Portland’s reputation for world-class street eats is well deserved. And when it comes to the most classic of on-the-go options — tacos — local diners can order up a wealth of delicious variations, from meaty morsels like braised barbacoa (slow-cooked, seasoned meat) and wild boar to vegetarian creations made with mushrooms, cactus and scrambled egg. Follow our taco-lover’s guide to find crave-worthy options in every part of town.
The Pacific Northwest-inspired tacos at ¿Por Qué No? are loaded with local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Carefully crafted creations include barbacoa beef braised in banana leaves and spicy sautéed shrimp with crema and salsa. Don’t miss the made-to-order guacamole and pints of fruity sangria.
Vegetarians make a beeline for El Nutri-Taco, where meatless fixings include chipotle soy curls, tempeh, soyrizo, Beyond Meat chicken and even baked potatoes. The accommodating shop also offers dairy-free sour cream and cheese for the vegan crowd, and chicken and pork for determined carnivores. And for the vegan crowd, look no further than Mis Tacones, slinging 100% vegan, authentic Mexican cuisine. Try their papas nachos with a choice of seitan protein, and marvel at their mastery of plant-based cheese.
Just up the street you’ll find another great taco spot: La Bonita is a family-owned and -operated restaurant specializing in classic Mexican fare. The tacos — featuring fresh ingredients and house-made tortillas — are a highlight, or try other entrée options, like chimichangas, burritos, nachos and tamales.
Hidden gem Angel Food & Fun serves delicious, affordable Yucatecan fare to in-the-know locals. Their signature cochinita (little pig) taco centers on juicy stewed pork seasoned with achiote paste and bitter orange and bursting with rich, tart, tropical flavor.
In the Cully neighborhood, Nico’s Cantina serves up classic tacos like shrimp, carne asada and nopales on locally-made Three Sister’s Nixtamal tortillas. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find ample family seating and a beautiful bar which you can access from their expertly landscaped outdoor patio. On weekends, bring your dancing shoes as the cantina erupts with live music and dance nights.
Taquería Los Puñales is a queer-owned and -operated taqueria in the Belmont neighborhood where guisados (Mexican braises) are the specialty. The chefs start with beloved family recipes, add inventive contemporary twists and then layer the delicious results into house-made tortillas. Take your pick from their extensive menu (featuring plenty of vegan and vegetarian options), order up a fresh margarita or paloma, and enjoy your feast in the outdoor seating area or in the bright, lively dining room.
Just a few blocks west on Southeast Belmont Street you’ll find Taco Gang. At this bright red food cart they keep the menu simple (and the quality high): choose tacos, a burrito, a burrito bowl or a quesadilla, and they’ll fill it up with your protein of choice and just the right fixings. They also offer daily specials, so if you’re craving something new there’s always an option. Their yellow-corn tortillas are hand-pressed daily — the tortilla chips and salsas are house-made too.
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