In search of the best taco in New York

Everyone knows the best part of going to NYU is being surrounded by endless taquerias

In pursuit of the greatest taco in Lower Manhattan, my friend Molly and I spent an afternoon a few weeks ago playing Taco Telephone. We went from taqueria to taqueria, rating their carnitas tacos, and then asking each cashier, “If you couldn’t eat here, where would you go to get the best tacos in the area?” Then we headed to their suggested taco spot for our next tasting.

The day ended with happy stomachs full of avocado, and a firm decision on the best taco in Lower Manhattan.

For our first taqueria, we went with a recommendation from a friend who insisted that we “HAD TO GO TO CHOZA!” Here’s the analysis.

Choza Taqueria

124 MacDougal St. (MacDougal & 3rd St.)

Restaurant appearance: 8.5
Taco appearance: 8
Toppings: 9
Flavor: 7.5
Music: 6.5

Choza had a trendy, homey atmosphere was enhanced by the soothing — slightly-odd-for-a-taqueria — folk music that was playing. The taco was beautifully presented and we were big fans of the chopped pineapples, but noted that without it, the taco would’ve been much less interesting and flavorful. Adding on some hot sauce from the table definitely led to an improvement. I should also note that NYU students get a 10 percent discount here!

The cashier sent us to his favorite taco spot, El Diablito in the East Village, but unfortunately it was closed. Please try out this place (not open until 5pm on weekdays), and let us know how it is! Luckily, Molly knew a place nearby that we could go to instead.

Five Tacos

119 St Marks Pl. (St. Mark’s & Ave. A)

Restaurant appearance: 8
Taco appearance: 5
Toppings: 5
Flavor: 6
Music: 7

We loved the chic, white-tiled atmosphere at Five Tacos, and the mariachi music playing definitely added to our taco eating experience. There was a great flavor in the chicken and the many sauce options available on the table, and we definitely appreciated how large each individual taco was. However, the tacos were more Tex-Mex than authentic, and a little too simple for our liking. They reminded us of something our very not Mexican mothers used to make for dinner.

The cashier quickly said “Mexico” when we asked where to go next, but decided that Morelos, only a block away, was second best.

Tacos Morelos

438 E 9th St. (9th St. & Ave. A)

There’s even a cart in Brooklyn (Photo: Anna Silman,

Restaurant appearance: 3
Taco appearance: 7.5
Toppings: 8
Flavor: 10
Music: 2

We were initially wary of Morelos because of its far less chic look, compared to the other taquerias. The restaurant was very plain looking and there was a TV in the corner, playing a telenovela. However, we were extremely pleasantly surprised. Here we had, by far, the best taco. The taco was authentic, full-flavored, piquant and absolutely heavenly. The delicious, and very spicy, salsas served on the side were an amazing addition.

So, Tacos Morelos takes the cake. Undeniably the most delicious taco of the whole hunt. We will definitely be blowing our money on their food truck on 2nd Street (which is extraordinarily open until 4am) on many a late night in the future.

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