November 23, 2022

23 under-the-radar Tampa Bay taco spots you need to try before you die

When it comes to tacos, Tampa Bay has some very classic, well-known haunts. But there are also smaller spots with some cult followings that deserve a little shine.

A few of these these taquerias, food trucks, and cafes are easy to miss, but they're hawking some of the best tacos in town.

From secret gas stations tacos, to lesser-known chains, to up-coming, fusion-fueled twists, you certainly have your work cut out for you.
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Mayra’s Tacos at Cinco Soccer
5305 Henry Ave., Tampa
Sheltered in a shack behind a soccer field the Michocán native prides herself on the no-frills menu with an affordable price tag. Four for $10 tacos can be enjoyed with a smooth cerveza from the Cinco clubhouse a few steps away. Don't skip the torta either. —Ray Roa
Photo by Ray Roa

Mayra’s Tacos at Cinco Soccer

5305 Henry Ave., Tampa
Sheltered in a shack behind a soccer field the Michocán native prides herself on the no-frills menu with an affordable price tag. Four for $10 tacos can be enjoyed with a smooth cerveza from the Cinco clubhouse a few steps away. Don't skip the torta either. —Ray Roa
Photo by Ray Roa
Ranchero Tacos
4901 N Florida Ave, Tampa, 813-495-2635
Get ready for perfection. While it boasts a smaller menu with most of the usual suspects, simple street tacos are the move here. Tortillas are pressed to order and toasted on the flat top, no double up required. Carnitas are juicy and crispy all in one, with the extra unctuousness that comes with a slow cook in fat. The pineapple adorning the al pastor sees some time on the flat top as well, giving it that extra bit of caramelized sweetness. The chorizo comes with a lovely dose of baking spice that keeps it from being too smokey. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the lengua (beef tongue) is so perfectly tender it melts in your mouth. Don’t sleep on the tamales it offers on weekends!—Daniel Guess
Photo via Ranchero Tacos/Facebook

Ranchero Tacos

4901 N Florida Ave, Tampa, 813-495-2635
Get ready for perfection. While it boasts a smaller menu with most of the usual suspects, simple street tacos are the move here. Tortillas are pressed to order and toasted on the flat top, no double up required. Carnitas are juicy and crispy all in one, with the extra unctuousness that comes with a slow cook in fat. The pineapple adorning the al pastor sees some time on the flat top as well, giving it that extra bit of caramelized sweetness. The chorizo comes with a lovely dose of baking spice that keeps it from being too smokey. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the lengua (beef tongue) is so perfectly tender it melts in your mouth. Don’t sleep on the tamales it offers on weekends!—Daniel Guess
Photo via Ranchero Tacos/Facebook
City Dog Cantina 
4001 W. Dr. Martin Luter King Jr. Blvd., Tampa, 813-466-2482
Elia Maldonado (L) and Chantal Martinez are the entrepreneurial mother-daughter who make America great, working hard for a better life; dad is a well-liked construction worker who knows everyone in this more or less industrial slice of Tampa. They proudly share Abuela’s authentic recipes that are homemade with the freshest ingredients, which instantly recall the pure flavors and aromas of food stalls in the Mercado de Coyoacán (abuela comes from México, Mexico).—Jon Palmer Claridge
Photo by Dave Decker
La Taqueria El Nopal 
8307 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, 813-679-8609
Whether you’re depositing funds at the PNC Bank or getting an oil change at the Jiffy Lube, reward yourself for adulting with a sope, quesadilla, or nopales.
Photo via La Taqueria El Nopal/Google

La Taqueria El Nopal

8307 N Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, 813-679-8609
Whether you’re depositing funds at the PNC Bank or getting an oil change at the Jiffy Lube, reward yourself for adulting with a sope, quesadilla, or nopales.
Photo via La Taqueria El Nopal/Google
Hector’s Mexican Food 
3121 E Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, 813-234-3646
Looking for a midnight snack? Hector’s extensive menu will get you right each and every time. Find this hidden gem close to two other Tampa gems: Sanwa Farmer’s Market and basically across the street from Esther’s Cafe.
Photo via Hector’s Mexican Food/Google

Hector’s Mexican Food

3121 E Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, 813-234-3646
Looking for a midnight snack? Hector’s extensive menu will get you right each and every time. Find this hidden gem close to two other Tampa gems: Sanwa Farmer’s Market and basically across the street from Esther’s Cafe.
Photo via Hector’s Mexican Food/Google

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