5 Detroit Taco Spots That Serve Up Big Flavors
Serena Maria Daniels adores Jose’s Tacos for its diverse offerings. The crispy beef taco with coriander and onions is a favorite.
P.andemic times have enforced all of We want to look for the little joys in life, and tacos seem to be a source of great comfort. According to a recent survey by the global marketing agency TOP, American taco consumption rose by almost 13 percent during the crisis. The study shows that Michiganders ranks Del Taco as the # 1 chain for a taco in the state. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent many late nights on the Del Taco drive-thru line to get my crunchy, cheesy American taco goodness, but if I’m real I’d much rather hit a local taqueria in Mexican Own when I feel like tacos. Fortunately, there is no shortage of taco spots in Detroit where you can spot many regional differences in taco.
Loncheria El Parian
With taco trucks in southwest Detroit and its flagship La Palapa del Parian in Lawndale, this booming local taco empire is loved by Detroiters of all kinds. His specialty? Shepherd style tacos. Drawing on the Lebanese tradition of doner kebab, the Taco al Pastor uses pork, marinated in sweet pineapple juice and various spicy chili peppers and cooked on a skewer (trompo, in Spanish), and stuffs everything in soft corn tortillas. Make sure you order several at the same time. La Palapa del Parian, 1633 Lawndale St., Detroit; 313-749-7143
La Jalisciense supermarket and taqueria
This supermarket and restaurant cover all of your bases: fresh produce, a well-stocked butcher counter and pantries, and an impressive dining area. The Carnitas Tacos are highly recommended. Carnitas is made from slow-cooked pork that is shredded and fried after roasting, giving it a crispy, charred effect. Not every restaurant in Detroit offers carnitas – given the time it takes to prepare the dish, this is a specialty. La Jalisciense is an expert on the genre and makes carnitas fresh several days a week. It is available in both the dining area and the grocery store so you can enjoy it at home as you wish. Try it as a taco, burrito, torta, or on its own. La Jalisciense Supermercado and Taqueria, 3923 Vernor Hwy., Detroit, 313-551-0522
Much of the Mexican community in Detroit comes from Jalisco, which is on the west side of the country along the Pacific Ocean. What does this mean for local taco lovers? The state’s specialty, birria (a goat or beef dish steamed in a fiery broth) from the rural highlands, and an abundance of seafood dishes are abundant. La Terraza has made a name for itself with its coastal classics such as tostadas with citrus prawns, squid or white fish, but its quesabirria is a real homage to the Jalisciense culture. It consists of a corn tortilla grilled with tender birria and cheese. Add a side of this hearty, greasy broth to dip and you will be spoiled. La Terraza, 8445 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-843-1433; laterraza.shopsouthwestdetroit.com
The great thing about the menu at Jose’s Tacos, which recently opened a location in Eastern Market, is that it has a bit of everything. Whether you fancy a crispy Del Taco-style taco with minced meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato tacos dorados – with freshly fried corn or flour tortillas – or a soft taco with chorizo, coriander and onions, Jose’s is a crowd puller for every preference. Jose’s Tacos, 2510 Market St., Detroit; 313-638-1782
Taqueria El Rey
Come for the chicken, stay for the tacos. Available for cash only, this take-away friendly restaurant is best known for its smoky grilled chicken and ribs. You can easily make your own chicken tacos by ordering the half or whole chicken dinner with beans, rice, and tortillas, but the taco menu alone is worth praise. While almost every taqueria offers carne asada (steak), chicken and chorizo, this place also offers lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (steamed beef head) and beech (tripe) – all delicacies in Mexican food culture. Taqueria El Rey, 4730 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-357-3094