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Man (or woman) can’t live on tacos alone — but we can certainly try. That said, cafeteria-style hard tacos crammed with fatty ground beef and cheddar cheese aren’t exactly fuel for fitness. So, here’s our roundup of 11 Healthyish Taco Spots in Philadelphia that’ll help you live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday.
This West Philly favorite only recently went plant-based and caused quite a stir in the process! But, they’ve got a loyal fan base and a lot of new business following their switch from barbacoa to “carbacoa” (made of lentils and carrots) and from beef to “biff” (made of a spiced walnut “meat”) Our favorite is still their tried and true sweet potato tacos, a classic item from the original menu. Fitt Tip: wanna take a taste of Tom’s home with you? They sell their infamous hot sauce in bottle form!
Whether you’re coming in for a first date or happy hour, the tacos at Mission Taqueria on Sansom St. can’t be beat. They’re simple, delicious, and full of so many flavorful ingredients, you won’t even realize that the majority of them are (GASP) cheese-free! We are big fans of the grilled baby octopus with pea tendrils and the sweet and savory pork al pastor, sprinkled with pineapple! Fitt Tip: they offer margaritas with green and yellow fresh juice, making them one of the healthier cocktails to choose if you booze.
P.S. & Co.’s entire menu is not only gluten-free but plant-based, and their tacos are no exception. This Rittenhouse Square eatery’s breakfast tacos on sprouted corn tortillas have made us completely rethink nut cheeses as the wave of the future, while their Veracruz Tacos are stuffed with BBQ tempeh and packed with pickled pineapples. Try saying that five times fast.
Bright and boisterous, rowdy and ridiculous, this S. 13th St. restaurant’s decor is so vibrant, you might have trouble remembering to actually read the menu when you arrive. But a closer look reveals a taco selection full of fresh ingredients from the land and sea. You truly can’t go wrong with any of their corn tortilla tacos (great for gluten-free fiestas). That said, we never miss a chance to chow down on the vegetarian Colache Tacos with sautéed zucchini, corn, red bell peppers, and plum tomato and poblanos.
Think of El Rey in Center City West as the sexier hipster big sister of El Vez, with less flash but just as much flavor! The taco menu is simpler (divided by “chicken”, “tofu”, “brisket”, “fish”, etc), and most items are topped with a bit of onion and cilantro or assorted microgreens. The mood is more dark and more sultry. And best of all, during happy hour, these little tortilla treasures are only a buck each! Because financial health is important, too.
As a vegan in Philly, you might not always think of tacos as the most accessible of eats. Luckily, V Street’s plant-based street fare delivers on the good stuff. We’ve raved about this Rittenhouse Square spot before, but their KFT (Korean Fried Tempeh) Tacos packed with radish kimchee have us salivating just thinking about them. Or, let your taste buds trek to Vietnam with their Banh Mi Tacos filled with cured tofu and enough green chile goddess dressing to make you say AMEN!
Philadelphia isn’t exactly known as a coastal city (and we’d be pretty suspect to eat anything from the Schuylkill), but the fish tacos in Fairmount’s Buena Onda taste like they’re straight from the sea! While their fried fish is fine, it’s the tequila lime glazed tilapia that really gets us going. Feeling like more of a crustacean sensation? Get the jumbo Pacific shrimp with a red cabbage slaw for that extra crunch!
Rittenhouse’s Revolution Taco offers two of our favorite vegan tacos in town. Their BBQ Spiced Cauliflower Tacos topped with chipotle sundried tomato slaw and cilantro bring just the right kind of heat, and we wish we could bathe in the avocado chimichurri that’s drizzled over their Smoked Mushroom Tacos! Fitt Tip: they’ve got an abundance of sauces all over the Scoville scale to completely customize your culinary experience.
Graduate Hospital isn’t exactly known for having a slew of gourmet dining options, but we are always willing to make the trip it if means Cafe Ynez! Fresh corn tortillas, smoked jalapeño salsa, and proteins like sautéed shrimp, succulent carnitas, and sizable slices of avocado and zesty beans keep us coming back again and again. Fitt Tip: make Ynez your destination next Taco Tuesday — $7 gets you three tacos!
Loco Pez is actually home to Fishtown’s worst-kept secret: follow them on Instagram for the surprise announcement of the occasional $1 taco day (pretty healthy for your wallet)! These tiny tacos pack a powerful punch of flavor and are typically topped with just a bit of onion and cilantro, letting the ingredients speak for themselves! Plus, if you’re craving the taco taste without the shells, their taco salad (while a bit pricier) is full of all the ingredients and practically none of the carbs. Not in the Fishtown area? Check out their West Philly location, though, this spot is only open for dinner.
The Italian Market seems like the ideal neighborhood to seek out authentic cuisine, and it doesn’t get more authentic than the hole-in-the-wall South Philly Barbacoa. Their hours can be tough if you don’t work in the area (as they close around 3pm on weekdays), but take a trip on the weekend to fill your belly with the freshest lamb and ground pork outside of Mexico! Spice things up with a serve yourself salsa bar to pique any piquante palate!
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