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The Best Tacos in Covina and West Covina

Both are distinctly different, but one thing they share in common is great tacos, ranging from CalMex freshness to taqueria classics, from hard-fought brick and mortars to inventive pop-ups. 

10:06 AM PDT on July 26, 2023

    Brisket Flautas at Domestic, photo: Sean Vukan

    These are the best tacos in West Covina and Covina.

    West Covina and Covina are neighbors and easily confused by name alone. But the two cities couldn’t be more different.

    Covina’s history is rooted in agriculture and in 1909, Covina was the third largest producer of oranges in the world. Today, a drive down Arrow Highway into Covina certainly feels more rural. 

    West Covina, stretching all the way from Baldwin Park in the northwest to La Puente and Walnut in the southeast, was incorporated in 1923 to prevent neighboring Covina from building a sewage farm. Distinctly more suburban and working class, West Covina saw a major post-World War II population boom from 1950-1960, jumping from around 5,000 residents to 50,000 in that time. 

    Both are distinctly different, but one thing they share in common is great tacos, ranging from CalMex freshness to taqueria classics, from hard-fought brick and mortars to inventive pop-ups.

    So without further ado, here is the L.A. Taco guide to the best tacos of Covina and West Covina.

    Tacos de carnitas Fonda Don Chon

    Fonda Don Chon

    This ever popular location of Fonda Don Chon, off of Shoppers Lane in Covina, is popular for its lunch buffet, which promotes “Estilo Jalisco dishes, typical of Covina.” At around $5 a la carte, you can't go wrong with the carnitas here, which are clean and not too greasy, and topped with a dollop of creamy guacamole. The tacos de mariscos are good, too, with the cheesy tacos gobernador having palpable bite to them, while still remaining crispy.  Their spicy shrimp toxicas taco feels like their take on the signature Mariscos Jalisco taco, served sideways and topped with avocado.

    618 Shoppers Ln. Covina, CA 91723. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 281, 284, and 488 - "Rowland/2nd" or Foothill Transit Line 190 - "Citrus/Rowland."

    Pulled pork tacos at Domestic BBQ

    Domestic BBQ

    Come for the pulled pork taco, stay for the barbecue. The Covina location of Domestic BBQ, the second of chef Milton Arredondo's acclaimed barbecue spots, is the more experimental. It takes chances on dishes like a smoked chicken liver paté, which may be “slow to catch on in Covina," according to co-owner Erika Herrera, but is delicious. The smoked pulled pork taco is lean and clean, with a surfeit of flavor and a lot of meat inside. The smoked brisket flautas are favorites as well. If you’re looking for great barbecue in the eastern regions of the San Gabriel Valley, Domestic is the spot.

    325 N. Citrus Ave. Covina, CA 91723. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Line 281 - "Second/College" or Foothill Transit Line 190 - "Badillo/Citrus."

    Tacos Gobernadores at El Camichin

    El Camichin

    El Camichin, another comfort spot great for mariscos, tacos, and drinks, is located right next door to Domestic. The gobernador tacos (I’m a sucker for shrimp and cheese) and tacos de camarones are favorites, as was the quesabirria, despite a tortilla that had gone soggy on one side after sitting in consome. The camaron options are the call here, as promised by the drawing of the shrimp in their name.

    307 N. Citrus Ave. Covina, CA 91723. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Line 281 - "Second/College" or Foothill Transit Line 190 - "Badillo/Citrus."

    Mr. Piggies Taqueria

    Mr. Piggies' meat menu reads like most taquerias do: asada, pollo, carnitas, and camaron. Then the cochinita pibil catches your eye. Get this Yucatec special of citrus marinated, slow-roasted pork. It's flavorful, simple, and a total gem of a find right on the border of Covina and unincorporated Charter Oak. The tacos de papa are delicious here, too, stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes and freshly fried, before they're topped with cooling lettuce and queso fresco.  

    20616 E. Arrow Hwy. Covina, CA 91724. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 492 - "Arrow Highway/Bonnie Cove."

    Taqueria Poncitlan

    If the taqueria is popular with construction workers and landscapers, it’s probably good, as in the case of Poncitlan, which offers no frills, hearty meals. The taco de adobada is packed with flavor and the sure standout on the menu.  Don’t skip on the breakfast burritos either, where chorizo, egg, and refried beans get all cozied up inside a flour tortilla. Located along Grand Ave, Poncitlan looks unassuming, with a drive thru reminiscent of the Donut Hole in La Puente. Check out the drawings dotted throughout the dining area. This place is worth a stop. 

    4710 N. Grand Ave. Covina, CA 91724. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 488 - "Grand/Covina."

    El Pilon

    Carnicerias that double as markets and restaurants are never a bad thing and that’s what you get at El Pilon. Choose the classics here: asada, al pastor, pollo, or carnitas. Get that same freshly cut carne asada on some nachos, served with a heaping of tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Located across the street from a Mochinut, get some tacos and follow it up with an ube mochi donut as a sweet option to chase those savory tacos.

    322 S. Glendora Ave. West Covina, CA 91790. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 178 and 281 - "Valinda/Glendora" or Foothill Transit Lines 480, 488, and 707 (Silver Streak) - "Vincent/Lakes."

    Rero’s Burrito

    Embrace the crunchy taco. Rero’s serves up delicious Cal-Mex dishes, like its shredded beef crunchy taco or chile verde soft taco. The flautas are laughably long and could probably double as hiking sticks, but are still soft, flaky, and hold up rather well despite a mound of guacamole served on one end. Rero’s also serves up some of the best breakfast burritos in the Eastern San Gabriel Valley, in simple compositions of meat, eggs, beans, cheese, and potatoes.

    934 West Covina Pkwy. West Covina, CA 91790. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 178, 185, 272, 281, 480, and 707 (Silver Streak) - "West Covina Parkway/California."

    Taco de carnitas at Peter's El Loco

    Peter’s El Loco

    Open since 1971, Peter’s El Loco is a classic Cal-Mex place that also served as the filming location for Kenan and Kel’s 1997 “Good Burger” movie, based off their skit from Nickelodeon’s “All That.” The chile verde burrito is delicious but NOT recommended for a cross-section IG photo, as the guts will fall out of it and become virtually impossible to stuff back inside (the food world's revenge on influencers?). The carnitas and crunchy shredded beef taco, sluiced with green sauce, make for fine lunches.

    437 S. Glendora Ave. West Covina, CA 91790. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Lines 178 and 281 - "Valinda/Glendora" or Foothill Transit Lines 185 and 488 - "Vincent/Glendora."

    Taqueria La Fogata

    La Fogata is a brick and mortar restaurant with two other popup stands in West Covina: one off of Maplegrove and Valinda close to Caramelo Cafe, and one off of Grand and Badillo. Traditional taquero meats abound here, so go for the asada, cabeza, and the flame-kissed al pastor—with well-marinated, thick chunks of pork served with slices of pineapple, and you'll be happy. On a Sunday night, the pop-up at Valinda and Maplegrove sees lots of people waiting for tacos, which is always a good sign.

    314 N Azusa Ave. West Covina, CA 91791 (Popups: Maplegrove and Valinda; Grand and Badillo). Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Line 280 - "Azusa/Workman" or Foothill Transit Lines 480 and 707 (Silver Streak) - "10 Freeway/Azusa."

    Tacos Indiana

    The easternmost location of Tacos Indiana can be found in the city of Covina.  Their Instagram account states they have a location on Lark Ellen, but they do move around, as evidenced by the night I happened to find them off of Citrus Ave, adjacent to the Superior Grocers. Asada, carnitas, crispy tripas, and cabeza are popular options here for all the right reasons, and the avocado salsa goes very well with all of the meats.

    4502 N. Lark Ellen Ave. Covina, CA (check location or DM via Instagram). Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Line 190 - "San Bernardino/Lark Ellen" or Foothill Transit Line 280 - "Azusa/Cypress."

    photo: Hadley Tomicki

    Perro 110

    Perro 110, the ever-popular Tijuana-style taco truck and rfestaurant, is going to be making an effort to get into the San Gabriel Valley more, posting up near the O’Reilly Auto Parts on Azusa and San Bernardino Road. Mom's own handmade flour tortillas imported from Tijuana, creamy guac, and arrachera steak are the only specialties needed here for success. To a recent inquiry, they said that they are going to try and be in West Covina every Sunday, but keep an eye out and check their Instagram for recent updates

    615 N. Azusa Ave. West Covina, CA 91791. Closest transit line: Foothill Transit Line 280 - "Azusa/Puente."

    Birrieria El Patron

    El Patron, the 818 favorite, has blessed the 626 with a truck for delicious tacos dorados, flautas, and burritos stuffed with birria de res. Also, birria egg rolls. These savory shreds of birria de res are poetically complemented with a creamy avocado crema. Also located next to the Superior Grocers off of Lark Ellen, they’re here Tuesday-Thursday from 12pm-8pm, and weekends from 11am-11pm.

    4502 Lark Ellen Ave. Covina, CA 91722. Closest transit lines: Foothill Transit Line 190 - "San Bernardino/Lark Ellen" or Foothill Transit Line 280 - "Azusa/Cypress."

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