Looking for great tacos in Ridgewood? Keep reading and we’ll tell you about our favorites. But first, here’s a quick rundown of all the Mexican (and “Mexican”) eateries:
Authentic Mexican (i.e., food like it actually is in Mexico)
- Guadalajara De Dia #2 (Seneca & Menahan): Serviceable, old school taco joint and grocery. Seems to sell a lot of nostalgia products for folks far away from home.
- Fresh Pond Mexican Restaurant (corner of Fresh Pond & 68th Avenue): Busy, cluttered, lunch counter–/diner-type spot that sells big Mexican plates.
- Mi Compa on Seneca: Occupies a site that most recently housed an ill-fated Coney Island hotdog joint. Offers dessicated, gelatinous pizza slices and standard sit-down taqueria fare.
- Italo Mex Pizza Dolceria on Forest: Basically the same as Mi Compa
- Coyote Bohemia (formerly Italo Mex Pizza #2) on Myrtle: Possibly the best of the Italo-Mexes. And the friendliest.
Tex-Mex & Chexican:
- Happy Fresh Taco and Fresh Taco (both near the Ridgewood Remembrance Triangle on Myrtle & Cypress): Remnants of the ’90s Fresco Tortilla Wars, these two mortal enemies (seriously) are popular but gross. Sanitation suspect.
- China Dish/King’s Taco Grill (on Fresh Pond & Madison): Standard Chexican. Also serves Chinese food. Haven’t been here.
- Fajitas Sunrise, the suburban/Tex-Mex–inspired strip-mall-looking place (way down Myrtle in that sort of “dead” zone where it approaches Fresh Pond). Slightly above average New York Tex-Mex. Not a bad place for frozen margaritas and sizzling chicken fajitas with shredded cheddar cheese and heaping scoops of sour cream and guacamole.
- Taco Bell
So there it is. There’s definitely more decent Mexican options here than in Glendale or Maspeth. But for TACOS specifically, you need to leave Ridgewood (gasp!) and walk a few blocks over to Taqueria El Paisa in Bushwick. I know this is a Ridgewood food blog, but you can actually see the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station from TEP, so it’s close enough.
Taqueria El Paisa is a walk-up, outdoor-only food counter similar to something you’d see in Mexico City. There’s a few stools at the counter and 99¢-store tables and chairs that are often wobbly and/or broken. The M train overhead ensures a loud meal with frequently interrupted conversation. But the tacos are great! We especially like them with tinga de pollo, or shredded chicken in tomato-chipotle sauce. The menu doesn’t list tinga as a taco filling option, but ask for it! You’ll be happy you did.
We also like them with al pastor, or basic pollo (it’s surprisingly moist), and pretty much whatever. We’re focusing on tacos here, but let us quickly suggest trying a quesadilla with huitlacoche, or what’s also known as “corn smut.” (Don’t read the Wikipedia entry about huitlacoche; it’s effing disgusting.)
To be honest, we also really like tacos from the Sabor Mexicano truck on Wyckoff directly outside the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station. Their milanesa de pollo cemitas are even better. But there’s something about the simple neon sign, friendly faces, and might-fall-off-‘em chairs at Taqueria El Paisa that we just really like a lot and find comforting.
Taqueria El Paisa
298 Irving Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn [map]
(Don’t confuse this with the Taqueria El Paisa on Irving & Suydam, adjacent to Maria Hernandez Park.)