Battle of the Tacos: A List of Some of the Best Tacos in the Metro

One of man’s greatest inventions is the glorious taco. A dish made with a base of soft tortilla and a filling of different proteins or vegetables, if constructed right, it becomes this beautiful, scrumptious, and oh so addicting creation from the heavens. Manila is teeming with restaurants each having their version of the taco, from sisig tacos to adobo tacos. But which one actually serves the best?

After a lot of research, a lot of taco eating, and weight gaining, we have come up with a list of five restaurants, each serving their version of the taco.

Five different restaurants, five different price points, five different experiences; I sacrificed my waist line just to find out who makes the best taco. I present to you my personal top five tacos in Manila.

battle of the taco - tittos

5. Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew

16 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig

Our first contender is from the north. All the way from the heart of Pasig, Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew is a cool and hip place that offers their take on the Latin cuisine.

Their menu includes five kinds of street tacos. They even offer a non-meat option for all the vegetarians out there. For my research, I ordered their Beef Barbacoa and Sisig Taco. Their Beef Barbacoa Taco is slow cooked beef belly in a black tortilla, served with chimichurri, pico de gallo, pickled onions, and slaw. The meat was seasoned beautifully. It had a robust flavor and almost had a smoky taste to it. The textures were great. The slaw was nice and crunchy but had a bit too much mayo for my liking.

The Sisig Taco, on the other hand, consisted of pork mascara, tortilla, onions, chilies, melted cheese, liver sauce, and chicharones. The sisig tasted very traditional. It was nice and crispy. You also have the acidity of the calamansi which was great for cutting the fattiness of the sisig.

READ: Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew: Must-Try Latin Restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig

battle of the tacos - drive by taco shop

4. Drive by Taco Shop

167 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Paranaque

If you don’t mind eating next to a car wash, this place is for you. Drive by Taco Shop is a Mexican diner right next to a car wash. They open at 4pm until 10pm. They serve nachos, burritos, and tacos. Everything you will want from a Mexican restaurant.

Their taco menu is very interesting, combining Filipino flavors with Mexican. They even use alcohol like tequila and beer in their tacos! Plus, they make their own corn tortilla. They have this little corner where they hand make all their tortilla. It’s really fun to watch. I ordered their Calamansi and Tequila Chicken Taco and their Beef Sirloin Taco. I loved the chicken. It tasted like a savory cocktail. You have acidity of the calamansi and the subtle kick of the tequila then another kick from the cilantro. The chicken was so flavorful and moist, while the beef in the Beef Sirloin Taco was very tender. The flavors were so bold and sultry. Plus their tortilla was so good.

The service may not have been the best because we waited almost 30-45 minutes for just two tacos, but the food was awesome. I will surely be back and maybe order a few cocktails as well.

battle of the tacos - la chinesca

3. La Chinesca

248C Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Paranaque

If you blink you might miss this small but memorable Mexican joint. A contender from the South pushes the taco creativity to the next level with their unusual combinations. La Chinesca offers a modern twist to the humble street taco.

Their menu consists of things you wouldn’t usually see in a taco, from watermelon to pinipig. I ordered their Guisada De Res (stewed beef shoulder, lengua, bell pepper, and pinipig), Carne Asada (hanging tender, esquites, chinesca crema and salsa fresca), Tripitas (beef intestines, watermelon, chile de arbol, onions, and cilantro) and Carnitas (achiote pork confit, bean puree, pickled onions, roasted pineapple, and chicharon). Everything was an adventure of flavors and textures. I loved how they incorporated fruit into their tacos. It gave it a nice refreshing taste and burst of flavorperfect for the Philippine weather. The textures were wonderful as each taco had something crunchy and something soft.

battle of the taco - silantro

2. Silantro

75 East Capitol Druce, Kapitolyo, Pasig
P110 for triple choice of meat

The restaurant that made me fall in love with tacos is Silantro. All the way from the south I go through all that traffic just to have a bite of Silantro’s soft tacos.

In Silantro, you have a choice of seven types of protein. They have beef, fish, pork, lamb, chicken, lengua, and oxtail. You then choose how many meats you want in your taco. You can choose Ligero (one type of meat), Medio (two types of meat) and my favorite, Completo (three types of meat). So if you want your protein fix, their Completo is perfect for you.

My Completo consists of lamb, lengua, and oxtail. Their meats are so tender that they almost melt in your mouth. With a slight sweetness to it and a tinge of saltiness, their tacos carry a very Filipino taste. And don’t forget Silantor’s oh-so-glorious sauces. All dishes come with three types of sauces. One is garlic cream and the other two are the hot sauce and green sauce, the last of which I want a whole bottle of in my kitchen.

Silantro offers really good food with a really reasonable price point. Their service is also great. And the food is what dreams are made of. Silantro is my long distance relationship that actually works.

battle of the tacos - lagrima

1. Lagrima

G/F BSA Mansion 108 Benavidez Street, Legazpi Village, Makati
P300 for 3 pieces of 4” tortilla

In a little space in Benavidez street, Makati is a hip restaurant, still in its soft opening stage, called Lagrima. They offer Mexican dishes from the good ol’ burrito to the very interesting Elote. But today, it’s all about the taco.

You step into their restaurant and you are smacked in the face with the smell of meat, onions, and a hint of cilantro. We were then greeted by the door by who seemed to be the owner. He explained to us how their menu works and, luckily, seated us at the bar. The bar will always be the best seat in the house. Facing the kitchen while enjoying your meal is the best ambiance you will ever get. You get to experience the hustle and bustle of the kitchen while being in a safe distance from the heat and the very sharp knives.

Their dishes are all made with locally sourced ingredients (Philippines represent!). They have seven types of meat to choose from and one vegetarian option. I chose their Carnitas (slow braised pork), Al Pastor (grilled marinated pork) and Buche (braised pork stomach). All three were to die for. The flavors were so bold. The Al Pastor had this slight sweetness from the pineapple, while the Carnitas and Buche had that nice charred flavor. The flavors were simple but still an explosion in your mouth. You have the homemade tortilla, then you have the robust but sexy flavors of the meat, then you are hit with the crunch of the onions, then the acidity of the lime, then you top it all off with a little of their spicy sauce. It’s just perfection on a plate. They treated the taco as a taco. No fuss; just a plain taco in all its glory. Lagrima now has the number one spot in my tiny taco loving heart.

Did your favorite taco in Manila make it to this list? If not, tell us your favorite and we’ll try it out next! Hit us up in the comments!


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