Gallery: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with 14 Tacos We Love in NYC

Carnitas at Tortas Neza Truck
Carnitas at Tortas Neza Truck
The carnitas tacos at Tortas Neza may be in the running for the best in the city. Neza may be a sandwich truck, but they get tacos dead right, from the double-stacked tortillas to the well-prepared meat to the vibrant condiments. Also of interest: a killer chicken tinga taco that's moist and beautifully spiced and everything chicken wants to be when it grows up.

Corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 111th Street, Corona, NY, 11368 (map) 347-666-1517

Beer Braised Tongue at Empellon
Beer Braised Tongue at Empellon
Moist beef tongue comes crisp with frayed edges and buttery fingerling potatoes. It's served with a chile de arbol-based salsa and crumbled cotija cheese.

105 1st Avenue, New York, NY, 10003 (map) 212-780-0999; empellon.com

Barbacoa at Tacos Morelos
Barbacoa at Tacos Morelos
Barbacoa is Tacos Morelos' specialty. Seasoned goat meat is steamed until it falls apart into tender and moist shreds. It's relatively mild as far as goat goes, but you might end up with a couple of gamey bites here and there.

2nd Street and Avenue A, New York, NY, 10009 (map) 347-772-5216

Chilorio and Braised Pork Shoulder Tacos at Brooklyn Tacos
Chilorio and Braised Pork Shoulder Tacos at Brooklyn Tacos
Chilorio Brisket is braised for four hours in a smoky, spicy sauce. Cola and Orange Braised Pork Shoulder is perfectly moist, tender, and flavorful. The citrus-cilantro salsa is neon green and tasty, with some genuine heat that adds an edge to the tacos.

Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street, New York, NY, 10002 (map)

El Santo at La Lucha
El Santo at La Lucha
Silver-masked El Santo (The Saint), perhaps the most famous good guy in lucha libre, lends his name to the best of the specialty tacos here. A meaty trifecta—cecina, salted beef; chicharron, fried pork; and chorizo—sits atop a Nixtamal tortilla that's been griddled, bringing out the toasty corn flavor.

147 Avenue A, New York, NY, 10009 (map) 212-260-0235; laluchanyc.com

Carnitas and Lengua at El Aguila
Carnitas and Lengua at El Aguila
While the carnitas tacos at El Aguila are the best, the lengua is no slouch, especially when it crisps up in the pork fat. The tortillas are made on premises and have a few spots of char and a moist, tender texture; fillings are reheated in pork fat on the flattop. You've also got your choice of four salsas—a verde with legitimate heat, an avocado purée, a creamy orange chipotle sauce, and a classic rojo.

137 East 116th St #1, New York, NY, 10029 (map) 212-410-2450; elaguilanewyorkrestaurant.com

Taco Orientales at Tacos Ricos
Taco Orientales at Tacos Ricos
Tacos Ricos has a few of the more unusual offerings in Sunset Park, including the taco orientales. A warm tortilla is topped with spiced, fried chunks of pork and finished with a spicy, smoky chipotle based sauce and sweet griddled onions.

505 51st Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11220 (map) 718-633-4816

Al Pastor at Taco Mix
Al Pastor at Taco Mix
This taqueria's specialty is al pastor: chile-marinated pork stacked in thin layers on a vertical rotisserie. The pork's oily, orange drippings run down the stack, basting the layers as they crisp under the heat. The magnificent column of meat—bookended by slow-roasting pineapple—is sliced into thin shavings for tacos.

234 E 116th St, New York, NY, 10029 (map) 646-370-6769

Lengua and Carnitas at La Esquina
Lengua and Carnitas at La Esquina
At La Esquina, rather than the traditional chopped chunks of tongue, they serve you a big fat slice, slow-cooked then grilled. It's got all the richness of the traditional version with a hint of smoky, charred flavor. Served with pickled red onions, queso cotija and a smear of guacamole, it's one of the more delicious tacos in the city. Carnitas is also a stand-out. Super porky and rich with the right ratio of crisped bits to soft, melty fat, it comes simply with a smoky, charred salsa macha. 106 Kenmare Street, New York NY 10012 (map) 646-613-1333; esquinanyc.com

Chorizo at El Rey Del Savor
Chorizo at El Rey Del Savor
The well-spiced chorizo at Vendy Awards finalist El Rey del Sabor is cooked until crisp, but remains juicy. Get ready for a great mix of hot pork fat and some seriously spicy hot sauce on these tacos.

multiple locations

Fish at Pinche Taqueria
Fish at Pinche Taqueria
Chunks of crisp fried fish are tucked into a house-made tortilla and topped with cabbage, a spicy cilantro-spiked mayonnaise, and guacamole. These tacos are crunchy, flaky, spicy, and creamy. What more could you want from a taco?

227 Mott Street, New York NY 10012 (map) 212-625-0090; pinchetaqueria.com

Nopales and Barbacoa at Tulcingo Deli
Nopales and Barbacoa at Tulcingo Deli
The Nopales and barbacoa tacos are both topped with an avocado purée and served with grilled spring onions. Nopales (cactus) are sliced thinly and grilled. The flavor is somewhere between green peppers and string beans, with a slightly sour note. The barbacoa taco is filled with braised goat, which is salty, gamey, and incredibly satisfying. Both are topped with a wonderfully mild avocado purée and served with grilled spring onions.

5520 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11220 (map) 718-439-2896

Tripe at El Tenampa
Tripe at El Tenampa
Cow rumen, mild with the faintest livery funk, is cooked into submission, chopped, and then seared on a plancha, turning it into a hash of tender chunks and crispy tubes. It's then folded into bite-sized tortillas slathered with lard.

706 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11232 (map) 718-369-7508; eltenampadeli.com

Goat and Carnitas at Las Delicias Mexicanas
Goat and Carnitas at Las Delicias Mexicanas
The goat and the carnitas are the things to get here. They come in large hand-shredded chunks that are crisped to perfection on the flattop. Onions and cilantro are very fresh, although the salsa could use a bit more kick.

2109 3rd Avenue, New York, NY, 10029 (map) 212-828-3659