and include shrimp, al pastor, chorizo, fish and roasted veggies. Cash only.
40B E. Main St., Riverhead631-574-8787 https://www.tacoboutitny.com/
The al pastor taco is addictive at this 15-year-old spot. Owner Rolando Mancilla, a Toluca, Mexico, native, also owns nearby Taqueria Cielito Lindo.
709 E. Main St., Riverhead631-208-2902
This modern spot serves California-style tacos, including a cochinita made with Berkshire pork, pickled onion, and salsa borracha.
920 Old Country Rd., Garden City516-222-0060 https://www.tocolocantina.com/
Verde Kitchen & Cocktails
The inventive lineup at this hip, handsome restaurant includes charred octopus. The bar turns out first-class margaritas, too.
70 E. Main St., Bay Shore631-665-6300 https://www.verdekitchen.com/
Taqueria Mexico Lindo
This taqueria-market is about as authentic as it gets; tacos are traditionally dressed with cilantro, lime wedges and onion.
1429 New York Ave., Huntington Station631-423-5980