Cinco de Mayo is about to hit your week like a ton of bricks. They got real cocky and scheduled smack dab in the middle of the week. The nerve of those calendar makers! Don’t they know we need a full Saturday to bask in the glory of tacos and margaritas??
Scheduling shenanigans aside, the pressure to choose the appropriate fare for the day is intense. Norfolk is stacking tacos on tacos and you’ve got to choose wisely. Luckily for you, you’re reading this post and you’re about to get a rundown of the top taco and margs in the city.
Jessy’s is one of the most authentic spots in town. They don’t just bring the heat with tacos, they’ve got everything from Ceviche from the coast, Aguachile, Burritos, and antojitos from Mexico City like Tlacoyos, Huaraches, Gorditas and much more. Their marg menu is intense, but the top two spots go to the Iguana Rana Rita and the Smokey Chipotle. Be sure to stop at the attached grocery and bakery on the way home to bring the party with you.
El Rey & El Rey #2
These guys are hardcore taco professionals. You can get tacos with 27 different types of meat. TWENTY-SEVEN. It’s like a taco festival all inside of one shop. We’re talking the classics like Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Shrimp AND some much harder to find meats like Tripe, Beef Tongue, Deshebrada, and Pork Rinds. I highly encourage you to go get outside your comfort zone and try some new tacos at El Rey.
Plaza Del Sol
Plaza Del Sol has been kicking it in Ghent for years. Some might be more familiar with their karaoke nights than the quality of their chow, but they are not to be underestimated. They’ve recently added the Birra Tacos, which have been all the rage with Oaxacan cheese and consomé for dipping. Who doesn’t want to dip tacos??
Plaza Azteca is a regional legend. They’ve expanded over the years from one local shop to over 20 across a few states. You don’t go from mom and pops to regional powerhouse without serving up absolute bombshell Mexican fare. They’ve got the full classic Mexican menu and feature the ol’ white sauce to boot. You can’t go wrong with a mainstay like this.
California Burrito, affectionately known as Cali Bur to its biggest fans, has a commendable menu. They feature an all-organic ingredient list that is chock full of super fresh veggies. Tacos are on deck, but the namesake California burrito with fries inside is a hard item to pass up.
Pelon’s is the king of the Baja vibe. Signature burritos with names like The Dude, the Unemployed Surfer, and the Surfs Up should tell you all you need to know about the laid-back vibe. Fresh fish and shrimp are bountiful on the menu as would be expected of the surfer spot. And for those eco-conscious dudes and dudettes among us, Pelons is rocking extensive vegan options. Don’t forget the classic lime margarita to top off those beach vibes.
The great minds behind Handsome Biscuit, Toast, and Regular Ass Sandwich have brought us a new creation: Perro Blanco. The tacos are the classic street style with fresh-made corn tortillas and stacked with culinary greatness. When it comes to Margs though, you’ve got more options than tequila. Perro Blanco focuses on Mezcal of all kinds, which includes tequila. Mezcal is any spirit made from Agave, so in addition to tequila, you might find sotol, bacanora, and raicilla reside.
Luna Maya’s roots go back to 1997. With 20 years under their belts, they’ve had more than enough time to perfect the experience. The atmosphere is absolutely worthy of your classy Cinco shenanigans. Not only will they make you a marg from scratch with fresh limes, but they can hook the table up with the secret family recipe Sangria. Bonus points: they have had vegan and vegetarian options for years ahead of other restaurants, too.
Sanctuary is not hiding the fact that it is not a traditional Mexican spot despite Tacos being their sole menu item. Sanctuary, is, however, an authentic hard rock dive bar that has copious amounts of tacos, tequila, and hot sauce. Not the first thing that comes to mind when Cinco de Mayo comes around, but it’s a solid choice.
The humble Mi Hogar has a bit of a cult following around town. Plenty of local kids were raised on a familial tradition of Mi Hogar. From delicious tacos al pastor, chicken enchiladas, sopes, to pozol they have it all. A solid choice for a nostalgic Cinco de mayo.
Sike! If I see you at a taco bell on Cinco de Mayo you better believe I’m smacking that taco out your hand and transporting you to a local establishment. Baja Blast your ass back to the school cafeteria with that childishness.
Tortilla West was a staple of many local food lovers. Cinco de Mayo at T West was always fantastic. RIP LEGEND.
Paul Stetson Rice
Paul is the creator of NFKVA.com. He was born and raised in Norfolk, graduated from Virginia Tech, and narrowly avoided law school. Chat with him about economics, entrepreneurship, hip-hop, and hiking. When he's not working on five different projects, you'll catch him sharing a beer with friends at a local brewery. Go Hokies!