A Region-Wide Taco Guide


Discover Peoria


While everyone has their favorite taco spot or neighborhood gem, there are some local standouts that may not yet be on your radar. The following roundup includes stellar tacos from restaurants specializing in everything from mariscos to birria, along with some vegetarian versions and upscale chef offerings. Here are some of our must-try, tortilla-bound picks from the traditional and beyond.

1-11 Taco  {Wyoming}   //   1-11 Taco slings Tijuana-style tacos that are as real as it gets. Just like south of the border, you can get your fill of authentic shells loaded with carne asada, al pastor, and chorizo.

Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern  {Peoria}   //   Although Blue Duck may not be top of mind for tacos, their interpretation of this classic dish is both Asian and Mexican cuisine inspired. These are definitely ones not to be overlooked!

Blue Margaritas  {Peoria + Washington}   //   Get your fill at this area staple specializing in the art of Mexico’s rich, meaty classics. While the traditional street tacos are always a hit, the crispy baja fish and BBQ pork are also flavorful crowd favorites.

Casa de Arte  {Peoria}   //   Cooking up made-to-order, street-style tacos in the Jalisco tradition, this Warehouse District spotlight is best known for its award-winning al pastor or campechanos tacos.

Catrina’s Express  {Peoria}   //   One of downtown’s favorites, Catrina’s has been authentic Mexican cuisine's go-to breakfast and lunch spot. One bite of a carne asada or shrimp taco is enough to warrant a second visit.

Cayenne  {Peoria Heights}   //   This standout spot for unique taco twists is on the main drag in Peoria Heights, making it a convenient place to stop and refuel. With patio seating, Cayenne features a vast menu of unique flavor combinations, including fried mac + cheese in the Mac Daddy taco, chipotle BBQ jackfruit in the Leaf Eater Taco, General Tso chicken in the Tso Good taco, and more.

Cuco’s Tacos  {Peoria}   //   Not only does Cuco’s tackle authentic Mexicano in an incredible way, but they also put a modern and much-needed spin on traditional classics with their Picadillo, Chorizo, Cabeza, and Lengua tacos. 

El Mexicano Restaurant  {Peoria}   //   El Mexicano is remarked as a delicious, casual, authentic, and affordable spot for Mexican cuisine. Their menu includes favorite dishes such as tacos, burritos, tamales and more.

El Molcajete Mexican Restaurant  {Chillicothe}   //   El Molcajete is not without some tasty taco action. Swing by for drinks and Mexico City-style tacos filled with steak, grilled chicken, carnitas, or al pastor.

El Taco Loco  {Peoria}   //   El Taco Loco showcases slow-cooked birria, made with beef shoulder cuts simmered in vibrant broth seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, and guajillo chiles. Say yes to cilantro and onions, give that lime a squeeze, and chow down on some of the best tacos in Peoria.

Good Tequilas Mexican  {Peoria + PekinPeoria Heights}   //   Good Tequilas has built up a local empire built on a foundation of fresh takes on traditional tacos. Standouts include the Tacos De Azada and the Molcajete wrapped up in steaming flour tortillas.

Hacienda Cantina + Grill  {Pekin}   //   The locally-based taco outfit slings amazing tacos. Offering classic proteins and amazingly seasoned veggie-friendly items—don’t miss the Tacos al Cilantro, Tacos de Lengua, or the Birria Taco.

Hacienda El Mirador  {Peoria}   //   This Junction City anchor is a must-visit for multiple reasons: 1. phenomenal tacos, and 2. they’re open late! This is the perfect place to get your taco fix when you’re out enjoying the Peoria nightlife scene but suddenly realize you’re hungry. 

Jalapeños  {Peoria}   //   In the Metro Centre, Jalapeños impresses with a combination of tasty tacos and cocktails served inside a stylish, urban dining space. The grilled steak taco is a winner any day of the week, but so are the Baja taco and the vegetarian-friendly Tacos de Vegetal.

Jimador Authentic Mexican Cuisine  {Peoria}   //   This Campustown institution cranks out delightful fried tacos and flautas stuffed with pork or chicken, flour tortillas, and refried beans. While lines can get long, your patience will be rewarded at the counter.

Lorena’s Mexican Restaurant  {East Peoria}   //   Using family recipes, everything here is made from scratch, from the fresh, hand-pressed tortillas to the carnitas that are marinated overnight and smoked rather than cooked in lard. For a true taste of Lorena’s, try the Memo’s Special.

Los Cabos Cantina + Grill  {Peoria}   //    Indulge in an authentic margarita while enjoying your favorite dish and relax on the shaded patio. Los Cabos is along the Rock Island Trail, making hopping off for a no-fuss lunch easy!

Los Charros  {Havana}   //   Taking the “less is more” concept to a whole new level is Los Charros. This cozy, brick-front eatery offers a no-frills, simple-yet-oh-so-satisfying menu of tacos (and other delicacies) made with your choice of shrimp, carne asada, chicken, or al pastor.

Mariachi Mexican Bar + Grill  {Washington + Peoria}   //   Find a great list of vegetarian and vegan-friendly tacos at Mariachi’s—seasonal veggies, shiitake mushrooms, and vegan “meats” are among your many filling options. Omnivores fear not, Mariachi’s has plenty of traditional taco proteins and homestyle Mexican dishes too.

Mi Ranchito  {Elmwood}   //    Nestled comfortably on the square downtown, Mi Ranchito gives Elmwood a great place to refresh with a marg, mounds of chips and guac, and a variety of fun, fresh and oh-so-tasty tacos.

Perico’s Fast Tacos  {Peoria}   //   This local gem features carnitas that are as authentic as it gets. Order a pound or half-pound of the succulent fried pork and dig in with the provided tortillas and accompanying toppings.

Rancho Nuevo  {Canton}   //    This local Canton gem has been churning out all the Mexican food classics you're familiar with, plus a couple of specialties, including signature huevos con chorizo and Pollo Cancun tacos.

Rudy’s Mexican Cantina + Grill  {Peoria}   //   Rudy’s serves some of the best tacos in town. Order a heaping plate of tacos made with fillings that range from carne asada and carnitas to el pastor and pescado, to everything in between. 

Sombrerito Mexican Restaurant  {East Peoria}   //   Local taco connoisseurs will already know this little East Peoria hole-in-the-wall. The tacos come crispy or soft, filled with the traditional offerings of shrimp, chicken, steak, fish, and pork carnitas. But for one-of-a-kind tacos, try the grilled chicken or shrimp tacos.

Taco El Gallo  {East Peoria}   //   Taco El Gallo continues to please both locals and East Peoria visitors with delicious tacos, solid drinks, and a great atmosphere. The quesabirria taco is a must. 

Tequila’s Mexican Bar + Grill  {East Peoria}   //   The tacos and dinner plates topped with rich, tender meat have earned Tequila’s a near-religious following among those in the know. Taco al Grill remains the house special, but you can’t go wrong with any item on the menu.

Discover Peoria

Discover Peoria, IL