There’s no reason to wait until Cinco de Mayo — or even Taco Tuesday — to throw down some tasty tacos while you’re visiting Pensacola.
The area is loaded with delicious options for your favorite fiesta food, and whether your preference is for authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, Cali style or something bold, outrageous and new, there’s something to suit your palate in Pensacola. Here are a few of our favorites, but this is by no means a complete list, so take some time and find your own favorites! One thing is for sure, you won’t go hungry.
Part of the 200 South entertainment and dining complex at 200 Palafox Place in downtown Pensacola, Agave is a tequila bar boasting more than 200 selections, as well as a top-notch, creative taco menu, as well as other Mexican-inspired cuisine. Palafox Street Tacos come in threes, the four-inch tortillas filled with your choice of beef, chicken or pork topped with salsa verde, onion, cilantro and cotija. The menu gets more varied with six-inch tacos sold in pairs, evolving from basic options like carne skirt steak, carnitas and Baja tacos featuring shrimp or cod, to international varieties including Bahn Mi and Nashville Hot tacos and the vegetarian portobello asada with mezcal-infused pickled red onions.
Café Single Fin
Located inside Waterboyz Surf & Skate Shop at 380 N. Ninth Ave., Cafe Single Fin offers a varied and intriguing menu including vegan baked goods, breakfast all day and a wide array of options, including some truly tasty tacos. The breakfast menu’s Riptide Tacos feature scrambled eggs, chorizo, black beans, avocado, Cheddar Jack and chipotle crema, while other options include grilled steak, Buffalo chicken and blackened Mahi. Vegan taco selections include simple but delicious black bean tacos or the Islander tacos with jerk-seasoned jackfruit, gilled peppers, onion, avocado, spinach and mango pico de gallo. All are served on flour tortillas.
Part of The Garden at Palafox & Main, an eclipsing grouping of Airstream trailers, kiosks and stand-alone spaces offering a variety of cuisine at 501 S. Palafox St., Calavera Tacos is perhaps the longest running of the Airstream-based eateries, and remains an absolute favorite. Order at the gleaming silver trailer and dine al fresco in the courtyard or grab your food to go. Either way, you won’t be disappointed by the tasty Tex-Mex-style tacos, which offer a wide variety of flavorful options. Try the Gringo, a vegetarian offering featuring fried avocado, seranno cabbage, pickled red onion and cilantro, or a Ceviche taco loaded with Mahi and Gulf shrimp marinated in lime juice and topped with pico de gallo, avocado and habanero sauce, alongside more traditional options like chipotle chicken and chorizo.
One of Pensacola’s newest taco spots, Gaby’s Taqueria offers a fresh approach in both food and atmosphere. Located at 104 E. Gregory St., the al fresco space has a funky, laid-back feel that suits the California-style vibe of its tasty menu. Sit on the evergreen astroturf and chill out to the tunes as you toss back some tasty tacos, corn or flour tortillas stuffed with fresh fish, fresh shrimp, house-made chorizo or chicken. More in a breakfast mode? Gaby’s has you covered with chorizo, bacon, carne asada or veggie breakfast tacos filled with eggs, potato and cheese. Gaby’s Taqueria is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit gabystaqueria.com.
Lucy’s in the Square
Overlooking historic Olde Seville Square, Lucy’s, 301 S. Adams St., pairs the vibrant atmosphere of historic downtown Pensacola with a varied and interesting menu crossing multiple cuisines. The Adams Street Tacos are what we’re discussing today, which also add some international flair beyond the basic Mexican inspiration. Sold in mix-and-match sets of three, options include pulled pork with house-made barbecue sauce and crunchy onions; wind mushroom with marinated mushrooms, goat cheese, pickled onions and fresh dill; and steak blue with marinated steak, blue cheese crumbles, arugula and balsamic drizzle..
Juan’s Flying Burrito
New Orleans-based Juan’s Flying Burrito’s only location outside the Crescent City is nestled in Pensacola’s Historic District at 200 S. Alcaniz St., and while the name may focus on burritos, the tacos on this restaurant’s extensive menu also aren’t to be missed. The typical Mexican-inspired and familiar to American palates items are certainly available — Americanos made with ground beef, for example, or carne asada or chicken tacos. But Juan’s isn’t afraid to bring a little New Orleans flair to their tacos, with options like blackened fish tacos topped with spicy slaw; Mardi Gras Indians, a vegetarian spin with grilled corn and squash, pinto beans and Cheddar Jack; or the Three Little Pigs, filled with chorizo, applewood bacon and pulled pork.
With three locations, Tacos Mexicanos is ready to feed your taco cravings throughout Pensacola. All three have taco truck-style setups, but the location serving the Pensacola State College crowd at 1014 Underwood Ave. features indoor seating. Dine al fresco at the quaint location at 3000 N. 12th Ave. in the historic East Hill neighborhood, or visit the truck inside the grounds of Perfect Plain Brewing Co., 50 E. Garden St., to pair your tacos with some of Pensacola’s best craft brews. At all locations, your tacos can be filled with your choice of chicken, carnitas, beans or caulifower, or for a slight upcharge, pastor, barbacoa or carne asada. Can’t decide? Get a sampler plate with five assorted tacos along with grilled onions and jalapeños.
Cactus Flower Café
The original location of this small regional chain is nestled in the historic East Hill neighborhood at 3425 N. 12th Ave., and specializes in fresh, delicious California-style Mexican cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere, prepared with no animal fats or refried items. Amongst its varied menu of unique Mexican creations, the tacos are a standout, served on platters of three with black or smashed pinto beans and Spanish or lime rice on the side. The options at Cactus Flower Cafe are nearly endless, with a wide variety of house-made tortilla styles and filling options including chicken, ground beef, shredded beef, shredded pork, avocado or beans, or for an upcharge, fajita chicken, Mahi Mahi, pork tenderloin, shrimp or steak. No matter your choice, your tacos will be finished with greens, cheese, pico and their sensational house-made Santa Fe sauce.
The iconic juke joint just this side of the Florida-Alabama state line, 17401 Perdido Key Drive, is a must visit on any trip to Pensacola, but aside from the great live music, signature cocktails and beautiful beaches, the Flora-Bama offers three restaurants, each with its own take on tacos. At the Ole River Grill, choose blackened fish or shrimp tacos topped with shredded cabbage, cheese, pico and the restaurant’s own comeback sauce, or indulge in fried chicken tacos stuffed with chicken fingers and the same toppings. The Oyster Bar serves up its signature Blue Chair Bay shrimp tacos, featuring fried shrimp tossed in Blue Chair Bay Key lime sauce, lettuce, pico and sour cream. And at the Yacht Club, indulge in grilled Mahi or blackened shrimp tacos topped with house slaw, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese and spicy mayo. The Yacht Club and Ole River Grill are open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Red Fish Blue Fish
It should come as no surprise that seafood tacos are the order of the day on beautiful Pensacola Beach, and some of the best are found at Red Fish Blue Fish, overlooking the Santa Rosa Sound at 5B Via de Luna. Get yours grilled, blackened or fried, filled with mahi mahi, shrimp or (at an upcharge) grouper. Grilled and blackened tacos are topped with cilantro lime slaw and avocado crema, while fried tacos feature shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and the restaurant’s signature bangin’ sauce. Not feeling fish? Red Fish Blue Fish also has steak tacos featuring thinly sliced marinated skirt steak, corn salsa, pickled red onions and avocado crema.
Mama and Papa’s Tacos
One of Pensacola’s newest taquerias, Mama & Papa’s Tacos has become quite the hit in the Ferry Pass neighborhood, with the parking lot at 2256 E. Olive Road constantly packed with cars. Inside the spacious, open and clean space, the taco menu is hugely varied, and broken down into a few categories. Tacos de la Calle are traditional street tacos topped with cilantro and onion with options including al pastor, carne asada, carnitas, tripa (tripe), lengua (tongue), chorizo, barbacoa and pollo asido. Tacos del Mar are seafood-based tacos topped with chipotle sauce, cabbage and cotija, filled with shrimp, fish or calamari and scallops. Skinny Tacos are vegetarian options, the calabaza stuffed with spinach, corn and squash, or rajas con bongos with poblano pepper, mushrooms and corn. Finally, Tacos Guisados is an extensive menu of unique specialty choices, including mole and verde options. Mama & Papa’s Tacos opens at 11 a.m. daily, remaining open until 9 p.m. Sunday, 10 p.m.
Taqueria El Asador
We’re going alphabetically on this list, but we won’t fault you for thinking we’ve saved the best for last. Taqueria El Asador is undoubtedly Pensacola’s biggest claim to fame amongst taco fans. Nationally recognized among the country’s best taco restaurants by multiple outlets, including Business Insider and Yelp, this unassuming little shack, situated behind a Shell gas station at 7955 N. Davis Highway, doesn’t look like much. But it packs it where it counts, and the frequently long lines are all the testimonial you’ll need. Made with your choice of asada (steak), pastor (pork), pollo (chicken), chorizo (sausage), campechano (a mix of asada and chorizo) or lengua (beef tongue), the basic, street-size taco — on corn or flour tortillas — is simply pressed with cilantro, onion and lime. Go supreme for just a little more, with quest fresco, avocado, lettuce and tomato.