Minnesota Taco Atlas Update: Big-time fusion at Umami Fries, an ambitious upgrade at Colonial Market, and new family favorite Cuco’s

Pork tacos // Photo by Tj Turner

We’ve added 17 new entries to our Minnesota Taco Atlas, bringing the grand total of spots on the map to 98 restaurants, markets, and trucks around the Twin Cities metro and beyond.

A few thoughts on some of our recent additions:

Umami Fries is about as far out of the box as it gets for this map, but this Korean-meets-diner food spot in Dinkytown a) offers tacos and b) those tacos are really tasty, if surprisingly big. We had to make a call early on with this project whether we were going to document only “authentic” tacos and quickly decided that the word is impossible to define, we’re not the right gatekeepers, and we lose more by trying to enforce rigid standards than we gain.

Instead, we look for tacos that offer big flavor, pleasing balance, and a point of view, which can include everything from traditional street tacos to Midwestern interpretations of Tex-Mex to Asian fusion tacos.

Giliberto’s in Blaine deserves special mention for being a 24-hour-taco shop in a state with very few 24-hour anythings. This wouldn’t be so impressive by itself, but the tacos we ordered were legitimately delicious. Try the steak al carbon or the surprisingly good shrimp tacos, if shrimp tacos are your thing.

Bravis in Shakopee // Photo by Tj Turner

Bravis Modern Street Food in Shakopee // Photo by Tj Turner

Bravis Modern Street Food is one of a surprisingly large group of Shakopee-based Mexican restaurants, and quite possibly the best. Its yellow-corn tortillas have a toothsome depth to them that we’ve rarely found elsewhere, and its house-made horchata is the richest, best balanced, and overall tastiest we’ve tried out of dozens of other spots. As an added bonus: the restaurant’s vegetarian nopales (cactus) tacos were just stellar, popping with flavor and contrast.

The revamped Colonial Market and Restaurant (formerly Marissa’s) on Eat Street is sparkling from the effort of a recent overhaul. The full-service supermarket includes an ambitious deli counter full of ready-to-cook taco meats, a panadería / gelatería section, and an in-store taco shop that dishes up seriously respectable food.

La Cocina de Cuco in Columbia Heights is one of those restaurants that I blithely drifted into in order to do research for this map and somehow formed an immediate relationship with. I brought my six-year-old son, who is very much in a bagels-or-pasta-only-please phase of his eating career and I didn’t have particularly high hopes for how this meal was going to play out.

But no: he quite liked the taco al pastor. He liked the tripa, even after being informed as to the earthy origins of tripe. And he absolutely loved his lengua taco, tilting his head sideways to eat it over his plate like a taqueria veteran.

We’ve been back twice since then with the whole family, and his order is always the same: one lengua, one al pastor, and a glass of horchata. Even better news: his equally picky little sister loves the chicken from the alambres.

Explore the rest of the Minnesota Taco Atlas

Minnesota Taco Atlas