If you’re looking to find the most authentic street and taqueria tacos in San Jose, check out this guide to the top 10 taco joints in the city.
Sunny San Jose, California, is well known for its booming tech industry and West Coast culture, but you might not know it’s a great place to find some of the most delicious tacos on the planet. It’s even home to the Taco Festival of Innovation, a yearly event curated by Moveable Feast that features 30 of the best Bay Area taco trucks. If your business trips need great food to spice them up, add these restaurants to your list for the tastiest tacos in the city.
Loteria Taco Bar, 87 N San Pedro Street
As you explore San Jose’s charming San Pedro Square Market, stop for gourmet street tacos at Loteria Taco Bar. A family-friendly eatery that’s been in business since 2012, Loteria serves homemade tortillas filled with juicy, braised meats like beef barbacoa, habanero mango chicken, and the popular fried cod — a taco experience you don’t want to miss. Add a salad, a side of delectable fried sweet plantains, or an order of garlic yucca fries, and you’re all set. Enjoy indoor or outdoor seating options, or take your tacos to go.
La Victoria Taqueria, 140 E San Carlos St.
For a taste of one of the best taquerias in downtown San Jose, stop by La Victoria Taqueria. Known for being one of the best places to stop by for a late-night taco treat, breakfast burrito, or a midday fix, this downtown gem has had loyal customers since its opening over 7 years ago. People rave about their carne asada in all forms: tacos, super burritos, and fries. Be sure to try their famous orange sauce which has been hailed by some Yelp reviewers as a “culinary marvel.” This magical condiment is even sold by the bottle at this location, so for the small price of $6 you can take some of the best Mexican flavors back home with you, giving you the power to make any meal more delicious.
South San Jose
Taqueria El Ranchito, 1795 Hillsdale Avenue #60
Enjoy good prices and hefty portions at this taqueria in South San Jose. Offering both a cozy dine-in option and food to go, Taqueria El Ranchito has been a Santa Clara County favorite since it opened in 2011. Pollo asada and tacos al pastor top the list of must-try dishes. In terms of beverages, it’s also the ideal place to enjoy authentic Mexican horchata, a sweet, creamy drink made with rice milk and cinnamon.
The defining feature that really sets this place apart from other taco spots is the fresh salsa bar. Try one or all of the five different salsas, and pile on other fixings like grilled jalapeños until your tacos and chips are precisely as spicy as you want them to be.
Tacos El Compa Taqueria, 1321 Blossom Hill Rd.
For a San Jose taqueria experience that’s worth writing home about, stop by Tacos El Compa Taqueria, whose slogan is “Taco time, anytime.” Everything here is authentic, from the intimate no-frills interior layout to the authentic salsa and incredible homemade tortillas. Do yourself a favor and indulge in the delicious flavors of the al pastor tacos. Served on tortillas that are way more generous than your average street taco size, along with huge avocado slices, this menu item is a crowd favorite. Be aware that your order may take longer than average because of the authentically homemade tortillas, but we promise it will be worth the wait.
East San Jose
Mariscos La Costa, 1805 Alum Rock Avenue
This taqueria, which started with humble beginnings as a beloved food truck, prides itself on authentic Mexican fare featuring fresh seafood. If you’re in the mood for fish tacos, enjoy Baja-style corn tortilla tacos with crispy, beer-battered fish, salsa, shredded cabbage, and white sauce, or try the fried tilapia tacos. If you’re craving seafood instead of fish, the shrimp tacos here are also a winner.
Mariscos La Costa proudly supports several area charities, including The Santa Clara Harvest Food Bank, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, among others. It’s always nice to know some of your taco money is well spent on taking care of those in need throughout San Jose.
Tacos A La Parrilla, 2980 Aborn Square Rd.
What started as a street taco joint in San Jose years ago, Tacos A La Parrilla has now evolved into an authentic and cozy Mexican restaurant. Keep your eyes peeled to find this location, as it is tucked away in a plaza—but with the help of your Yelp app, you’ll be eating La Parrilla’s delicious fare in no time. Known for their tidy atmosphere, fresh quality ingredients and tender and lean meat, this East San Jose gem is an area favorite. Try the supreme grilled fish and shrimp tacos for a crunchy fix, or the super carne asada quesadilla for a meat and cheese filled treat you’ll love devouring. La Parrilla is also known to be vegetarian and vegan-friendly, with many menu items able to be easily altered to fit those dietary needs without sacrificing flavor.
West San Jose
Tacos Santiaguito, 609 Saratoga Avenue
Visit this tiny food truck on Saratoga Avenue to discover why so many San Jose residents are willing to brave long lines and rainy weather for a few tacos. Small but mighty, Tacos Santiaguito serves up some of the very best tacos in West San Jose (some might even say the entire city).
Reasonably priced and unbelievably delicious, the taco choices include the crowd-pleasing tacos al pastor, carne asada, and bouche, each garnished with melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions. Open daily, it is the perfect late-night spot to grab a bite on the West Side.
Gloria’s Burritos, 1142 Saratoga Ave.
This place is quite the hole in the wall, which means that when you stop by Gloria’s Burritos for a meal, prepare to be served the most authentic Mexican dishes around. Your dining experience will start with delicious salsa and chips, local favorites that happen to be served free of charge. Whether you choose to follow up your complimentary appetizer with their flavorful fish, carne asada, carnitas, or chicken tacos, you will love their perfectly seasoned hearty portions on fresh corn tortillas. And if you’re looking to add a non-taco option just to mix it up, Gloria’s has a huge menu to choose from, including an amazing chile relleno.
North San Jose
Speedy’s Tacos, 929 E Duane Avenue
Drop by this delightful Sunnydale taco shop for a casual meal in North San Jose with plenty of authentic Mexican flavor. If you’re feeling daring, top your chorizo, lengua, or pulled pork tacos with Speedy’s signature orange fire sauce, but be forewarned — the spice level is no joke! A family-owned business in operation since 2015, Speedy’s may be more of a newcomer to the San Jose food scene, but patrons come from far and wide to dine in or grab tacos to go for easy, delicious family meals.
Tacos Los Tres Reyes, 2410 Monterey Rd.
It’s hard to miss the location of Tacos Los Tres Reyes when you’re driving by—this street taco truck is always mesquite charcoal grilling right out front in the parking lot of Monterey Auto Service. Let that delicious smelling grill smoke lure you in because the taco selections here will not disappoint. Locals will tell you that truly all the tacos on the menu are satisfying, but definitely be sure to try the cabeza, carne asada, and lengua tacos for flavors you will dream about afterward. A prime feature of this taco truck is the large selection of homemade salsas to choose from, ranging from mild and flavorful, to a level of spicy that will test a heat-lover’s limits. This truck usually appears around 5-6pm daily, so if you’re in North San Jose, follow the sight of the charcoal smoke and the smell of delicious meats and gift yourself with affordable, authentic street tacos.
No matter where you find yourself in beautiful, friendly San Jose, rest assured that a delicious taco meal is never too far away. Also, if you happen to be looking for suggestions on San Jose outings that involve more than just great food, be sure to check out our San Jose day-trip tips.