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When it comes to bar food, it doesn’t get any better than nachos. What was originally a canapé-style dish of one chip with a smidge of melted cheese and a jalapeno slice on top has since become a huge platter of chips slathered with cheese and then topped with meat, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, guacamole, and virtually anything else your heart desires, and that’s certainly not a bad thing. So what makes for a good plate of nachos? Balance, for one, as well as a good distribution of high-quality ingredients, and a flare of creativity. These five restaurants’ nachos all fit the bill, and are among the best in America.
Pork Slope, Brooklyn
From the mind of Top Chef Dale Tale, these nachos fill up an entire cafeteria tray, and come topped with housemade chili, jalapenos, cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and a drizzle of lime sour cream. They’re simple and just about perfect.
Tinga, Los Angeles
This L.A. hotspot offers three varieties of nachos, cochinita pibil (spicy slow-roasted pork), moist and flavorful shredded chicken tinga, and black bean with goat cheese. Served with your choice of guacamole, queso fresco, crema, and pico de gallo, you may need to order all three.
Cora’s 471 Grill, Castroville, Texas
This place prides itself on serving “the best damn nachos in Texas,” and everything here is made from scratch, fresh daily. Opt for the Super Nachos, with ground spiced beef, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions and enter nacho paradise.
Saucy Porka, Chicago
This hip Chicago restaurant has roots in an Asian-Latin fusion truck, which explains its creative menu as well as its non-traditional approach to nachos: their nachos are topped with pork, chicken, or miso short rib along with scallions, kimchi, and jalapeno garlic aioli. One bite and you’ll be putting kimchi on all your nachos from now on.
Velvet Cantina, San Francisco
You’ll find nachos of some sort or another at just about every Mission burrito spot in the city, but none do it better than at Velvet Cantina, where homemade chips are topped with chile con queso, black beans, sour cream, and guacamole. Add chicken (or better yet, chorizo), and you’ll reach stratospheric levels of nacho deliciousness.