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Order any taco at Resident Taqueria in a perfectly crispy tortilla
José R. Ralat

Where to Find Dallas’s Most Beloved Crispy Tacos

Hard shells aren’t reserved for Old El Paso taco kits

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Order any taco at Resident Taqueria in a perfectly crispy tortilla
| José R. Ralat

The crispy taco, also known as the crunchy taco or the old-fashioned taco, has for too long been the source of derision. Its reputation has been sullied by industrially prefabricated yellow shells, the kind used by fast-food taco chains and pulled from supermarket shelf boxes. Sometimes it’s crammed with greasy meat, waxy cheese, soggy limp lettuce and chopped tomatoes — an insult to the crispy taco.

Freshly fried crispy tacos have fed generations of Mexican Americans from Southern California eastward across Texas and northward to the Midwest, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. But the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on fried tacos. Mexico has its own fried tortilla-based version: Categorized generally under the name tacos dorados (literally “golden tacos”), fried tacos come in folded and rolled versions, and when freshly fried are nothing short of comforting. Here are the essential fried tacos of Dallas-Fort Worth.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Resident Taqueria

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9661 Audelia Rd #112
Dallas, TX 75238
(972) 685-5280
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One day, fans hope that Resident Taqueria chef and co-owner Andrew Savoie will move his San Antonio-style puffy taco from its off-menu status to a permanent spot on the chalkboard menu (or even at least to the specials list). Until then, know that puffy tacos are available upon request with any available taco filling, perhaps picadillo or chorizo?

2. Jose

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4931 W Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 891-5673
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Alongside chef Anastacia Quinones’ modern Mexican dishes at upscale restaurant José, the thing to get is the flautitas appetizer. The segments of cut, rolled, and fried tacos are filled with a mixture of chicken and refried black beans and hidden beneath a mess of lettuce and cheese, and are best spiked with a little salsa verde.

Jose R. Ralat

3. Desperados Mexican Restaurant

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4818 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 363-1850
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What other taquerias and Mexican restaurants do with corn tortillas, Desperados on upper Greenville Avenue does with flour tortillas to create their namesake Desperados tacos. Flour tortillas are flash fried until they begin to inflate ever so slightly and turn tan in color. Although customers can choose beef or chicken, beef is the smart order— it doesn’t lost in the melted bed of white cheese. Garnishes of avocado and pico de gallo add an edge to the tacos.

4. La Jaivita Restaurant II

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6835 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75235
(214) 351-2138

La Jaivita #2 gives all the pleasures of a fried seafood shack in landlocked Dallas. Accompanying an order of three tacos marineros (seafood tacos) is a side of French fries and a pile of shredded lettuce. The greens are meant to be crammed into the folded fried tacos but attempting to open the taco will likely crack the shell exposing thin, flaky white fish. At that point, there are a few choices, ranch, hot sauce, and/or tartar sauce to top the half taco. The smart play is a ranch-hot sauce combo. The glistening shrimp-stuffed flautas marineras are sweet and taste suspiciously of imitation crab. Give them a dunk in the sour cream and guacamole.

Jose R. Ralat

5. Avila's

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4714 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 520-2700
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Old-fashioned Tex-Mex restaurants established by Mexican immigrants often adjusted traditional dishes in an effort to create broader appeal, but for every chile con carne-cemented combo plate, there is a traditional Mexican dish hiding in plain sight. Avila’s classic toothpick-pinned tacos dorados, called taquitos Don Vago here, are filled with chicken or beef inside, are pure crunchy comfort food.

6. Joe T. Garcia's

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2201 N Commerce St
Fort Worth, TX 76164
(817) 626-4356
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Light frilly-edge beef tacos are the reward for waiting in line at Fort Worth’s vaunted cash-only Tex-Mex hacienda that continues to draw lines more than 80 years after it opened. The simplicity and restraint of the hard-shell tacos — there’s not much to them aside from the fried tortilla and beef — are what make them shine brighter than the fajitas, enchiladas, and other heavy Tex-Mex standards at Joe T. Garcia.

7. Revolver Taco Lounge

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2701 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 272-7163
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While stellar tacos like carnitas-style octopus on fresh corn tortillas and the spectacular multicourse dinners in the Purépecha Room back dining space have earned Regino Rojas and his Revolver Taco Lounge nods from the James Beard Foundation, Rojas isn’t afraid to go traditional. This is evident in Michoacán-style tacos dorados Rojas initially doled out at a few Taco Libre taco festivals. They’re also a special at the Deep Ellum restaurant, where they are stuffed with an onion-and-tomato-based picadillo of ground wagyu beef and pork, sealed with toothpicks and fried in the same lard used to cook up carnitas earlier in the day. They’re served in a plastic bag with salsa, cabbage, and pickled onions. It makes for messy eating but it’s great messy eating.

Revolver Taco Lounge [Official Photo]

8. Off-Site Kitchen

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331 Singleton Blvd #100
Dallas, TX 75212
(214) 741-2226
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The Sloppy Taco at Off-Site Kitchen takes customers back to1980s Midwestern suburbia but with fried shells as long as a forearm. Ladles of traditional Sloppy Joe meat are concealed with lettuce, grated cheddar and Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and a mild ranch dressing. It’s a joyful taco, as are its available-on-request brethren — the best of which are one filled with brisket and caramelized onions and another with a charred and chopped burger patty.

9. Taco y Vino

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213 W Eighth St
Dallas, TX 75208
(469) 372-0022
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Taco y Vino has made a name for itself as a restaurant where the unexpected is to be expected. It’s where a California Pinot Noir pairs well with a carnitas taco and the wine wall background. Meanwhile, the crispy taco at this Bishop Arts shop — clean and snappy and given prime space served in the same taco holders as the other tortilla-based selections — gets a fun match with a fresh and spicy Grenache from Spain’s Piorat wine-growing region.

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10. Gonzalez

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367 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-5333
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Oak Cliff does not lack in Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants, especially along Jefferson Boulevard, where Gonzalez Restaurant resides. The flour tortillas are squishy and weigh in at a substantial four ounces each (hefty compared to most Dallas versions) and the crispy tacos are small and delicate but not fragile. They will not crack into sad pile of shards, nor will the crispy tacos — filled with mild seasoned ground beef and capped with lettuce, tomato, and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese — coat your fingers in grease. They will, however, require waiting in line during a service rush, be it lunch, dinner, or after church.

Jose R. Ralat

11. El Tizoncito Oak Cliff

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3404 W Illinois Ave
Dallas, TX 75211
(214) 330-0839
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Dallas’ El Tizoncito takes its name as an homage to one of the two Mexico City taqueria chains claiming to have invented tacos al pastor and its orange-dominant color scheme from the other, El Huequito. So, it’s no wonder that walking into the original El Tizoncito on Illinois and Westmoreland feels like walking into one of the Mexico City icons, especially looking at the roasting stack of pork al pastor slowly spinning on the vertical rotisserie called a trompo. Bring a crowd and order the botana platter, which includes perfectly fried, crisp flautas, quesadillas, and nachos.

12. Maskaras Mexican Grill

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2423 W Kiest Blvd
Dallas, TX 75233
(469) 466-9282
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This lucha libre-themed Mexican restaurant is Dallas’ primo fried taco destination. The taco to get is the taco de camarón, a specialty of the city of San Juan de los Lagos in Jalisco, the Mexican home state of the owners. Filled with ground shrimp and served topped with salsa roja — but not drowning in it — this crispy taco is joined by fellow fried tacos, flautas and tacos dorados, both piled high with garnishes.

1. Resident Taqueria

9661 Audelia Rd #112, Dallas, TX 75238

One day, fans hope that Resident Taqueria chef and co-owner Andrew Savoie will move his San Antonio-style puffy taco from its off-menu status to a permanent spot on the chalkboard menu (or even at least to the specials list). Until then, know that puffy tacos are available upon request with any available taco filling, perhaps picadillo or chorizo?

9661 Audelia Rd #112
Dallas, TX 75238

2. Jose

4931 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209
Jose R. Ralat

Alongside chef Anastacia Quinones’ modern Mexican dishes at upscale restaurant José, the thing to get is the flautitas appetizer. The segments of cut, rolled, and fried tacos are filled with a mixture of chicken and refried black beans and hidden beneath a mess of lettuce and cheese, and are best spiked with a little salsa verde.

4931 W Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209

3. Desperados Mexican Restaurant

4818 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

What other taquerias and Mexican restaurants do with corn tortillas, Desperados on upper Greenville Avenue does with flour tortillas to create their namesake Desperados tacos. Flour tortillas are flash fried until they begin to inflate ever so slightly and turn tan in color. Although customers can choose beef or chicken, beef is the smart order— it doesn’t lost in the melted bed of white cheese. Garnishes of avocado and pico de gallo add an edge to the tacos.

4818 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

4. La Jaivita Restaurant II

6835 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235
Jose R. Ralat

La Jaivita #2 gives all the pleasures of a fried seafood shack in landlocked Dallas. Accompanying an order of three tacos marineros (seafood tacos) is a side of French fries and a pile of shredded lettuce. The greens are meant to be crammed into the folded fried tacos but attempting to open the taco will likely crack the shell exposing thin, flaky white fish. At that point, there are a few choices, ranch, hot sauce, and/or tartar sauce to top the half taco. The smart play is a ranch-hot sauce combo. The glistening shrimp-stuffed flautas marineras are sweet and taste suspiciously of imitation crab. Give them a dunk in the sour cream and guacamole.

6835 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75235

5. Avila's

4714 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Old-fashioned Tex-Mex restaurants established by Mexican immigrants often adjusted traditional dishes in an effort to create broader appeal, but for every chile con carne-cemented combo plate, there is a traditional Mexican dish hiding in plain sight. Avila’s classic toothpick-pinned tacos dorados, called taquitos Don Vago here, are filled with chicken or beef inside, are pure crunchy comfort food.

4714 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

6. Joe T. Garcia's

2201 N Commerce St, Fort Worth, TX 76164

Light frilly-edge beef tacos are the reward for waiting in line at Fort Worth’s vaunted cash-only Tex-Mex hacienda that continues to draw lines more than 80 years after it opened. The simplicity and restraint of the hard-shell tacos — there’s not much to them aside from the fried tortilla and beef — are what make them shine brighter than the fajitas, enchiladas, and other heavy Tex-Mex standards at Joe T. Garcia.

2201 N Commerce St
Fort Worth, TX 76164

7. Revolver Taco Lounge

2701 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226
Revolver Taco Lounge [Official Photo]

While stellar tacos like carnitas-style octopus on fresh corn tortillas and the spectacular multicourse dinners in the Purépecha Room back dining space have earned Regino Rojas and his Revolver Taco Lounge nods from the James Beard Foundation, Rojas isn’t afraid to go traditional. This is evident in Michoacán-style tacos dorados Rojas initially doled out at a few Taco Libre taco festivals. They’re also a special at the Deep Ellum restaurant, where they are stuffed with an onion-and-tomato-based picadillo of ground wagyu beef and pork, sealed with toothpicks and fried in the same lard used to cook up carnitas earlier in the day. They’re served in a plastic bag with salsa, cabbage, and pickled onions. It makes for messy eating but it’s great messy eating.

2701 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226

8. Off-Site Kitchen

331 Singleton Blvd #100, Dallas, TX 75212

The Sloppy Taco at Off-Site Kitchen takes customers back to1980s Midwestern suburbia but with fried shells as long as a forearm. Ladles of traditional Sloppy Joe meat are concealed with lettuce, grated cheddar and Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and a mild ranch dressing. It’s a joyful taco, as are its available-on-request brethren — the best of which are one filled with brisket and caramelized onions and another with a charred and chopped burger patty.

331 Singleton Blvd #100
Dallas, TX 75212

9. Taco y Vino

213 W Eighth St, Dallas, TX 75208

Taco y Vino has made a name for itself as a restaurant where the unexpected is to be expected. It’s where a California Pinot Noir pairs well with a carnitas taco and the wine wall background. Meanwhile, the crispy taco at this Bishop Arts shop — clean and snappy and given prime space served in the same taco holders as the other tortilla-based selections — gets a fun match with a fresh and spicy Grenache from Spain’s Piorat wine-growing region.

213 W Eighth St
Dallas, TX 75208

10. Gonzalez

367 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208
Jose R. Ralat

Oak Cliff does not lack in Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants, especially along Jefferson Boulevard, where Gonzalez Restaurant resides. The flour tortillas are squishy and weigh in at a substantial four ounces each (hefty compared to most Dallas versions) and the crispy tacos are small and delicate but not fragile. They will not crack into sad pile of shards, nor will the crispy tacos — filled with mild seasoned ground beef and capped with lettuce, tomato, and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese — coat your fingers in grease. They will, however, require waiting in line during a service rush, be it lunch, dinner, or after church.

367 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208

11. El Tizoncito Oak Cliff

3404 W Illinois Ave, Dallas, TX 75211

Dallas’ El Tizoncito takes its name as an homage to one of the two Mexico City taqueria chains claiming to have invented tacos al pastor and its orange-dominant color scheme from the other, El Huequito. So, it’s no wonder that walking into the original El Tizoncito on Illinois and Westmoreland feels like walking into one of the Mexico City icons, especially looking at the roasting stack of pork al pastor slowly spinning on the vertical rotisserie called a trompo. Bring a crowd and order the botana platter, which includes perfectly fried, crisp flautas, quesadillas, and nachos.

3404 W Illinois Ave
Dallas, TX 75211

12. Maskaras Mexican Grill

2423 W Kiest Blvd, Dallas, TX 75233

This lucha libre-themed Mexican restaurant is Dallas’ primo fried taco destination. The taco to get is the taco de camarón, a specialty of the city of San Juan de los Lagos in Jalisco, the Mexican home state of the owners. Filled with ground shrimp and served topped with salsa roja — but not drowning in it — this crispy taco is joined by fellow fried tacos, flautas and tacos dorados, both piled high with garnishes.

2423 W Kiest Blvd
Dallas, TX 75233

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