Growing up in San Antonio, I will argue until my dying breath that I come from the city with the best tacos, not only in the state of Texas, but in the entire country. There is just something about a taco from the 210 that is special and outranks every other taco I've tried.
I try to explain to others around me just what makes a San Antonio taco so good, but found it easier to explain what makes an authentic taco shop, and the signs you should pay attention to anywhere if you really want an amazing taco.
1. You always seat yourself.
The first sign of an authentic taco shop, is always seating yourself. You may get greeted at the door, but it is up to you to decide where you want to sit.
2. The salsa.
Even if it's 8:00 am, they will still serve you chips and salsa. The salsa is really important too, a consistency that's not too thick and not too runny, as well as the freshness and heat factor are also tell-tale signs of a good restaurant.
3. The taco options.
At a good taco restaurant, there are maybe ten to fifteen tacos on their menu. Not too many, but just enough variety to please everybody.
4. The tortillas.
True authentic tortillas should taste like your grandma made them. My favorite are a little thick and flour-y, and I praise restaurants who make their tortillas the same way.
5. The ratio of American food to Mexican food.
There will probably be three to five American breakfast food plates (pancakes, eggs and bacon, etc.) for those of us who don't like breakfast tacos.
6. Limes only, no lemons.
No matter how many times you ask, or where you ask, it seems like no authentic taco shop serves lemons, they strictly serve limes.
7. The weekend specials.
These include menudo and barbacoa (always served with a Big Red.)
8. Form of payment.
Just like you seat yourself, you always pay at the front after you finish your meal.
9. The service you receive.
Because these restaurants are small, the staff treats you like family. They are always very endearing, greet you with a smile, and will more likely than not refer to you as "mama" or "papi".
Tacos in San Antonio not only encompass their own food group, but they are a way of life, an experience. These nine tips will help you determine whether or not the restaurant you are at is a good one!