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Adobada (al pastor) being sliced off the spit
Adobada sliced off the spit at Tacos El Tucan
Tacos El Tucán

20 East Bay Taquerias and Food Trucks That Are Slinging Excellent Tacos for Takeout

Thankfully, a taco truck is a “takeout-only” venture by its very nature

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Adobada sliced off the spit at Tacos El Tucan
| Tacos El Tucán

At this point, it’s hardly news to point out that local restaurants have had a hard time adjusting to the new reality of shuttered dining rooms and takeout-only service. For the East Bay’s vast network of excellent, mostly immigrant-run taquerias and taco trucks, however, in many ways not that much has changed: A taco truck is, for the most part, a takeout-only operation by its very nature. And tacos are a wonderfully portable food — though. to be fair, you may be tempted scarf them down in the car, while the fillings and tortillas are still nice and hot. It’s no wonder, then, that the vast majority of the East Bay’s best taco spots have remained open for takeout throughout the coronavirus crisis. Some have tweaked their hours a little bit. Some are doing delivery or online ordering for the first time.

One thing’s for sure: A taco (or five) from any of these 20 great East Bay taquerias and taco trucks that are open for takeout is sure to bring a bit of much-needed happiness to your day.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

El Chaparro

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The Hidalgo-style lamb barbacoa specialist is open for takeout during its regular hours (8 a.m.–9 p.m. and open at 7 a.m. on the weekends). What could be more satisfying, during this extended shelter-in-place period, than a big pile of slow-cooked meat? Order tacos, or get your barbacoa by the pound and build your own at home. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order a tub of the rich, clarifying consomé — the perfect thing to sip between bites. Call in or order at the counter.

El Chaparro’s barbacoa, with tortillas, consomé, three salsas, onions, cilantro, and lime wedges Luke Tsai

La Selva Taqueria

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The specialty at this rainforest-themed taqueria in Richmond’s 23rd Street taco corridor is its pollo al carbonwhole spatchcocked chickens grilled over charcoal in a garage adjacent to the restaurant. The chicken comes out supremely smoky and succulent, and the bright, zippy housemade salsas are a cut above. Order your tacos a la carte, or for the perfect family meal, order the whole chicken plate, which comes with rice, beans, and warm tortillas. Since the COVID-19 crisis, the restaurant has also started offering delivery via DoorDash.

La Selva’s half-chicken plate, with rice and beans, in a to-go container Luke Tsai

Tacos El Chino

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A high-quality taco truck with a large and lovely outdoor seating area (not open currently, of course), Tacos El Chino is open for takeout 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Noah Cho

Los Mexicanos Deli

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In a neighborhood replete with taquerias, always-bustling Los Mexicanos stands out for its all-around consistency — there isn’t really a badly executed meat on the menu (though the suadero, the al pastor, and the cueritos, or braised pork skin, are paricular standouts). It’s also home to some of the best tortas in the city — specifically a gut-busting carnitas number. The restaurant is open for takeout 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and it’s offering delivery service via Postmates.

Carnitas torta at Los Mexicanos Luke Tsai

Portumex

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This old-school taqueria hits the spot if you’re in the mood from Mexican-American style hard-shell tacos filled with seasoned ground beef. The restaurant has an intimidatingly broad menu, but you’ll eat very well if you order wisely: For a change of pace, try the chiles rellenos or the grilled fish tacos. The restaurant is open for takeout its usual hours, and it’s now doing delivery via Grubhub and Uber Eats.

Noah Cho

Tacos El Tucan

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Normally the site of long lines at all times of day, this Richmond taqueria practices all the hallmarks of the Tijuana-style taco: handmade tortillas; flame-grilled meats; and, on top of every taco, quesataco, or mulita, a big dollop of guacamole. Both the carne asada and adobada — a red-hued style of al pastor, sliced straight off the spit — are second to none. They’re accepting phone orders and doing delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates.

A plate of Tijuana-style quesatacos Luke Tsai

Maya Taqueria

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Quaint Point Richmond’s top taco destination — known for al pastor cooked on the trompo — is open for takeout only, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Tacos El Autlense

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Even during non-pandemic times, this taco truck — a fixture outside the Hotsy Totsy Club cocktail bar — was a takeout-only operation that discouraged loitering, so not much has changed other than the truck’s hours, which have been scaled back to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. All the tacos are solid, but in particular the al pastor is wonderfully flavorful with nice crisp edges, and the salsas are bright and punchy.

A trio of tacos from Tacos El Autlense Luke Tsai

Tacos Panzon

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This long-running West Oakland taco truck serves some of the area’s finest carne asada and al pastor tacos. It remains open during lunchtime hours only, Monday through Friday, noon to 2 p.m. There’s never been any seating to speak of anyway, so this is your classic grab-and-go experience.

Noah Cho

Rico Rico Taco

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Known for its trompo-cooked al pastor, this Lakeshore taqueria is open for takeout, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except on Saturdays when it opens at 10 a.m. Order online for contactless payment and pickup. The taqueria is also accepting phone and in-person counter orders. They’ve got nice Baja-style fried fish tacos here as well.

Noah Cho

Xingones at Fort Green

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As popular for its fried chicken as it is for its tacos — and, for the best of both worlds, its fried chicken tacos — Xingones is open for takeout (with pineapple margaritas to boot) from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Call in or order online for contactless pickup. Also available for pre-order a day in advance: DIY taco and fried chicken meal kits.

Four tacos at the Xingones pop-up Noah Cho

Tacos Mi Rancho

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The Lake Merritt standby is still parked in its usual spot, slinging very solid tacos at almost any time of day — from 10:30 a.m. to 1 or 1:30 a.m. most nights. With so many other late-night spots either closed or operating at drastically reduced hours, the truck is a boon to takeout taco eaters looking to satisfy a post-midnight craving.

Noah Cho

La Santa Torta

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The popular birria truck is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., at its permanent spot in Oakland’s Jack London district (with occasional appearances in Richmond and beyond), serving its usual menu of birria “red tacos,” tortas, churros, and consomé. Order online or at the truck, and check their Instagram page for updates to their schedule. People in need can always ask for a free meal here.

Three birria tacos on a paper plate, with a wedge of lime Noah Cho

Taqueria Reynoso

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This Fruitvale taqueria features a number of relatively hard-to-find offerings like crunchy tacos dorados and bean- and cheese-laden “tongo”-style tacos. The barbacoa is especially choice. Reynoso is currently open daily for takeout from 10 a.m. to 7:30 or 8 p.m., depending on how much business there is. Even better, it’s offering free delivery to much of the East Bay from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. every day, dropping orders off in Oakland, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, and Richmond. Order online.

Noah Cho

Aguachiles El Tamarindo Taco Truck

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Like every other taco spot in town, it seems, Aguachiles El Tamarindo has recently jumped on the quesabirria hype train, but the real reason to come here is for all manner of seafood tacos, from the fiery camarones a la diabla to one of the better fried fish tacos in town. Open for takeout 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Call in, order at the truck, or get delivery via Uber Eats or DoorDash.

Noah Cho

La Grana Fish

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Newly embedded in its new spot adjacent to the Aloha Club bar, one of Oakland’s most popular taco trucks is now slinging quesabirria in the heart of Fruitvale — on weekends only for now, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also on the menu: loaded baked potatoes and assorted seafood tacos. Call in, line up (with six-foot social distancing), or order delivery via DoorDash.

Close-up view of the quesabirria Karina

Taqueria El Paisa@.com

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There’s a strong argument to be made that El Paisa@.com’s tacos are as good as any you can find anywhere in Northern California. The place is a meat lover’s paradise, especially if you like offal cuts like cabeza, sesos (brains), and luxuriously tender slow-cooked tripa (beef tripe). A word to the wise: Even the mildest salsa options pack serious heat. Call in your to-go orders.

Tacos at Taqueria El Paisa@.com Noah Cho

United Mexican Food

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The San Leandro taqueria specializes is known for its seafood dishes and for serving not one, not two, but three different kinds of Jaliscan-style birria (beef, goat, and lamb), which you can order in taco form, as a plate, or just as the traditional stew. The restaurant is open for takeout 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Noah Cho

Taqueria Senaida's

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The drive-thru is open at this Hayward institution, and the line of cars waiting to place their orders is as long as ever. The ground beef hard-shell crispy tacos are the thing to get here, and the SoCal-style carne asada fries are also excellent.

Noah Cho

Los Carnalitos La Mejor Comida Chilanga

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The tables in the dining room are all cleared out, but this Mexico City-style strip mall taqueria is still cranking out excellent tacos and assorted regional specialties. The al pastor is very good here, as are the crunchy, deep-fried gorditas de chicharron. Call in, order at the counter, or get delivery via Uber Eats or Grubhub.

Noah Cho

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El Chaparro

El Chaparro’s barbacoa, with tortillas, consomé, three salsas, onions, cilantro, and lime wedges Luke Tsai

The Hidalgo-style lamb barbacoa specialist is open for takeout during its regular hours (8 a.m.–9 p.m. and open at 7 a.m. on the weekends). What could be more satisfying, during this extended shelter-in-place period, than a big pile of slow-cooked meat? Order tacos, or get your barbacoa by the pound and build your own at home. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order a tub of the rich, clarifying consomé — the perfect thing to sip between bites. Call in or order at the counter.

El Chaparro’s barbacoa, with tortillas, consomé, three salsas, onions, cilantro, and lime wedges Luke Tsai

La Selva Taqueria

La Selva’s half-chicken plate, with rice and beans, in a to-go container Luke Tsai

The specialty at this rainforest-themed taqueria in Richmond’s 23rd Street taco corridor is its pollo al carbonwhole spatchcocked chickens grilled over charcoal in a garage adjacent to the restaurant. The chicken comes out supremely smoky and succulent, and the bright, zippy housemade salsas are a cut above. Order your tacos a la carte, or for the perfect family meal, order the whole chicken plate, which comes with rice, beans, and warm tortillas. Since the COVID-19 crisis, the restaurant has also started offering delivery via DoorDash.

La Selva’s half-chicken plate, with rice and beans, in a to-go container Luke Tsai

Tacos El Chino

Noah Cho

A high-quality taco truck with a large and lovely outdoor seating area (not open currently, of course), Tacos El Chino is open for takeout 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Noah Cho

Los Mexicanos Deli

Carnitas torta at Los Mexicanos Luke Tsai

In a neighborhood replete with taquerias, always-bustling Los Mexicanos stands out for its all-around consistency — there isn’t really a badly executed meat on the menu (though the suadero, the al pastor, and the cueritos, or braised pork skin, are paricular standouts). It’s also home to some of the best tortas in the city — specifically a gut-busting carnitas number. The restaurant is open for takeout 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and it’s offering delivery service via Postmates.

Carnitas torta at Los Mexicanos Luke Tsai

Portumex

Noah Cho

This old-school taqueria hits the spot if you’re in the mood from Mexican-American style hard-shell tacos filled with seasoned ground beef. The restaurant has an intimidatingly broad menu, but you’ll eat very well if you order wisely: For a change of pace, try the chiles rellenos or the grilled fish tacos. The restaurant is open for takeout its usual hours, and it’s now doing delivery via Grubhub and Uber Eats.

Noah Cho

Tacos El Tucan

A plate of Tijuana-style quesatacos Luke Tsai

Normally the site of long lines at all times of day, this Richmond taqueria practices all the hallmarks of the Tijuana-style taco: handmade tortillas; flame-grilled meats; and, on top of every taco, quesataco, or mulita, a big dollop of guacamole. Both the carne asada and adobada — a red-hued style of al pastor, sliced straight off the spit — are second to none. They’re accepting phone orders and doing delivery via Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates.

A plate of Tijuana-style quesatacos Luke Tsai

Maya Taqueria

Quaint Point Richmond’s top taco destination — known for al pastor cooked on the trompo — is open for takeout only, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Tacos El Autlense

A trio of tacos from Tacos El Autlense Luke Tsai

Even during non-pandemic times, this taco truck — a fixture outside the Hotsy Totsy Club cocktail bar — was a takeout-only operation that discouraged loitering, so not much has changed other than the truck’s hours, which have been scaled back to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. All the tacos are solid, but in particular the al pastor is wonderfully flavorful with nice crisp edges, and the salsas are bright and punchy.

A trio of tacos from Tacos El Autlense Luke Tsai

Tacos Panzon

Noah Cho

This long-running West Oakland taco truck serves some of the area’s finest carne asada and al pastor tacos. It remains open during lunchtime hours only, Monday through Friday, noon to 2 p.m. There’s never been any seating to speak of anyway, so this is your classic grab-and-go experience.

Noah Cho

Rico Rico Taco

Noah Cho

Known for its trompo-cooked al pastor, this Lakeshore taqueria is open for takeout, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except on Saturdays when it opens at 10 a.m. Order online for contactless payment and pickup. The taqueria is also accepting phone and in-person counter orders. They’ve got nice Baja-style fried fish tacos here as well.

Noah Cho

Xingones at Fort Green

Four tacos at the Xingones pop-up Noah Cho

As popular for its fried chicken as it is for its tacos — and, for the best of both worlds, its fried chicken tacos — Xingones is open for takeout (with pineapple margaritas to boot) from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Call in or order online for contactless pickup. Also available for pre-order a day in advance: DIY taco and fried chicken meal kits.

Four tacos at the Xingones pop-up Noah Cho

Tacos Mi Rancho