Tampa is turning into a culinary gem in the U.S. Our city is famous for Cuban Sandwiches, and grows increasingly more recognizable with the addition of Mini Doughnuts, doughnut ice cream cones, and Butter Beer popcorn. While Tampa has plenty to offer, our palates consistently crave a good taco.
In celebration of the bold treat, we’d like to introduce you to a few of our personal favorite spots to enjoy a taco in the city of Tampa:
Loli’s Mexican Cravings
Tampa Bay is home to a couple pink palaces, but there’s only one that fills us with true unadulterated joy, Loli’s Mexican Cravings. The fast, casual restaurant’s homemade tortillas act as divine vessels for such creations as the Taco de Chicharon — black beans, chicharrón, avocado pico, fresh cheese and, if you like a spicy kick, serrano pepper. They also serve exceptional ribeye sopes and pork on red sauce tamales.
Their fish tacos are revelatory. The intimate atmosphere, and cute outdoor seating area make this a restaurant we find ourselves coming back to week after week. See their full menu online. The restaurant is no stranger to acclaim. Loli’s was listed in Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants list and named the most popular taco spot in Florida by Buzzfeed. Loli’s Mexican Cravings is located at 8005 Benjamin Road.
The legendary and locally-owned Taqueria Emanuel is a staple in most Tampa Bay-residents diets.Their popularity grew so much that they just recently opened a second location in Pinellas Park (4505 Park Boulevard, Unit 2). Before you savor a cup of sweet chamurrado with a slice of 3 Kings Rosca, we recommend you fill up on their exquisite tacos.
The Alambre Tacos — handmade tortillas, grilled steaks, green and red bell peppers, grilled onions, lemon and mozzarella cheese — are a hearty delight. Tacos De Tripa — Tripe on handmade tortilla with cilantro and onions — is a crave-worthy entree. Pair anything with their Horchata for complete Taqueria experience. If you’re hungry for something more than tacos, you can’t go wrong with their juicy steak empanadas. Follow them on Facebook to learn more about daily specials. Taqueria Emanuel is located at 2800 North MacDill Avenue, Suite E.
*Photo via Marcos R. on Yelp
Acapulco Mexican Grocery Store Y Taqueria
Acapulco Mexican Grocery Store y Taqueria is the hole-in-the-wall foodie spot you need to experience. The tacos are served in the back of a small bodega — the space is outfitted with just five tables and five bar stools. Watch as the chef prepares each entree by hand.
Have an adventurous palate? The menu features tripe, beef tongue and crispy pork rinds. After indulging in their tacos, cool off with Pineapple fruit bars and Cookie & Cream ice cream bars by La Reyna de Michoacan. Acapulco Mexican Grocery Store y Taqueria is located at 1001 North MacDill Avenue.
A newcomer to the taco scene in Tampa, Xtreme Tacos wasted no time making a major impact on Waters Avenue. Their lengthy menu features quesadillas, burritos, tacos, tortas, taquitos, tostadas, sopes, nachos, loaded fries, bowls and elotes (roasted corn topped with mayonnaise, queso fresco and chile).
We can’t recommend enough the Tijuana Taco with fresh grouper — grouper topped with cilantro and onions and served with a side of fresh limes. You can always mix it up with their sirloin steak doused in Xtremely Hot Sauce. Xtreme Tacos is located at 310 Waters Avenue.