While the taco has been served in the U.S. for more than a century, it seems that it’s never been more popular than it is right now. From designated Taco Tuesday nights to taquerias popping up coast to coast, it’s clear that this Mexican-American staple isn’t going anywhere soon. And as chefs get more creative with their concoctions, our choices just keep getting better. With that in mind, here are five local spots for getting your taco fix.
For tacos in the center of all the action, check out Diego’s on Bowen’s Wharf (pictured at top), where you can dine on the patio or indoors from their creative menu that includes crispy pork belly, blackened local fish, and loaded fish tacos with toppings like queso fresco, pineapple jicama salsa, and other fresh creations. While you’re there, don’t pass up one of their fantastic margaritas.
2. Tito’s Cantina
Tito’s Cantina has been a go-to spot for tacos on the island for more than 25 years(!), and it still offers a build-your-own-taco menu where diners can choose between flour and soft or hard corn tortillas filled with a choice of beans, ground or shredded beef, barbecue pork, chicken, or redfish plus the standard toppings of your choice. There’s nothing over-the-top fancy here – and that’s just what we like about it. It’s fun to eat-in at Tito’s, but it’s also a breeze to order take-out – ask for the “cold pack” of their fresh salsa when you do.
3. Tallulah’s tacos
A spin-off of the farm-to-table restaurant Tallulah’s on Thames, Tallulah’s tacos are made with the same gusto applied to their fine dining counterpart. Good news, then, that they now come to us via three regular locations: Tallulah’s Taco Cart at Aquidneck Growers’ Market on Memorial Boulevard (held on Wednesdays), The Shack at Dutch Harbor on Jamestown, and – their newest location – Tallulah’s Taqueria in Providence. We love the pickled radishes that come with their tacos, which include options such as braised beef and chourizo. Look for them at special events around town, too, including the Newport Folk and Jazz festivals and newportFILM screenings.
4. Perro Salado
An historic colonial home isn’t where you’d expect to find a hip Mexican restaurant, but that’s part of what makes Perro Salado so unique, and the twists don’t end there. While the menu is deeply rooted in classic Mexican cuisine, it also offers some delicious taco options, including a tamarind braised beef short rib and a (surprisingly tough to find) vegetarian option, too. Pair your favorite flavor with a glass of their house-made sangria, preferably out on the patio.
5. Caleb & Broad
Sometimes the best taco options are where you’d least expect them. Caleb & Broad’s menu is primarily American bar fare, but their surf and turf tacos are a perfect combo of land and sea finished with inspired toppings. Their steak taco is paired with pickled cabbage, chimichurri, avocado, and feta, and the fried cod option features avocado, celery cilantro salad, and garlic aioli.