A Delicious Guide to Denver Tacos

So, Cinco de Mayo was last weekend, but it has awakened in you a hunger that can only be satisfied by one of the single greatest foods on the planet: tacos. Don’t worry, it happened to me too.

For those of you who don’t know, I LOVE tacos. Like LOOOVE them. I’d eat them for every meal if my boyfriend didn’t have the most ridiculous tendency to want variety in his diet. He can usually be convinced when I bring up the potential for margaritas and piña coladas though.

Pictured: A man happy to just have a yummy drink.

Needless to say, in my travels around this city, I’ve eaten my share of tacos. The following are the three places we just can’t stop going back to.

1. North County 

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Two house pork tacos (I can’t get enough!) and the chorizo and potato taco.

I love this place because it’s of it’s beautiful atmosphere and delicious food. North County is unique in that brings West Coast Mexican food to Denver. Being from Texas, I’m usually partial to TexMex but they reeled me in with some of the freshest peel n eat shrimp I’ve had in this landlocked state, and I can’t deny that their brunch menu is killer too. You also can’t go wrong with churros and homemade hot cocoa for dessert.

Of course, you came here for tacos, so tacos you shall receive. My absolute favorite taco that North County has to offer is their house taco, Da Baby El Pastor. Their other tacos are also great but that pork! With that pineapple! As soon as I take a bite, I know that if I were to die at that moment, it would all be okay, because I’m already in heaven. Its. So. Good.

As far as drinks go, the margarita is just the tip of the iceberg. North County features several margaritas as well as some unique cocktails like a balsalmic strawberry basil mojito or the Drunken Burro which has Serrano and ginger infused vodka and mango puree (both of which I haven’t tried because I am a coward). They also bottle their own alcoholic sodas. For those of us for a taste for the less adventurous, The Darkest Berry is right up our alley: a little different delivery, but with familiar flavor combinations. There’s a little something for everyone at North County, but if you want to go, go early! Word has gotten out about this place and it’s usually packed for dinner and weekend brunch.

2. Machete Tequila + Tacos

Beef, pork, chicken tinga, and shrimp tacos. Photo lightened due to dim mood-lighting.

Machete is ALWAYS packed so you know it’s good. They have some of the best margaritas in Denver and their wide variety of tacos is hard to beat. They even have some unique options like beef tongue, lobster tail, and tripe (which, again, I haven’t tried because I am a coward who brings dishonor on her loved ones). To be honest, I came for the margs, but I ended up staying for the delicious food. I can’t name a favorite taco because they all wowed me, but my boyfriend Ethan was partial to the chicken tinga and shrimp tacos. A surprising standout on the menu for me was their salsas, (of which there are four) all of varying degrees of spiciness and equal degress of yumminess.

Now, as for those margs (because I know you’re curious), Machete has quite a reputation. They not only have a huge selection of tequila, but they infuse their own as well, making for some tasty and unique beverages. I loved the raspberry, which is an old standby flavor for me. However, I’ve also tried a featured special blood orange margarita (I believe it had basil in it too, but I can’t remember which is a good thing, right?) which I liked a lot. Their most famous one though is the aptly named Hot Mess, which features habanero and Serrano infused tequila and a warning of “Extremely hot!” on the menu.

I’ve only been to Machete twice, but I’ve got to say, both times I was far from disappointed. This place is definitely worth braving the crowds for. If I can’t convince you, maybe the Most Interesting Man in the World can.

How do you know a place is cool? A portrait of The Most Interesting Man in the World hangs on the wall.

3. Comida at The Source

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To the far left are the griddled tacos sharing a plate with the grilled steak taco, a slow-cooked sirloin taco called “The Situation”, and of course, my beloved chorizo. On the right are three of their salsas: salsa verde, the house red, and pineapple habanero.

An interesting trend is happening in Denver right now where developers are buying warehouses and allotting the space within to anything from restaurants to coffee shops to butchers. I don’t now if this is something happening all over the U.S. or what, but I’m loving that here in Denver I can visit a flower shop, grab a fresh loaf of bread, and enjoy a well crafted cocktail all in the same location. One such location is called The Source. The Source is located in Rino (or River North) which is an up-and-coming, pretty-much-there area of Denver featuring art and design galleries, hipster coffee shops, and a widening list of cideries, breweries, and wineries that will ensure a happy afternoon is had by all.

If you want a happier, taco-filled afternoon however, Comida is the place you should stumble off to. Nestled among other restaurants, shops, and a beautiful bar within The Source, Comida sets itself apart as soon as you are seated. You order via a card and pencil, where you can mark not only which snacks (including your choice of yummy salsas), entrees, etc, you would like, but also which way you would like to move the featured meat, veggie, and sauce mixtures into your drooling mouth: via taco, tostada, or gordita. Needless to say, I always pick taco. My favorite taco here is their chorizo. The pickled red onion, crema, and salsa verde compliment the meat in such a way that it seems they were always meant to be together, and after years apart, want to thank you for your help in bringing them together again by being absolutely delicious. They also have “griddled” tacos which are the next level tacos we’ve all been waiting for. If you like spicy, definitely don’t sleep on the jalapeño and bacon one.

 

Well, those are a few of my go-to taco places in Denver, but I’m always happy to hear about a new place to try. After all, the more tacos, the merrier and us taco nuts have to help each other out. What are some of your favorites?

 

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