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

Tacos, Tequila and Margaritas. Top Taco Returns To Denver!

Top Taco Festival Often Imitated Never Duplicated!

Last Thursday Denver local restaurants and vendors gathered in RiNo for a evening of tacos, tequila, music, and plenty more. We left with full, happy bellies and slightly sad livers as we tried to take advantage of everything Top Taco had to offer!

VIP attendees were able to access the event and all of it’s taco glory an hour before the GA patrons flooded in. Since we’re, ya know, a pretty big deal around here, we were lucky enough to snag a few VIP access tickets. We made sure to make as many stops as we could. A nice base layer for the many tequilas to come, if you will. Judging by the silent disco, we had an idea of who was there for the margaritas and tequila only.

Illegal Pete's with the bomb shrimp tacos!

Tacos Tequila Whiskey blessed us first with a tasty “Desert Rose Paloma.” Sweet, tangy and the large volume left us light on our feet and excited for what else was to be discovered. After we were handed a few mysterious tacos, later learning they were goat tacos. We were not fans. MOVING ON! We made our first real taco stop to see our good friends at Illegal Pete’s. On the menu was a tofu taco and a sweet sriracha shrimp taco. Throughout the day we made several returning stops to their booth for the sriracha shrimp taco. This was by far one of our favorite Top Taco tacos. It was surprisingly simplistic but so flavorful. The marinated shrimp was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and lightly topped with cabbage left no frilly distractions from the delicious meat. Illegal Pete’s used this opportunity as a test run as they may add the sriracha shrimp to their menu! Make sure to let them know how awesome it was if you got a chance to try it!

All The Tacos!

Downtown Denver’s La Loma satisfied our sweet tooth with warm churros drizzled in chocolate sauce. They were a crowd favorite as we failed to even get seconds of the treat! South Broadway’s Palenque Mezcaleria had a bomb ass ceviche. You would never think mango and shrimp would go so well together but they made it happen!

Pineapple Express from Patron!

Feeling the need for a boozy refreshment, we made our way to the Blue Nectar tent to sample some tasty, craft tequila. It’s a hard life, really. Our favorite was the dark, musky añejo. After a few laps through the main event area, it was on to see what the VIP area had to offer! Patron promotions were in full force with a boomerang photo scene set up and two bars offering craft margaritas. The Pineapple Express marg was tart and refreshing! We got to observe the trendy, fresh-rolled ice cream making process and eat the cookies and cream treat. Ice cream at a taco festival, who would have thought? (Next year hoping for Choco Tacos)

Owl Bear serving up delicious BBQ Brisket Tacos to the VIP crowd!

The added cost of VIP was worth it as luxury trailer bathrooms were provided as well as access to a handful of BBQ taco vendors. Owl Bear provided for one of those moments you realize why you were put on this Earth, and that is to enjoy their heavily brisket taco that almost melted in our mouth. (Patiently waiting for their brick & mortar location to open)

Don't stop until we say so!

If you love modern mexican cuisine and craft cocktails, this isn’t an event to miss! We’re already anticipating next year’s Top Taco! We’ve added the compiled list of all winners from Dining Out! Be sure to check it out when making decisions about your next taco Tuesday spot in the mile high city!

http://diningout.com/denverboulder/the-winners-of-top-taco-2017/