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The Five Best Tacos in Claremont

From whole-chorizo tacos to Guadalajara-style birria, here is your guide to the best tacos to have in the mountain-lined border city between the counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

L.A. TACO is embarking on its biggest mission yet: to create a reliable guide to tacos and food for every neighborhood in Los Angeles! Along the way, we will also be releasing brief histories of each neighborhood to understand L.A. a little more and why each and every neighborhood makes our fine city unique. Check out the rest of our history and food guides on our neighborhood page


The city of Claremont serves as a border between the counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino. The San Gabriel Mountains hug this foothill city, providing both a beautiful backdrop and draw for droves of hikers. Claremont is also a college town and one that loves the arts. As a city resident, the one thing that I never thought of Claremont having was a great taco scene, yet this recent trek I embarked on, partially alongside longtime Claremont resident Dr. Bob, proved me wrong. 

Here are the five best tacos to enjoy in Claremont, California.

A plato de taco de asada at El Ranchero. Photo by Adalberto Rodriguez for L.A. TACO.

El Ranchero

Operating since 1996, El Ranchero has long felt like a home away from home for locals. This place is known for its strong mixed drinks, but if you dive into their menu, generously piled platters will also have you hooked. The tacos de asada come with frijoles and arroz as sides. The two-taco plato will hold down your hunger all day. Juicy asada meat sits on a corn tortilla that is light and fluffy, almost flour-like, but never overpowering the asada flavor. The food and drinks are great at El Ranchero, but their warm service makes them truly special. The owner Jose Haro is constantly present, greeting guests, and making sure your food is satisfying. This is the type of space that makes you feel like family.

984 W. Foothill Blvd. Claremont, CA. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 188 - "Foothill/Towne."

Photo via Petiscos/Facebook.

Petiscos

Petiscos is a small taquería in the heart of downtown Claremont in one of the area's oldest buildings. If you happen to be strolling the “village” and need a quick spot to eat, this is your place. Their menu is compact but has just enough of the right stuff. Go for the tacos de chorizo. The meat is well balanced between its heat and spices and not overly greasy. Knocking two or three of these tacos down with an ice-cold Coca Mexicana will keep you going on your village stroll.

211 W. 1st St. Claremont, CA. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 188, 197, 292, 480, and 492 - "1st/Harvard" or Metrolink San Bernardino Line - "Claremont Station."

Photo via Rincon Azteca/Facebook.

Rincon Azteca

Rincon Azteca is in the corner of a shopping center. If you don’t pay attention, you will miss it. I did for the last couple of years. I was pleasantly surprised to find Rincon Azteca has a style of taco that I thought I only made at home: with the chorizo encased in the full sausage casing. Tacos de chorizo, which I am a huge fan of, typically are not served with an entire sausage like this. Rincon went there with this taco, and that taco hits the spot. The meat stays encased during the cooking, the flavors marinating and concentrating deeply. That first bite is a killer, the red salsa a perfect compliment to the chorizo.

586 E. Baseline Rd. Claremont, CA. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 188 - "Foothill/Mills."

Tacos at Casa Maguey. Photo by Adalberto Rodriguez for L.A. TACO.

Casa Maguey

Casa Maguey offers an extensive list of menu options and is great when you need a seat in the village. Even the most discerning taco-lifer will find something they love. The restaurant tries just a bit harder than its competitors by making their own handmade corn tortillas. If you believe in "Taco Tuesdays" (some of us live every day like it's Taco Tuesday) then you'll get a kick out of their build-your-own setup, served weekly. The portions are large, and the meat stays juicy. My personal favorites are the asada and carnitas. Try their beans, too. They stand out, and when you build your own tacos, you can add a thin layer to your tortilla and then add your meat of choice.  

101 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Claremont, CA. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 188, 197, and 480 - "Indian Hill/Santa Fe" or Metrolink San Bernardino Line - "Claremont Station."

Photo via @birrieriaguanatos/Instagram.

Birriería Guanatos

This taquería will require you to do some research before you head out. Birrieria Guanatos is a regular pop-up at Claremont Craft Ales Brewery, so you can catch them once or twice a week there. This collaboration has been happening for some time now, and that is why I deemed them appropriate for this list, that, and because Guanatos Rifa! It has also been my experience that breweries and their food collaborations tend to offer a consistent food hit no matter what city I have visited. These tacos are stuffed, and the meat is so well seasoned that I can taste almost every spice it is cooked with, yet the beef flavor still comes through. Pair these tacos with a Jacaranda Rye ale, and you will not be disappointed.   

Claremont Craft Ales. 1420 N. Claremont Blvd. Claremont, CA. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 188 - "Foothill/Claremont."

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