Top Taco | Showcase of the Best Tacos in Denver

Once a year when summer finally starts, Top Taco takes Denver as the largest taco and tequila festival. In its fifth year, over 60 local restaurants participate in serving up hundreds of their top tacos and cocktails to hungry Denverites. The event has grown into a large-scale taco and tequila extravaganza with two live music stages, lucha libre wresting, lounge areas, lots of giveaways from the booths and vendors, and some of the best chefs and mixologists in Denver. Be sure to scroll the gallery below.

A ticket provides guests unlimited tacos and drink samples, and there are over 50 brands of tequila and other spirits served straight and/or in cocktail form to get you every penny’s worth of your ticket price. There’s also plenty of water and other non-boozy beverages available to keep you in check, in fact, this festival wins for best water stations and tasting trays of any foodie festival I’ve been to. There were large coolers set up around the grounds full of ice and water bottles, and I never saw them run low. Everyone receives a tray upon entry, and they were properly sized, made of sturdy plastic, and had a great built in cup holder. These trays let you fit a few tacos, a cocktail, and a shot on your tray before retreating to eat.

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While we’ll get to the judge’s choice and people’s choice winners, we want to tell you which tacos and cocktails we thought were standouts! If you’re game for rabbit, you’ve got to try the rabbit taco with crunchy potato from Lola Coastal Mexican. I actually went back for another later in the night and one of their bright hibiscus margaritas. The Edge Steakhouse served a high-end steak taco with bacon that was so flavorful and juicy. Their thyme infused margarita was also one of our favorites because it had a nice balance of flavors and wasn’t overly sweet like many of the other drinks we tried. For Most Creative, Range served a Mediterranean style taco on a pita with taziki and radish. For the Traditional taco category our favorites were Adelitas Cocina, Comida, Que Bueno Suerte and Uno Mas Taqueria.

Now for the Judges and People’s Choice winners, and these may have been the best, but apparently we didn’t make it to the winning taco tables – there was just so much to do, and drink, and eat!! For Traditional Taco Los Dos Potrillos Mexican Restaurant took first place from the judges, but Adobo Food Truck won People’s Choice. Necio Latin Eatery won Judge’s Best Creative Taco and Dos Santos won their Best Vegetarian vote. The Top Cocktail winner was from Former Saint (inside Hyatt Regency), Los Chingones took second, and in third place was Los Dos Potrillos Mexican Restaurant (they also won best traditional taco).

Just like Top Taco festival, Denver has a ton of taco restaurants that deserve a visit. Tacos are cheap (usually), so go out and eat and find your favorites. Top Taco 2018 supported Denver Urban Scholars, a non-profit service organization, that partners with high poverty, high performing schools to unlock the potential of students facing added challenges by creating individual pathways to career and college.

Written by Tiffany Candelaria     Photos by Bridget Burnett

Tacolandia's Top Tacos And More

One of the many tasty tacos at Tacolandia. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacolandia put on by Westword was a fiesta to say the least. The festival celebrated authentic street tacos by offering unlimited samples from over 40 taquerias and Mexican restaurants around Denver. Guests also enjoyed live entertainment, a car show, cash bars and great people watching in the heart of Civic Center Park.

Taco pimps slanging their warm tortillas with morsels of heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

A VIP ticket gave you early access to the festival grounds, which was worth it, depending on how fast you can eat tacos. A full hour of early entry without the lines caused us to go into a taco-eating frenzy, followed by a taco coma. The coma timing was just right, coinciding with GA entry at 4pm, whence we made our way over to the VIP section to relax at a nice table in the shade, with drinks of course. VIP tickets included 2 cocktail or sangria drinks and a Bud Light, which pays for itself at most events where beers and cocktails are $7+, which was the case at Tacolandia. The VIP ticket holders were also treated to Lola Costal Mexican based in the Highlands. They had three tacos to choose from, including one of the only fish tacos we saw at the event, a "sustainably sourced red fish". After picking your tacos you moved to a toppings table with different salsas, a Serrano creama, kimchee vegetables, hot carrots, onions and cilantro. And last, they provided two aguas frescas, one a cherry base and one with a medley of melons. Those were delicious and so very vital on a hot day full of hot tacos!

Los Chingones with our favorite taco of the day. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

One of the non-traditional tacos featured Octopus. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

So let’s talk top tacos, because we all want to know where to eat bomb tacos in Denver. El Tejado was notable, as not only did they give you three tacos, but they were so tasty! They also had a very homey, welcoming feel, which translated in everything we tasted there.  Los Chingones served up one of the best looking tacos, with a colorful veggie slaw, pineapple and cilantro atop seasoned short rib. This taco was one I wanted to eat over and over again, but literally couldn’t because we had to try as many tacos as possible. Garibaldi's had a red chorizo taco that was so simple (there were no toppings, maybe they ran out) yet so delicious. Whatever they season their chorizo with and soak it in made it very flavorful, juicy/greasy(?) and so red that the juices stained our hands! Chuey Fu's food truck was onsite with four different taco options: roasted corn & black bean, char shu pork, Korean beef & the ancho chicken taco with peanut sesame sauce that was one of our favorites. Our final favorite was not a taco at all, but a shrimp ceviche from Suerte. Simple, fresh, and traditional.  Overall, there were only a couple veggie tacos, a couple seafood items, we found a lamb taco, but mostly it was beef and pork varieties with onions and cilantro as the popular topping.

Overall the event was a success, as we heard from random attendees that it was an easy decision to purchase GA tickets to the event and that they had in fact eaten enough tacos to make the price a bargain. Despite most lines becoming enormous once general admission was let in and vendors running out before close, we still heard happy remarks for the most part.

Aside from tacos, there were vendors sampling some tasty treats. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Tacos and Classic Cars = A match made in heaven. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

Plus, in addition to tasty tacos, the GA sections also offered refreshing treats and drinks from Jarritos, Neveria Jadeney, Little Man Ice Cream and Aiko Pops. There was also live music, dance performers and the Tacolandia Car Show presented by the Saints & Sinners Car Club and seating options throughout so people could relax, eat, dance, etc.

We’ll be back, and we suggest you come VIP with us!

https://www.westwordtacolandia.com/