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Taco Madness 2017

10:01 AM PDT on March 20, 2017

Just Announced! Hecho in LA: Taco Madness. Live at La Plaza! Click for Details.

Sonoratown!!!

It's come down to two amazing L.A. Tacos... Grilled Steak taco from Sonoratown and Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma. Which one will reign supreme as the favorite taco of Los Angeles in 2017? One you, the voter, can decide.

Vote on Facebook, or below. Voting closes on Thursday Night at 11:59PM

From 16, to 8, and now to the final four. All are worthy of being L.A.'s favorite taco, only one can win. Here's the list of winning tacos:

Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma
Clam and lardo taco from B.S. Taqueria
Grilled Steak taco from Sonoratown
Taco de Surtido from Carnitas El Momo.

Updated bracket now posted below.

The Bracket

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t's the time you've all been waiting for, when the city wakes up to the most important decision possible-- L.A.'s best taco. This is the 9th year we've run this competition and things have really changed. Back when we started, most of the beloved tacos in L.A. were places that had been there for years. Solid and dependable neighborhood tacos, cherished by generations and cooked with love. We're talking about your Cinco Puntos, your Tacos Por Favors, your Taco Zones, and King Tacos. At that time, those were the best tacos available in L.A. that the majority of the city knew about enough to vote on, and most of the had been in business for at least a decade. The upstart that year was Kogi BBQ, the first of a tidal wave of unique, delicious, and exciting tacos in the city of Los Angeles. The year after our first tournament, new places began to stake their claim and the game started to change forever.

In the ensuing 8 years, tacos here have been elevated to high cuisine. Chef-driven tacos now represent at least a third of the 16 locations chosen by our judging panel this year. However, we're still talking mainly about stands, trucks, and single operators, not chains or expensive restaurants. The best tacos have always been street tacos and by and large that remains the case; both street tacos, and taquerias have been upgraded, and so has the city's overall taste, knowledge, and willingness to travel for a great taco. There have always been stands and trucks doing high-quality food, but before the internet, uniting a city around a local stand being "the best" was close to impossible.

We're now seeing the next generation (often literally), upstarts determined to cook delicious, exciting, and authentic tacos with the same passion and dedication the originals had, but with new energy, and access to a citywide audience.

For this year's Taco Madness, we've decided to change things up to make it more exciting. This year you're not voting for a taco truck or stand, you're voting for a specific taco. Our expert panel of a dozen of the leading taco writers, bloggers, and experts from the L.A. Times, LA Weekly, LA Magazine, Eater LA, and L.A. Taco have conferred and ranked the top 16 individual tacos in the city. Sadly, some of your favorites have been left off the list, including several former champions. But they'll be back-- taqueros are nothing if not competitive,  and we hope in some small way this yearly tradition has helped serve as a barometer for chefs who want to make it big in the greatest taco city in the United States.

The List (in no particular order)

Beef Taco from Loqui

Shrimp Dorado taco from  Mariscos Jalisco

Clam and lardo taco from B.S. Taqueria>

Taco Surtido from Carnitas El Momo

Baja Fish Taco from Tacos Punta Cabras

Arabe especial Taco from Los Originales Tacos Árabes De Puebla

Al Pastor taco from Leo's Taco Truck

Carne asada taco from Tire Shop TaqueriaCochinita pibil taco from Chichen Itza

Smoked marlin taco from Coni'Seafood

Coconut shrimp taco from Balam

Omega 2 Taco from Tacos Queztecuatl (replaced the Briks, which closed this week)

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