From food trucks to food hall stalls to brick-and-mortar restaurants, there’s no shortage of taco spots defining the Howard County culinary landscape. Each restaurant brings its own flair and variety of fillings to the menu. Whether you’re craving traditional tacos from an eatery in a parking lot or a classic margarita paired with innovative fusion creations that push the boundaries of taste, these are flavors you won’t soon forget.

Taqueria Los Primos

8802 Washington Blvd., Jessup (multiple locations)

Tacos from Taqueria Los Primos in Jessup. (Rachel Lipton)

Taqueria Los Primos operates a few different locations in the area but fortunately, despite being a food truck, their setup in Jessup is semi-permanent and has a handful of picnic tables to sit at while you enjoy your food. Tacos are ordered a la carte, served in corn tortillas and garnished with onion and cilantro; avocado and cheese are available for an additional fee. They’re served alongside red and green sauce, both of which pack a spicy punch, though the green is slightly creamy while the red has a smoky taste. Among their taco offerings, beef barbacoa stands out as a personal favorite. The beef is slow-cooked until it’s incredibly tender, resulting in a juicy taco that practically melts in your mouth.

Taco Joint

12250 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville

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A meal from Taco Joint in Clarksville. (Rachel Lipton)

Tucked away inside Clarksville Commons, Taco Joint is serving up, well, tasty tacos. Tacos are sold in groups of three, and unless you’re ordering quesabirria, you can build your own combinations, putting you in the driver’s seat of flavor. With eight options for fillings, plenty of different toppings and sauces, plus flour and corn tortilla options, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

The al pastor taco was so juicy, and the included pineapple chunks added a much-needed sweetness to contrast some of the smoky heat from the marinade. The cilantro crema paired with the chorizo taco brought a nice creaminess to the spicy meat, helping to offset some of the heat.

El Gran Sabor

5865 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia

Tacos from El Gran Sabor in Columbia. (Rachel Lipton)

El Gran Sabor in the Oakland Mills shopping center offers a mix of Mexican and Salvadoran delights including several varieties of a la carte tacos, plus birria tacos that come in groups of three. I stopped in for a late lunch and while there weren’t many other guests dining in, the restaurant had a steady stream of takeout orders. The camarones tacos — with small juicy, limey, garlicky shrimps stuffed inside a warm corn tortilla — were simply delightful, and had me asking myself why I didn’t order more. All tacos are served with cilantro and onion, a side of limes, red hot sauce and green hot sauce.

Lime & Salt Taco Bar

8865 Stanford Blvd., Columbia

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Tacos from Lime & Salt Taco Bar in Columbia. (Rachel Lipton)

Lime & Salt Taco Bar comes highly recommended if you’re in the Howard County Eats Facebook group. The menu celebrates tacos in all their glory with more than a dozen different options to choose from. Many of the varieties are served a la carte, giving you the ability to order a smattering of varieties — which is truly the best way to enjoy tacos. A highlight: the pescado frito, a crispy rockfish with fresh cabbage, radishes and chipotle aioli. The sauce was smoky enough to cut through the fried fish and was nice and creamy on the palette. Fish tacos done right are elite.


6000 Merriweather Drive, Columbia (multiple locations)

Tacos from Banditos in Columbia. (Rachel Lipton)

In the Merriweather District, Banditos offers a modern twist on traditional Mexican cuisine with plenty of fusion tacos on the menu. Tacos are ordered a la carte, though if you order two, there’s an option to add rice and beans, making your meal a $15 combo. The Nashville hot taco was crispy and spicy with an added crunch from diced pickles and a cooling, creamy ranch. As concert season heats up, it’s a great option for a late-night bite after a show: Banditos is open until at least midnight.

Rachel Lipton is a Baltimore-based freelancer and the content creator behind @LikeTheTeaEATS, where she highlights food and finds around the Baltimore region.