The story behind Los Tacos No. 1 is a familiar one. Friends living in New York missed their favorite food from their hometown and couldn't find it in the city. So they created it themselves.
In the case of Los Tacos No. 1, the food is authentic style tacos. And the three friends are Tyler Sanders, Christian Pineda, and Kyle Cameron who hail from Southern California and Tijuana. After moving to New York to study at the New School of Architecture & Design, they found themselves in the unexpected place of being restaurant owners.
They shopped the idea around to investors, but only had luck when they heard that Chelsea Market was looking for a Mexican food option. They opened their stand in 2013 and they've opened a second location, been populated with huge lines, and are often referred to as the best tacos in New York.
Tourists and locals alike wait in line at both the Chelsea Market location and the more recent one just off of Times Square to get a true taste of Mexico.
The menu is incredibly simple at Los Tacos No.1. You get to choose between chicken, beef, pork, or cactus in either a taco or quesadilla. Everything we've tried (including the fried quesadilla) has been incredible. We especially love the adobada (the spiced pork) that is shaved off a spit of roasting meat and pineapple. It harkens back to the food the Lebanese immigrants brought to Mexico in the early 20th century.
The tacos are available with flour or corn (gluten free) tortillas and can be topped with a range of guacamoles and salsas that can be mild, medium, or spicy. You can then cool down with some of their traditional aguas frescas like jamaica (hibiscus flower) or horchata (rice milk with cinnamon). In the morning, both locations sell breakfast burritos from a pushcart. They're only available Monday through Friday, so be sure to get up early to try them.
Neither location has a place to sit. But tacos are meant to be quick and easy to walk with. You could find a spot somewhere in Chelsea Market or stand along the tables in the Midtown locations. Nevertheless, these are definitely the most authentic and delicious tacos we've tried in Manhattan. That's why you could very well encounter them after our High Line & Chelsea Tour or on the Midtown Sights & Bites.
While there are great spots in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, Manhattan had been lacking for some serious tacos. You could find them at bodegas and food carts, but until Los Tacos No. 1 came around, great authentic Mexican tacos were not nearly as accessible. Now you have great local, well-prepared food just steps from some of the most tourist heavy neighborhoods in the city.
Los Tacos No. 1
75 Ninth Avenue (Inside Chelsea Market)
New York, New York 10011
229 West 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036