We went looking for the best taco's in Central New York and we have found the top 5 taco's around.
#1 Carmelita's Mexican Restauarnt (Birria)
#1 Madison County Distillery (Veggie)
#2 Mello Velo
#3 Mi Casa Grande
#4 Ponchito's (Birria)
#5 XO TACO
The search for the best taco in the tristate area has begun! In preparation for cinco de mayo Anthony and Zack are heading out to try all of your favorites and crown a 2021 taco champion. First up Anthony went solo and tried out Ponchito’s right here in downtown Syracuse! The two of their best tacos were the grilled shrimp taco and the chicharrones taco. First up was the chicharron, it fell a little short with outside of the taco. The shell was hard but greasy in the middle an indicator that it wasn’t fried long enough. They lived up to their reputation of filling everything to the brim and the flavoring turned out to be in all of the toppings you choose to go on top. Anthony got his chicharron taco filled with Ponchito’s signature chicharron, shredded lettuce, sour cream, guac, and hot sauce. Next up was the grilled shrimp taco that pleasantly surpassed their chicharron. Anthony enjoyed the corn tortillas that were crisped up on the flat top to give it a bit of a crunch, filled with shredded lettuce, sour cream, guac, grilled shrimp, pickled jalapeño and pico. The shrimp was what really made the taco and brought the whole taco together! It was overall a great value overall and in the end Anthony gave them an overall score of 6.8.
Camino Real, Rio Grande, and Margaritas
Welcome back to the search for the best taco in Syracuse! Anthony and Zack hit the road visiting Camino Real, Rio Grande, and Margaritas all located right here in the 315! The orders were placed and first up was Camino Royale who were serving up carne asada as their best taco. When Anthony and Zack picked up the tacos they were so excited they had to try them right there in the parking lot. But they were very disappointed, the tacos when opened looked so sad and only pulled in a 4 from Zack and 5.2 from Anthony. All hope was not lost as the boys traveled to over to Rio Grande where their best taco was also carne asada. The meat a flavor was a little better than the last but still was nothing to write home about pulling a 5 from Zack and 5.5 from Anthony. Last up was Margaritas, where the boys ordered one last round of carne asada tacos. Expectations were high as everyone in Syracuse has nothing but great things to say about Margaritas, but they still fell short for Zack and Anthony receiving a 4.8 from Anthony and 6.5 from Zack. Stay tuned for the next round of tacos where hopefully the hoagies heros will be able to have a halfway decent taco.
Mi Casa Grande
With Cinco de Mayo growing ever closer Anthony flew solo again heading off to Mi Casa Grande where he tried their barbacoa and the carne asada tacos. Starting out with the flaws, Anthony was disappointed in the single corn tortilla shell as with all the great toppings and oil based salsa the tortilla cracked under the pressure, and the barbacoa was a little too dry for his liking. Still in spite of those two flaws Anthony was pleasantly surprised that Mi Casa Grande is one of the few Mexican restaurants in Syracuse not putting on a southwest style mayo. The meat was allowed to speak for itself and it was seasoned to perfection, not needing any kind of sauce. The barbacoa taco pulled in a 7.2 from Anthony even with the meat being a little dry, and the carne asda got a 7.8.
Mad Taco and Papa Gallo
ROAD TRIP! The hoagies boys were out on the road once again still in search of the best taco in New York. On today itinerary they had Mad Taco in Cazenovia and Papa Gallo in Fayetteville. First up was Mad Taco who said their best tacos were the carne asada tacos. I don’t know if you’re noticing the theme here but people are going crazy over carne asada! These tacos were way better than the ones the hoagies boys have been having! They received a 6.6 from Zach for the good flavor and a 7.1 from Anthony for flavor. They came with a dip sauce and it was so good Zack decided to drink the entire dipping cup. Next up was Papa Gallo that had two tacos rated best in show, and those were the Carne Asada and their fish tacos. The tacos arrived decked out in toppings galore and looked delicious. The boys dug in and the Carne Asada tacos received a 7 from Zack and a 6.9 from Anthony. The fish tacos fell short in comparison getting a 5.9 from Zack and 6.7 from Anthony. Although their search was not over these stops were a big improvement from the week before and that is progress!
Mello Vello and Aztecas
We’re hitting the road once again in search of the best taco in New York! Zach and Anthony brought their appetites and had a good feeling about this road trip. First stop was Mello Vello, and man were the boys surprised by what arrived to the table. The carne asada tacos that arrived were garnished for the gods and the taste was impeccable. Anthony rated the tacos at an 8.2 only really wishing that the cilantro was chopped more and it had a little more spice. Zach loved the balance of the taco between the creamy cheese, pickled onions, chili verde, and gave it an overall rating of 8.4. So far Mello Vello was in the lead by a landslide. Next stop the boys headed to Aztecas in Camillus to try their El Pastor and Carnitas tacos. The El Pastor tacos pulled in a 7.6 from Anthony and a 7.3 from Zach, and it was noted that the lime was a necessity to get the desired flavor. The Carnitas taco received a 7.2 from Zach and a 7.4 from Anthony without much comment.
Carmalita's Mexican Restaurant
Anthony heads back to the 2019 best taco in Central New York winner, Carmalitas Mexican Restaurant to try their birria taco. Now we aren’t sure just yet if we’re going to count the birria taco in the lineup since it is such a unique specialty taco and new the New York food trend. How you make a birria taco is you start with a corn tortilla and dip it into a consommé of some sort and then throw it onto a flat top. Then you’ll add a thin layer of shredded cheese and leave it to melt. Then you’ll add what would traditionally be shredded lamb or goat, but in this instance it’s shredded beef because let’s be real who in Syracuse is eating lamb or goat? Last you fold it over and it’s usually served up next to a cup of consommé or at Carmalita’s you can add their fresh house tortilla chips or rice and beans for an additional cost. Anthony loved the way Carmalita’s is authentic in the fact that the meat is the main event packed with flavor. Overall Carmalita’s birria taco pulled a score of an 8.4.
Anthony packed up the car and headed back to Ponchito’s were he was ready to give their birria taco a good old college try. Although the wait was a little long it was well worth it. Ponchito’s crushed it with their taco and the dip was equally as good. It’s too soon to tell if it’s a better birria taco than Carmalita’s, the only real way to tell is to have them both back to back. But it can be said (at least by Anthony) that Carmalita’s birria taco has better flavor and is less greasy. As of right now birria tacos are being judged separate from the regular tacos as it is not a fair fight. Melted cheese is a game changer and it wouldn’t be fair to compare the two and rate them on the same level.
This is the episode where Anthony realizes that XO Taco’s tacos aren’t as bad as he was thinking. Zach and Anthony headed over to XO Taco to give them a fair shot in the best taco in Central New York search. Now we will preface this by saying this is not a contest for the most authentic taco in Central New York. If you’re not making your own tortillas or covering your tacos and burritos in some kind of sauce according to Anthony and Zach you’re not in the authentic mexican game. This is all about the best taco in Central New York. XO Taco pulled in a score of 7.2-7.5. The hoagies boys ordered the waitresses favorite the Hot Chicks Taco, which is marinated chicken served with raw cabbage and cilantro lime cream on top. The boys both got the Hot Chicks served on a soft and corn tortilla shell. First bite was dry but by the middle it was better. It was a solid taco. Anthony also had the carne asada and that was a 7.4. They did a much better job than expected, not the best far from the worst.
They are out here crushing the taco game! They only have one taco on the menu the carne asada taco. These are served up on two corn tortillas with perfectly juicy and marinated meat, thick tomato salsa, cheese crumble, pickled red onions, and leaves of cilantro. Every layer of this taco was perfect and you got it in every taste. They received an 8.2 for a final score. Mello Vello has the best taco in Syracuse.