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A Flour Tortilla Map of Los Angeles, From Sonoran to Mexicali-Styles

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s been great to witness the rise of the flour tortilla in Los Angeles. What was once the misunderstood counterpart of the corn tortilla has reached a critical point in L.A.’s Taco Life: We now have regional styles within the flour tortilla institution. 

There are taqueros and taqueras in Los Angeles who are currently offering tortillas to suit your precise needs. Do you shamelessly prefer a thicker flour tortilla because it reminds you of the life-changing taco you had in Rosarito? Are you a homesick Texan and find joy in bready tortillas because that’s what you grew up with? Are you a taco snob who will not eat anything besides a paper-thin Sonoran-style flour tortilla? In Los Angeles, there is a deliciously chewy flour tortilla waiting for you.  

After all, some tacos just taste better on a flour tortilla—straight up. 

Those specific tacos are the existential tortilla question that has plagued humankind since we first started wrapping bugs and pieces of grilled game meat with flattened disks of processed grain. Ask anyone in Sonora what the proper tortilla for carne asada is, and they will vehemently respond with “de harina, a huevo.” But ask that that same question to a Tijuanense and they will be much laxer in their answer because they know that intangible pleasure of an asada quesadilla at El Poblano on Boulevard Diaz Ordaz in the community of La Mesa, but their heart will tell them a handmade corn tortilla—rolled up tightly and slicked with guacamole. In Mexico, beyond the romanticizing of any taco-style, a taco’s tortilla is defined by the region where it originated. This is why a fish taco in Ensenada is made with a Maseca-based corn tortilla (favoring convenience and cost for tourists). In La Paz, all fish tacos are served on a flour tortilla (wheat is easier to grow and access in a desert landscape).    

The reality is that there are no rules for tacos. It is subjective and often, on a case-by-case basis, subject to your antojo (craving). So let your antojo guide you through L.A. TACO’s flour tortilla map.

sonoratown flour tortilla
Sonoratown's flour tortillas. Photo via Sonoratown.
Sonoratown's flour tortillas. Photo via Sonoratown.

Sonoratown

Flour tortilla style: San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora

Jenn Feltham and Teo Diaz pioneered and led L.A.’s flour tortilla resurgence since they first opened in 2016. Since then, their thin Sonoran-style flour tortillas made in the style of San Luis Rio Colorado have only gotten better. Part of that has to do with what Feltham ironically calls “the stupidest supply chain ever” of sourcing and self-importing bags of Bonfil flour from Mexico a couple of times a month. Still, the most significant part is the commitment that Sonoratown has to continually work to replicate those flour tortillas approximately 295 miles away from Sonoratown in downtown L.A.

208 E 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

 

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El Ruso

Flour tortilla-style: Imuri, Sonora 

Julia Silva remains the only taquera in Los Angeles who regularly offers sobaquera-style flour tortillas in L.A.’s cutthroat taco scene. Those are the paper-thin flour tortillas that are about the size of an infant’s blanket and delicious enough to devour one in just a few minutes. The special Prime-grade asada operation has recently moved from an industrial area in Boyle Heights to Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, offering their Sonoran sazón to a brand new demographic. 

3140 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Asador Chikali 

Flour tortilla style: Mexicali, Baja California.

This Mexicali-style food truck on Atlantic Boulevard in East Los Angeles was received by L.A.’s flour tortilla geeks with open arms when they first opened in 2018. Their hand-rolled flour tortillas are just a bit thicker than Sonoran-style, and they are a delicious alternative to driving down to Mexicali to get your fix. This flour tortilla stands out in Los Angeles because they are the only ones in the city to cradle northern Mexico-style breakfast guisado offerings like chicharrón en salsa roja and rich beef barbacoa, on top of the tried-and-true flour tortilla topping, carne asada.  

410 S Atlantic Blvd, East Los Angeles, CA 90022

Chile relleno burrito at Tortillería La Azteca. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.
Chile relleno burrito at Tortillería La Azteca. Photo by Daniel Suarez for L.A. TACO.

Tortillería La Azteca

Flour tortilla style: East Los Angeles, California

This handmade flour tortilla is beloved by at least three generations of families in East Los Angeles. The deliciously doughy texture is heftier than many in this map, and it works out beautifully to envelop a whole chile relleno and anything else you’re feeling like. This flour tortilla can carry it all.

4538 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Perro 110's taco with Rosarito-style flour tortillas.
Perro 110's taco with Rosarito-style flour tortillas. Photo by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.
Perro 110's taco with Rosarito-style flour tortillas. Photo by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

Perro 110

Flour tortilla style: Rosarito, Baja California

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 of these tacos. Gargantuan and splattered in a chaos 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. Grab one now. - Hadley Tomicki

4505 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011

Burritos La Palma. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.
Burritos La Palma. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.

Burritos La Palma and Mejorado 

Flour tortilla style: Jerez, Zacatecas

These burritos changed the genre in Los Angeles, and singlehandedly continue to educate burrito lovers that a petite and slender burrito can be just as satisfying as a Mission-style gut torpedo. Naturally, their flour tortillas are the name of the game. They are thin enough, but also thick enough at the same time, tasting like the best possible version of the packaged flour tortillas many Angelenos grew up on made by their local corn tortillería that also made flour tortillas. This burrito shop recently collaborated with chef Eddie Ruiz to create their Mejorado brand specifically for retail, including higher-end ones made with freshly milled flour at Gusto Bakery in Long Beach and a special Dodger-blue color flour tortilla made with natural spirulina coloring every Sunday at Smorgasburg.  

Multiple locations 

La Monarca's tacos. Photo via La Monarca.
La Monarca's tacos. Photo via La Monarca.

La Monarca Bakery

Flour tortilla style: Sonora, Mexico. 

Beyond their pan dulce made with non-commercial mixes and real butter, unlike many other panaderías in L.A., real ones know that their tacos on their own flour tortillas deserve just as much praise. They offer tacos on their own homemade Sonoran-style flour tortillas. They taste amazing on their northern-style guisados, including soyrizo, mole, shredded beef in salsa verde, and chipotle beef. They also offer their tortillas in packages to maximize your home quesadilla game. 

Multiple locations

HomeState's tacos. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.
HomeState's tacos. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.

HomeState

Flour tortilla style: Texas 

Homesick Texans and lovers of Tex-Mex style American food have found refuge within the housemade flour tortillas at HomeState. Their breadier-style flour tortillas are holding it down in L.A. for breakfast tacos, filled with eggs, potatoes, or brisket. They have grown to be a bonafide Texan institution and have a dedicated following for their consistency, casual counter service, queso dip, and laidback ambiance across their locations in East Hollywood, Highland Park, and Pasadena. Their flour tortillas have the bonus of being available to be washed down with their ridiculously refreshing frozen margaritas, too.  

Multiple locations

A flour tortilla taco at Loqui.
A flour tortilla taco at Loqui. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.

Loqui  

Flour tortilla style: Mission District, SF.

What started as a pop-up in San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery stands as the housemade flour tortilla lone wolf out in Culver City. Their simple flour tortilla menu includes vegetarian options like mushrooms, and their tacos are also a bit bigger, so be prepared to be stuffed after eating just a couple.

8830 Washington Blvd #104, Culver City, CA 90232

Flour and corn, side by side
Carrillo's flour and corn tortillas, side by side. Photo from L.A. TACO archives.
Flour and corn, side by side

Carrillo’s 

Flour tortilla style: San Fernando Valley 

It’s rare when you find an eatery like Carrillo’s Tortilleria & Mexican Delicatessen. It is an 818 classic with locations in San Fernando, Canoga Park, and Simi Valley. The secret to their success may lie in their refusal to use preservatives in their tortillas and their dedication to the original recipe. Flour, lard, baking powder, and salt are all it takes. Though, they decided to add a dough softener to improve the overall texture. - Frank John Tristan 

1242 Pico St, San Fernando, CA 91340

Macheen's fish tacos.
Macheen's fish tacos. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Macheen's fish tacos. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.

Macheen 

Flour tortilla style: Macheen 

To create Macheen’s flour tortillas, Jonathan Perez saves the delicious fat from his brisket and carefully folds it into his flour tortilla dough. He makes it by hand, and they take a lot of work! But the work pays off when you take that first bite of his fish taco, which it serves as the base for. These flour tortillas are good enough to snack on their own.

2633 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

flour tortillas from tacos y que
Flour tortillas from Tacos y Que. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
Flour tortillas from Tacos y Que. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

Tacos y Que 

Flour tortilla style: Tacos y Que 

One of the main tunes to Tacos y Que’s hugely hyped pop-up tacos starts with their Sonoran-style flour tortilla. “It’s our secret weapon,” Tacos y Que tells L.A. TACO. They worked with La Princesita in East L.A. who is now the exclusive producer of their chewy and buttery tortillas.

Follow Tacos y Que on Instagram to see when they will pop up next. 

If you’re serious about tortillas in Southern California, make sure to follow Gustavo Arellano’s annual Tortilla Tournament with KCRW, which partly inspired this feature.

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