What’s not to love about a taco? Warm, convenient to hold and filling, they’re also endlessly open to reinterpretation and creativity. You can pack them with beef, chicken, pork and fish, even go meatless with beans and rice, and the flavor profiles and food combos are pretty much only limited by your imagination.
Taco trucks and taco restaurants have sprung up everywhere these days, so the next time Taco Tuesday rolls around, take a chance: Gather your family up and go explore the taste sensations offered by one of the following joints local to Indy.
Indy Tacos — E. 54th St.
When Indy natives were asked to name their favorite local taco stand in 2018, Indy Tacos came out on top as the clear winner. This is a “hole in the wall” restaurant with an unassuming facade, but the mole, steak and pepper, or mango chicken tacos (with double-layered corn tortillas) are clearly some of the best in the area.
Taquería El Ranchito — Rockville Rd.
The mouth-watering smell of great food will hit you while you’re still in the parking lot outside of this taco joint. While their menu is fairly limited, you can’t beat the flavor or the price! This is a no-frills option for folks who want good tacos, tostadas and gorditas served hot and fast.
Bakersfield — Massachusetts Ave.
This chain started out in Indy and has gradually spread out — and it’s easy to see why the wait to get in on Friday night can be lengthy. After all, with a motto like “Tacos. Tequila. Whisky.” what’s not love? Their short rib tacos and pollo verde are legendary — but don’t overlook the queso and chips, either. (If you’re heading there with a group, you may want to make reservations.)
Totas El Guero — N. High School Rd.
This tiny, unassuming little taco shop is one of Indy’s hidden gems. Locals know that it’s worth a detour to get their chorizo or fish tacos, and every dish is stuffed full of flavor. Service is quick, and you can customize the amount of heat in your food with their sauces. Just realize in advance that there’s no real seating here, so you need to grab your tacos to go.
Tlaolli — Washington St.
Looking for a place with authentic flavor profiles that can accommodate both the carnivores and the vegans in the family? Well, Tlaolli has you covered! They’ve got a phenomenal selection of tacos that are designed to thrill everyone, tamales that combine traditional and modern elements, and (of course) great tacos. We suggest the Hibiscus Taco or maybe their Tofu Mole Taco for a truly unique treat.
La Parada — E. New York St.
If you’re looking for Mexican cuisine in a place with a festive atmosphere, this is one of the best places you can visit. Come with just your significant other for an intimate meal in one of their brightly painted booths or bring a crowd — there’s room for both! Aside from tacos, you can also find plenty of other south-of-the-border delicacies like Birria, Xango and Tres Leches Cake on the menu.
Condado — Broad Ripple Ave., Massachusetts Ave.
Condado’s is a local favorite, probably because it has an extensive mix-and-match menu that can easily accommodate specific dietary needs, including those who need a vegan or gluten-free option. Check out the Ju-Ju shells while you’re there, which house-made chorizo and queso between a hard and soft shell for extra flavor and crunch.
Samano’s — Bergen Blvd. (Noblesville)
It’s a bit of a drive to Samano’s — but so worth the trip. Another hidden gem, Samano’s aims to take guests on a culinary and visual trip to the streets of Mexico City, with a gorgeous atmosphere and incredible food. You can find both traditional delicacies, like pork that’s slow-roasted with pineapple and onions, and modern inventions, like their bacon-wrapped burrito.
Nada — Maryland St.
Located opposite Circle Center mall in Downtown Indy, this is a regional chain restaurant that’s known for the quality (and quantity) of food that gets dropped on your table. Come for the tacos, but don’t overlook the chips and salsa at the beginning of the meal, or the churros and caramel sauce at the end! This is a great dine-in location with a lively atmosphere (and plenty of fine cocktails) that’s perfect for a night out.
Don Juan Taqueria — Madison Ave.
This one is located near the University of Indianapolis, in an unassuming strip mall — but it’s legitimately one of the best places to go if you like Mexican street food and want great tacos at a decent price. Once you pick the base for your taco, you can pile high the toppings any way you like — which is a huge plus for picky eaters.
Paco’s Taqueria — E. Thompson Rd.
If you want authentic flavors, plenty of tender, lean meats and full-flavor spice, you’ll love Paco’s Taqueria. Their Tacos Tapatios have been described as outright “decadent,” served with a consomé for dipping. (Just be warned: The dining room is pretty limited on space, so grab your order to-go, if you can.)
That’s it! That’s our guide to the best tacos in the area — although there are plenty of other options that may have escaped our notice (so far). The culinary scene in Indy has been experiencing some explosive growth lately, with the addition of many indie restaurants and adopted eateries alike. There’s plenty out there to explore, so let the spirit of adventure guide you to your next great meal.