There's hardly an Atlantan who does not love tacos. Who can explain it? While ATL is nowhere near Mexico, burritos and tacos have virtually become (along with wings) our native cuisine, with some creative invention along the way. So if you are headed to the Atlanta BeltLine, there are plenty of taco options, from duck to pork belly to fried catfish to Asian-Latin fusion. Here are the ones worth trying (and returning to), grouped by geography from north to south.
Located in Ponce City Market, it’s actually Minero’s burrito that gets rave reviews - it’s monstrous. Oh and did we mention fried cheese on the outside? But if you can’t be convinced, they have some creative twists on tacos such as vegetarian (cauliflower) and Southern (fried catfish). Interesting historical fact: Minero is the Spanish word for miner, and it's supposedly miners who came up with the word taco. Adding to its authenticity, Minero grinds its own corn daily, after importing it from independent farmers in Mexico. They’re taking COVID precautions seriously - it’s patio dining only (as if we need a reason to sit outside at PCM and watch the world go by). And salsas come with spoons so you’re not dipping into any germs. After a long, hot walk on the BeltLine, pair your meal with a refreshing frozen margarita.
Fish taco pictured below
Pure has several locations in metro Atlanta, but this one in Inman Park has a genuine neighborhood feel. The locals stack up at the bar, making it a great place to meet people over a seriously strong margarita. COVID has dampened the socializing a bit, but all the more reason to relax on their covered corner patio on a nice day/evening. The fish tacos earn high praise, and for something different, try the lamb tacos, served with their own dipping sauce. Don’t expect to find your typical Amer-exican fare here, though - the rice is green, and the quesadillas are fried like an oversized empanada (not a bad thing). The taquitos keep us coming back, and the torta cubana will fill you for days.
In Mexico, they say street tacos should be eaten in 2 to 3 bites. Bartaco has it down with their street-size tacos. The pork belly is perfectly crispy and tender, the duck is decadent. And the crispy avocado taco, fried in a golden batter, melts in your mouth on the first bite. To fill up, order at least 2 or 3 tacos with a side dish. The Mexican street corn is some of the best, and the guacamole, served with saucer-sized corn tortilla crisps, never fails. Don’t miss the margaritas, made with freshly squeezed lime, or try one of their fresh non-alcoholic juices. Bartaco quickly adapted COVID safety protocols - even when you dine at the restaurant, you order online, and the food is delivered to your table. It has its pros - no more waiting for a server to bring you a check. The best part of Bartaco, though, is the beachy feel, with a plein air atmosphere and wrap-around patio overlooking the Inman Park scene. In winter, cozy up to the fireplace or sit under a space heater with a cozy blanket.
This Tex-Mex restaurant by Ford Fry has a funky cool vibe with a huge patio outside Krog Street Market. They serve tacos by twos and threes, with beans or rice or both. You can get your tacos in a flour tortilla, crispy shell or hard shell. The barbacoa is a favorite, along with the pork belly. To really splurge, try a non-taco and get the pricier short rib, slow roasted for 36 hours, available until they run out. Whether you get tacos or not, don’t skip the queso, which comes in several varieties, including one loaded with ground beef, sour cream and guac. They serve brunch on the weekends, if you’re craving some huevos rancheros or tamales and eggs. Expect long waits on weekends, though - they don’t take reservations.
Below, Superica's fun atmosphere includes animal heads and horns on the walls
Since their burritos have been voted best in Atlanta, you might have a hard time switching to tacos here. But if you do, you can get them two ways: a green taco with onions, cilantro and green salsa; or a chipotle taco with melted cheese, grilled onions and spicy chipotle salsa. They have a long list of meats and mains, including some unusual ones like potato, broccoli, green chiles and pulled chicken. Their secret weapon, though, is the handmade tamales offered on Fridays only (get ‘em before they’re gone). Dine-in has been halted during the pandemic, but they offer a covered patio just steps from the BeltLine, across from SPX Alley.
Guac y Margys is known for their…well, guacamole and margaritas, as the name suggests. And both are seriously good. But with customer requests for more substantial fare, their menu has only expanded over time. They have $3 tacos on Taco Tuesday, and their selection is ever changing. The just released (spring 2021) menu: tacos with shredded chicken, slow roasted pork, pinto bean and three meats. Be sure to pair a taco with a margarita - they have one of the most expansive selections in town, served by the glass, double glass or pitcher. Their “dranks” are delicious and playful. Try this one: Have You Seen My Giant Hat? made with Lunazul tequila and infused with blackberries, mint and lime. Or Nobody Calls it Hotlanta, which has watermelon and lime. Join them for a TV/movie themed trivia night, or just chill on the patio with front-row-people-watching seats on the BeltLine.
Guac y Margys, pre-COVID photos. Photo credit: Shawn Ventura.
You might think the BeltLine ends at Dekalb Ave., but keep going. Muchacho, located in a historic train station at the end of the BeltLine, is a throwback to 1970s Venice Beach. This hipster spot offers a few tacos (barbacoa, al pastor, rajas veggie) and a large selection of breakfast items (tacos, toasts, coffee, tea). They also have fun Muchacho merch to purchase on their website. There’s currently no dine-in, but that’s actually a plus because they have an expansive patio outfitted with tents, which they share with Golden Eagle. Muchacho is only open 9-5, so get your tacos early.
Taqueria Tsunami, already well situated in the suburbs, has a new urban location, across from where the BeltLine ends at Memorial Drive. TT fuses the best of Mexican and Asian into a taco (or bowl). Think shrimp tempura with cilantro, hoisin sauce and slaw. Or carnitas in a Korean pepper sauce with cucumber. As with most Asian restaurants, the fish is the best (baja or shrimp tempura). The tacos are a good size, and you can get a combination of 2 or 3 with a side dish. Try the salad, which is crisp, flavorful and well-portioned. For an appetizer, get the queso, which comes with tortilla chips and triangles of warmed tortillas.
You might not think of Grant Park as being on the BeltLine, but the Southside Trail is coming! Located in the Beacon, Patria Cocina offers authentic Mexican fare that is worth the trip this far south into Atlanta’s neighborhoods. With a dog-friendly patio and open interior outfitted with Mexican tile, the decor alone is enough to keep your mouth open. But it's the food that brings repeat customers. Tacos come in a couple options. Choose your meat, then go native and get the street taco, served authentically with cilantro, onion and tomatillo salsa. Or if Taco Bell is more your style, they gotcha with the Americanized flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese and sour cream. The shrimp and fish tacos get A+ reviews. Tortillas and mole are made by hand, and the guacamole has bragging rights. Be sure to explore the other shops, restaurants and art studios in the Beacon before or after dinner.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.
Note: We have paused our tours during the pandemic, but will ramp up again as soon as it’s safe.