8 Wisconsin taquerias serving terrific tacos

Daniel Higgins, Maureen Wallenfang, Jordan Tilkens, and Carol Deptolla
View Comments

Tuesdays or Cinco de Mayo or any day, really, are good days for tacos. Whether you claim some sort of moral high ground by ordering them Mexicanos style (right down to the corn tortillas) or love the creative exploration of what will taste good in a tortilla, here's a sampling of Wisconsin spots that hit the mark when it comes to taco excellence.

Steak tacos at El Tequila, Manitowoc, deliver that magical char flavor boost in every bite.

El Tequila

Antigo | Manitowoc | New LondonShawano

You know that magical bite of steak with a hint of char where the grill left its mark? It's included in practically every bit of chopped steak in the Taco De Carne Asada trio served on corn tortillas. Plus the hints of crispy provide texture contrast. A squirt of lime juice over the sprinkles of cilantro and onion topping the generous steak portions prove that simple can be sublime. Daniel Higgins, food and drink reporter, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

At Don Lucho, some group-serving portions of lamb (left center) and carnitas, onions, cilantro and lime, and handmade tortillas. In front are several of the restaurant's salsas, roja, tota and molcajete.

Carnitas Don Lucho

565 W. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee | Facebook

It's open only Friday through Sunday, basically from dawn until 3 or 4 p.m., but Carnitas Don Lucho serves spectacular carnitas and barbacoa with handmade tortillas; eight kinds of complex salsas are made at the restaurant each day. Diners can order individual tacos, but go with two or three friends and order the meat family style, or take it to go from the counter. — Carol Deptolla, dining critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Warning: the red sauce is hot. But you don't need it because the tacos at Solea Mexican Grill, Menasha, stand on their own.

Solea Mexican Grill

705 Appleton Road, Menasha | 920-729-1011 | (locations also in Grand Chute and Neenah)

Solea Mexican Grill restaurants serve both authentic Mexican tacos and Americanized versions. The $12 Taco Canijos plate comes with four soft corn tortillas filled with grilled meat — a tasty mix of steak, chicken, chorizo and pork carnitas – topped with red onion, cilantro and avocado plus plenty of lime wedges for spritzing. The server warned me that the side of red sauce “is hot.” Understatement. It's like mainlining habaneros and should come with a fire extinguisher. I went with the milder green sauce. — Maureen Wallenfang, business reporter, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Taco Burrito Mexico offers a variety of tacos Mexicanos meat offerings. If you can't decide, start with the chorizo.

Taco Burrito Mexico

108 N. Oakland Ave., Green Bay | 920-455-9055 | Facebook

Meat is the star of the show when it comes to tacos served Mexicanos style; the sprinkling of cilantro and onion won't hide mistakes. You won't find mistakes here, especially with the chorizo. Though the steak version is perfectly delicious too. — Daniel Higgins, food and drink reporter, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Gypsy Taco's Iron Grate brisket taco, grilled chicken thigh taco and Dr Pepper-braised pork shoulder taco, with a side of chips and queso.

Gypsy Taco

Truck on the patio of Boone & Crockett lounge, 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee | Facebook

Not traditional, just delicious. Sauces are contained between the double tortillas and radish slices top the tacos; between the bottom and the top standout fillings include grilled chicken thigh with pickled sweet peppers and feta, pork shoulder (braised in Dr. Pepper) with cabbage and seasonal tacos such as fried mushroom. — Carol Deptolla, dining critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Chicken, steak and pork tacos at Taqueria Tres Hermanos in Wausau. Tacos al pastor won the day.

Taqueria Tres Hermanos

525 Fulton St., Wausau | (715) 843-5819 | Facebook

Another great spot for simple but flavorful tacos. I'm partial to the al pastor here but the chorizo is also excellent. The roasted jalapeno served on the side is a fun extra I haven't experienced at other similarly authentic taquerias. — Daniel Higgins, food and drink reporter, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Fronteras Mexican Restaurant

2311 W. College Ave., Appleton | 920-221-3322 | Facebook

There are no gimmicks here. Just really, really good tacos. It's all about the tortillas. Soft, but chewy and just thin enough to let the goodness of the beef seep through. A spritz of lime juice brings out the freshness of the onions and cilantro and will leave you guessing if you'll ever add lettuce to a taco ever again. — Jordan Tilkens, Producer and wine columnist for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Taqueria Arandas

1531 W. Lincoln Ave. and 2912 S. 13th St., plus trucks near 3700 block of W. National Ave. and on S. 13th, Milwaukee | Facebook

Fillings include barbacoa, lengua, asada and chicken; the tripas tacos are excellent. Order them crisp, with grilled jalapeno and onion on the side, and squirt them with lime. Don't forget the salsa verde or spicy roja. — Carol Deptolla, dining critic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

View Comments