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The Seven Best Tacos In Inglewood

11:47 AM PST on December 6, 2022

    Tacos de Birria, Beef & Goat from Birrieria Jocotepec | Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Tacos de Birria, Beef & Goat from Birrieria Jocotepec | Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    L.A. TACO is embarking on its biggest mission yet: to create a taco guide for every single 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 that makes our fine city is unique in its own way. Check out our Artesia guide and history on our neighborhood page

    You know the line: Inglewood! Always up to…delicious food? 

    It’s the City of Champions, where world-class athletes play at world-class venues while commercial jets screech overhead every few minutes and giant digital billboards play video ads for the drivers under them. And while most people only know Inglewood from Tupac’s famous shout-out in “California Love,” it’s much more than that. It’s home to excellent soul food, mariscos, and great tacos. 

    You can hang out at The Wood Urban Kitchen for great drinks and barbecue or hit up Woody’s, where this writer, along with others in the neighborhood, grew up smelling the plumes of sweet smoke from this old-school joint. Hit up Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen for some of the best flavors in the city, or if you want a great sandwich, go for the catfish po’boy at Orleans & York Deli. You’ll find great breakfast at the googie architecture landmark, Pann’s, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, and of course the Serving Spoon. And while most people in L.A., if not the world, know of Randy’s Donuts, only the real locals know about Randy’s Donuts & Chinese Food

    There’s no shortage of good Mexican food, either. There are plenty of options from chilaquiles at the original Fiesta Martin at the north end to La Fonda down on Century. But which are the best options for tacos? We got you covered. Here are the tacos championing this city!

    Carnitas El Artista. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    CARNITAS EL ARTISTA

    Carnitas El Artista, 510 N. La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 212 - “La Brea/Hazel” or Metro K Line - "Downtown Inglewood Station."

    For true Michoacán-style carnitas, there are few options in all of Los Angeles that are on par with Carnitas El Artista, and Inglewood is fortunate to have this champion of confit pork. Their carnitas recipe is four generations old, stewed in traditional hefty copper pots for ultimate quality, and served with love and pride. Order pounds of these glistening hunks of juicy pork meat, tortillas, and salsa to make your taco feast, or order the carnitas by the taco. 

    Tacos at Tortuga Bay. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Tacos at Tortuga Bay. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    TORTUGA BAY

    Tortuga Bay, 147 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90301. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 115 or 215 - “Manchester/Fir (eastbound)” or Manchester/Grevillea (westbound)" or Metro K Line - "Downtown Inglewood Station."

    The star at Tortuga Bay is their torta ahogada made with their very own fresh-baked bread. But living in its shadow is a crispy taco de barbacoa. It’s made Guadalajara-style with beef, seasoned and marinated, served juicy in two corn tortillas, and fried on the plancha with its barbacoa lacquer, not unlike a birria taco dorado is prepared. It’s served with a plate of glossy caramelized onions, raw diced onions, and cilantro. Pry open a taco like a clam, throw in the fillings to your liking, pour their housemade Jalisco salsa and drop a few dabs of lime juice. Enjoy the crunch, and be careful with the meat juice dripping from the back end. 

    Tacos at La Pasadita. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    LA PASADITA 

    La Pasadita, 601 W Arbor Vitae St, Inglewood, CA 90301. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 111 - “Arbor Vitae/Oak.”

    Nevería y Antojitos La Pasadita is an extension of the carnicería next door. You can order from the ice cream side and enjoy your meal at a table, or you can walk into the market and order from the small kitchen next to the butcher’s display case. You can see several options of steamy stews behind a small glass case, trays full of cooked carnitas and other meats, and soups ready to test your tortilla rolling skills. But if you prefer to fold your tortilla instead of rolling it that day, the tacos will impress. The structural integrity of the yellow corn tortilla is thoroughly tested with oil on the griddle, the full weight of their juicy meats, and a splash of salsa. Your appetite will be the only thing crumbling under the bold flavors of these tacos. 

    Tacos de Birria, Beef & Goat from Birrieria Jocotepec | Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Tacos de Birria, Beef & Goat from Birrieria Jocotepec | Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    BIRRIERIA JOCOTEPEC

    Jocotepec, 11043 S. Prairie Ave, Inglewood, CA 90303. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 211 or 212 - “Prairie/111th” or Metro C Line - "Hawthorne/Lennox Station."

    There are so many spots to try TJ-Style birria today you can argue it is L.A.’s official taco. This restaurant is a small corner shack with a cozy dining room packed with large round tables to fit all the Jocotepec-style birria that the family in the kitchen is preparing for the families who come to eat together. Owner Lupe Velasquez is 72 years old, and her birria is her grandmother's recipe from the same town in Jalisco it’s named after. They offer beef and goat for the birria purists. Come for a taco, or come for a feast. 

    Plate of Tacos at El Rinconcito Monarcas. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Plate of Tacos at El Rinconcito Monarcas. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    EL RINCONCITO MONARCAS

    El Rinconcito Monarcas, 1089 N. Park Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 110 - “Hyde Park/Park.”

    Hyde Park is a neighborhood that’s cut off from the rest of Inglewood by train tracks and a curving Centinela Avenue. It has the feel of a small town in Mexico that is actually part of a larger city growing around it. Right in the middle of this pueblo and on its main thoroughfare, next to Carnicería La Tapatia, you’ll find this aptly named taquería at the end of the parking lot. A patio lined with small Thai elephants, umbrellas, and tall tables provides a place to eat next to a small window where you can order food. Inside, chicharrón en salsa verde, frijoles, asada, chiles rellenos can be seen. The small tortillas are lightly crisped on la plancha, and the tacos are served with chips covered in frijoles and shreds of cheese. The small frijol nachos and the fact that that you can order taco de chicharrón verde is why this place makes the list. Mix it up, but try one of those here.

    Marlin Tacos at Coni's Seafood. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Marlin Tacos at Coni's Seafood. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    CONI’S SEAFOOD

    Coni’s Seafood, 3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 120 - “Imperial/Yukon.”

    If you want savory shrimp or fish tacos, then this distinguished mariscos spot is the go-to. The cheesy marlin and shrimp tacos, called “Gobernador,” are must-haves, even if just as a side to one of their dishes. Think of these as quesadillas filled with either specially prepared smoked fish or shrimp and cheese, folded in half and served freshly toasted off the grill. Or if you want a soft taco, their lightly battered fried fish taco with cabbage, dressing and salsa macha will satisfy as well. Coni’s Seafood comes from a strong lineage of mariscos, from Coni’s father and pioneer of mariscos in Inglewood, Chente Cossio, to influencing the mariscos scene around them while setting themselves apart in this competitive food genre in Los Angeles.

    Ms. Ruby's Ground Turkey Taco. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Ms. Ruby's Ground Turkey Taco. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    MS. RUBY’S BAKERY

    Ms. Ruby’s Bakery, 404 E Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 115 or 212 - “Manchester/Market” or Metro K Line - "Downtown Inglewood Station."

    Treasures are always hidden in the most inconspicuous places, like Ms. Ruby’s Bakery by downtown Inglewood. They don’t have cases of breads or a versatile or specialized menu. What they have, is Ms. Ruby, and her ruby red velvet cake available by the slice. This velvet cake is known and loved by locals, but on their small menu of wings, burgers, and fresh-cut fries, they also have a great ground turkey taco. It’s not a traditional Mexican taco, but one that shows that tacos can be just as diverse as the people that make them. Like Kogi’s Korean short rib taco, ground turkey tacos represent growth, acceptance, and cultural blending. At Ms. Ruby’s, the corn tortilla is crispy, the turkey has a slightly sweet tomato sauce rub, almost ketchup-like, with lettuce, diced tomatoes, and shredded yellow cheese, like a Cal-Mex taco. In a city with a history of Black and Brown folks trying to break through racial tensions and find common ground, this taco right in the heart of Inglewood is an example of growing with each other. So if you have a sweet tooth for tacos and cake, Ms. Ruby’s is the place to try.

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