FoodView – We Love Tacos

By Chris Murphy and the ViewCrew
We love tacos!

These are one of the most basic, delicious, and extraordinary treats. We are so fortunate to live where we live for legit Mexican food. I travel a lot, and what passes for Mexican food in many places is embarrassing, just like some places that try to do BBQ that shouldn’t. There are some Hall of Fame Mexican restaurants in our area and some unreal taco trucks. This month, Modesto is home to the Modesto Taco Fest on April 29, so we thought it would be good to round up some of our local favorite places, some of which you may not even think would do tacos. From the fried Birria Tacos and the vegetarian tacos to the traditional and those from one of your fave taco trucks, we have something for everyone.

Mexican food has that same attachment as your favorite coffee shop and Modesto had some legendary Mexican places during the 60s & 70s. I still miss the food from El Faro on McHenry. Other than the one time each year that Luis Fregoso makes the El Faro favorites, you can find a very close coleslaw at the Food Fix. For those Carmen’s fans, those old recipes live on at Marsala’s, which is featured in this article. Even though you have your favorites and dining habits, it is good to try something different every once in a while.

I am 100% sure that we may not have captured our favorite place, but please feel free to post your faves on our Facebook, Instagram @modestoview, or this article on and enjoy some of these if you haven’t experienced them. Let’s eat local and have fun trying new things.

By Steve Perry
Before Baja style cooking became popular, places like Carmen’s ruled the world. Those classic flavors live on in offshoots like Marcella’s. Signature items, like the shredded beef tacos, have a deep rich flavor that only old-school ways can produce. Very delicious tacos serve in a classic place that takes you back to the restaurants of the 70s competing with cool booths and a great bar. Many of Marcella’s are from Carmen’s, founded by one of their lead cooks. This is as close to those original favorites in Modesto.
Marcella’s 3507 Tully Rd. Open Tuesday through Sunday @ 11 am

Fuzio Universal Bistro
By Chris Murphy
Fuzio is one of my go-to restaurants in town. I can always find something I like and am in the mood for. Plus, the Fuzio team of bartenders always cures our thirst. They have very tasty Grilled Avocado Tacos. Wow, these are amazing. First, they are delicious and spicy. Second, they are vegetarian. Served on a tray of three, they are both spicy and refreshing simultaneously. Served in a flour tortilla with a habanero sour cream, topped with a quinoa pilaf with a bell pepper pesto, they are topped with fried avocado slices.

These lovely soft tacos can be eaten traditionally, or even, dare I say it, with a fork and knife and washed down with a mojito or Fuziotini. If you want the quick pick me up and happy hour, this is a perfect dinner for 1. Add a couple of appetizers for a sharable experience. Don’t miss these.
Fuzio Universal Bistro – 1020 10th St. Modesto 209-557-9711

El Mexicano – Grub Hubs
By Chris Murphy
Consider me as becoming enlightened to the wonderfulness of the Birria Taco during the pandemic by my friend Chad Johnson. I was perplexed; how did I not know about addictive tacos? I grew up around here, I have eaten in local Mexican places all of my life, here Patterson, San Diego, Gilroy, Tijuana in the 80s, etc, and I had never heard of Tacos Barria. Sandra, then at the 7th St Market, now at Chinn’s, turned me on to them. I was hooked. But she doesn’t make them every day.

Eureka, I have found a go-to place that makes these wonderful taco treats EVERY DAY in the Grub Hub called El Mexicano. It is a very easy-to-find orange taco truck that is usually busy. These are so delicious. I should only order two, but I normally get three, with a side cup of birria consome. Opening the foil is like a present, dipping the tacos in the consome is delicious.

Birria de res started to appear in the 2010s after visitors to Tijuana discovered them and started serving them in So Cal taco trucks and taquerias, in particular Teddy’s Red Tacos. Birria is a stew made traditionally from Goat but also made with beef. It is sweet, spicy, and orange from chiles and spices, including cinnamon, originally to obscure the poor taste of a lower grade of meat. But these amazing chile and spice blends make magic and when this beef is cooked into a birria-dipped tortilla with cheese and then pan-fried, it’s incredible. You’ll be back.
El Mexicano Taco Truck – Grub Hubs 621 9th St. Modesto Open Daily.
Check @patrickchinn11 daily to see when they are serving at Chinn’s International.

The Pharmacy
By Brandi Mitchell
Quinoa Street Tacos from The Farmacy 907 10th St, Modesto
Like the entire menu at The Farmacy, these tacos are vegan, and you wouldn’t know by looking at them-you hardly know it by eating them! Spicy seasoned quinoa and lentils with onions, garlic, pico de gallo, sliced cabbage, and cilantro, topped with avocado, cilantro, crema, and a squeeze of lime. These pack a crunch from the cabbage that is totally-taco dreamy. They are so flavorful you won’t even miss the ground beef. If your New Year’s Resolution was eating better and you’re starting to fail now that we’re in the second quarter-try these! Three tacos for just $11.99. They’ll remind you that clean, nutritious eating doesn’t have to be boring. Best part? You can order ahead online and beat the lunchtime crowd.

Tap Room Pub & Grub
By MJ Mangano
Thai Taco from The Tap Room Pub & Grub 3948 Sylvan Ave, Modesto
A Tap Room classic, the Thai Tacos is a deliciously spicy and sweet combination of grilled chicken and slaw in a crisp deep-fried won-ton shell. A unique take on a favorite dish. No wonder it is the most popular appetizer on their Menu.

Memo’s Cocina & Tequila Bar
By Darrel Wilkins
Mahi Mahi Taco from Memo’s Cocina & Tequila Bar 1433 Sylan Ave, Modesto
If you’ve ever driven by the new restaurant, you see a beautiful new venue called Memo’s Cocina; their Mahi Mahi Taco is equally as beautiful – or more. Each person asked, be it a customer or staff member, recommended the Mahi Mahi Tacos over all else. Coming from a person that does not typically try or enjoy seafood, I decided to take a big chance…and I’m delighted I did. The tiny bits of Mahi Mahi were terrific and the grilled onions and jalapenos topped it off! The portion of Mahi was large, and as most tacos fall apart, there was enough for two. At $5 each, it was worth it!

El Rosal #2
By Abigail Power
El Rosal #2 on Coffee Road in Modesto, CA, is the View Crew’s go-to for delicious Mexican food, but our favorite dish on the menu is their legendary Al Pastor Taco. With pork meat marinated in red sauce grilled with onion, cilantro, and fresh pineapple topped with tomatillo sauce and a side of pickled jalapeño, these tacos will surely knock your socks off. They are tangy, sweet, and spicy; the restaurant service is some of the best in town. Try it with their Skinny Margarita and signature salsas for a vibrant tasting experience you’ll be thinking about all week!
2625 Coffee Road Ste D Modesto, CA 95355
Pictured: Taco combo plate with one slow-cooked chicken taco and one al pastor taco with a side of rice, beans, pickled veggies, and lime!

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.