Is there a better reason to take a day trip than to grab some delicious food? Probably not. Because I love tacos so much, I’m sharing both my favorite tacos in Philly where I spent many years of my adult life, as well as my favorite tacos that I have discovered since I’ve been back in Northeast PA. First up, Tacos Away, Part 1: Philly.
When you spend a long time working in the restaurant business, you also spend a lot of time awake at odd hours. Confused about what time it is on a regular basis, the more important question becomes not “what time is it?” but rather, “What meal is it?” There are a few kinds of food that fit the bill for any-time-of-the-day noshing, but none so well as tacos. I’m convinced it is always a good time for tacos (right now, for example, I would love for someone to bring me a taco.) Most people who share my affinity for tacos (so all people, right?) also have a favorite taco spot. In the city, the usual requirements that give a place this label are that it is in the neighborhood (AKA stumbling distance from your apartment), delicious, relatively inexpensive, and open most of the day.
Here’s the rundown of my two favorite places to grab the perfect any-ime-of-day food in Philly.
1301 N 5th St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Located on the outskirts of the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, this little BYOB spot offers Mexican street food-soup, sopes, salads, tostados, quesadillas, tacos, and breakfast items. Order at the counter and sit in the inside dining area, or sit out back on the patio under twinkle lights in warmer seasons.
Everything I’ve ever order here has been delicious, but by far my favorite are the steak tostadas. If you’ve never had a tostada, run and get one right now. Little crispy tortillas are topped with steak, pulled chicken or pork, lettuce, tomatoes, refried beans, and creme. They’re kind of like a taco but the filling is layered on a crispy, crunchy bed. Yum.
Many a taco aficionado will tell you that you can judge a taco joint by their al pastor, and Riendo’s is delish. Also amazing are the authentic soups, like pork tip stew in tomatillos, and their chorizo sopes.
Taco Riendo is open 9-9, everyday, all the more reason they are the perfect spot to grab a bite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This place is great year-round, but the little patio out back is adorable so I recommend hitting it up on a warmer, sit outside kind of day.
- *street parking only
- *outside seating/patio area
- *$$ (Riendo is a little above average for a neighborhood taco place, but well worth the extra dollar or two per plate)
Taqueria La Veracruzana
908 Washington, Ave
My second favorite place to grab some authentic Mexican food in Philly, Veracruzana is located in the Italian Market section of South Philly. Right on Washington ave sits this great taco joint. Now, this place lacks a little of the interior and exterior charm that Riendo does (there’s no outdoor seating and its right on Washington ave), but it does not lack any of the deliciousness. Here you can grab three tacos to an order (mix your types if you like- carnitas, pastor, tinga…) add a side of rice and beans, and be absolutely stuffed for about $12.
Other favorites include the steak or tinga tostadas (of course), and their bistec a la parilla and carnitas burritos. If you only have $7 and want to be full al day-this is your deal.
Veracruzana does not serve alcohol, but they have a great selection of frescas and other classic Mexican drinks. They are open everyday and have great hours.
- *Street parking
- *$ really well priced and huge portions
- *open 11-10 daily
- *accepts credit cards
- *offer delivery
Honestly, I couldn’t pick a favorite out of these two places if you asked me. At different times I have lived around the corner from both, and that’s kind of how a favorite taco place is born- it’s close, it’s delicious, and it’s reasonably priced. My advice? Go to Philly very hungry and try them both. You might weigh a few extra pounds at the end of the day, but you will not be dissapointed.