For most Vancouver kids growing up, family “taco night” saw hamburger meat seasoned with bright reddish orange powder from Old El Paso and topped with watery salsa and dollops of sour cream. The shells were hard-on-the-tooth halfpipes that shattered at first bite and the cheese was as bright as neon. As good as that sounds, we’re glad that things have changed. Here are the top six taco joints in Vancouver for your ranking consideration…
Tacofino | Several Locations | www.tacofino.com | In our opinion, this is the best fish taco in the province (and possibly all of Canada). The crispiness of the batter on the ling cod stands up to the signature chipotle mayo (its crunch amplified further by fresh cabbage), and the quality is remarkably consistent given the number of locations.
Molli Cafe | 1225 Burrard St. | www.mollicafe.com | Can a pulled pork taco be so good as to enter the realm of the sublime? Yup. No question. At Molli’s, they’re amped up by an achiote-spiced braise that is almost electric on impact. Also, the in-house chorizo is ridiculously good.
Los Cuervos | 603 Kingsway | www.loscuervos.ca | We dig the unorthodox takes on tacos here, like the vegetarian “coliflor” (toasted petitas caramelized cauliflower, cilantro-pea puree) and the battered avocado “aguacat”. Taco options run deep – almost a dozen by last reckoning.
La Taqueria | Several Locations | www.lataqueria.com | Always hard to choose here, but our favourites are the chicken with chocolate mole (rich yet subtle) and the ultimate Tinga de Pollo – a spicy mix of chicken and chorizo in a tomato sauce weighed down with Mexican cheese and sour cream.
La Mezcaleria | 1622 Commercial Dr. | www.lamezcaleria.ca | It’s hard to choose with nine different tacos on offer here (all of them are awesome), but we always opt for our personal gold starndard: the “carnitas” – pork confit with pickled red onions. So bright and flavourful!
Sal Y Limon | 701 Kingsway | www.salylimon.ca | The standard carne asada and al pastor (slow cooked pork brightened with pineapple) tacos are the usual standouts. Traditional, cheap, and reliable. Note: don’t let the nightly line-up scare you. It moves fast.
Cuchillo | 261 Powell St. | www.cuchillo.ca | Chef Stu Irving takes tacos a step further than most without making them too precious. Case in point: the morita chili BBQ pulled pork with refried beans mango papaya salsa. So delicious! Six tacos to try (each one as fantastic as the last).