We put our taco taste-testing skills to good use to share with you some of the best tacos in Richmond. It’s worth noting that there are many other great taco spots in Richmond that didn’t make this list, but hey, we could only eat so many tacos –we’re seriously considering doing a part two. The places we picked are worth a visit and as you’ll read below — offer much more than just tacos. From pupusas to fresh guacamole to sopes, we were in heaven checking these places out.
Best Tacos in Richmond
Don’t Look Back
Located in Carytown, Don’t Look Back is a great place to visit whether you’re craving a taco or a margarita. The menu is simple, mostly focused on tacos with a few other offerings including burritos, quesadillas, nachos and Frito pie. With summer quickly approaching, you’ll be happy to know that Don’t Look Back has a patio located behind the restaurant. Even better? They offer brunch – which means on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. you can enjoy everything from a breakfast burrito to huevos rancheros. In all of my visits to this neighborhood spot, the main thing that has always stood out to me is how fresh everything is. This visit was no different.
The Dish: We found ourselves at Don’t Look Back on a Saturday afternoon, which meant we had to access to the brunch menu and the lunch menu. We took full advantage and ordered the chorizo taco, pulled chicken taco, breakfast taco and some chips and guacamole. Their guacamole is definitely some of the best I’ve had in Richmond and I can never resist ordering it when I go. Let’s be real: I always want the black bean nachos and the guacamole, but I’ve learned my eyes are often bigger than my stomach. When ordering tacos at Don’t Look Back, you choose whether you want a corn or flour tortilla and whether you want your taco traditional style (cilantro, red onion & lime) or gringo style (cheese, lettuce, sour cream & salsa). I usually mix it up depending on what kind of tacos I get, but both options are delicious. My favorite taco at Don’t Look Back? Hands down, the chicken skin taco. It’s not on the regular menu, but if you’re lucky enough to go at a time when it is on the specials board, order it. I promise you won’t be sorry.
En Su Boca
Patio, check. Margaritas on happy hour, check. Delicious tacos, check. En Su Boca, located on the Boulevard in what is technically Scott’s Addition, is a great place to enjoy a meal outside. The food is described as San Francisco Mission District Inspired Mexican Cuisine, and I’d have to agree — out of all of the spots on our list, the food here definitely has a California twist.
The Dish: If you just try one thing, try the southern fried fish tacos. Crispy, flaky and fried, I don’t even really like fish and I could eat these everyday for the rest of my life. The Pacific cod is perfectly seasoned and complimented by chipotle crema and a cabbage slaw. On several visits, I’ve tried the carnitas, chorizo and carne asada. Oh and, if you are a vegetarian you’re in luck, En Su Boca has three vegetarian taco options! Happy hour is Monday through Friday and only lasts until 6 p.m. If you can beat rush hour traffic and make it in time after work, you’ll be rewarded with $2 tacos and a few other food and drink specials.
I’m not sure what I was waiting for but it took me 25 years and a Richmond Times-Dispatch review to finally try La Milpa. And now, I’m kicking myself because I waited 25 years TOO long. The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into La Milpa is the eccentric decor; to the left you’ll find the restaurant and dining room and to the right you’ll find the market/grocery store.
The Dish: Meg and I might be small people, but together we are an unstoppable eating force. At La Milpa we tried an al pastor taco, grilled chicken taco, carne asada sope, chorizo sope, cebollitas (grilled green onions) and a side of beans – keep in mind this was stop numero uno of the evening. Never had a sope? It’s sort of like a fried tortilla topped with refried beans, meat and melted cheese. Once you place your order you can head over to the salsa bar and stock up on as many brightly colored sauces as your little heart desires. We tried them all and I don’t know if we could even try to pick a favorite. Everything we tried was so flavorful, I can’t wait to go back to have another carne asada sope and an al pastor taco.
Shelly’s Food, Comida Latina
Located at 7304 Staples Mill Road, Shelly’s Food is tucked away in a shopping center where you could easily miss it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. We went on a Sunday right around lunchtime and the place was filled with what appeared to be regulars. We sat down and perused the menu for a few minutes and quickly decided we wanted to share a taco platter and two pupusas, which was the perfect amount of food for sharing.
The entire meal and only cost $12, making Shelly’s a great option for dining out on a budget. And so eaking of cheap eats, Tuesdays are for $1 tacos at Shelly’s Food and Wednesdays are for $1 pupusas. (Stephanie Breijo at Richmond Magazine recently did a web piece entirely devoted to the pupusas at Shelly’s Food.)
The Dish: The taco platter we ordered came with three tacos — chicken, steak and pork — and while we enjoyed each variety we both agreed the pork was our favorite, with a rich flavor that left you wanting to take another bite. The pupusas were delicious, too, and we ordered one with beans and cheese and one with pork and cheese, which was our favorite of the two options. Shelly’s Food is a great place for authentic Mexican cuisine at any time, but especially convenient if you don’t feel like taking a trip south of the river to one of the other options on our list.
Taqueria Panchito is located on Midlothian Turnpike in a small but comfortable space with a sign outside advertising “authentic Mexican”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. We visited on a Monday evening and had no trouble grabbing a table for two. In case you’re following along – with our visit here, we crossed another place off of our “Where to Dish Next” list.
The Dish: The first thing that caught my eye when looking at the menu wasn’t the food selection, but the drink selection. Taqueria Panchito serves a variety of aguas frescas, beverages that are a refreshing combination of fruit, sugar and water that I find myself making during the warm summer months here in Richmond. I ordered a watermelon agua fresca and with a squeeze of lime juice, it was so good. We both ordered tacos and I also got an order of chips, salsa and guacamole, which ended up being a highlight of our visit – the jalapeños in the guacamole provided just the right amount of heat and the portion size was more than generous. The tacos were delicious and topped with cebollitas, which was the perfect touch. Like La Milpa, Taqueria Panchito has a self-serve salsa bar which we obviously took full advantage of. Looking for a deal? Taqueria Panchito offers $1 tacos on Wednesdays.
What are your favorite tacos in Richmond? We certainly are not opposed to doing another taco crawl, and we’d love to hear about them!