Skip to Content
Venice

The Ten Best Tacos In Venice

2:29 PM PDT on April 5, 2023

    L.A. TACO is embarking on its biggest mission yet: to create a reliable taco and food guide for every 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 makes our fine city unique. Check out the rest of our history and food guides on our neighborhood page

    You could say that the V in Venice stands for variety because that’s what you’ll find in this contentious neighborhood. From its established neighborhood characters to its controversial newcomers, there is a taco for everyone in this beach town that has become the poster child for unchecked gentrification. Start with al pastor shaved off a trompo, then have a fish taco that epitomizes living in West L.A.'s paradise, take a bite of a smoked tri-tip taco, and then try a taco dorado filled with juicy carne deshebrada from a family-owned-restaurant that has been around for decades. There are plenty of tacos for both locals and tourists to try. 

    Here’s an ideal taco crawl close to L.A.’s popular beach destination, from multi-million dollar restaurants to those just out there surviving in the streets.

    Chicharrón y buche taco at La Isla Bonita in Venice. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Chicharrón y buche taco at La Isla Bonita in Venice. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    La Isla Bonita

    In 1986, Madonna’s hit song, “La Isla Bonita,” hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and on the side, the Gonzalez family opened their brand new taco truck. It’s been parked on Rose Avenue since then and still serves Jalisco-style mariscos and tacos topped with fresh frijoles, a touch you’d have to return to parts of Mexico to experience again. Pro-tip, when you go, ask what’s on the menu today. There’s usually a different taco being cooked up every day. 

    400 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    Tacos El Primo LA
    Tacos El Primo L.A. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Tacos El Primo L.A.

    The once-underdogs of Venice was a spot only real locals frequented. They now have a truck, have appeared on T.V., and are the favorites of locals who will proudly brag that they know the real spot for the best tacos. Most nights, they still set up with the typical street stand components, from a spinning trompo to a pan filled with meats. On other days, they’ll park their taco truck in front of the stand. But no matter the night, a plate of L.A.’s signature "street tacos" will be available for you here on Lincoln Blvd.  

    845 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Venice/Lincoln.”

    Calamari strips.
    Calamari strips. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Lupita's Tacos

    Just like the legendary burgers that Mario Curiel makes at Hinano in Venice, these tacos bear the same approach: simple, fresh, and correct. There are no reductions, emulsifications, rare ingredients, or gourmet shit, except for a conscious choice to use wild rockfish instead of farmed tilapia—just quality ingredients, the right portions, and flavors made fresh to order, and perfectly satisfying. Try a grilled calamari taco, beer-battered fish, or popcorn shrimp, all inspired by the taqueros love of Baja California. 

    Lupita’s Tacos pop up every Friday and Saturday evening at Palms and Lincoln Boulevard in Venice. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Venice/Lincoln.”

    taco plate at la guera
    Al pastor at La Güera topped with that special salsa verde. Photo by Diego Guerrero for L.A. TACO.

    Tacos La Güera

    What’s more symbolic of a neighborhood’s struggle against gentrification than the sight of a spinning trompo in front of a Whole Foods on Lincoln? La Güera is not unique to Venice; there are more than a dozen stands all over Los Angeles, but no matter where you find these green polo-wearing taqueros, their flavorful al pastor, mesquite grilled asada, and stewed meats have made them a local favorite. Anywhere you see a taquero slicing meat from a trompo to a tortilla, the chances are that you’re guaranteed some decent tacos. 

    225 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    Photo via @teddysredtacos/IG.
    Photo via @teddysredtacos/IG.

    Teddy’s Red Tacos

    The man many people consider to be a pioneer in popularizing birria in Los Angeles has gone from selling out of the trunk of his car to having birria shops all over Los Angeles, including one steps from the heart of the boardwalk. Teddy’s Tijuana-style birria de res tacos are distinct from all other birrias for their red hue and balanced, rich flavor. The most popular deluxe plate gives you a taco, mulita, vampiro, quesadilla, and consomé. 

    46 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Grand (westbound)” or "Main/Venice (eastbound)."

    Smoked tri-tip tacos at Clutch in Venice.
    Smoked tri-tip tacos at Clutch in Venice. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Clutch

    For comfort in a tortilla, try the Cali-Mex BBQ joint by this Westside native. Thick smoked asada Tri-tip, pork chile verde, barbacoa, and pulled pork are just the first tacos on the menu. Decide on your protein and then pair it with the proper tortilla. Will you try buttery flour to hold your achiote salmon or a freshly made corn tortilla for their ajillo shrimp? Or skip the tacos together, and fill yourself with an all-day breakfast burrito with their house-made chorizo. There are no wrong choices here, only hard ones to make. 

    427 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    New school tacos at Nueva.
    New school tacos at Nueva. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    The mezcal bar at Nueva.
    The mezcal bar at Nueva. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Nueva

    New experiences, new tacos, and new mezcales. Maybe that’s why this restaurant is called Nueva. Black bean falafel and Mediterranean octopus tacos are what you can expect when an Armenian and Mexican Chef team up to create something new. Tacos are all served on blue corn tortillas and uniquely garnished. You’ll find radish cucumber escabache on a mezcal glazed short rib or jicama aleppo slaw on crispy tempura sea bass. Backed by an extensive mezcal bar, this is the perfect spot to make a meet-up or date more interesting. 

    822 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 108 - “Washington/Palawan” or Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Meade."

    Tacos at Chulita with handmade tortillas de maíz. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco
    Tacos at Chulita with handmade tortillas de maíz. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Tacos at Chulita with blue corn tortillas. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco
    Tacos at Chulita with blue corn tortillas. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Chulita

    Located in the heart of Venice’s turbulent past, it could be easy to be skeptical of this modern cantina-like restaurant imitating a Veracruz-type vibe. With an Alta-California approach to Mexican Cuisine, the chefs behind Chulita bring traditional Mexican flavors to Masienda heirloom corn from farmers in Oaxaca. Chulita is also one of the unique kitchens to offer housemade Cassava flour tortillas. Chulita is a true Alta-California restaurant that takes its tortillas and the flavors on top of them very seriously. 

    533 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    Tacos Por Favor
    Tacos Por Favor.

    Tacos Por Favor

    If you need a palate cleanser from Abbott Kenny’s hyper-gentrified taste, go behind this street to find Tacos Por Favor, a taquería with everything on the menu, from pancakes and hamburgers to a trompo in the kitchen. You can find almost anything your munchies desire, especially tacos that hit the spot when you're in the mood for something spicy, filling, and full of flavor. For those who can’t wait for the taco stands to come out at night, Tacos Por Favor is there for your afternoon taco craving. 

    826 Hampton Dr, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Brooks.”

    Tacos de carne deshebrada at Fiesta Brava. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.
    Tacos de carne deshebrada at Fiesta Brava. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

    Fiesta Brava

    Fiesta Brava is fortunate to have barely survived the gentrification of Rose Avenue. It’s a humble Mexican restaurant forced to move from Rose, but lucky to have found a location only a few blocks away. The tacos aren’t its strong suit, except for their taco dorado de deshebrada. Many deshebrada tacos dorados are deep fried, but here they crisp the taco on the grill, treating it more like a taco dorado de barbacoa. But the meat is juicy, tender, and flavorful. The deshebrada is so good, that it makes you overlook the generic "Mexican three-cheese" blend and iceberg lettuce that adorn this taco. Trust us.  It is a genuinely extraordinary accomplishment that makes you wish all hardshell tacos had juicy meat like this. (Looking at you, Tito’s Tacos). 

    259 Hampton Dr, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    Bonus

    Outside The Venice Beach Bar & Kitchen.
    Outside The Venice Beach Bar & Kitchen.

    The Venice Beach Bar & Kitchen

    You’re on the boardwalk, enjoying the fresh breeze from the ocean and the colorful characters along the oceanfront. Walk into this beachside dive bar to complete the experience.  Grab a seat outside, order a beer, and soak in the view with a live street band performing a soulful rendition of Jimi Hendricks as the sun slowly moves toward the horizon. The tacos are just as pleasant as this experience. They don’t imitate your favorite tacos found on the street or pretend to match them. But they make their versions, sometimes changing them up, but always on a tortilla kissed by an oily griddle, and flavors that will go down nicely with a beer. It just comes to prove that in L.A., every experience has its taco. 

    323 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Main/Sunset.”

    Stay in touch

    Sign up for our free newsletter

    More from L.A. TACO

    What To Eat This Weekend: Cannabis-Infused Boat Noodles, Thai Smashburgers, and “Grass & Ass”

    Plus, a pizza festival and a respected chef from Toluca, Mexico comes to Pasadena to consult for a restaurant menu, including enchiladas divorciadas, and more.

    April 12, 2024

    Facing ‘Immediate Layoffs,’ L.A. TACO Launches Membership Drive to Save Our Publication

    After Sunday, we do not have enough money to make another payroll. We need 5,000 members to become sustainable. Our deadline is April 26th to hit this goal.

    April 12, 2024

    The Final Round of TACO MADNESS 2024 Is Now Open for Voting! It’s Highland Park vs. San Fernando Valley

    It was an incredible comeback to deny last year's winner and bring a first-timer from the San Fernando Valley to the finals. They will have an uphill battle against Villa's Tacos, who lead all teams in total votes so far in the 2024 competition. L.A.'s favorite taco will be decided on Sunday, April 14th, at 11:59 P.M. 

    April 11, 2024

    This New Koreatown Onigiri Spot Is Unlike Any Other in Southern California

    Supamu, which started as a food truck and a series of pop-ups, brands itself as Southern California’s first Okinawa-style onigiri. What sets its onigiri apart from competitors? All the details are in the post, plus where to find it.

    April 10, 2024

    When ‘Tomorrow’ Never Comes: The Saga of a DTLA Bar Staff’s Struggle To Get Paid

    A barback recalled a time when he had to use a payday loan app to cover a dinner bill. “How can you, with a straight face, hand someone a check knowing that there isn’t money in the account,” the barback questioned.

    April 10, 2024
    See all posts