For decades, Las Vegas has been stuffed with taco joints of varying quality. Recently, a new wave of top-notch taquerias has upped the ante on the local tortilla scene. So welcome to Taco Town, where cool hot spots serve gourmet-level handheld folders filled with south of the border deliciousness. Here are a few of our spicy favorites.
Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer
Located a block from the bustling Fremont East entertainment district, this lively eatery is a mini-cathedral of tortilla goodness. Inside the snug culinary sanctuary, experience the fragrant cochinita pibil taco with its succulent chunks of achiote-marinated pork that’s been slow-braised in banana leaves. Showcasing tropical flavors of the Yucatán peninsula, it’s enhanced with zippy pickled red onions. Savor it with a molcajete of vibrant guacamole for dipping with crispy chips and an icy glass of fruit-filled, magenta-hued sangria. Be sure to look for the glowing Elvis novena candle and say hallelujah to the “Pray for Tacos” artwork. 616 E. Carson Ave., 702-826-3515.
Bajamar Seafood & Tacos
With its surfboard-toting purple octopus mural, you can’t miss this bright, beachy eatery, situated in the Arts District’s southeastern border. Its staple offering—the fish taco—is a thing of beauty that evokes oceanside thoughts of picturesque Baja California. Get the crispy, golden-hued deep-fried version topped with shredded white and red cabbage, jewel-like fresh pico de gallo, creamy aioli sauce and a hint of smoky chipotle in a soft corn tortilla. It really pops with a squeeze of lime, extra splashes of fiery La Guacamaya hot sauce and sips of sweet Mexican Coke on the side. 1615 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-331-4266.
The latest tasty taco sensation to hit town is straight outta San Diego, where it has been a popular foodie destination for nearly five years. Its first Las Vegas location brings stylish and vivid street-art ambiance to the Palace Station’s Marketplace—and excellent grinds like the carne asada Califas, a flour tortilla brimming with mesquite-grilled steak, french fries, guacamole, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and crema. Pair the hefty combination with cheesy frijoles de olla (broth-stewed beans with nopales and pico de gallo) and a glass of the daily agua fresca in flavors like strawberry, hibiscus, horchata and cucumber-lime. 2411 W. Sahara Ave., 702-445-7673.