If you ask a Mexican for the best place to eat tacos, they’re most likely to tell you to go to a stand rather than a restaurant. And (usually) they are right, eating tacos from a stand is way better. The problem with this is that you won’t find a menu with pictures to help you to order your tacos. And the ‘taqueros’ probably won’t speak English.
So how you order Tacos in Spanish? When you are ready to order, you can respond to the waiter with:
- Quiero 2 tacos de bistec y 1 de chorizo → I want 2 steak tacos and 1 chorizo taco
- Deme tres al pastor → Give me three pork tacos
- Uno al pastor y dos de asada → One pork taco and two grilled steak tacos
These phrases would help you to say how many tacos you want, but they are just the beginning of your order. After, you’ll need to answer questions regarding what toppings and extras you want to go with your tacos. Keep reading to learn about common phrases and vocabulary that will help you complete your order and chow down on tasty tacos like a native speaker.
Provecho! (Bon appétit!)
Ordering Tacos in Spanish: an Example Conversation
The beauty of ordering tacos in Spanish is that no matter where you go (a stand, a taquería or a nice restaurant), the vocabulary is almost the same. The main difference you might find in these places is that in the nice, big restaurant they are going to use formal phrases to take your order. Below is a more common conversation when ordering tacos.
|Action||Spanish phrase||English translation|
|Taquero/Waiter||He wants to know what you want to order. |
Example (d) would be a more formal situation in a restaurant or ‘taquería’.
|a) ¿Qué va a querer?|
b) ¿Qué va a llevar?
c) ¿Cuántos van a ser?
d) ¿Está listo para ordenar? ¿Cuántos va a querer?
|a) What would you like (to order)?|
b) What would you like (to order)?
c) How many would you like?
d) Are you ready to order? How many would you like?
|You (tú)||Use one of the next options to answer||a) Quiero 3 tacos al pastor y 3 de bistec|
b) Deme 3 tacos al pastor y 3 de bistec
c) 3 al pastor y 3 de bistec
|a) I want 3 pork tacos and 3 steak tacos|
b) I’ll have 3 pork tacos and 3 steak tacos
c) 3 pork tacos and 3 steak tacos.
|Taquero/Waiter||He wants to know what topping you want in your tacos.||a) ¿Con todo?||a) With all of it? (all the toppings they have)|
|You (tú)||If you wan to try the full experience, use option number a. Otherwise, use option b.||a) Sí, con todo.|
b) Sin cebolla.
|a) Yes, with all. (All the toppings). |
b) Without onion.
Common Phrases to Order Tacos: How and When to Use Them
The most common way to order tacos in Spanish is to use the verb querer (to want) and dar (the literal translation is to give, we’ll explain how the translation changes in this context). Let’s see how you would build your phrase before jumping into more examples.
[Subject] + quiero + [number of tacos]
Quiero 3 tacos al pastor y 3 de bistec I want 3 pork tacos and 3 steak
[Subject] + deme + [number of tacos]
Deme 3 tacos al pastor y 3 de bistec I want 3 pork tacos and 3 steak
Even if ‘to give’ is the literal translation of dar, when ordering food you’ll notice that in English you use it as ‘to have’. So, when conjugated from dar to deme this means “I’ll have”.
In English, it may seem too rude and aggressive to say “Give me 3 tacos”, but in Spanish, the phrase doesn’t have that connotation. It’s perfectly acceptable.
If you feel you are being too rude, you can soften your phrase like this:
[Indirect Pronoun] + puede + Dar [infinitive verb] + [number] + [type of tacos]
¿Me puede dar 3 tacos al pastor y 3 de bistec? Can I have 3 pork tacos and 3 steak?
If the taquero is taking your order, most often they will ask you what you want to eat. To answer these questions, Mexicans go for the simplest phrase:
[Number] + [type of tacos]
3 al pastor y 3 de bistec 3 pork tacos and 3 of steak
Without onion, please…
At one point, the waiter or the taquero will ask you if you want your tacos with all the toppings. While some people like all-dressed, you might not want some of the toppings in your tacos.
Sin + [ingredient]
|Sin chile||Without sauce|
|Sin cebolla||Without onion|
How Do You Want Your Taco: Useful Vocabulary
Type of taco meats
Unlike the tacos you are likely to find in the US or Canada, Mexico has a ton of variety when it comes to the meat and, therefore the flavor.
Here are all the different types of meat that you are likely to encounter and choose from:
- Al pastor ←→ seasoned pork. Depending on the city, it can be flavored with pineapple.
- Bistec → steak.
- Asada → grilled steak.
- Tripa/Pancita → tripe.
- Chorizo → spiced sausage or chorizo.
- Lengua → tongue. In Mexico, it’s usually from a cow.
- Arrachera → skirt steak.
- Cabeza → head meat from a cow.
Toppings for your tacos
In Mexico, the toppings are almost as important as the meat because they improve the flavor of your taco. Depending on the type of taco and the region you are visiting, you will find different types of toppings. Here are the most common:
- Con todo → it literally means with everything or all-dressed. This means you want your taco with all the sauces (yes, the hot ones too) and garnishments they have, which usually are beans, diced onion, and cilantro.
- Cilantro y cebolla → diced onion and cilantro.
- Frijoles de la olla → boiled beans. This topping depends more on the stand you’re visiting. It usually goes with tacos de cabeza.
- Salsa verde → literally green salsa. It’s made with onion, green chili pepper, and tomato.
- Salsa roja → red sauce. It’s made with tomato and red chilis.
- Cebolla asada ←→ roasted/barbecued onion.
- Doble tortilla → double tortilla. Although tacos usually go with double tortilla, you might find some places where they are going to ask you before putting an extra tortilla.
Other useful phrases
- Al tiempo → Room temperature. You would use this phrase in case you don’t want your drink to be cold.
- Agua fresca → literally fresh water. These are sugary drinks and they come in different flavors.
- Refresco → soda.
- Para llevar → to go / take-out.
- Para comer aquí → this would be the opposite of take-out. You would use it when you want to eat your tacos at the taquería or at the stand.
Common phrases to Ask for the Bill
Here are the most common phrases that Mexicans use for paying their bill at a restaurant or at a food stand.
- ¿Cuánto va a ser? → How much is it going to be?
- ¿Cuánto es? → How much is it?
- ¿Me trae la cuenta, por favor? → Could you bring me the bill, please?
What do ‘pica’, ‘picante’ and ‘enchiloso’ mean in Spanish? It means that a sauce/dish is hot or spicy. In Mexico, you will use pica to ask if a sauce or a dish is hot.
|¿Pica?||Is it hot?|
You use ‘picante’ or ‘enchiloso / enchilosa’ to describe a hot, spicy dish.
La salsa está muy picante/enchilosa The sauce is very hot
How much do tacos cost in Mexico? In Mexico the range varies between $9 pesos – $25 pesos per taco, depending on the place you go. You might find some cheaper places, but you should be careful of the cleanliness and quality of the meat. Generally, don’t buy a taco if it is less than $7 pesos.