A Guide to Tacos in Hoboken + Jersey City

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Tacos are everywhere these days. We can get them from food trucks, fast-casual eateries, and high-end restaurants. But it’s important to know what a “taco” really is.  There are a variety of different types of tacos out there, from traditional South Mexican style tacos made with two warm corn tortillas topped with a meaty-filling, to battered fried fish slapped between a hard-shell tortilla topped off with guacamole. Needless to say, there are many kinds of tacos out there.   Here’s a quick guide to the most common types of tacos around Hoboken and Jersey City, and where you can find them.

tacos hoboken jersey city

Traditional South Mexican Style Tacos

The oldest and most widely-consumed tacos are made with griddled soft corn tortillas, loaded with meat, which can be either fried, braised, or grilled before they are shredded or cubed. They are then topped with condiments or relishes made from herbs and spices native to Central America. There are countless local varieties in terms of ingredients and cooking methods, but for those who are not sure what to get, carnitas {shredded pork} and carne asada {steak} are usually the fool-proof options. Adventurous eaters can enjoy unique cuts of meat {think tripes, skin, cheeks, etc}, which are absolutely delicious and extremely popular in Mexico.

Where to Get Traditional South Mexican Style Tacos 

Pico Taco {70 Hudson Street, Hoboken} 

pico tacos

{Photo credit: @eatpico}

With its light-filled space and wooden countertops, this small restaurant looks like a third-wave coffee shop, but the simple taco menu features a list of Mexican classics. Get the al pastor, a beloved Mexican street taco originally from Puebla. The cooking is similar to Greek gyros — slices of marinated meats are stacked tightly on a long skewer and cooked under a broiler. When someone places an order, shreds of meat are shaved off from the fat pile. At Pico Taco, the al pastor taco is topped with small pieces of pineapple, just how the dish is served at a corner shop in Mexico City.

Tacos Victoria {324 1/2 7th Street, Jersey City} 

The restaurant features a full Mexican menu and the taco selection includes some classic options, such as carnitas {shredded pork}, asada {steak}, and cactus. The tacos are minimally sprinkled with onion and cilantro, but this is not a problem at all since the meat itself is extremely tasty. And make sure to get the carnitas, with their slightly caramelized flavor, nicely browned edges and grits, and a melt-in-your-mouth creamy texture of a French confit. 

Taqueria Downtown Catering Co {2934, 354 Grove Street, Jersey City} 

The taco meat selection here is similar to Taco Victoria’s, but the use of condiments and seasonings is bolder and more versatile. For example, the lamb taco balances the rich and gamey flavor of braised lamb with a piquant spicy sauce. And the beef flank taco, the meat in which is surprisingly tender and juicy for such a tough cut of beef, is dabbed with a blob of mildly smoky salsa. Also, don’t forget to get their nicely chunky and extremely fresh guacamole.

Read More: A Guide To + History of Chinese Takeout in Hoboken + Jersey City

Fusion Style Tacos

For those who love the versatility of tacos and do not mind playing around with the traditional recipes, there is no lack of quick-service eateries in our area where you can experiment with the taste. In these places, you choose your own proteins, add ons, and condiments. And the recipes often fuse traditional Central American ingredients with the latest food trends {think fried avocado tacos and more}.

Where to Get Fusion Style Tacos

Loquito {217 Washington Street, Hoboken} 

loquito tacos

{Photo credit: @eatloquito}

This is a Lebanese-inspired taco spot in downtown Hoboken. The chef, who also co-owns the Hoboken restaurant O-Bagel, adds a middle eastern twist to the Mexican classic. The restaurant features tacos with shawarma or falafel fillings served in a bread similar to pita {pan árabe}. But what’s interesting is the use of Middle Eastern-style sauce and condiments. The carnitas are infused with the tangy-nutty note of za’atar, a spice mixture made of thyme, sesame, and sumac. Or you can choose to drizzle your tacos with the perfectly nutty and smoky tahini mole.

Tacoria {24-26 Erie Street, Jersey City} 

Strictly speaking, the food here is Tex-Mex style {delicious and satisfying in itself}, which might be a flaw for die-hard Mexican food traditionalists, but people around the neighborhood love it for the creative concept and quick service. The meat is well-seasoned and flavorful, but what’s more interesting is the vegetarian selection. Get the rajas, made from sweet roasted corn and a malty, smoky roja sauce. Or the nicely charred brussels sprouts with a lemony but creamy aioli. 

See More: A Guide to Indian Food in Hoboken + Jersey City

Dessert Tacos

Yes, dessert tacos have always been a thing, even before ChocoTaco was made an American classic by multinationals. It started in the ‘80s, when a Good Humor ice cream truck manager tried to come up with a unique product line during the sales low season, and since Mexican food was then the fastest-growing segment in America, it struck him that it would make a whole different ice cream experience by filling a taco shell with ice cream and smeared the top with chocolate and more. It immediately became a hit and taco dessert took off from there.

Where to Get Dessert Tacos 

Birch {92 River Street, Hoboken} 

birch choco taco

This is not a taco restaurant but the dessert taco is worth a try. There are two flavors to choose from. The strawberry taco is made from three scoops of strawberry ice cream in a waffle taco shell, topped off with cheesecake bites and strawberry chunks. The chocolate flavor is made from cookies and cream ice cream, sprinkled with crushed Oreos and drizzled with chocolate syrup. The crunchy waffle taco shell is also dipped in melted chocolate. If you want a change of flavor from the supermarket-bought choco taco, they will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Have you tried tacos from one of these local spots? Let us know in the comments! 

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Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.