The view of the place indicates that it must have been some sort of stylish place 50 years ago or whenever it was originally built. It became a taco place in the 1970’s from what I can tell.

While I enjoy nothing more than eating in a three-star Michelin rated restaurant in Paris – or anywhere else for that matter – I’m not such a snob that I do not love serious and genuine ethnic food. Nothing is quite as spectacular as Northern Mexico-styled soft tacos served in a taco joint or from a taco truck. These cost anywhere from 75-cents to $1.25 apiece and if they cost more then it’s some other kind of taco. This type of taco is found in the USA usually in the Border States from Texas west and sometimes as far north as San Francisco. They are seldom available elsewhere in this exact form.

This sort of taco consists of two soft corn tortillas that have been lightly fried. They are stacked one upon the other to form a double layer foundation. A dollop of chosen meat is placed on top. The meat is usually covered with sauce, chopped onions and cilantro. Often you squeeze a lime on top of the whole thing. You gingerly fold the whole thing in half to eat it. There is no cheese, no lettuce, no tomatoes on this type of taco.

Las Vegas has a lot of great taco joints but the one I’ve been going to for about 15 years is this classic on Charleston called Tacos Mexicano. If I’m in Vegas I always go here for tacos. The tacos here used to be 65-cents but they’ve jacked them up to 90-cents. I usually get 3 or 4 and load them up with the additional handmade sauces and pickled peppers and pickled carrots. It’s pretty filling. I highly recommend the al pastor and carnitas tacos. You should note that there are a couple of other Tacos Mexicano places in Vegas including a drive-through on Las Vegas Blvd.

That said, you should know that I’ve personally never seen another white guy in the place, ever. But I can assure you that the place is safe and must be visited. Once in a while there will be some odd character in there selling bootleg DVD’s. Unlike in the Bay Area where I have sampled dozens of these sorts of places I have not done the same in Vegas although I have been to a few other places there. I’m game to try any suggestions. But this place is a good introduction to Midwesterners who have never seen a taco like this. They are terrific.


While heading north on Las Vegas Blvd you take a right on Charleston and you’ll see the taco join on the left after a few blocks.


The funky floor and Formica tables (which are kept very clean) adds a weird Futurama 1950’s air to the place.

Coverage of the CES Show itself, links:
CES Coverage Day One
CES Coverage Day Two
CES Coverage Day Three
CES Coverage Booth Babes
CES Coverage High-End Audio
Smartalix’s CES Retrospective #1
First Off-Topic Report



  1. Rob says:

    Dammit, now I’m hungry for tacos. Gonna have to go hunting for some shortly. Fortunately there is no shortage of good real Mexican tacos in the Fresno area!

  2. Brian says:

    In Leamington, Ontario (a town on Lake Erie across from Sandusky Ohio), we have a large Migrant Worker (Guest Worker) population from Mexico to work in the greenhouses and fields. A few industrious members of this population saved up and opened a few authentic Mexican taco places as well. There is Tacos Tony and el Cambaro that serve up the very same kind of taco you described. Thankfully, the ‘white’ people of the town have embraced the cuisine – Tacos Tony is always busy. I hear the beef tongue tacos are good but not for me! The Carnitas Authenticas is just perfect! So, you can get authentic Mexican north of two borders. It’s great.

    Brian

  3. pcheevers says:

    Oh man, real tacos, not the taco hell…

    NYC is sorely lacking in good taco shack action. There more than a few chi-chi whites-only style taco places here but nothing that can shake a stick to tacos mexico in Vegas or some of the scary shacks in L.A.

    Try the indoor shooting range at the gun store in Vegas after your meal, nothing like sending a few rounds from a Thompson .45 downrange on full auto to aid the digestion…

  4. Floyd says:

    Some of these Mexican places in LV are very good, though we got food poisoning from one on LV Blvd (aka The Strip), close to the Stratosphere. Being from New Mexico, if we need a chile fix we usually eat at one of the Garduno’s in town (at the Fiesta and Palms casinos) because that’s the kind of food we’re used to. Their soft tacos are made with small flour tortillas.

  5. ECA says:

    I know of a few resturants, in Portland Oe, and in S. Idaho..where you get FOOD, LOTS of food, for the price, and the food is great, as well as prices.
    PTLD, I can go to Bankok kitchen, Overlook and a few others.
    S Idaho, LOOK for the OFF the road out of the way places…
    I love them and patronize them…

  6. ecsmac says:

    these kind of tacos sound just like the ones we have from La Bamba and a couple of other taquerias at the University of Illinois

  7. I’ve been eating at joints like this for 30 years and luckily have never gotten sick. But I tend to only go to places that are kept very clean.

  8. Angel H. Wong says:

    What about Central American Tacos? The mexicans call them “flautas” because of their tubular shape.

  9. Gregory says:

    Flautas are Flautas, not tacos.

  10. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    #2, we have the same situation here. I just had a steak burrito from the latest one to open. It’s Americanized if you want it that way, and traditional if a gringo asks. 😉

  11. When it comes to Burritos, you should note this entry in Wikipedia which accurately tells how todays “authentic” burrito and super burrito was actually invented in the San Francisco Mission district. The Mexicans, in this instance, all embraced this ideal.

    All the taco trucks make these. They are rare in Mexico itself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_burrito

  12. mandarin says:

    Theres a taco truck right next to the train station in downtown SF. They serve the tacos you mentioned for 1.25 i think.

  13. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Thanks, John. Good piece of culinary history. (burp)

  14. Froggmann says:

    Taco Mexico is great, I have one near my house. A little background most of the freestanding restraunts look like the one in the Pic, retro 50’s styling. All have the same flooring and interior styles. To tell you the truth this place is the In-n-Out of the taco world. Compentent staff a menu that hasn’t varied since the start (Started in 1975). Sure if you aren’t mexican you’re not going to feel all that confortable in the stores but after a while the patrons go back to what they were doing and you can enjoy your tacos.

    Wednesdays are great if your on a budget, tacos are .45 each.

  15. joe dirt says:

    John, I propose a new category called “John’s Restaurant Review” as I trust your culinary instinct.

    ps. still enjoying the flank steak recipe

  16. m.c. in l.v. says:

    I’ve been to the Taco Mexicos on Sahara, just west of Valley View. The first time was an adventure, the second time was just sorta meh, and the third time I got “sick”. There’s a gentleman working there with half an arm and his primary function seems to be chopping the meat into oblivion. The third, and last time I had tacos there the meat was so overly chopped up that it wasn’t worth eating. And the place isn’t particulary spic & span, even with one of the “employees” mopping around the eating area during the middle of lunch. It is now on my “list” of places I won’t go with my fellow employees for lunch. I miss some of the smaller tacos joints back in SoCal, especially El Tarasco and Ramona’s for their burritos. *homesick*

  17. joshua says:

    The Taco’s you describe are what we get in Mexico near our house down there. Uusually, a kid, with a medium sized cooler comes up the beach and sells them for .50 cents each. I know the kids family and they live near by, so they are still nice and warm when he stops at our place. In town (Puerto Penasco) almost all the resturants sell them as part of their regular menu.

    The super burrito has been in Phoenix for at least 24 years, because my Mom had one the day she gave birth to me(ummmm…explains a lot)……the place is still there on 12 St and Van Buren, downtown…..big old place, and always packed with Mexicans, whites are rare, but the burrito is HUGE, at least 2.5 or 3 pounds. My favorite is the carnitas, then the chile verde, then the very spicy shredded beef. They ar big enough to feed a small village and for only 4.95.

  18. Chuy says:

    Hey John,
    I live in Los Angeles, and in my opinion “King Taco” (a small chain line Tacos Mexico) is the best resturant to get great tacos. The tacos are a bit smaller than “Tacos Mexico”, but richer in taste. The green sauce is great (which most people, should be able to handle), but the red sauce! It is this the hottest (Mexican) sause you will ever find in any resturant. Be extremely carefull with the red sause at “King Taco”. I also frequently eat at “El Tarasco” which I would also recommend. Where ever you go, make sure to order the tacos with “carne asada” (grill beef that is chopped). KEEP AWAY FROM GROUND BEEF! Most of these places, except for El Tarasco, don’t offer ground beef. I also agree with you that the ‘tacos al pastor’ (layers of pork an onion cook in a vertical rotisserie) are delicious.

    While you’re there, try the “aguas fresca” (Fresh Juice) like Horchata (Rice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla), jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa and sugar) or tamarindo (tamarind and sugar) – check out wikipedia for more details on aguas frescas

    Tacos Mexico can be found all over Los Angeles Area and Las Vegas

    King Taco is mostly found in East of Downtown Los Angeles between Pasadena and Lynwood

    El Tarasco is mostly found by LAX (El Segundo – Manhattan Beach Area)

  19. Roc Rizzo says:

    Mmm Tacos…

    Being from NYC, there is food of all different types around. You can take a ride on the number 7 train, and have food from a different country at each stop.

    But I am from Brooklyn. Where we have our share of ethnic foods. Let me tell you that if you go into a glitzy place, you are gonna get ripped off. The food might be satisfactory, but it is rarely authentic, and sometimes is downright horrible.
    If you want real ethnic food, go to the places that are frequented by people of that ethnicity. You will always find good eats for cheap, or reasonable. When I was younger, my friends and I would go to a different place in Chinatown, after they were done with their Karate. One of them spoke Chinese, and read it too. I will always remember the time we were looked at like we had three heads each, the menus were in Chinese, and our friend ordered for us. What a trip. The food was excellent, and so was the service. That was the start of our times of looking for good cheap food. We were in college, and had little money, but wanted to eat out. I remember this kosher dairy restaurant on third avenue and like 6th st or something. They had the best barley soup. It was a family run thing, as all of these great little eateries are, and was closed on Friday and Saturday.

    Just mentioning those two makes me think of many others. Often times we were looked at quite strangely, but welcomed none the less. We never were thrown out of any place, and yes there was this Mexican place uptown in Spanish Harlem that was wonderful. I am not sure if many of these places are still there, but they sure were fun. I can tell you for sure that there are still little places in Chinatown in NYC, where the natives eat. Only they don’t look at you like you have three heads any more. Oh well, that was more than 25 years ago. Times sure have changed, but our love of diverse food has not. Well at least mine hasn’t.

    So go to the local neighborhood, whatever ethnicity it may be, and try some of the PEOPLE’S food. It surely will do your stomach, soul, and pocketbook some good.

  20. Angel H. Wong says:

    #9

    You just sound like a *very* ignorant person. I bet you think real mexican quesadillas have cheddar cheese, ground beef and ketchup.

    Honduran Tacos are rolled up into a tube, deep fried, and then served with diced cabbage, a tomato sauce that has onions and with shredded blanco cheese (shredded parmesan is wonderful too.)

    Latinamerican food is way more than Mexican food you know…

  21. Smith says:

    *Do not add my info. to any type of spamming or solicitation lists*

    Luv the W. Tropicana location. I have eaten there for years. Always fresh; tasty and clean. Never gotten sick or had a bad taco. It will be at least a month before I can make it back there again. Tacos Mexican…….Rocsssssssss!!!!!!

  22. Smith says:

    ********Not a real e/mail address.************

    Just arrived home from Vegas last night. Before I left I whipped into the W. Trop. location and loaded up the cooler. Then I pulled over to the Rebel and filled up my ride. The Tacos @ Taco Mexican Roccccccccccccccc! I got 15 of them and still have 2 that I am going to put in new taco shells and eat while I watch a football game. I’ll be back……..Smith from TEXAS

  23. alygonz says:

    i am going to vegas soon and i want to know where the Tacos Mexican restaurant is located..after reading all these reviews i have to go try the TACOS….mmmm getting hungry

  24. Setiamon says:

    I just watched a episode of cranky geeks with him stoping at this place,it looks great.Gee I’m hungry!

  25. Mike says:

    #25, the one John is talking about is on 1205 East Charleston Blvd. Just got back from there a few minutes ago. It is open 24 hours. The tacos are small but remarkably filling.

  26. davyhiggy says:

    I miss my Tacos Mexico!!! I grew up in L.V. and it was a staple of my diet. When I moved to Maine and got married, my best man actually brought me two carnitas burritos(which are the best) on the plane in his carry on bag and my lady made me zap ’em first. It is the first place I go when I’m there. DD

  27. Eros says:

    I am glad to read so many different opinions regarding the ORIGINAL tacos.

    I grew up with this kind of tacos, very usual to eat tacos at the street taco stand, back in hometown (Guadalajara).

    I am a firm believer that there is room for a well done chain (franchise) to bring this great experience beyond LA and Las Vegas.
    I came to this site because I am putting together an idea to make available the TACOS you mention all around the globe.

    The secret is, no secret really…quality and natural food (no frozen stuff of chimical preservatives). But this is the only way big corporations can achieve to be all around, with frozen and artificial ingredients.

    My goal is to join the initiative of local enterprenuers to make a strong chain, and offer a same great taste and quality at any location.

    So I hope to make it possible and then I will invite you over for the grand opening.

    By the way, if you ever get the chance to be in Guadalajara, you gotta taste CARNE EN SU JUGO, I am sure yo will love it.

    Greetings to all!


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