Cinco de Mayo is coming up! While we don’t particularly celebrate the unlikely victory of the Mexican’s Army over the French—which is what Cinco de Mayo is all about—the date is more than a welcome excuse to eat all the tacos that your heart desires, quesadillas your tummy can handle, and burritos you can muster.
Below, we list Metro Manila taquierias worth your time and the traffic hassles that come with Friday.
Chef Bruce Ricketts’ taco joint on Aguirre is hailed as Metro Manila’s best ATM. It opened early this year, to much applause. The Carne Asada fabulously drips with such flavor, the Chivo—goat tacos—is worth your drive, and the Carnitas is good ol’ pork tacos gourmet style. La Chinesca has a lot of off-the-menu offerings too, among them the guacamole, which is a must-try. 248 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes Paranaque. 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm. +63 2 7380724.
Taco Vengo’s style and swagger, evident from its store to its food, have definitely helped redefine and freshen up Metro Manila’s taco scene. Successfully infusing Asian elements into the Mexican fare, Taco Vengo’s offerings are distinct, creative, and most important of all, delicious. The Pork Confit and Crispy Fish tacos top our list. 16 Williams Street, Mandaluyong. 11am-12am. +63 2 8781328
Lo de Alberto
A hat tip to City Golf on J. Vargas in Pasig for squeezing in this amazing Mexican place in its tight parking space. Lo de Alberto is for your post-inuman taco fare: It opens at 4pm, it has fantastic plates for sharing, and the flavors come in full blast. The taco shells that Lo de Alberto uses deserves a special shoutout: It’s hard but there’s a nice chewy pull to them, too; the perfect blanket for the flavors inside them, really. City Golf Plaza, J. Vargas, Pasig. 4pm-1pm. +63942 6396771
One of the originals in Poblacion, perhaps one of the makers of the Poblacion scene, too, El Chupacabra serves street tacos that are so affordable it’s almost unreal. A carne asada taco will set you back P80—it’s how cheap it is. There’s a fish taco, but at El Chupa, it’s best to get your meat on: The Lengua is good, as the barbacoa, tripa, carnitas and yeah. See you there. 5782 Felipe St, Poblacion, Makati. 11am-2pm. +63 2 8951919
Hermanos Taco Shop
Ah, the one that put fish tacos in the minds of everybody. The authentic taco shop first opened in a gas station on Granada Avenue. It was so low-key, proved to be a little too easy to dismiss. Which is a mistake. A bite of its fish tacos is will send you straight to heaven. While its other taco variants are not bad, nothing can quite take the place of Hermanos’ fish tacos. Sct Lozano Street, Quezon City. +63 2 2852800. 11am-10pm.
It’s not just your typical Mexican restaurant; it’s a Filipino-Mexican restaurant. When Madeca—short for Manila de Acapulco—first opened shop in 2011, it quickly impressed everybody with just how clean it infused Filipino favorites into Mexican food. Sisig with sour cream, wrapped as a burrito tastes just right—as the salpicao in soft taco shells, lechon kawali as mexikanina—should we go on? 5/F Podium Mall, 18 ADB Avenue, Ortigas. 11am-10pm. +63 2 2345233
Legaspi Village’s very own taqueria is actually run by Mexican Jorge Barita, who first set up his taco shop in Cebu. In 2016, Burlita and his Manila-based partners setup Lagrima, a Mexican joint with a menu as short as the shop is small. Guac, beans, salsa, and sour cream give Lagrima’s tacos the necessary uniform, hiding the wonderous surprise of the meat you choose to put in them. G/F BSA Mansion, 108 Benavidez St, Legaspi Village, Makati. 11am-9pm.
Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina
Yes, another Fil-Mex eatery, but unlike Madeca, Kapitolyo’s Silantro is a little bit more raw. Without the glean and the sheen, the experience in Silantro is truer to street. There is a Silantro system for tacos: You choose the kinds of meat that will go inside the hard shell. Ligero is single meat, medio is double meat, and complete is triple the fun. 75 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo. 11am-12am. +639175084748
Nothing about this Greenhills staple is authentic, but there is a reason that Kamicos is still standing there for over 30 years. It boasts of serving “the best tacos in town.” The flavors are nothing too forward or sophisticated—in fact it’s as comfort as comfort can be. Grated quick-melt cheese blanketing sweet tomato sauce, which in turn covers ground beef; everything harks back to childhood, really. 2/F Greenhills Shopping Centre, San Juan. +63 2 7225362