Pico Rivera’s best tacos often get outshined by its neighborhoring cities, but it does have some deep community gems. Tacos gobernador, carnitas, and more, here's where to eat next time you are hungry and in Picolandia.
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Welcome to Pico Rivera. East of East, it is an eight-mile-long neighborhood with a population of 60,764 filled with a deep sense of community pride, history, and tradition. Pico Rivera’s best tacos often get outshined by its neighboring East Los Angeles, but it does have some gems.
The appeal of Pico Rivera’s taco scene lies within their mom-and-pop taco shops. The majority of the stops I made were to places run by families. Pico is traditionally known for backing the area’s local high school, El Rancho High, home of the Dons. In the last three decades, Pico Rivera became known for its famous venue, the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, which hosts regional Mexican rodeos, concerts, and other events throughout the year and is the talk of the town. It also became the new home to half of the Ave 26 Night Market street food vendors after more than a hundred of them were displaced from their original location in Lincoln Heights in 2021.
La Mano’s carnitas tacos are an iconic Pico taco that has become increasingly popular in the last few months thanks to TikTok’s recent chicharrón challenge. The taco is simple: classic tortillería issue caramelized carnitas consist of confit pork that is shredded and served on a soft corn tortilla, topped with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime juice. La Mano is a mandatory Sunday morning stop to pick up a pound or two of carnitas, chicharrón, tortillas, and salsa., especially on a game day. No matter if you’re going down the street to watch the local football team or getting your carne asada ready and need a quick botana to watch a boxing PPV, guaranteed you’ll have a better time with a plate full of fresh chicharrón from La Mano.
9237 Whittier Blvd. Pico Rivera, CA 90660
Tacos Arandas is known for its asada in both tacos and burrito form. They’re especially popular as a quick evening or late night meal since they close at 1 A.M. If you’ve been to the highlands of Jalisco, where the picturesque town of Arandas is located, you’ll be familair with the sazón at this taco shop. The meats are juicy. The tripa is clean-tasting. The packaged tortillas are decent, but their salsas are what will gravitate you to come back night after night. But because we are in Los Angeles, they also have nachos and “nacho fries,” which are like carne asada fries. You gotta be from Pico to understand.
La Ancla, a newish restaurant that doubles as a lounge and nightclub, immediately elevated Pico Rivera’s taco scene with their taco gobernador. Gooey cheese, chopped shrimp, crispy edges, and salsa is all you need to have a good time at this maritime-themed Mexican seafood restaurant. A bucket of beer helps.
Nearly every ‘hood worth its weight in street cred in L.A. has a reputable birria spot and El Tocayo is that spot in Pico Rivera. It’s textbook L.A.-meets-Tijuana birria perfection: braised beef, melted cheese, and griddled crunchy tortilla. It’s such a classic taco that El Tocayo does so perfectly. If there is a line, it moves fast so don’t get discouraged.
4611 Rosemead Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660
TAQUERÍA MI RANCHITO
Mexican restaurants like Taquería Mi Ranchito exist in a timeless portal. The year is always 1995, where melted cheese is always melted on top of your refried beans, the little pile of rice will not be the best, but still extremely comforting, and whatever taco you choose will still taste like the first time you had it.
All three of Cain Carias' puppets, El Triste, La Smiley, and his Little Mr. E puppet, were in the trunk of his 2003 Red Honda Civic Coupe, which was parked at the corner of Santa Monica and North Heliotrope Dr. before being stolen.
A 31-year-old man attacked five people at about noon yesterday in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, leaving four, including a two-year-old, with minor injuries. The man was stopped by a police officer who shot him, leaving him non-life threatening injuries.