Kingston’s Best Tacos

By Kate Farrell

If you think of Kingston in the winter, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t “Mexican Fiesta.” But for my heart (and stomach) it’s taco time year-round, come rain, snow, or more likely, Lake Ontario wind-chill. The good thing is that Kingston is a foodie hot-spot with plenty of options to fulfill your tortilla-tasting needs. The only hard question, where to start?  

Celebrate Taco Tuesday with this list of Kingston’s finest taco purveyors – we’ll include tried and true favourites (like Dianne’s legendary fish tacos), vegan/vegetarian options (Mesa Fresca), and some unexpected spots that may even become your new go-to.  

Mesa Fresca 

1347 Gardiners Road 

This west-end Mexican fusion restaurant is one of the indisputable must-visits for tacos in the city. With a menu boasting extensive vegan options and a kitchen filled with local produce and made-in-house dishes, it’s no wonder their taco Tuesdays have become the talk of the town.  

Some recent Tuesday specials? House-made flour tortillas (gluten-free) with chipotle marinated striploin and lime crema or their cumin and chilli roasted chickpea taco with pickled jalapeños. If you can’t make it on a Tuesday, don’t fear. Tacos that are part of their regular menu include a Baja buffalo chicken breast, seared cod, grilled chimichurri shrimp, and even a jack fruit taco option with vegan smoked gouda. If you’re up for the challenge, get the taco platter – eight house tacos with three sides.  

And if you needed another reason to order that extra taco, 10 cents from every taco sold goes towards the not for profit agency, KIVA. More tacos = more money to charity. A win-win.  

Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse

195 Ontario Street 

Some would say Dianne’s is the top purveyor of tacos in the town and based on the amount of “must-try” lists their fresh corn tortillas are on, it’s a claim that’s hard to argue. The undisputed staff favourite is the Baja Fish Tacocrispy beer-battered sustainable haddock fillet (made with local Mackinnon Brothers Brewery beer) placed on fresh corn tortillas with napapico de gailo, salsa roja, avocado crema, pickled red onions and cilantro. And yes, all the ingredients are made in-house, making each crunchy warm bite unique. Their margaritas, made with lime juice, 1800 Tequila, and Patron Cintronage are a highly recommended accompaniment.  

Rustic Spud

175 Bagot Street  

Venture a couple of blocks off Princess Street down Bagot and you’ll find yourself at the humble Rustic Spud, headed by local-celeb, the innovative young chef Joel Lattimore. Since 2016 he’s been using local produce to craft his creative yet accessible menu (think carnival-style ponados, sweet potato gnocchi, piatto sorella, flatbreads, and more). A favourite? The fish tacos: honey-ginger glazed tilapia comes with pico de gallo, aioli, pickled red cabbage and cilantro. Pair it with a local lager on tap for the ideal Taco Tuesday (…or Wednesday, maybe Saturday also…okay really any day).  

Tango Nuevo 

331 King Street East  

Tango is known for many things – artisanal tapas, championing local ingredients, having an intimate atmosphere that landed them a spot the top 100 most romantic restaurants Canada in 2017. Well, time to add two more things to that list. First, their take on a classic fish taco: a spice-rubbed red snapper fish tacos with chipotle crema. Second, the lamb taco, with slow-roasted pulled lamb with garlic tahini yogurt, beet relish, and feta. Pair with a generous glass of sangria for an elevated taco experience.  

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El Asador

375 Princess Street 

Chances are you’ve probably walked by this hole-in-the-wall Mexican-Indian restaurant on Division Street before without even realizing you’re missing out on the foodies of Kingston best-kept secret. We can fill you in. They are known for high-quality, low-cost burritos, fajitas, and curry dishes – but you can also find shrimp, beef, and chicken tacos. 

Honourable mentions go to -  

  • Red House (Downtown)  369 King Street East, Kingston. Tuesday lunch special: beef cheek tacos with cider-braised pork, mango jalapeño salsa, avocado, and feta.  
  • Fran’s Fish and Chip83 Aberfoyle Road. Summer special, Taco Tuesdays. When the sun comes out, head over to enjoy two pieces of battered crisp fish on corn tortillas with cilantro lime sauce, served with fresh jalapeno mango salsa.  

Have another hidden-gem we didn’t cover? Let us knowMore importantly, remember that Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to be limited to one day. Every time is taco time on our watch.