The 69 Best Tacos In Los Angeles In 2022
9:30 AM PST on December 12, 2022
Eating tacos in Los Angeles has changed considerably. Over the last decade, more and more regional style taquerías found an audience. Birria is no longer just a special occasion dish, TJ-style tacos continue to demand long lines, the crispy taco had a much-needed resurgence, corn tortillas were revolutionized, and unforgettable flour tortilla tacos are no longer a rarity. While tacos are one of the most democratic and blue-collar foods, they can also be ephemeral and sophisticated—dictated by what’s in season.
The taco is a many-faced god.
Depending on what part of L.A. you’re from, the kinds of tacos you’re exposed to are entirely about access and location. But since L.A. is such a transient city, you’re usually only a short drive away from your next amazing taco-eating experience.
This list looks at all the greats and new voices that represent the varied and complex tacos of Los Angeles. From the taco chains that have been servicing their communities for decades to the steamy tacos al vapor of Southeast and East L.A. to the smoky Tijuana-style taquerias in South Central lots, or the many Alta California taqueros pushing the boundaries of the taco throughout the city, it is a hell of a time to be eating tacos.
At L.A. TACO, we like to think of the taco as a blank canvas (how cliche, right?), ready to become a beautiful piece of art, whether you’re eating them on the street or at a restaurant. Tacos are near, plentiful, and always satisfying.
After being the first L.A. publication dedicated to covering L.A.'s TACO LIFE since 2005, here are the tacos that define Los Angeles.
Chicken Thai Bougainvillea Mole Taco
Chef Alex Carrasco incorporates the bougainvillea flower into his masa to make a red-stained Bougainvillea tortilla. He adds a spread of refried black beans, Thai chicken mole, queso fresco, and some red onions on top, each garnished with a flaky bougainvillea flower. Every bite is as smooth in flavor as it is in texture. You’ll find a touch of sweetness and heat in the mole and a bit of salt from the cheese. - Memo Torres
5754 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016
Tacos de Chorizo
Taco Madness 2021 and 2022 champion Villa’s Tacos won L.A.'s heart with their heavily-condimented tacos served on “Dodger-blue” tortillas. With each taco, you can add various cheeses, four different salsas, and pickled onions. The chorizo stands out, bright crimson with plenty of fatty and spicy crumbled pork that doesn’t get lost in all the sauces. Come find out why this was L.A.’s favorite taco in recent years. - Cesar Hernandez
4958 Lincoln Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Potato and lamb barbacoa flauta
The flautas from Los Dorados are mind-shatteringly crunchy. This taquería has two small loncheras that set up around Los Angeles and only sell flautas. I believe that the potato flauta is the purest way to experience Los Dorados because it gives you the chance to really taste the company's fantastic green and red salsas. But the lamb barbacoa, covered with a mole-like salsa borracha, is just insanely good, gamey and meaty, but enlivened with a smokey salsa and tangy crema. - Cesar Hernandez
Follow them on Instagram to see when they are going to pop up next.
"The Three From Hell"
Evil Cooks power-slid onto the scene with a screaming metal guitar solo, starting off with one black trompo; now they're up to three, each bearing different meats. The "Three From Hell" comes with three tacos from every one of these trompos: beef, pork, and octopus. Each protein is rubbed with recado negro, a Yucatán-style adobo paste made from charred spices and chiles. Make sure to try their rockero dessert tacos for something completely different.
461 N. Eastern Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90032
Angry Egret Dinette
Wild-Caught Fish Tacos
While we await the return of Wes Avila's seasonal Taco Thursdays here in later 2023, we can depend on this mainstay of his lunch menu: a daily taco centered on wild-caught fish, picked for its freshness, flavor, and overall taco-mpatiability. Right now, he's encasing rockfish in the thinnest of tempura batters for two tacos with a mötley crüe of salsas, including mustard-habanero and chipotle aiolis, pico de gallo, a spicy "salsa China," and heirloom tomato molcajete salsa, sure to leave a scene of taco destruction all over your plate and hands (and your pocket liberated of $18). Through it all, the fresh fish clings to the spotlight. - Hadley Tomicki
970 N. Broadway Suite 114, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fish Machaca Fish Flauta
Ditroit’s crispy fish machaca flauta, fried in rice bran oil and topped with avocado salsa and a creme fraiche-queso fresco mixture, is the loftiest expression of a taco dorado in Los Angeles. The highly-pedigreed Arts District taquería, opened by the Enrique Olvera Mexican restaurant empire, came out swinging with this taco. It is virtually greaseless, and the fishiness that can exist in this apex sailfish is minimal. If you find yourself spending a small fortune on three of these, you are not alone. - Javier Cabral
2117 Violet St. Los Angeles, CA 90021
Balam Mexican Kitchen
So Pork Quesadilla
Balam answers the question, 'What if a quesadilla wasn’t folded?' Instead, the quesadillas at Balam are served open-faced. The tortilla is thicker than most, along with a layer of cheese, juicy pork with onion sweetness, and chipotle crema. - Cesar Hernandez
11700 Long Beach Blvd. Lynwood, CA 90262
Lamb Barbacoa Taco Árabe
Mirame, Michelin-awarded chef Josh Gil’s creative Beverly Hills Mexican restaurant, no longer serves the pressed pig-face tostada that was prominent—and like everything else, sublime—on his opening menu. Now, we head straight for his $22 taco árabe, which packs a depth charge of luscious, jus-saturated lamb barbacoa in the cradle of a tender flour tortilla, swirling with sweet and sour notes from pickled fennel and a caponata. It may not read as subversively as the pig face tostada, but it tastes every bit as decadently. – Hadley Tomicki
419 N. Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Taco de Camarón
Speaking from purely a gustatory standpoint, no other taco is as purely delicious to inhale as these, crispy, creamy, refreshing, and spicy all the same time. Whether you eat just a couple, or five—it happens—this may be L.A.'s most iconic [daytime] taco. It is everything you want in a taco: filling, spicy enough, refreshing, and buttery thanks to the avocado slice. This taco is timeless; this taco is perfect. – Javier Cabral
3040 E. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023
Short Rib Tacos and Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla
Often imitated but never duplicated. When the Kogi truck first hit the streets with their Korean tacos, L.A. became possessed with the urge to follow and find it. The short rib taco is still one of the city's most unique tacos, with chopped, charred, Korean-seasoned beef topped with a slaw on a corn tortilla. The sweet chili chicken quesadilla smothered in a sweet and spicy salsa already inspires nostalgic memories of chasing the truck around Los Angeles. - Cesar Hernandez
Follow Kogi on Instagram to see where their truck is popping up next.
Hongos Al Pastor
Macheen is known for making wildly creative tacos. Like the hongos al pastor breakfast tacos that place mushrooms in a silky adobo over fluffy scrambled eggs, emanating waves of acidity and heat. This taco is the current iteration of Macheen's neverending hustle, but I urge you to try anything from their menu at any of his restaurants or pop-up at Smorgasburg LA; every taco has the same amount of love and care put into it. - Cesar Hernandez
Currently popping up 8am-2pm, Mon.-Sat. at Milpa Grille, 2633 East Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033 and 10am-4pm at Smorgasburg
Ricos Tacos Naomi
Mariana’s trompo features a Sonora-style adobada with her own flavors. You can almost taste the flavor of the adobada with your eyes alone as the trompo handler turns the spit with his blade and slices delicately charred pork ribbons onto a tortilla in his left hand as he prepares taco after taco. It’s like watching a potter sculpt a terra-cotta pot made from flame-kissed pork. It’s earthy, seasoned well, and so balanced that it just tastes like a solid but gentle embrace after a long day. – Memo Torres
You can find most of Tacos Naomi’s locations on their Instagram or linktree, although not all are listed.
Cochinita Pibil Taco
Chichen Itzá is one of L.A.’s many portals to different parts of Mexico, and here you’ll be transported to Yucatan. The cochinita pibil is a revelation, pork-filled with naranja agria and chiles, roasted in a banana leaf until succulent. - Cesar Hernandez
3655 S. Grand Ave. #C6 · In Mercado La Paloma
Almost everything at Holbox is a home run, but the scallop taco seems like it was plucked from a tale of divinity. Meaty, seared scallops on a bed of caramelized onions, pickled fennel, and beautifully spicy salsa. It always feels like a treat and a wonderful way to experience exceptional seafood tacos. - Cesar Hernandez
3655 S. Grand Ave. #C9 · In Mercado La Paloma
Breakfast Guisado Plate
While you could order asada or barbacoa de res tacos at Asadero Chikali, the true way to experience this taquería is the guisado plate. It comes with a spread of all of their breakfast guiozs: chorizo con papa, chicharrón con salsa, bistec con papa, carne deshebrada, huevo con jamón, and a pool of frijoles right in the middle. Make sure to go early and take a couple of friends so you can make your own. - Cesar Hernandez
1321 S Atlantic Blvd. East Los Angeles
When the guys at Perro 110 hand you one of their tacos perrónes, or “perros,” you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the monstrosity before you. Gargantuan and splattered in a muddle of grilled mozzarella, Peruano beans, guacamole, onions, chipotle crema, salsa roja, and cilantro. Tender, smoky carne asada spills from both ends, leading to visions of a nice, long nap and a few badges of salsa-stained honor on your t-shirt, jeans, or car seat. - Hadley Tomicki
Los Sabrosos Al Horno
Suckling pork taco
The folks at this taquería specialize in suckling roasted pig. They'll grab chunks of hot chopped pork, place them on your tortillas, dress them with two mustard salsas, and then garnish it with ultra-crispy pig skin. The salsas make this a wholly unique taco-eating experience, imparting that unmistakable mustard tang to the tender roasted pork. - Cesar Hernandez
Follow them on Instagram to see when they are going to pop up next.
It is experiences like Simón that provide living proof that L.A.’s regional Mexican food scene is evolving in real-time. If you’ve eaten around the southern part of Mexico’s Pacific coast, you will immediately trip out on the “Pescadillas” they offer, crispy taquitos filled with a savory filling of seasoned, minced wild fish served over a tasty puddle of umami-intensive pasta de frijol (black bean paste). They are an extremely hard-to-find, the type of crispy fish taco that you’ll see in Guerrero’s Costa Chica and a handful of beaches in Oaxaca, and now also at Simón L.A. to give Mariscos Jalisco’s holy shrimp taco some very serious competition. – Javier Cabral
3667 W Sunset Blvd. Send Simón a DM via Instagram to confirm their latest hours of operation.
Tacos Don Goyo
This Downey taquería is a united front of CDMX and TJ-styles on fresh handmade tortillas. The asada is grilled over flame to give it a smokey flavor, then topped with guacamole, onions, and cilantro. You can also get asada fries, burritos, or sopes. Make sure to try the al pastor as well. They roast it on a trompo and top each taco with pineapple. - Cesar Hernandez
8502 Telegraph Rd. Downey, CA 90240
Los Garduños Barbacoa
Lamb Barbacoa Flauta
Every week, Josefina Garduño purchases four live lamb to make a traditional barbacoa in the style of the town of Capuhualc in the state of Mexico. As the youngest sibling, Josefina learned her father’s technique and recipe almost 20 years ago from her oldest brother, Ricardo, who serves the same barbacoa from his restaurant, Taquería Capuhualc, in South Central. Garduño graced Lincoln Heights with her family’s barbacoa when she moved there four years ago. The steamy barbacoa is simply seasoned with salt rather than marinated in spices or chiles, except for la pancita (the stomach), which is boldened with added flavor. At the stand, you’ll see her husband, Carlos Sanchez, pulling meat off the lamb head—the most prized—and preparing tacos. Her son Ryan is helping with orders while her daughter Shanty makes fresh tortillas. Order a cup of consomé filled with bits of stringy meat crumbs, garbanzo beans, rice, and veggies. And if you like your tacos crispy, they make tacos dorados too. They’re not just the best tacos in Lincoln Heights; their barbacoa should rank amongst the best in L.A.
Saturday and Sunday mornings only, on the corner of Ave 24 and Pasadena Street, outside Smart & Final.
Los Originales Tacos Árabes De Puebla
Tacos Árabes Especiales
As you might have guessed, Lebanese-influenced, Puebla-style tacos árabes are the specialty of this Boyle Heights lonchera. The especiales add stringy quesillo and slices of avocado to thicker tortillas known as "pan árabes," filled with marinated pork. Even though the pork is shaved from a trompo, it is not the same as al pastor. This recipe for protein is one of the Villegas family’s most guarded secrets, receiving offers of up to $15,000 to sell it. They didn’t, so their lonchera is the only place to find it. - Cesar Hernandez
3600 E. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023
The burrito 2.0 has become my go-to order at Sonoratown and is also in the running for the best burrito in L.A. This burrito shines because of its strong fundamentals, excellent grilled asada, buttery, fluffy flour tortillas, and frijoles. But the real hack at this taqueria is adding the option of chile poblano for an extra earthy and smoked chile flavor. - Cesar Hernandez
208 E. 8th St. Los Angeles, CA 90014
El Sauz Restaurant
Long Beach’s own El Sauz, located on Anaheim Boulevard in Cambodia Town, serves up the crispiest tripas found on this side of the 405. The super-thin, ribbon-like cuts of meat are deep-fried into a crisp. The final tripa product is akin to the wonton strips you’d find in a Chinese chicken salad. It’s all about the texture with this taco, given its satisfying crunch as you first bite in. Note: The later it is in the night and the more buzzed you are, the better this taco tastes. - Gab Chabrán
1616 E. Anaheim St. Long Beach, CA 90813
Taco Al Pastor
The Mixe-style adobo found on many of L.A.'s pastor trompos usually has a higher amount of vinegar and dried chiles that reflect Oaxaca’s similar use of these flavors in their famed chorizo. The Mixe-powered al pastor taquería playbook usually also includes supplementary options of excellent, fatty cabeza (steamed beef head), and decent mesquite-grilled asada. All these taco standards are honored at Tacos Lionel. - Javier Cabral
E. Atherton St. and Clark Ave., open 5 PM to midnight on weekdays, and 5 PM to 1 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Antojitos La Cosa Nuestra
Chorizo con Papa Quesadilla
Each puffy quesadilla features a crunchy shell of masa housing a river of melted cheese, customized with guisos al gusto. The chorizo con papa (my favorite) casts a powerful spell of nostalgia, creating images of comfort and home. - Cesar Hernandez
2620 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90007
Blue Hole Restaurant
Belizean Orange Walk Tacos
Orange Walk Tacos are widely coveted in Belize, where they're traditionally consumed as a comforting breakfast treat aside a cup of morning coffee. In Gardena, Blue Hole’s are notably juicy, rolled tacos in handmade corn tortillas, bearing super tender chicken rubbed and marinated in a ground recado, before it's shredded and slowly stewed in its own juices. – Hadley Tomicki
14008 Crenshaw Blvd.
Tacos El Toro
Taco de Labio
The labio (lip) is meaty, fatty, and melts in your mouth, the favorite of El Toro owner Benjamin Padilla. He always buys extra cachete and labio because each cow head only has a bit and they’re the stars of his most popular tacos. Working swiftly, he’ll grab steamed cow head proteins like cachete, labio, or cabeza, chop it down, pack a tortilla full of meat, and serve it. The sound of the syncopated chopping of cleavers rings like a drum here, building anticipation and filling the air with the music of tacos. - Cesar Hernandez
600 Bradshawe Ave. East Los Angeles, CA 90022
Fish and Shrimp Taco
This fish taco chain has locations all around L.A., but the Bellflower address holds a special place for Southeast L.A. locals. They specialize in Baja-style fish and shrimp tacos that come with fried fish filets, cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema. Chiles gueros are also mandatory at this taqueria. If you’re looking for something more substantial, they also have burritos filled with fried shrimp and fish, too.
Al Pastor Taco
One of the Westside's emerging taco voices with the lines to prove it. They slice the slightly cooked pork from the trompo and finish it on the plancha. But what stands out is the speed at which the taquero chops the searing pork on the plancha. After it reaches the right sear, it is served and placed on small tortillas. The great thing about taqueros strapped with a choricera is that they’ll have things like nopales, caramelized onions, and on occasion, potatoes, which are all readily available for your taco's supplemental needs. - Cesar Hernandez
11341 National Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064
Taco de Al Pastor
This lonchera is parked curbside on Whittier Boulevard in an East L.A. pocket known for its powerful taco scene. They keep their trompo outside so you can see how the magic happens. Attached to the trompo rig is a small plancha where they place the shaved pork and cover it with two corn tortillas – like they’re tucking them into bed. Placing the already crispy pork on the plancha for extra crispiness is what us taco goers deserve. With a flick of the wrist, you’ll see a small piece of pineapple flying through the air and somehow, the trompero always catches it. - Cesar Hernandez
5851 Whittier Blvd. East Los Angeles, CA 90022
Taquería El Poblano
Vampiro con Asada
El Poblano's vampiro is a crowd favorite. Tortillas toasted over an open flame are filled with melted cheese, protein, salsa, guacamole, and topped with another tostada. It's like a tostada sandwich. Of all the taco options at El Poblano, asada is the draw. They recently opened a location near Disneyland, so you can get your vampiro fix before going to the oppressive mouse kingdom. - Cesar Hernandez
Carnitas de Pato
For the ultimate stunt burrito, look no further than the Cacao’s, stuffed with carnitas de pato, rich and juicy tasting duck confit, along with fresh sliced avocado, pickled red onions for added acidity, and fresh radish for the right amount crunch. It’s all topped with salsa macha made with heavenly combination of dried chiles, peanuts, and herbs for a thick and spicy, not to mention satisfying, bite. The duck is similarly sublime in a taco. - Gab Chabrán
441, 1576 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041
Al Pastor Taco
One of the big players in the al pastor game. After trying a taco, you’ll see why. The crispy pieces of al pastor manage to stay juicy even though it is sliced very thin. The tortillas are small but packed with this winning al pastor. - Cesar Hernandez
4817 Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tacos Al Pastor
What stands out from the al pastor at Taquería Juquilita is the tightly-stacked trompo. The layers are compressed as tightly as a chocolate babka and the crimson adobo’s tinge appears to have seeped deeply into the thinly-carved pork, showing the pork had enough time to marinate in the adobo before being stacked and impaled. The second is the trompero’s slices. They are effortless and precise with each finesse of the knife. – Javier Cabral
5944 Santa Monica Blvd. 90038
This Redondo Beach taquería specializes in five different types of taco and four ceviches. The asada is one of the standouts, similar to a perrón, which features a flour tortilla with melted jack cheese, asada, avocado salsa, and salsa roja. It;'s definitely worth trying the rest of the tacos, too, like the sweet potato, before washing it down with a coconut horchata. - Cesar Hernandez
1223 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. Redondo Beach, CA 90277
El Asadero Poblano
Asada and Chorizo Vampiro
This TJ-style taquería came out swinging with strong grilled meats, handmade tortillas, and tacos wrapped in paper. The vampiro is excellent, especially with a combination of chopped asada and chorizo. The tostadas have a glassy crunch but stay together because of the melted cheese. - Cesar Hernandez
181 E Vernon Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90011
Birria de chivo
The only thing on the menu at this weekly, laundromat-bound Boyle Heights stand is their birria tatemada. Chopped goat meat that is steamed for four hours before finishing in the oven to achieve a type of birria-flavored bark not unlike the bark you’ll find on a good piece of BBQ. You can get it on a plate with a ladle of a tomato-rich consomé and a pile of tortillas, or tucked inside tortillas in taco dorado form. – Javier Cabral
3442 E. Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90023
Al Pastor Taco
Tacos Tlahui is one of the best taquerías in El Monte, bringing Oaxacan flavors singing through their powerful trompo. The taquero will shave red pork slices off the huge cone of meat, then place them on the plancha for that crisp sear. - Cesar Hernandez
12000 Valley Blvd. El Monte, CA 91732
Striped Bass Tacos
The dry-aged taco is the most unique from the weekly Taco Tuesday event held at this perpetual award-winning SFV Thai restaurant. The striped bass is hung and aged for a little over a week, fried at a low temperature, then seared to develop a smokiness. The taco is then topped with Boon sauce, a chile oil made by L.A. chef Max Boonthanakit, as well as a house mayo for a touch of Ensenada realness. The bass’ dry-aging adds a fruitful flavor that combines effortlessly with the sauce’s heat and the mayo's umami. - Cesar Hernandez
14704 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Birria de Res Taco Dorado
Birria powerhouse Birriería Gonzales has so many locations in Los Angeles, that they had to open one in Las Vegas, to staisfy the demand for beef birria. The tacos dorados hold their structural integrity best against the juiciness of its beef birria. Their quesabirria is also one of the best. It’s cheesy, spicy, beefy, and will cure your hangover. But what works best is the smoky and deep red salsa—it's so good that it's the only one they offer. - Cesar Hernandez
Tacos La Güera
Suadero and Al Pastor Tacos
La Güera’s puestos are set up with the line starting at the trompo. They recognize the strength of their adobo. The acidity of their juicy al pastor marries well with the library of assorted condiments they offer. Perhaps the most impressive protein, next to the pastor, at La Güera is the suadero. Thick cuts of brisket are cooked in the rendered fat of the other proteins, then chopped, and thrown on a tortilla. It tastes porky and beefy at the same time. - Cesar Hernandez
Just like the legendary burgers that Mario makes at Hinano’s, these tacos have the same approach. Simple, fresh, and correct. No reductions, emulsifications, rare ingredients, or gourmet shit is happening, except for a conscious choice to use wild rockfish instead of farmed tilapia—just quality ingredients, the right portions, and flavors, and made fresh to order and perfectly satisfying. – Memo Torres
Lupita’s Tacos pop up every Friday and Saturday evening at Palms and Lincoln Boulevard.
Tacos El Cachetón
Tacos Al Vapor
The beef head is steamed and separated for each taco according to each meat’s respective skull compartment. Usually, the tacos you can order at these establishments are cachete (beef cheek), labio (beef lip), lengua (beef tongue), sesos (beef brain), and surtido, which is sometimes called “cabeza” and usually means a mixture of all the meats and then some. - Javier Cabral
4518 Rosecrans Ave. Compton, CA 90221
Tacos Estilo Guadalajara
Tacos Al Vapor
The godfather of tacos al vapor is my city’s pride and joy. Born in Lynwood, Tacos Estilo Guadalajara has been serving tacos al vapor for the better part of this decade and has moved a few times. What makes Estilo Guadalajara special is the perfect balance of meat and tortilla. The meats are cooked to velvety perfection. - Cesar Hernandez
10733 Long Beach Blvd. Lynwood, CA 90262, 13121 Lakewood Blvd. Downey, CA, and 724 W. Holt Blvd. Ontario, CA
Tacos El Primo
Birria de Res Taco Dorado
Combine one of the best-tasting birrias, sliced on-the-spot off a massive boulder of beef slow-cooking in a red-stained pot, with a crispy tortilla, and you get a winning formula. The taquero will deftly fill the plancha with folded tacos then ladle the consomé on top to expedite the hissing and searing. You might go into a birria trance that only the crunch of the dorado can disturb. - Cesar Hernandez
1507 E. 23rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90011
Tire Shop Taquería
When the kind taquera at Taquería San Miguel asks you if you're going to be ordering a quesadilla—say 'yes.' They will hand you a quesadilla made with hand-pressed corn tortillas and filled to the brim with smokey meat. It’s what I imagine is served in the halls of Valhalla, if Valhalla was in Mexico. Of course, they offer their signature TJ-style meats, grilled over mesquite coals, and served with a healthy smear of bright green guacamole. - Cesar Hernandez
4077 S. Avalon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90011
Barbacoa Enchilada Taco
Every order of barbacoa tacos at Gish Bac comes rolled, like a duo of sauceless enchiladas, filled with goat barbacoa and a cup of consome. The chivo meat is soft, tender, and spicy, roiling in the undeniable richness of rendered goat fat. This Oaxacalifornia restaurant not only specializes in barbacoa enchilada, but also makes a fantastic barbacoa blanca. - Cesar Hernandez
4163 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Asada taco on flour tortilla
El Ruso pairs excellent grilled asada with supple flour tortillas made in the Sonoran style. The cashier will ask you if you want beans and cheese, and yes, you do. A pile of cheese is placed on the plancha and covered with a flour tortilla then scraped off, creating a cheese crust. In goes the chopped asada and a scoop of beans for a quintessential L.A. taco experience that combines several Mexican regions in one flour tortilla. - Cesar Hernandez
3140 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Goat Birria Taco
Juan Garcia is a taquero from Compton who specializes in hich family's age-old, Jalisco-style goat birria recipe, and proudly dedicated to all the birria purists out there. His version is rich, meaty, gamey, and bold. Each taco features tortillas from tortilla-darlings Kernel of Truth, with goat birria, a ladle of consome, pink pickled onions, and cilantro. Check them out at Smorgasburg and try their other inventive tacos, like the Cabrito, which features grilled kid. - Cesar Hernandez
Goat Mafia pops up every Sunday at Smorgasburg L.A.
Los Cinco Puntos
Los Cinco Puntos is a Boyle Height institution, a hallowed hall of carnitas that also serves excellent menudo. The tacos are made on thicker tortillas, which you can see being made live as the tortilleras place fresh masa on a plancha, flip them and carefully watch as they inflate. The carnitas here have a pinkish hue, offered by the pound or in taco-ized form. Make sure to get them fully loaded with guacamole and a scoop of nopales. - Cesar Hernandez
3300 East Cesar E. Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, CA
Carnitas El Artista
El Artista is known for their succulent carnitas tacos and new-ish taqueria in Inglewood. The tacos come fully dressed with salsa, onions, and cilantro, along with pickled onion and habanero. Make sure to add a bit of chicharron for texture and porky flair, and check to see if they have costillas available. - Cesar Hernandez
510 N. La Brea Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301
Wagyu Carne Asada Taco
El Barrio is for everyone who wants high-quality, healthy meats without losing the essence of a good taco. The mesquite-grilled Wagyu carne asada uses all-natural farmed beef, dressed with light avocado crema, tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese. Your taste buds and health consciousness don’t have to be at odds with each other when you eat at El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos. - Memo Torres
3500 Overland Ave. #100, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Ensenada Surf n Turf
This South Bay taqueria specializes in Baja-style fish tacos. They beer-batter white fish filets and fry them until golden. Make sure to grab a few of the blistered chiles gueros for an ideal experience - taking a bite of the fish taco followed by another of the chiles. Rinse and repeat. - Cesar Hernandez
Tacos La Carreta Mazatlecos
What makes Long Beach's La Carreta float among L.A.’s sea of amazing taqueros is Morales’s hyper-focus on asada. It is the only carne the young taquero carries on the menu, and the heavenly smell of the mesquite-grilled sirloin attracts those who know what’s up to come from all corners of the county.- Javier Cabral
401 E. 69th St., Long Beach
Al Pastor Taco
Pablito’s Peruvian-tinged tacos aren’t trying to change the traditional street taco formula; they just added a different dimension of deliciousness from tapping Peruvian flavors. Part of their secret is to adding Peruvian chile to the trompo, serving it over fluffy but sturdy handmade corn tortilla, topping it off with guacamole, and adding a final spoon of their signature aji - Memo Torres.
Tacos El Negro
Tacos al Vapor
Tacos El Negro is not looking to explain themselves to the uninitiated, as they don’t even have a menu. They offer steamed cachete, cabeza, labio, and asada for the less brave among us, which is good in its own right, but pales in comparison to all the offal on offer. This taqueria welcomes you with a drumroll of chopping, the meat here chopped to a pulp to create an even mouthfeel. The soft steamed meat pairs well with a touch of their habanero sauce. - Cesar Hernandez
5720 Imperial Hwy. South Gate, CA 90280
Tacos Don Cuco
Adobada and Asada Vampiro
One of East L.A.’s best Tijuana-style tacos, Don Cuco's adobada is grilled over coals instead of on a trompo like al pastor, which they believe to be the true method of adobada. The result is a smoky, succulent pork that certainly tastes different. Try the vampiro with both adobada and asada, basically a crunchy and meaty tostada sandwich with melted cheese. - Cesar Hernandez
752 S. Fetterly Ave. East Los Angeles, CA 90022
Chuy’s Tacos Dorados
Shredded Beef Taco
At Chuy’s, they do everything just as their great grandparents would—no cutting corners. Take, for example, the carne desebrada (shredded beef). It’s simmered for six to eight hours. The results are undeniable. The shell has an audible crunch while still managing to be airy. The tacos with shredded beef are a perfectly packaged gift that has a mellow beefy flavor enhanced only by the salsas. The cheese starts to melt from the heat of the salsa, as the various flavors and textures combine wonderfully. - Cesar Hernandez
Tamales Elena Y Antojitos
Taco de lengua
The Afro-Mexican regional dishes at Tamales Elena will convince anyone that Los Angeles has the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, and no other city in the United States even comes close. Starting with their tender tamales steamed in ultra-aromatic banana leaves washed down with a refreshing chilate, a cacao-infused horchata of sorts that is popular in the state of Guerrero, where the family behind this food truck is from. Their tacos de lengua are so delicious that they garnered attention from the Taco Chronicles, making an appearance in the Los Angeles episode. Monday-Sat 6 am-1 pm/ Sunday 8 am-1 pm. Wilmington Ave/109th Street.
Antojitos Los Cuates
Tostadas Raspada de Lomo
Antojitos Los Cuates is one of the most humble and unassuming restaurants in L.A., specializing in amazing antojitos. The tostada raspada, topped with cold sliced lomo (pork loin), is a delicacy. The rough-edged, oversized tostada is smeared with beans, then layered with slices of lomo, tomato slices, cabbage, and crumbled cheese. The cheese has a bit of a funk to it that is both slightly fruity and tangy, and undeniably addicting.
1811 N. Long Beach Blvd. Compton, CA 90221
Tacos Los Güichos
Al pastor taco
Tacos Los Güichos is one of the kings of al pastor and their domain is a tire shop right next to the 110 freeway. They take their al pastor so seriously that you get the tacos from the person manning the trompo almost like a separate leg of the company. The sound of the raging fire licking the bright red trompo is mesmerizing. At the trompo station, taqueros will prepare your tacos with a specific red salsa tailored to the al pastor flavors. - Cesar Hernandez
320 W. Slauson Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90003
Tacos Los Poblanos
Up and down Central or Avalon, you can find Tijuana-style tacos with relative ease. All you have to do is follow big plumes of smoke, the signal that tacos are near. If that fails, do like Toucan Sam and follow your nose. The tacos at this taquería feature freshly made tortillas that are quickly assembled. With quick hands, the taquero will grab a piece of paper, tortilla, chopped asada, a handful of onions, and cilantro, then they’ll rapidly toss a spoonful of salsa in the air and catch it, before finishing it off with a thick smear of guacamole.
821 S. Avalon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90011
When do you come to a taqueria and order... chicken?! When you're at Loqui, of course. The San Francisco-orignated chain serves one of our favorite chickens in town, rolling a surplus of tender, smoky, red-stained thigh meat inside of its signature buttery tortillas. Make sure to add a liberal scoop of guacamole to that. - Hadley Tomicki
Tacos Los Palomos
Al pastor taco
The al pastor is shaved thin from a large trompo and has a slight crisp from the roaring flame that licks the trompo. Each taco de al pastor is topped with shaved pineapple. You can find Taco Los Palomos curbside on Vermont near the 105 freeway with a bright green banner adorned with white doves. - Cesar Hernandez
Tacos y Birria La Única
Chivo Taco Dorado
Not many taqueros in L.A offer tasty-ass versions of both birria de chivo and beef. These guys also offer handmade corn tortillas for all their tacos, which is a game-changer and another rarity in L.A.'s cutthroat Birria Wars. Catch me swimming in their clavo-intensive consomé. - Javier Cabral
2840 E. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023
Sweet Potato Taco
Guerrilla Tacos marked a shift for tacos in L.A. and no taco is more emblematic of that than the sweet potato taco. It consists of a couple of yam coins cooked with butter, leeks, and herbs, then topped with creamy feta cheese, corn nuts, and a killer almond salsa. This taco will go down in the annals of history as a taco game-changer. - Cesar Hernandez
2000 E. 7th St. Los Angeles, CA 90021
King Taco and El Taurino
The true King of L.A. doesn’t ball, he slings tacos. King Taco and El Taurino are the hood’s answer to In-N-Out—fast, affordable, and consistently offering quality food to their respective barrios since 1974. They're both classic late-night spots opened by the same family, two brothers to be exact. And let’s not forget, King Taco is the originator of the modern taco truck and the two-bite tortillas. The latter of which they brought back in a suitcase from Mexico City. To me, the carne asada is the thing here. The limey marinade rivals any taquero’s and the salsas are probably the best in the city. Their asada burrito 'de pura carne' is the best thing on the menu. – Erick Galindo
Angel’s Tijuana Tacos
Al Pastor Taco
There’s never a lack of hungry patrons at any of their locations, but part of that draw is the behemoth trompo. That thing is so big that the trompero has to jump to slice off a piece of pineapple (no, not really). The al pastor is such a draw at Angel’s that the other carnes are served much faster. Another plus to this spot is that each taco de al pastor comes with guacamole and they’ll even dress it for you, talk about convenience. - Cesar Hernandez
Barbacoa Estilo Taxco
Lamb Barbacoa Costillas
This Guerrero-style barbacoa specialist sets up a restaurant on weekends to sell amazing barbacoa de borrego and birria de chivo. You could order tacos de barbacoa or pancita, but the real delicacy here is the costillas (ribs). The lamb meat on these ribs is succulent and shiny, slick with fat, ideal for sharing and making your own tacos. Grab a tortilla, rip a piece of fatty lamb and take it straight to your head. These ribs are good enough to convince anyone that has apprehension about eating lamb to join you. - Cesar Hernandez
Mckinley and E. 57th Streets
Stay in touch
Sign up for our free newsletter
More from L.A. TACO
May the Brew Be With You: Craft Beer Meets Science Fiction At Tijuana’s Newest Craft Brewery
"Spanglish" is Farland's Aleworks double IPA beer and it's as complex as the border city itself.
San Fernando Police Officer Charged With Swiping Arrestee’s Cash
San Fernando Police Officer Jeffery King is charged with one felony count each of second-degree robbery and extortion, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft. Earlier this week a warrant was issued for his arrest. “Law enforcement officers take an oath to uphold the law, not to break it," Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.
Four Things to Buy at Tijuana’s Largest Mercado For Your Loved Ones Back Home
If you traveled across the border and didn’t lug back a heavier suitcase full of regional goods for loved ones, did you even go at all?
Tacos in the Outfield: Meet the East L.A. Taquero Who Got His Start Selling Carne Asada Inside Tijuana’s Baseball Stadium
Jesus Manuel "Güero" Mendez is the head taquero for Tacos Don Cuco, which has six locations around L.A. and the I.E. But he never forgets his humble beginnings selling tacos outside Tijuana's baseball stadium. A couple times a year, he still makes carne asada for the staff and players as a way to honor that.
The Secret Motorcycle Gang History of Tijuana’s Best Fish Tacos
Open since 1991 and operated by one of the daughters of Tijuana's famous fish taco gem, Las 4 Hermanas. The fish tacos at Alicia's are so delicious that they are charged to a running tab since most people always order more than they thought they wanted. But the portraits of old bikers on the restaurant's walls tell a deeper story.