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With a robust taco scene with over forty-five taco stands, taquerías, and restaurants serving tacos, the competition can be stiff in Pomona. You’ll find plenty of taco stands throughout this neighborhood, but finding the best ones can be an ardent task.
There are at least a dozen good taquerías and taco stands with similar flavor profiles and menu options. All create an average bar of good tacos in different parts of Pomona. And while it’s challenging to rank many of these similarly almost indistinguishable tacos, below you’ll find the ones that stand out above the rest.
From hidden gems to some L.A. legends that packed their tortillas and opened another location in the furthest points of L.A. County, here are the best tacos in Pomona.
Hidden in this corner of Pomona, away from the main streets and thoroughfares of the city, is a hole in the wall where you’ll find a single mother of four serving flavorful Mexican barbacoa with her own Bolivian sazón on the weekends. Virginia Ardaya, a Bolivian woman, works seven days a week out of a cramped kitchen no bigger than a storage closet serving your typical Mexican food from tacos to tortas out of a literal hole in the wall. But come Friday at midnight, and she alone begins the laborious process of butchering and prepping up to five lambs for her Mexican clients. She makes everything from scratch, starting with her Bolivian sazón, which includes garlic, cumin, and ginger, grounded in a traditional Bolivian tacu (Bolivian-style wooden molcajete). She uses those freshly ground spices to marinate all the meat. The result is a juicy and tender barbacoa with the fat rendered to a sticky grip and a flavor profile that stands out against a Mexican-style salsa. Out of the several dozen barbacoa around Los Angeles, this one is the most unique, flavorful, and well-executed. It’s a dish that Ardaya wasn’t planning on making initially, but her clientele from her past found her, asked her for it, and now comes weekly for it.
1076 W. Phillips Blvd, Pomona
Tacos y Birria Don Cuco de Tijuana
Pomona can pride itself on having some of the best tacos not only in L.A. but from Tijuana as well. The “taquieros mucho,” as these taqueros refer to themselves, have brought their birria de lengua and adobada tacos from Tijuana to the streets of Pomona. They are L.A.’s first taqueros to serve birria de lenguaon weekend mornings. In the evenings, they make their salsa fly onto their signature tacos de adobada served on freshly made tortillas. Try their birria vampiro on a crunchy toasted tostada that completes the tender chunks of lengua and grilled cheese.
Is there a more iconic taco in Los Angeles than the shrimp taco dorado from Mariscos Jalisco? Even while duplicated and imitated by countless others, this L.A. original taco stays unbeaten. Covered in a thick and chunky red sauce and fresh avocado slices, this taco has been recognized time and time again as one of L.A.’s best since the late great Jonathan Gold praised it as one of his favorites. Stop by their brick-and-mortar location and pair it with their Poseidon tostada, or just eat as many of these as possible. It’s an addictive taco with an unforgettable taste. Warning: After you have this taco, a craving for it will creep up on you when you least expect it.
Pomona has a low-key but solid vegan presence in its taco community. Borreguitas stands out above many taquerías in the general Los Angeles area. Their papas con soyrizo, re-chicken (“repollo” aka cabbage, lol), papas con nopales, and veggie-based al pastor, to name a few, belong in the larger conversation of L.A.’s best vegan tacos. From the tortillas to the “meats” and salsas, these tacos carry the full palate-pleasing flavors that most non-vegan tacos in Los Angeles only pretend to provide. If you have a vegan skeptic friend, this is the restaurant to enjoy a convincing lunch with them.
Finding a bar or restaurant with great food and tacos is generally hard. It’s usually one or the other, but rarely both: Luchador is one of those rare finds. While the usual carmes like al pastor, chorizo, carnitas, and asada can outrank most street tacos in this neighborhood, their other taco offerings are unmatched in Pomona. A tender short rib, a juicy chicken tinga, a Sinaloan-style shrimp taco, and an Ensenada-style fish taco is really what you shouldn’t miss out on. And if you’re vegan, there’s no imitation meats here. You can party with beer-battered avocados or cauliflower, sauteed veggies, and good ol’ fashioned crispy potato tacos.
Inside this indoor swapmeet, you’ll find a bustling marketplace filled with nail salons, mannequins, quinceñera fashion shows, and the irresistible scent of peanuts roasting. At the eastern entrance to this mini-metropolis, you’ll find tortas ahogadas Los Primos’ second location. While their namesake is the draw, don’t overlook their tacos. Order their crispy tacos dorados filled with requesón (a ricotta like Mexican cheese), topped with carnitas, and drowned in the tomato-broth salsa. Or order their tacos de barbacoa for a good sebaceous time. These flavors of Jalisco are a unique find in a neighborhood crowded with average taco stands and taquerías.
Inside Pomona Valley Indoor Swap Meet, 1600 E. Holt Ave, Pomona
Driving down Garey Avenue, this vibrant taco trailer will catch your eyes with its bright yellow color, large scrolling letters above it, and the words “Tacos Estilo Oaxaca” written across it. Their menu items include well-seasoned, grilled, and flavorful meats with seared, crispy ends—something most taco stands in the area lack compared to Tacos Victor. But another thing that separates Tacos Victor from others is its unique taco options, including a “Taco Indio” and “Tacos Orientales.” But for a uniquely satisfying option, go with their Taco Árabe. You can order it on a flour tortilla but go for the pita bread with a salsa morita and garlic chipotle sauce, making this fluffy and filling taco one of the most flavorful in Pomona.
Suppose your experience with T.J.-style tacos is only from those in Los Angeles. In that case, you’d think it’s only a corn tortilla with adobada or thin-sliced asada with thick guacamole and that simple red salsa from a molcajete. But in reality, Tijuana has so many unique tacos, and this taquería brings some of them to the eastern regions of the greater L.A. area. Priced at around three dollars each, their specialty tacos are large and loaded, each a unique adventure in textures wrapped in a corn tortilla, maybe some nopales, grilled onions, beans on some, or chile California on others. With names like “Taco Loco,” “El Ingeniero,” and “El Albañil,” these hefty tacos are ready to knock out the hungriest appetites.
These tacos are the leprechauns of Pomona, hard to find and catch, but a basket of golden tacos is waiting for you if you can get your hands on them. They don’t advertise with a name or a sign, and from a distance, and without a grill or a trompo out, it may not be obvious what these street stands may hold. You might find one under a red tent and another under a rainbow umbrella. Still, if a table has a basket on it, I recommend you to stop by and try these elusive tacos. El Viejón sends baskets of these folded tortillas steamed with chicharrón, frijol, chorizo, and papa across Pomona. While they tend to move around, it makes for a fun and filling taco adventure to pursue on Saturday mornings. You might find them on Garey Avenue, maybe on Mission, but this location below seems to be the one regular one you might have a good shot at finding.
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.
Great cheeses do not only come from Europe. It's time to shine a light on the history and wide variety of cheeses made locally with raw milk in Baja and available in Tijuana, from a jocoque reminiscent of labneh to hard, chipotle-infused Real del Castillo.
The Caesar salad, created in Tijuana by an Italian immigrant during Prohibition in the United States, represents hope that a day’s work could eventually result in your own legacy. As Javier Plascencia, the chef and owner of Caesar's Hotel, tells L.A. TACO, the Caesar salad became an icon of Tijuana "by accident." To this day, the restaurant makes an average of 550 tableside salads every day.