Breakfast Tacos, Anyone?

Our choice for New York’s Finest Breakfast Taco, at La Esquina (see below). The secret’s in the sauce?
The Mexican Wrap at 94 Corner Cafe (West 94th & Broadway) features eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, and jalapeños — a potent combo, but it ain’t no taco.
The Red Headed Stranger breakfast taco duo at Javelina (see below) combines eggs with brisket, avocado, cheese, and a mysteriously tasty ranchero sauce.
La Esquina’s Corner Deli has three locations (clockwise from top): 200 West 55th St (6th Ave), 1402 2nd Ave (East 73rd St), and 115 Kenmare St (Lafayette St); esquinanyc.com.

1. La Esquina

La Esquina’s flagship brasserie at Kenmare St features delectable high-end Mexican fare downstairs, while upstairs the “Corner Deli” taqueria serves to-go delights, including our #1 breakfast taco in the city: a single corn tortilla with eggs, cheese, potato, bacon, pico de gallo, and (probably the secret) avocado salsa. Fortuitously, two Corner Deli outlets have opened in upper midtown and the Upper East Side. For Tex-Mex junkies, they’re godsends! (Can that be plural?) $4.50 per taco.

The Eggstravaganza food truck lives at East 52nd Street and Park Ave; eggstravaganzany.com.

2. Eggstravaganza

Nestled on a commercial midtown corner for the past six years, this food truck (looking straight out of the movie Chef) offers the Real Deal: a plethora of BTs including our favorite, huevos a la mexicana (tomato, onion and serrano chile). In Central Mexican tradition, the tacos are on double-corn tortillas. Open 9–2:30 weekdays, with a grill run by a pair of siblings from Puebla, Eggstravaganza’s extensive menu is based on “recipes from Mamá,” says server Maribel. $4.75-$6 per taco.

Find Taco Vision at 244 East 53rd St (2nd Ave); tacovisionnyc.com.

3. Taco Vision

While BTs are served here all day all week, weekday dinner hours start at 4 pm; for brunch try weekends (noon-3:30). Taco Vision’s BT features a corn tortilla, chorizo, black beans, hot sauce, and onion-centric pico de gallo that makes it sumptuously messy. Beware: no coffee — but great margs if you are, as Texans say, “on the right side of the workout!” $4 per taco.

Downtown Bakery is at 69 1st Ave (East 4th St); orderdowntownbakerycocinamexicana.com.

4. Downtown Bakery

On the Lower East Side, this funky, unprepossessing, authentic Central Mexican (Pueblo) eatery has a lengthy taco & burrito menu and serves breakfast all day. The BTs feature double-corn tortillas, meat of choice, black beans, salsa, and homemade pico de gallo heavy on veggies, onions and jalapeños — rich, spicy, filling, not for wimps! $8 for two tacos.

Javelina sits catty-cornered from a La Esquina location at 1395 2nd Ave (East 73rd St); javelinatexmex.com.

5. Javelina

Quality aside, Austin-bred Javelina dropped a couple notches because their BT’s are only served during Sat & Sun brunch hours (an all-to-common flaw — akin to only-morning rules for breakfast fare — as if eggs shall not pollute thou grill in the wrong time slot!). However, their Red-Headed Stranger BT is as authentic and special as its namesake, with brisket, avocado and ranchero sauce with a bite. Also like Willie, it’s up there (price-wise): $15 for two tacos.

Playa Betty’s is at 320 Amsterdam Ave (75th St); playabettys.com.

6. Playa Betty’s

These small but tasty BTs are California style, made with one single corn tortilla, a nice cheese-to-sauce ratio, and a certain daintiness. Egg tacos come with delicious options: chorizo, steak, short ribs, and migas — interesting with fried corn tortilla strips in the mix (you’d almost think it’s Tex-Mex). Accounting for size, a tad pricey: $5–6 per taco.

Sweet Life Pastry is at 3887 Broadway (162nd St); sweetlifepastry.nyc.

7. Sweet Life Pastry

Despite the name, this old-school cocina in Washington Heights serves up all manner of Mexican food, primarily made to go, including breakfast all day. The BTs come in triplets, with double-corn tortillas, chorizo, beans, cheese, sour cream, avocado, salsa, and green or red hot sauce on the side. Filling and fab! $10 for three tacos.

Yellow Rose is at 102 3rd Ave (East 13th St); yellowrosenyc.com.

8. Yellow Rose

Another victim of the silly weekend-only-brunch schedule, this San Antonio–bred eatery opens at 9 am Sat-Sun (as opposed to noon weekdays) to serve their exotic BTs. The menu includes migas (chips, onions, roasted tomato), barbacoa (simmered beef cheeks), carne guisada (beef in chile gravy) and mesquite-smoked bacon (our favorite!). As befits Tex-Mex, the tortillas are freshly made flour. $4–7 per taco.

One of the King David Tacos carts sits at Madison Square Park, 26th St and 5th Ave; kingdavidtacos.com.

9. King David Tacos

This Austin-bred eatery would doubtless rank higher if we still lived in Brooklyn, where their brick-and-mortar headquarters (and central kitchen) reside at 611 Bergen St. To serve other parts of NYC, King David has several taco carts, including a highly popular one at Madison Square Park open 9-noon Fri-Sun. The flour-tortilla BTs are hot but pre-wrapped (which can induce a bit of sogginess), yet great for grab-and-go, coming in tasty combos of ingredients including smoked bacon, chorizo, potatoes, beans and chile non carne (poblanos and carrots). $4.50 per taco.

Tacombi’s locations in Manhattan include: 377 Amsterdam Ave (79th St), 202 East 70th St (2nd Ave), 23 West 33rd St (5th Ave), 255 Bleeker St (Cornelia St), and 30 West 24th St (6th Ave); tacombi.com.

10. Tacombi

With ten NYC locations (including one in our hood), the Yucatan-inspired Tacombi has a reputation for excellent BTs — pre-Covid, that is. “We’re waiting for the 100 percent reopening of the restaurants,” says a worker named Jonathan at the 79th Street location, promising that breakfast will return to the menu in July, when Tacombi no longer relies on pickup and delivery. We’re including Tacombi here based on this promise — as well as our fond BT memories. We’re hoping their new breakfast tacos will be exquisite, reassuring, and (to quote the great Stevie Wonder) Hotter Than July!

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Jack Crager

Jack Crager

Jack Crager is a writer and editor based in New York City (jackcrager.com).