If you ask ten Austinites about their favorite taco in town, you will get ten different answers. Austin is awash in delicious taco options, ranging from dingy authentic carts to high quality sit-down taquerias. Torchy’s exists in both worlds, with well crafted tacos that riff on the best of Tex-Mex. The locations come in three varieties: trailers, holes-in-the-wall, and beautifully designed modern spaces that justify the premium taco price in themselves.
What to Order
Truthfully there are two best tacos at Torchy’s. The first is the Fried Avocado. This meatless wonder is crunchy and creamy, topped with refried beans, pico, lettuce, and cheese. It’s hearty and refreshing at once, presenting a perfect world in which we don’t really need to eat meat to be satisfied. The poblano sauce is tangy and creamy, with just enough spice to stand up to the refried beans. The avocado itself is fried without being greasy; it doesn’t way you down, instead giving a smooth avocado a deliciously crisp exterior.
Where the fried avocado taco is satisfying in its meatlessness, the Democrat is the meatiest taco in town. It is perhaps the platonic ideal of a barbacoa taco, with shredded beef that is at time shockingly tender. If you have trouble justifying the $4 price tag, do note that it contains at least three times as much meat as most $2 barbacoa tacos. To sweeten the deal, the Democrat is topped with avocado, queso fresco, and onion, providing contrast and interest to an otherwise overwhelmingly meaty taco.
You can certainly get a more authentic taco elsewhere. You can get cheaper tacos all over town. Torchy’s makes delicious, culinarily sound tacos that are uniquely Austin. With their growing list of locations, and their ever-expanding menu, Torchy’s is poised to take over the fast-casual dining scene. I, for one, welcome our new taco overlords.