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Takero Mucho’s tacos chorizo con huevos and campechanos
Takero Mucho’s tacos chorizo con huevos and campechanos.
Ruth Tobias

24 Essential Tacos in and Around Denver

Tacos are more than a trend in this town

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Takero Mucho’s tacos chorizo con huevos and campechanos.
| Ruth Tobias

Few foods fuel the fire in the bellies of Denver diners quite like tacos. From the humblest hole-in-the-wall where the carnitas and carne asada sizzle to the hot spot where the toppings range from fried tofu to grasshoppers, the city’s awash in traditional and nontraditional options alike; here are 24 to try from Golden to Aurora. (And here’s a bonus pick: Tacos Tequila Whiskey, a local pioneer of the modern taco movement that, at the time of this writing, was in the midst of revamping its extensive menu — no doubt it will continue to turn out such outrageous creations as grilled octopus with garlic mashed potatoes, kale, and mustard aioli on beet tortillas.)

Note: This map is not ranked but rather geographically organized from west to east. Have another favorite? Leave a note in the comments or send us a tip.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro

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This Golden gem doesn’t merely assemble tacos, it composes them with epicurean flair (and dollops of the myriad house salsas of which they’re rightly proud): Try the grilled shrimp with chorizo, onions, poblanos, and queso fresco or a weekly special such as cauliflower al pastor, washed down with a margarita like the kiwi-infused Catrina.

Tacos campechanos
Tacos campechanos at Xicamiti.
Ruth Tobias

El Consome De Morelos

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Where there’s consomé, there’s quesabirria — and this truck parked on the corner of West Colfax and Xavier does a fine version of both. The broth is light and citrusy, the tacos slightly puffy and plenty cheesy, and the red and green salsas that come with not only these but all the tacos on offer are primo.

Birria tacos at El Consome de Morelos Ruth Tobias

Combining Filipino and New Mexican influences with panache, this West Highland newcomer does an equally bang-up job of mixing sweet, spicy, and salty ingredients, be it the succulent chicken spicy pinoy taco topped with green chile, pineapple, and scallion or the smoked carnitas version with lime-fig jam, chicharrón, and cilantro.

Chicken adobo taco
Adobo’s chicken adobo taco.
Ruth Tobias

Cantina Loca

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Having long ago proved she’s got the meats at Work & Class, the inimitable Dana Rodriguez (aka “Loca”) brings them to bear on the tacos that center the menu at this modern LoHi cantina. In addition to flawless barbacoa and cochinita pibil, don’t miss the stellar, perfectly flaky fried fish; cocktails featuring Rodriguez’s own agave spirits brand, Doña Loca, make it a meal.

La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas

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Behind a bright orange façade on Alameda awaits this favorite among aficionados, notable in part for the sheer variety of options it offers, including higado (beef liver) and lamb barbacoa. Here’s the perfect opportunity to try cueritos — pig skin that, unlike the fried version, is mildly sweet and almost creamy in texture — or rich, tangy chivo (goat). Or not: Rest assured it nails all the staples too.

Assorted tacos
A taco assortment at La Calle.
Ruth Tobias

Kiké's Red Tacos

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There may be no better purveyor of birria in town than the brand-new brick-and-mortar outlet of this former West Highland truck, which earned itself such an avid following that diners had best prepare to wade through a crowd to get to those drippingly delicious tacos — with or without cheese — accompanied by gently smoky and sweetly spicy consomé as well as cucumber and radish slices and a blistered jalapeño. (But once they do, they’ll find even more to love on the expanded menu.)

Birria tacos at Kiké’s Red Tacos Ruth Tobias

El Taco De Mexico

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Not for nothing did this three-decade-old institution in the Santa Fe Arts District receive an America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2020. Whether topped with carne asada, lengua, or tripe along with a bit of onion and cilantro, the tacos here are textbook, reflecting the skill and consistency of the veteran crew behind the counter. Order a full plate; the beans and rice it comes with are exemplary too.

Carne asada tacos at El Taco de Mexico.
Ruth Tobias

Carnitas California

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Though it also offers all the standards — cochinita pibil, adobada, and so on — the name says it all when it comes to ordering tacos at this strip-mall joint on Santa Fe Drive. Stick with straight-up carnitas or go for the carnitas mix, which includes skin and other delectable bits; it’s top-notch either way.

Carnitas tacos
Carnitas tacos from Carnitas California.

Mexico City Restaurant & Lounge

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Living up to its billing as the “home of the fried taco” (pictured at the top left of the plate), this Ballpark institution fills its surefire hangover cures with steak, ground beef, or chicken, plus cheese, lettuce, and tomato — and, for a little extra, bacon or avocado.

Mexican combo platter with fried taco
Mexico City’s fried taco is pictured top left.
Ruth Tobias

La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal

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Run by the über-talented Jose Avila, this Ballpark banger is turning out the most inspired and artful surprises imaginable in taco form. Perhaps the most startling example is the res con tuetano, an embarrassment of beefy riches that features an entire marrow bone alongside velvety birria; another would be the chuleta enchilada, a fork-tender pork chop topped with nopales and creamy salsa verde. But the list goes on from the tres chorizo — red, green, and black — to the stuffed chile de agua smothered in frijoles, best capped off with a snazzy agave cocktail or two. (Heads up to chowhounds: Avila also operates a Sunday-only pop-up, El Borrego Negro, featuring barbacoa from his own herd of sheep that’s served with all the fixings for proper taco assembly at home.)

Birria taco with bone marrow, pork chop taco with cactus, and pollo pibil with avocado.
La Diabla’s birria taco with bone marrow, pork chop taco with cactus, and pollo pibil with avocado.
Ruth Tobias

Garibaldi Mexican Bistro

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The ultimate hole in the wall (or in this case gas station), Garibaldi is beloved for out-of-the-ordinary items like the tacos azules — blue corn tortillas laden with chorizo or cecina (cured beef), queso fresco, sauteed onions and nopales, and more — as well as a vegetarian version featuring poblanos and mushrooms. Stretching the category a bit, it also makes tacos dorados stuffed with chicken or potatoes.

Wild Taco Denver

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Purists beware, iconoclasts cheer: This colorful Cap Hill taqueria dares to top its tortillas with everything from bulgogi and kimchi to ahi tuna and cucumber-wasabi aioli to cornmeal-fried shrimp and Cajun remoulade. But if the inspiration’s freewheeling, the execution’s quite thoughtful: Don’t miss the crispy-tender bison with griddled queso asadero, tamari-and-lime-marinated onion, and avocado or mouthwatering monthly specials like the loaded potato with bacon, sour cream, pico de gallo, and scallions.

A colorful trio of tacos from Wild Taco
A colorful trio from Wild Taco.
Ruth Tobias

Rosa Mexican Kitchen Thornton

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With a splashy mural, handsome tilework, and pops of bright pink and orange, this Thornton charmer boasts a festive vibe that’s only enhanced by its fairly elaborate tacos. Grilled mahi mahi sits atop a dollop of rice, sprinkled with diced mango and crema; lamb birria drips with a tangy roasted tomato–chile sauce; and thick-sliced, batter-fried avocado comes drizzled in chipotle aioli over refreshing jicama slaw. Some 20 different margaritas infused with everything from cucumber and mint to habanero and tamarind keep the party going.

Rosa’s batter fried–avocado taco
Rosa’s batter fried–avocado taco.
Ruth Tobias

Bellota

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Don’t knock gourmet tacos before trying Bellota’s. Encased in a crispy flour tortilla, the costra de ribeye is sumptuous yet soulful with housemade chorizo, queso Chihuahua, and salsa verde; so is the shrimp variant, enhanced by shrimp-infused butter and tomato cream. Meanwhile, the king-trumpet mushroom al pastor is a vegetarian revelation with charred pineapple.

Shrimp taco
Bellota’s shrimp taco.
Bellota

Mister Oso

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Just for fun, this breezy tropical escape in RiNo (with a second location in Wash Park) serves its tacos unassembled, giving diners the chance to mix, match, and mash it all up at will. Some dos and don’ts: Do add chorizo verde or rojo to the fabulous smoked potatoes dusted with chile-garlic crunch, and ask for extra crema. Don’t sleep on the coconut-braised pork shoulder with fried sweet plantains and pickled red onion. And absolutely pair it all with a spicy mezcal margarita.

Ruth Tobias
Mister Oso’s smoked potato tacos with chorizo verde.

7 Leguas Mexican Grille

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Not unlike campechanos, tacos de discada are topped with a mix of chopped meats, which are traditionally cooked together with veggies on a discada, or plow blade. They alone are worth the trip to this East Colfax fixture, where they come crispy and juicy with steak, ground beef, marinated pork, chorizo, bacon, and ham plus onions, peppers, and a sprinkling of queso fresco and cilantro. But running a close second are the tacos al carbon, which here involve grilled beef cooked with chunks of potato and pico de gallo. The excellent salsa on the side is the cherry on top, so to speak.

Tacos de discada
Tacos de discada at 7 Leguas.
Ruth Tobias

San Julian Mexican Restaurant

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Melt-in-your-mouth chicharrones, ultra-tender lengua, and crispy shavings of al pastor off the trompo are three of many good reasons to make the trek to this Commerce City outlier, where the tacos come with trimmings like grilled onions and a caddy of salsas for happy drizzling. Here’s a fourth: prices that recall the pre-pandemic era (good luck spending more than $12).

Traditional pottery elevates the presentation at San Julian
Traditional pottery elevates the presentation at San Julian.
Ruth Tobias

Carrera's Tacos

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Looking to the West Coast for inspiration, this Greenwood Village operation makes a mean fish taco, while its shrimp come juicy and so plump — accompanied by not only onions and cilantro but salsa verde and crema — that they’re almost too big for the handmade tortilla; same goes with the tender, deeply browned cauliflower that substitutes for a choice of protein. Speaking of choices, diners here can also opt for hard shells over soft, crispy cheese shells, and other variants on the standard vehicle.

Shrimp taco
Carrera’s shrimp taco.
Ruth Tobias

Takero Mucho

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In an otherwise worse-for-the-wear strip mall, this cheerful little nook turns out not only luscious carnitas and campechanos but also must-try tacos topped with chorizo and scrambled eggs for something a little off script — plus potent (and plenty cheap) margaritas to wash them down.

Carnitas tacos
Takero Mucho’s carnitas tacos.
Ruth Tobias

Metro Balderas Aztek Food

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With not one but two trompos turning behind the counter, this Aurora newcomer makes not only al pastor but also tacos árabes, which come folded so they may almost resemble burritos; loaded with that spit-roasted pork (whose recipe derived from that of shawarma), onions, cheese, and salsa, they’re deliciously filling. Still, try to leave room for the lamb quesabirria, accompanied by an intriguingly spiced consomé that contains rice, and a machete stuffed with huitlacoche and squash blossom. (Credit to Denver Food & Scene for the find.)

La Esquina del Sabor at La Plaza Colorado

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Tacos al vapor over here and tacos de canasta over there. Cheesy tacos de alambre on handmade tortillas in this corner, Guatemalan-style tacos graced by grilled onions in that one. Tacos loaded with longaniza and camarones at one vendor, charcoal-grilled chicken or al pastor straight off the spit at the next. And quesabirria as far as the eye can see. At La Esquina del Sabor — a magical marketplace in the parking lot of Aurora’s La Plaza Colorado — around 20 trucks and trailers gather to form a rainbow of styles and specialties; the result is a feast like no other in town, complete with fresh salsas on offer in molcajetes.

Tacos de alambre asada and pastor
Tacos de alambre asada and pastor from Tacos La Victoria at La Esquina Del Sabor.
Ruth Tobias

Tacos Selene

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The barbacoa’s like butter, the adobada’s got extra zip, the salsa bar’s loaded (try the orange one, a house specialty), and all in all the widespread adoration for this family-run Aurora fixture is more than justified. Not that the menu itself is out of the ordinary — nine options run from asada and carnitas to lengua and buche — but the execution is a cut above. Come on a weekend and throw a bowl of menudo into the mix. (P.S.: There are two other locations on Santa Fe Drive and in Littleton.)

Asada, barbacoa, and adobada tacos
Asada, barbacoa, and adobada at Tacos Selene.
Ruth Tobias

Tacos El Metate

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While it offers everything from deeply savory buche to juicy barbacoa, this Aurora gem (with a second location in the University neighborhood) excels above all at batter-fried fish and shrimp tacos, at once shatteringly crunchy and catch-of-the-day fresh. Throw in an order of carne asada fries just for kicks.

An array of tacos with radishes, lime, and salsas
Tacos at El Metate come with radishes and lime as well as onion and cilantro.
Ruth Tobias

Tacos y Machetes La Carpa

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Outfitted with a tent in the parking lot of an Auto Zone, this superb stand delivers serious bang for the buck in the form of tacos piled high and wide with such hearty stuff as chicken fajitas, peppers, and onions or smoked pork chop, queso, jalapeño, and tomato. They come three to a plate, but each one is practically a meal unto itself. (In that light, adding a massive quesadilla-like machete to the mix may be overkill, but there are worse mistakes to make in life.)

La Carpa’s tacos locos with chorizo, asada, and platanos
La Carpa’s tacos locos with chorizo, asada, and platanos.
Ruth Tobias

Xicamiti La Taquería Bistro

This Golden gem doesn’t merely assemble tacos, it composes them with epicurean flair (and dollops of the myriad house salsas of which they’re rightly proud): Try the grilled shrimp with chorizo, onions, poblanos, and queso fresco or a weekly special such as cauliflower al pastor, washed down with a margarita like the kiwi-infused Catrina.

Tacos campechanos
Tacos campechanos at Xicamiti.
Ruth Tobias

El Consome De Morelos

Where there’s consomé, there’s quesabirria — and this truck parked on the corner of West Colfax and Xavier does a fine version of both. The broth is light and citrusy, the tacos slightly puffy and plenty cheesy, and the red and green salsas that come with not only these but all the tacos on offer are primo.

Birria tacos at El Consome de Morelos Ruth Tobias

Adobo

Combining Filipino and New Mexican influences with panache, this West Highland newcomer does an equally bang-up job of mixing sweet, spicy, and salty ingredients, be it the succulent chicken spicy pinoy taco topped with green chile, pineapple, and scallion or the smoked carnitas version with lime-fig jam, chicharrón, and cilantro.

Chicken adobo taco
Adobo’s chicken adobo taco.
Ruth Tobias

Cantina Loca

Having long ago proved she’s got the meats at Work & Class, the inimitable Dana Rodriguez (aka “Loca”) brings them to bear on the tacos that center the menu at this modern LoHi cantina. In addition to flawless barbacoa and cochinita pibil, don’t miss the stellar, perfectly flaky fried fish; cocktails featuring Rodriguez’s own agave spirits brand, Doña Loca, make it a meal.

La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas

Behind a bright orange façade on Alameda awaits this favorite among aficionados, notable in part for the sheer variety of options it offers, including higado (beef liver) and lamb barbacoa. Here’s the perfect opportunity to try cueritos — pig skin that, unlike the fried version, is mildly sweet and almost creamy in texture — or rich, tangy chivo (goat). Or not: Rest assured it nails all the staples too.

Assorted tacos
A taco assortment at La Calle.
Ruth Tobias

Kiké's Red Tacos

There may be no better purveyor of birria in town than the brand-new brick-and-mortar outlet of this former West Highland truck, which earned itself such an avid following that diners had best prepare to wade through a crowd to get to those drippingly delicious tacos — with or without cheese — accompanied by gently smoky and sweetly spicy consomé as well as cucumber and radish slices and a blistered jalapeño. (But once they do, they’ll find even more to love on the expanded menu.)

Birria tacos at Kiké’s Red Tacos Ruth Tobias

El Taco De Mexico

Not for nothing did this three-decade-old institution in the Santa Fe Arts District receive an America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2020. Whether topped with carne asada, lengua, or tripe along with a bit of onion and cilantro, the tacos here are textbook, reflecting the skill and consistency of the veteran crew behind the counter. Order a full plate; the beans and rice it comes with are exemplary too.

Carne asada tacos at El Taco de Mexico.
Ruth Tobias

Carnitas California

Though it also offers all the standards — cochinita pibil, adobada, and so on — the name says it all when it comes to ordering tacos at this strip-mall joint on Santa Fe Drive. Stick with straight-up carnitas or go for the carnitas mix, which includes skin and other delectable bits; it’s top-notch either way.

Carnitas tacos
Carnitas tacos from Carnitas California.

Mexico City Restaurant & Lounge

Living up to its billing as the “home of the fried taco” (pictured at the top left of the plate), this Ballpark institution fills its surefire hangover cures with steak, ground beef, or chicken, plus cheese, lettuce, and tomato — and, for a little extra, bacon or avocado.

Mexican combo platter with fried taco
Mexico City’s fried taco is pictured top left.
Ruth Tobias

La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal

Run by the über-talented Jose Avila, this Ballpark banger is turning out the most inspired and artful surprises imaginable in taco form. Perhaps the most startling example is the res con tuetano, an embarrassment of beefy riches that features an entire marrow bone alongside velvety birria; another would be the chuleta enchilada, a fork-tender pork chop topped with nopales and creamy salsa verde. But the list goes on from the tres chorizo — red, green, and black — to the stuffed chile de agua smothered in frijoles, best capped off with a snazzy agave cocktail or two. (Heads up to chowhounds: Avila also operates a Sunday-only pop-up, El Borrego Negro, featuring barbacoa from his own herd of sheep that’s served with all the fixings for proper taco assembly at home.)

Birria taco with bone marrow, pork chop taco with cactus, and pollo pibil with avocado.
La Diabla’s birria taco with bone marrow, pork chop taco with cactus, and pollo pibil with avocado.
Ruth Tobias

Garibaldi Mexican Bistro

The ultimate hole in the wall (or in this case gas station), Garibaldi is beloved for out-of-the-ordinary items like the tacos azules — blue corn tortillas laden with chorizo or cecina (cured beef), queso fresco, sauteed onions and nopales, and more — as well as a vegetarian version featuring poblanos and mushrooms. Stretching the category a bit, it also makes tacos dorados stuffed with chicken or potatoes.

Wild Taco Denver

Purists beware, iconoclasts cheer: This colorful Cap Hill taqueria dares to top its tortillas with everything from bulgogi and kimchi to ahi tuna and cucumber-wasabi aioli to cornmeal-fried shrimp and Cajun remoulade. But if the inspiration’s freewheeling, the execution’s quite thoughtful: Don’t miss the crispy-tender bison with griddled queso asadero, tamari-and-lime-marinated onion, and avocado or mouthwatering monthly specials like the loaded potato with bacon, sour cream, pico de gallo, and scallions.

A colorful trio of tacos from Wild Taco
A colorful trio from Wild Taco.
Ruth Tobias

Rosa Mexican Kitchen Thornton

With a splashy mural, handsome tilework, and pops of bright pink and orange, this Thornton charmer boasts a festive vibe that’s only enhanced by its fairly elaborate tacos. Grilled mahi mahi sits atop a dollop of rice, sprinkled with diced mango and crema; lamb birria drips with a tangy roasted tomato–chile sauce; and thick-sliced, batter-fried avocado comes drizzled in chipotle aioli over refreshing jicama slaw. Some 20 different margaritas infused with everything from cucumber and mint to habanero and tamarind keep the party going.

Rosa’s batter fried–avocado taco
Rosa’s batter fried–avocado taco.
Ruth Tobias

Bellota

Don’t knock gourmet tacos before trying Bellota’s. Encased in a crispy flour tortilla, the costra de ribeye is sumptuous yet soulful with housemade chorizo, queso Chihuahua, and salsa verde; so is the shrimp variant, enhanced by shrimp-infused butter and tomato cream. Meanwhile, the king-trumpet mushroom al pastor is a vegetarian revelation with charred pineapple.

Shrimp taco
Bellota’s shrimp taco.
Bellota

Mister Oso

Just for fun, this breezy tropical escape in RiNo (with a second location in Wash Park) serves its tacos unassembled, giving diners the chance to mix, match, and mash it all up at will. Some dos and don’ts: Do add chorizo verde or rojo to the fabulous smoked potatoes dusted with chile-garlic crunch, and ask for extra crema. Don’t sleep on the coconut-braised pork shoulder with fried sweet plantains and pickled red onion. And absolutely pair it all with a spicy mezcal margarita.

Ruth Tobias
Mister Oso’s smoked potato tacos with chorizo verde.

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7 Leguas Mexican Grille

Not unlike campechanos, tacos de discada are topped with a mix of chopped meats, which are traditionally cooked together with veggies on a discada, or plow blade. They alone are worth the trip to this East Colfax fixture, where they come crispy and juicy with steak, ground beef, marinated pork, chorizo, bacon, and ham plus onions, peppers, and a sprinkling of queso fresco and cilantro. But running a close second are the tacos al carbon, which here involve grilled beef cooked with chunks of potato and pico de gallo. The excellent salsa on the side is the cherry on top, so to speak.

Tacos de discada
Tacos de discada at 7 Leguas.
Ruth Tobias

San Julian Mexican Restaurant

Melt-in-your-mouth chicharrones, ultra-tender lengua, and crispy shavings of al pastor off the trompo are three of many good reasons to make the trek to this Commerce City outlier, where the tacos come with trimmings like grilled onions and a caddy of salsas for happy drizzling. Here’s a fourth: prices that recall the pre-pandemic era (good luck spending more than $12).

Traditional pottery elevates the presentation at San Julian
Traditional pottery elevates the presentation at San Julian.
Ruth Tobias

Carrera's Tacos

Looking to the West Coast for inspiration, this Greenwood Village operation makes a mean fish taco, while its shrimp come juicy and so plump — accompanied by not only onions and cilantro but salsa verde and crema — that they’re almost too big for the handmade tortilla; same goes with the tender, deeply browned cauliflower that substitutes for a choice of protein. Speaking of choices, diners here can also opt for hard shells over soft, crispy cheese shells, and other variants on the standard vehicle.

Shrimp taco
Carrera’s shrimp taco.
Ruth Tobias

Takero Mucho

In an otherwise worse-for-the-wear strip mall, this cheerful little nook turns out not only luscious carnitas and campechanos but also must-try tacos topped with chorizo and scrambled eggs for something a little off script — plus potent (and plenty cheap) margaritas to wash them down.