Tacos & Margaritas to Try in the Sacramento Area on Cinco De Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is a time to celebrate Mexican-American culture! A bit of history: despite what many people believe, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Rather, it commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War on May 5, 1862.
Though not commonly celebrated in Mexico (outside the state of Puebla anyway), Cinco de Mayo is a big deal here in California, and there’s no better way to honor Mexican culture and heritage than through food! And that means indulging in the food traditions brought to us by our neighbors to the south, including the traditional taco.
There are hundreds of places to get tacos throughout the greater Sacramento area, from hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop shops to gourmet taquerias to mobile food trucks. Many of them also offer a selection of Mexican tequila and margaritas to wash it all down. Following are some of our favorite spots for tacos and margaritas in the greater Sacramento area.
La Venadita | Oak Park
This eclectic eatery in North Oak Park is a taco oasis. The menu at La Venadita features an array of options, including plenty of delicious tacos to choose from — like the pescado taco with battered and fried fish, chili aioli, cabbage, jalapeño, cilantro and lime. Or the vegetariano, with mushrooms, rajas, whole pintos, cheese, jalapeño salsa and queso fresco. They also offer gourmet margaritas, a mezcal old fashioned and a paloma.
Hangtown Cantina | Placerville
This festive eatery and bar in Placerville features all the classic flavors of Mexico using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Everything is made from scratch, from the tortillas to the syrups and spice blends used in their margaritas. Taco selections run the gamut, and include al pastor, barbacoa and blackened shrimp, among others.
Chando’s Tacos | Various locations
What started as a humble taco stand has grown into a local chain with a cult following! In fact, Chando’s is one of the best spots for authentic street tacos in the greater Sacramento area. You get your choice of their signature meat (such as carne asada, chorizo, pollo or carnitas), topped with fresh cilantro, delicious diced onions, creamy guacamole, and tangy salsa. With locations in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Fair Oaks and West Sacramento, there’s sure to be a Chando’s near you. Chando’s Cantina, with locations in Downtown Sacramento and El Dorado Hills, is a full-service version with creative margaritas like mango chile and spicy tamarind.
Nixtaco Mexican Kitchen | Roseville
Nixtaco Mexican Kitchen is a chef-driven restaurant serving cuisine from Northeastern Mexico in the heart of Roseville. They have an expansive taco menu, featuring traditional and unique ingredients like chicharron, octopus, short rib and shrimp. They also have a vegan menu, with fillings such as sweet potato, cauliflower and spicy tofu. Cocktail selections include the traditional margarita as well as seasonal flavors like chipotle and serrano pepper.
Tacoa | East Sacramento
Tacoa is a friendly neighborhood taqueria in East Sacramento that has every traditional taco imaginable: carne asada, al pastor, chorizo and chicken, all topped with onions, cilantro and salsa and each under three bucks. They even have vegetarian versions made with nopales (a type of cactus) and rice and beans. Plus they have a wide selection of margaritas, including a blood orange margarita, guava margarita and mezcal margarita.
Maria’s Cantina | Woodland
Combining original flavors with regional recipes, Maria’s Cantina in Woodland is a must-visit during your quest for exceptional tacos in the region. Their offerings run the gamut, from ground beef and potato tacos with avocado aioli to sweet potato tacos with cilantro lime slaw. Wash it all down with an elderflower ‘rita, smokey pomegranate margarita or Mexican mule.
Mezcal Grill | South Natomas & Tahoe Park
Mezcal Grill has locations in both South Natomas and Tahoe Park, so no matter what side of town you’re on, there’s a location nearby. Mezcal is known for their modern interpretation of classic dishes, and use only high-quality, fresh ingredients. Their simple Taco Mexicano is made with a soft corn tortilla, your choice of meat, chopped onions, cilantro and salsa. They also have shrimp tacos and fish tacos. Their expansive cocktail menu includes margaritas with flavors such as peach, ginger and hibiscus.
Cantina Alley | Midtown
Located in — you guessed it — an alley in Midtown Sacramento, Cantina Alley serves authentic Mexican tacos and inventive cocktails. They offer a number of delicious tacos, including a chorizo taco, Baja fish taco and a vegetarian taco made from fried potatoes. Don’t let the name fool you — although they’re located off an alley, the patio is lovely and welcoming and a great place to spend a spring evening. Plus, you can indulge in a watermelon margarita or pineapple mezcalita.
Polanco Cantina | Downtown Sacramento
Located in Downtown Sacramento , this colorful open-air eatery offers all the Mexican-inspired classics, from burritos to quesadillas. They also have a specialty taco menu, with varieties including fish, rib-eye steak and beer-battered avocado. They also have a number of specialty cocktails, including a cucumber margarita and prickly pear, as well as dozens of tequilas and tequila flights.
Azul | Midtown Sacramento
This stylish Mexican eatery and tequila bar in Midtown Sacramento offers traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Their taco selection includes all the usual fillings, such as carnitas, chorizo and mahi-mahi. But their big draw is their cocktail menu, which features margaritas with flavors such as strawberry, mango and tamarind.