Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Where to get banging tacos in the UK – the best Mexican restaurants

01/04/2022

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

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Let’s talk about tacos. Mexican tortillas stuffed with all the good stuff – shredded cheese, salsa, guac and a plethora of other meaty or plant-based fillings.

Light, bite-size and the perfect accompaniment to a margarita, there really isn’t much better – and the UK has a whole host of Mexican restaurants that will blow your mind.

From market stalls and pop ups to full blown taquerias; vegan fare to corn wraps stuffed with the juiciest of meat; and twisted tacos to the most authentic on offer, pack your sombrero and come on a journey with us as we show you the best taco spots from across the UK.

We doubt you’ll eat anything else again…

Taco Queen (London)

best tacos in uk taco queen

Taco Queen in Peckham is an utter delight (Credit: Instagram: Taco Queen)

Taco Queen, in London’s Peckham, begun as a pop-up, but has now established itself as a local gem, with a thriving permanent location which has been a stronghold for five years and counting.

It’s a small spot, with an open kitchen and a casual vibe, but the food is nothing to shrug about. Popular menu items start at a very reasonable £5, and include their Baja-style fish tacos with mango cucumber and chipotle mayo and their tender beef short-rib tacos with salsa roja, crispy shallots and onions.

Don’t sleep on their cocktails, either. Mezcal fans will lap up the smoky margarita and the sweet corn kick will also intrigue the more adventurous diners – it’s made up of Nixta corn liqueur, amaro, cold brew coffee agave and bitters.

Madre (Liverpool/ Manchester)

Madre is another taco hot-spot (Credit: Instagram/ Madre)

Ah, Madre. Perhaps one of the best spots for birria tacos in the UK (they use slow cooked, chilli spiced beef shin, topped with oaxaca cheese and tatemada salsa).

A quirky take on the food of Mexico City, there’s plenty more to choose from in this haunt, too, from fried chicken tacos with a chipotle aioli and marinated white cabbage, to a fried halloumi taco with salsa negra crema. You can grab two at £8 a pop.

A date night favourite since its Liverpool spot opened in 2019, come here for flowing tequila, a buzzing atmosphere and a spacious outdoor area for when it’s sunny.

You can also sample the same tacos at Manchester’s food hub, Escape To Freight Island, amongst a host of other street-food vendors.

Topolabamba (Glasgow, Edinburgh)

topolabamba mexican restaurants scotland

Topolabamba is a fully fledged Mexican fiesta (Credit: Instagram/ Topolabamba)

Fancy eating tacos whilst wearing a sombrero? Who doesn’t? That’s what’s on the cards for Scotland’s best Mexican joint, Topolabamba.

Some might call it gimmicky, some might call it fun, but what can’t be argued with is that this place serves authentic Mexican street food, and has an ethos we can get behind: “Share. Don’t share. We really don’t care”.

Tacos start of £5.45 (and that’s for three), and there’s a choice of fillings including super spicy carne asada steak, lamb rojo and chicken tinga. The veggies aren’t left out either, with the likes of black bean abodo tofu and pickled onion and mushroom and butternut squash to stuff their tortillas with.

With fun, colourful, branches in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with Mexican decor aplenty. Topolabamba isn’t just a taco spot, it’s an experience.

Pico’s (Manchester)

best tacos manchester uk mexican food pico's

Manchester’s Mackie Mayor houses Pico’s (Credit: Instagram/ Pico’s)

Manchester’s Pico’s is a casual and rather mini spot in Mackie Mayor, which is the city’s grade II-listed market hall.

Their offering includes a chipotle baja cod fillet taco with salsa verde and chipotle crema and a sweet potato and braised black bean taco, amongst several others.

You can grab two for a tenner, three for £13, four for £16 and five for 20 quid.

Not a bad feed, if you ask us.

El Pastor (London)

el pastor best tacos in london

El Pastor is named after it’s star taco – and it’s a corker (Credit: Instagram/ El Pastor)

London’s El Pastor is a taqueria named after its star dish, which is made up of 24 hour marinated pork shoulder in a sticky, aromatic glaze, accompanied by caramelised pineapple and a fresh, citrusy guac.

If that doesn’t float your boat, quite frankly, what’s wrong with you? But fear not, they have an extensive menu which also includes beer battered fish tacos with pico de gallo and confit mushrooms served with a crisp Oaxaca-style cheese and a spicy chilli de arbol salsa starting at £7.50 for two.

With branches in Coal Drop’s Yard, Kings Cross, as well as Soho’s Brewer Street and Stoney Street, those in the Big Smoke won’t have to venture too far from the centre of the action to try this one.

Book in advance, though. There’s seldom an empty table in sight.

Hacha (London)

hacha london tacos best uk mexican restaurants

London’s Hacha boast tacos that are rivalled only by their mirror margaritas (Credit: Instagram/ Hacha)

With spots in London’s Dalston and Brixton, those East and South of the city have some pretty banging tacos right on their doorstep.

At £9 for two, their birria tacos are something to behold, cooked with a Guajillo and Ancho chilli sauce, and served with beef consume on the side, but we’ve got a special place in our hearts for their crispy rolled taco, stuffed with mashed potato, caramelised shallots, and cheese, and a courgette salsa verde. It’s certainly different, but potato and cheese? Yes please.

Both Hacha joints have he atmosphere or a bustling cocktail bar: small, intimate and yet lively.

We can’t mention Hacha without shouting out their mirror margarita, too. An unusual totally clear cocktail, it looks like water, but it’s actually sweet, sour and delightfully boozy. The perfect taco accompaniment, if you ask us.

La Pantera (Cardiff)

La Pantera best tacos uk

La Pantera embraces the inauthentic (Credit: Instagram/ La Pantera)

La Pantera calls itself the “home of the inauthentic taco”, with an ever changing menu which features the likes of chicken schnitzel, steak and chips, peking duck and courgette linguine stuffed into taco shells.

You might not get Mexican flavours as you know it here, but La Pantera is everything we love here at Twisted. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it just has a bit of fun, whilst also making ridiculously tasty food, sitting at around £8 for a serving of three.

It’s casual, colourful and always busy. Cardiff folks, get on it.

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