Best Tacos in Halifax
With the first Halifax Taco Week approaching, I thought it would be valuable to know who is making the best tacos in Halifax. But I am going on record to say: Halifax isn’t ready! We are just starting to get some quality taquerias in town, but it’s too early to start a festival based around BBQ fried chicken tacos topped with mac ‘n cheese and, let me guess, chipotle mayo? A taco is not just whatever gimmick some genius in a sports bar kitchen decides to throw into a packaged flour tortilla. But hey – if putting donair meat in a shitty flour tortilla makes you happy, who am I to yell at clouds? I’m pumped for the revolution! I just think it’s important to acknowledge the fundamentals before we take the liberty of breaking tradition. Do you even taco, bro?
Over the last 6 months I have been conducting a quest for the best tacos in Halifax, and I present them to you in timely fashion!
Best Tortilla: Beverley Taco Service
Location: Stillwell Beergarden (seasonal)
Small but mighty, these tortillas are unique among their competitors. Beverley Taco Service imports heirloom corn from Oaxaca, Mexico and grinds it to make their own masa. Most restaurants can’t even be bothered to make their own tortillas from masa harina, nevermind grinding and nixtamalizing their own corn. The result is sturdy, flavourful tortillas that are simply the best in town.
Best Chicken Taco: Verano
Location: 1871 Hollis Street (open weekdays, til 4pm)
Verano is a small restaurant focused on downtown lunch and catering, but they have various Latin American specials, and have recently started selling their tacos at Wanderer’s games!
Their chicken tacos are available daily, and I have never been so excited about a chicken taco! Everything is so fresh, balanced, and made with care.
Best Fish Taco: El Chino Snack Bar
Location: 2398 Robie Street (open Wed-Sat evenings)
El Chino’s tacos feature light, crispy fish plentifully piled onto house-made tortillas. The tortillas are soft, thick, and flavourful, withstanding the heavy load. Fresh pico de gallo and sriracha mayo are flavour powerhouses. These aren’t the easiest tacos to eat, but they are the most delicious.
Best Chorizo: Tako Loko
Location: 5-3248 Isleville Street
The best tacos are simple tacos, with just a bit of onion, cilantro and lime and salsa. Tako Loko prides itself in authenticity, and chorizo lovers will appreciate the rich, smoky, spicy chorizo here in all its glory.
Best Carne Asada: Beverley Taco Service
Carne Asada is essentially a steak taco, and should consist of tender beef with a nice sear. The carne asada at Beverley Taco Service shined bright, complimented by smoky salsa and supported by superior tortillas. Excellence through simplicity.
Best Carnitas: Lemondogs
Location: Shubie Park Canteen (seasonal)
Carnitas is pork that has been braised low and slow in lard. It should be tender and juicy, pulling apart easily, with a play of soft and crispy textures. Lemon Dogs cooks their carnitas sous vide in lard for 24 hours and then it is seared to order. It is easily the best carnitas we tried on the taco quest.
Best Al Pastor: Tako Loko
As much as I would like to see a true Al Pastor taco in Halifax, shaved off the spit like in Mexico City, we don’t have anything like that. I tried several al pastor tacos around town, and they were either too rich or unbalanced or dry. The best approximation that I tried was at Tako Loko. A simple taco of shredded pork and fresh, juicy pineapple achieved the desired synergy.
Best Barbacoa: Taco Lina’s
Gus’ Pub, 2605 Agricola Street
(Taco Lina’s moved from Gus’ Pub and their current status is unknown).
Well, it’s not pretty, but it had the best reception of any “pulled beef” style tacos of the quest. Its profile of braised beef cheek, jalapeño, radish, cilantro crema, and crispy onions rose to the occasion.
Best Veggie Taco: Taco Lina’s
Taco Lina’s veggie taco was shockingly good, especially if you’re a bean fan like myself. Earthy stewed beans, charred corn, and a creamy zucchini sauce was the perfect collaboration of flavours and textures.
Best Vegan Taco: El Nino
Location: Seaport Market (weekends)
While I haven’t tried every single vegan taco in the city, El Nino is committed to the cause, with a full menu of 100% vegan tacos. TVP suadero, tofu scramble, jackfruit tinga – they’ve got the whole roster, with fantastic condiments that include vegan sour cream.
Best Value: Verano and Cheachie’s
While I appreciate the artisanal tacos on this list, I think a taco should also be cheap! My award for Value takes into consideration both price and quality: Verano has 3 tacos for $9.50, and Cheachie’s offers 3 for $9.95 – both an excellent value in a city where $5 per single taco is becoming the norm.
Cheachie’s is located at 102 Chain Lake Drive (Bayer’s Lake)
Top 3 Overall Best Tacos in Halifax:
- Beverley Taco Service
Beverley Taco Service is my favourite taqueria overall, as I think they have the best balance of quality ingredients, balanced flavours, and skillful execution. They do a mean carnitas, carne asada, and bean taco but also some creative and lesser known varieties.
Lemondogs gets props for their dedication to both authenticity, creativity, and quality. These are easily some of the best tacos in Halifax, paired perfectly with lemonade.
Verano is the one I can’t stop thinking about, with their fresh and balanced flavours. While Beverley and Lemondogs are seasonal, Verano is open year round which kind of makes it the real winner, right?