Los Tacos No.1
It is no secret that I love good Mexican food and after living for nearly ten years in France, I never miss an opportunity to eat a good taco or plate of enchiladas. When I knew I was heading to NYC, I messaged a fellow-born Texan living in the West Village to get his recommendations for his favorite Mexican and BBQ, which led me to Los Tacos No.1 in Chelsea.
Pronounced “Numero uno” by locals, Los Tacos No.1 was started by friends from Tijuana via California who “couldn’t find good tacos in NYC.” After moving to the east coast, they searched for the perfect tacos but found them to be overcomplicated and lacking authenticity.
“New York City was missing that iconic taco.” -Christian Pineda- co owner
Open since 2013, Los Tacos No.1 aims to bring a “little bit of Mexico” to NYC using family recipes that incorporate true Mexican culture and flavor. The secret to their success is an authentic taste that comes from fresh, simple, and tasteful ingredients. Their produce comes fresh from Mexico and their corn and flour tortillas are made from scratch.
I showed up for breakfast burritos but missed the 11 am cut-off by ten minutes, so instead, I opted for an early lunch. Just after 11 am, there was already a significant line building up inside the Chelsea Market location, so I knew I was in the right place after struggling to find the entrance. The menu is quite simple at Los Tacos No.1, decide whether you want a taco, tostada, or quesadilla and then the corresponding filling. You can choose from Carne Asada (grilled steak), Pollo Asado (grilled chicken). Adobada (marinated pork) or Nopal (grilled cactus) for a vegetarian option. I opted to go with traditional tacos on corn tortillas and tried one of each “con todo” with salsa, chopped onions, cilantro, and a dollop of guacamole.
While all of the tacos were “muy bueno” I found the Carne Asada to be “excepcional,” so I went back and ordered another, this time without guacamole so I could better taste the meat and veggies. I liked the guac but found that it muted the flavor of the steak and recommend getting it on the side with some chips. While I didn’t try the quesadillas on this trip, I’ve heard that they are not your typical quesadillas and should be tried, in particular, the “especial” which is a fried quesadilla and you can add meat.
There is no doubt that Los Tacos No.1 serves up some of the best, authentic tacos on the east coast, but the Carne Asada taco, with its thinly sliced juicy steak, could be one of my all-time favorites- anywhere. Now, if only I could get Los Tacos No. 1 to apply their authentic recipes to a fresh margarita, this would be a complete, almost perfect Mexican food experience. I will count down the days in which I can return to Los Tacos No.1, but if you live in NYC you have no excuse not to join the long line for their outstanding tacos.