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Taco Madness

Meet Your Vegan Taco Madness 2023 Champions!

10:45 AM PST on February 13, 2023

    winners of vegan taco madness 2023

    winners of vegan taco madness 2023

    Not even 50-degree weather or the Super Bowl was enough to deter hundreds from driving to Smorgasburg L.A. and enjoying all the plant-based tacos at VEGAN TACO MADNESS! After a contentious last couple of hours that saw both finalists El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos and GoGo's Tacos be neck and neck until the very end, GoGo's Tacos emerged victorious! Their juicy, savory mushroom taco on a corn tortilla is officially the winner of the online portion of VEGAN TACO MADNESS. Meanwhile, Gab Chabrán, the Associate Food Editor for LAist, heeded the call of taco judging duty on a Sunday and tried all vegan tacos that entered the competition at Smorgasburg. After trying them all, there was a clear winner from the bunch: Evil Cooks! For both their smoky mushrooms in recaudo negro and handmade soy-basec chorizo verde.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and to our hard-working taquerías who fought valiantly until the end. A big shoutout to Herdez for being our sponsor this year. See you all next year!

    winners of vegan taco madness 2023
    Evil Cooks (left) and GoGo's Tacos (right), winners of L.A. TACO's VEGAN TACO MADNESS 2023, along with Fernando Lopez of I Love Micheladas. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    winners of vegan taco madness 2023
    L.A. TACO booth at Smorgasburg L.A.
    L.A. TACO booth at Smorgasburg L.A. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    L.A. TACO booth at Smorgasburg L.A. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos.
    El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos.
    Evil Cooks vegan tacos.
    Evil Cooks vegan tacos. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    Evil Cooks vegan tacos.
    L.A. TACO'S Vegan Taco Madness 2023 trophies. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
    L.A. TACO'S Vegan Taco Madness 2023 trophies.

    The Finals! Voting ends at 2 PM.

    That was one exciting second round.

    Koreatown newcomers Olivia came out of absolute nowhere with a big win over San Fernando Valley's El Cocinero. El Barrio Tacos won Chulita by a healthy margin.  Evil Cooks won Dear Mama LA and the great Mírate fell to GoGo's Tacos.

    The third round will see:

    Evil Cooks vs. El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos 

    GoGo's Tacos vs. Olivia Restaurant 

    The third round will close tomorrow (Friday, February 10th) at 11:59 PM and the final round with the final two vegan taquerías will start at 9 AM on Saturday, February 11th and close at 1 PM Sunday, February 12th.

    To celebrate this plant-based taco royal rumble, L.A. TACO and Smorgasburg L.A. will throw a live Vegan TACO MADNESS mini-event inside L.A.'s favorite free weekly food event at the Row in downtown L.A. The event will start at 10 AM and go until 4 PM. The online tournament winner will be announced live at the festival at 1 PM, which is also when the polls will close. We will also have a special judge present to taste and issue a "Judge's Choice" trophy. The taquerías who will be present slanging their respective potentially award-winning taco are Evil Cooks, GoGo's Tacos, El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos, and Dear Mama.

    Come by and eat vegan tacos, celebrate 2023's Vegan TACO MADNESS winners, and chill before the big game. L.A. TACO will also be present and have a booth selling merchandise, so at the very least, come by and say what's up!

    The first round is officially over, and it was a battle down to the final minutes.

    There were plenty of upsets, such as Olivia Restaurant edging out their Bay Area veggie OGs Gracias Madre by a mere five votes! First seed NELA upstarts Cena Vegan also got destroyed by the power of cauliflower via Barrio Neighborhood Tacos. Women-owned GoGo's Tacos kicked Sugar Taco out of the competition. Tacos 1986 and their locations and star power were no match for the power of Dear Mamma. In the battle for the eastside vegan tacos, El Sereno's Evil Cooks annihilated their El Monte opponent, Ixtaco Taquería. The Los Feliz Mexican restaurant, fueled by a Baja fine-dining punk chef, overpowered De Buena Planta. Lastly, Chulita beat out Hollywood strip mall legends Doomie's NextMex and is advancing to fight more one more week.

    The next round of Vegan Taco Madness is now open! Vote below and may the best vegan taquería win.

    After a four-year hiatus, we're back with L.A. TACO's Vegan Taco Madness.

    Aside from being the undisputed best city for regional tacos in the country, Los Angeles is also home to the most cutting-edge and delicious plant-based tacos. This tournament celebrates the best vegan tacos in the city. The contenders are carefully chosen and deliberated by our taco-fueled staff, who are out in the streets scouting the best tacos every week. These tacos represent old-school and new-school approaches to building flavors from fruits, vegetables, and seeds, from innovative vegetables to handmade soyrizo to meaty mushrooms, in all corners of Los Angeles.

    Real talk: Don't knock them until you try them because you might be surprised that some of these plant-based tacos taste better than mediocre versions of their meat-filled counterparts. What makes a taco memorable is the combined effect of its elements like salsa, protein, toppings, and of course, tortilla.

    Each round will end at 11:59 PST each Tuesday.

    The finalists will be invited to vend for the day at Smorgasburg, L.A., on Super Bowl Sunday (Sunday, February 12), compliments of L.A. TACO. We will announce more details as the date gets closer. The winner will join the elite TACO MADNESS CHAMPION club and fellow high-level taco legends like Villa's Tacos, Sonoratown, and much more. All are renowned for consistently representing L.A.'s Taco Life with the best flavors, textures, and smells on top of a tortilla.

    Our list of spots is below, seeded, along with which taco we're singling out for glory.

    Go out and taste and make sure to get your vote in before next week. Each person can only vote once.

    Voting is now open!

    1. Cena Vegan (Al pastor)
    2. Sugar Taco (Asada)
    3. Gracias Madre (Taco Ahogado)
    4. Tacos 1986 (Mushroom Taco)
    5. Evil Cooks (Vegan Chorizo)
    6. El Cocinero Restaurant (Quesabirria)
    7. De Buena Planta (Tacos Dorados)
    8. DoomiesNextMex (Carnitas)
    9. Chulita (Mushroom Carnitas)
    10. Miraté (Mushroom Taco Árabe)
    11. Bee Taquería (Beet Taco)
    12. Ixtaco Taquería (Al Pastor)
    13. Dear Mama (Birria)
    14. Olivia Restaurant (Burnt Eggplant and Plantain "Doblada")
    15. Gogo's Tacos (Mushroom)
    16. El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos (Cauliflower Taco)

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