Why Tacos Taste Better At A Restaurant Than At Home

There's a reason Taco Tuesdays are a thing. Going out with your friends for a taco or 10 (and maybe a couple classic margaritas) is a great way to spend Tuesday — or any night of the week. Sure, you can always make tacos at home — but it's just not the same. Besides the lively atmosphere, there is something very different about the tacos you get at a restaurant — or even your go-to taco truck — from the ones you make at home.

You may perfectly prepare the beef, chicken, pork, or fish for your tacos and even make your own salsa from scratch. But no matter what you do, there's just something that's "off" or seems to be missing. So what, exactly, is different about a restaurant taco compared to the ones you make in your home kitchen? The answer, it turns out, is fairly simple. And while we know nothing will stop you from enjoying tacos at your favorite spot, this tip will certainly help to elevate the tacos you make at home.

It's all about the tortilla

A restaurant-quality taco starts with a great tortilla — and that means one made from scratch. More than just a simple vessel to hold the goodness inside, the tortilla is essential to the taste and texture of the taco. As chef Joe Martinez of Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen told Insider, "Most people think the filling [of a taco] is the most important part, and while it is crucial, the authenticity of a taco comes from the tortilla." 

Think making your own tortillas is too difficult? Think again. Chef Brian Riggenbach advises that all you need to do is mix water and masa flour together until it becomes a dough, roll it out flat, and then cut circular shapes out of it. Next place the tortillas in a dry cast-iron pan over medium heat. Give them a flip and you're done (via Insider). This classic corn tortillas recipe shows how easy making your own tortillas can be. 

Another way to elevate your homemade tacos is with simple, tasty garnishes. Taco fillers are typically heavy and deep in flavor, so fresh, bright flavors like raw onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime provide a necessary contrast in flavor. Try this braised beef short rib taco recipe to see that contrast in action. 

The perfect taco starts with a great tortilla, continues with the highest-quality meats or veggies, and ends with the freshest garnishes. Prioritize choosing the best ingredients for all the elements and you will get a restaurant-worthy final product.