We Have Hunted Down 15 of the Best Tacos in Nashville
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Written by Alex Hendrickson, May 4, 2016
Although the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, better known as Cinco de Mayo, is one of our favorite days to partake in the consumption of tacos and margaritas, we find ourselves indulging in Mexican cuisine year round. Today, we are here to give you 15 options of tacos, which are thought to have been invented by Mexican miners in the 18th century, to devour on Cinco de Mayo, or any other day of the year. Here’s where to go and what to order:
2317 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204 • (615) 499-4293
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What to order: fish taco
One of 12South’s most popular joints, Taqueria del Sol draws patrons from near and far. This eatery got its start in Georgia but under local ownership has made a name for itself in Nashville. The fast-casual style of dining has gained popularity over the years and although you might spend a bit of time waiting in line, your tacos, guacamole and queso will only take minutes to reach your table. The selection of tacos (six in total) is small, but mighty. Be sure to try the Memphis, veggie or fish, which features tilapia dipped in an egg wash, rolled in corn masa and bread crumbs, deep fried and served with poblano tartar sauce and pickled jalapeños.
2526 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204 • (615) 269-8226
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to late
What to order: duck taco
Bartaco is one of 12South’s newest eateries, and since they opened last fall, crowds have been steady. With a menu dedicated to tacos, rice bowls and “not tacos,” Bartaco evokes the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay and Southern California. Their tacos are small, so don’t be ashamed to order two or three. If you are looking in the “not taco” section, we recommend the chicken soup and pork tamale. If you are sticking to tacos, a few favorites are the pork pastor, fried oyster and duck, a simple taco with tamarind glaze.
2706 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204 • (615) 953-2951 (12 South)
908 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 873-4085 (East Nashville)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (bar is open until the drinks stop flowing)
What to order: shrimp taco
Known for their barbecue, not their Mexican fare, it might surprise you that Edley’s taco selection is one that can’t be beat. With options including pork, brisket, catfish and shrimp, the tacos are nothing short of crowd-pleasing. The shrimp tacos might just be our favorite. With shrimp smothered in wing sauce and topped with cheese, pico de gallo, bean salad, cilantro and sour cream, it is the perfect marriage of Mexican and Southern barbecue.
2015 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 386-0106
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
What to order: chorizo taco
Chago’s Cantina, located on Belmont Boulevard, recently traded in its brightly colored logo and updated the interior in celebration of five years in business. The new look doesn’t mean they have lost their touch in creating delicious Mexican- and Latin American-inspired dishes. With more than a dozen tacos on the menu, they have mastered the art of this Mexican dish. After ordering a margarita, opt for the chorizo taco, with housemade chorizo, cilantro, onion and lime.
401 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 254-1892
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
What to order: fish tacos
Merchants doesn’t specialize in Mexican cuisine, but they still serve up their version of a fish taco, which is layered with mojo, pico de gallo, jalapeño aioli, guacamole and slaw. You will not find a margarita on the menu to pair with the taco, but try the El Diablo, a tequila cocktail mixed with lemon, ginger and crème de cassis.
201 Third Ave. S., Nashville TN 37201 • (615) 522-0970
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What to order: cochinita pibil
Find Mexican-influenced street fare at Bakersfield’s downtown location, where the main menu items are tacos, tequilas and whiskeys. As far as tequilas go, we like ours in the Bakersfield Margarita. For tacos, we like ours stuffed with achiote-braised pork, pickled red onion, habañero hot salsa (which is hot indeed) and cilantro.
216 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville, Tn 37203 • (615) 577-7717 (SoBro)
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What to order: carnitas tacos
Located within the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bajo Sexto is a casual taco joint that features a menu of Antojitos (Mexican street food), tacos, nachos, quesadillas and salads. One taco to try is the carnitas, a simple, yet delicious, option that is topped with pico de gallo and salsa verde.
1907 Eastland Ave., Nashville, TN, 37206 • (615) 227-4777
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What to order: Cabo tacos
An East Nashville staple, Rosepepper Cantina is known for its award-winning dishes and margaritas. What is defined as Sornoran-style Mexican cuisine includes dishes with intense flavor that pair perfectly with cold tequila. The Cabo tacos can be ordered with two pieces of white fish, grilled or tempura batter-fried, and topped with Baja sauce, shredded cabbage and pico de gallo.
732 Mcferrin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 543-6271
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What to order: fried tilapia
Mas Tacos got its start by serving mouthwatering tacos out of their food truck and by popular demand, they opened a brick-and-mortar spot in East Nashville. Taco options include carnivore fillings, as well as vegetarian offerings (such as the quinoa sweet potato taco with roasted tomatillo salsa, red cabbage, sour cream, cilantro and lime). If you are looking for something fishy, try the fried tilapia taco with shaved cabbage, onions and spicy dill yogurt.
1200 Villa Place, Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 730-8552
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
What to order: Taco Royale
Originating in Chattanooga, Taco Mamacita made its way to Nashville and has called Edgehill Village home since 2009. It’s a fusion taco joint, so you will find traditional Mexican flavors paired with Southern ingredients. A crowd favorite is the Taco Royale, a double-stacked taco filled with roasted chicken, salsa verde, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, crumbled chorizo, creamy black bean mash and chipotle cream sauce.
1120 Fourth Ave. N., Ste, 103, Nashville, TN 37208 • (615) 567-5886
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
What to order: chicken taco
This Mexican restaurant made its way to Nashville from Birmingham and settled in Germantown. The menu is extensive, and the tacos are plentiful. Go traditional and try the chicken taco (pictured right), with smoked chicken, avocado, tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, onions, cilantro and lime. If it is margaritas you are after, order up the Tequila Mockingbird, a variety of margarita with tequila, pineapple, cardamom, agave nectar, fresh lime juice and a touch of Serrano.
416 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 327-4322
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
What to order: regular taco
Born of two Vandy grads, San Antonio Taco Company has been a well-loved taco joint since 1984. With a location just steps from Vanderbilt in Midtown, SATCO serves up Tex-Mex tacos, enchiladas, queso and more to locals and tourists alike. Try the regular taco, with spicy ground beef in a fresh flour tortilla, topped with cheese and lettuce.
2615 Nolensville Road, Nashville, TN 37211 • (615) 256-6142
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What to order: chicken taco
Even before President Obama made La Hacienda a stop on a Nashville visit, this Mexican restaurant was a favorite in the area. It started as a taco stand in 1993 and has since grown to a full-service restaurant with an expanded menu. Experience authentic Mexican flavor by ordering the chicken taco, which is served atop traditional tortillas that are made in-house each day.
2910 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211 • (615) 833-1690
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What to order: carnitas taco
Don Juan’s menu features curious options like buche (pork stomach), tripa (beef intestine), lengua (beef tongue) and chicharron (fried pork skin), and it’s likely that authentic fare keeps this restaurant as a Nolensville Road favorite. If you are looking for something a bit more traditional, they also have pollo, chorizo, asada, carnitas, barbacoa and pastor. Don Juan is worthy of a visit, especially since the tacos are only $1.25 each. If you are in a rush, visit their drive-thru, and if you are the driver, skip the margarita and order a horchata.
4501 Murphy Road, Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 891-3271 (Sylvan Park)
146 Pewitt Drive, Brentwood, TN 37027 • (615) 915-4666 (Brentwood)
1100 Fatherland St., Ste. 104 Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 454-6892 (East Nashville)
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What to order: spicy shrimp taco
When you’re in the mood for one of the best margaritas in town, head to Local Taco. Privy to their shrimp tacos and chicken salad, we rarely order anything but. The star of the shrimp taco is the buttermilk-soaked and crispy fried shrimp, which is topped with jalapeño coleslaw and spicy remoulade.
Enjoy this fine local Mexican fare this Cinco de Mayo or anytime. And always celebrate responsibly!