With their smoky asada and spicy salsas, Sergio's is winning over the hearts and stomachs of every working-class neighborhood they've entered.
'Los Angeles Tacos' on Serious Eats
As a slightly upscale alternative to the late night cafes, trucks, and tables that run along Cesar Chavez Avenue, La Serenata de Garibaldi has been pushing plates of fresh seafood, simple tacos, and stiff margaritas for more than 25 years. And people are still leaving with smiles on their faces.
Henry's Tacos has died; long live Henry's Tacos. The Studio City gringo taco spot, with its faded yellow sign and Googie-style architecture that jutted south from the corner of Moorpark Street and Tujunga Avenue, closed last year amid much controversy. Did the landlord cave and let Henry's return after owner Janis Hood sold the place to one of her decades-long employees? Nope. They just moved across the street.
It doesn't take much to please the locals out in Venice. They've got sunshine on their side, the beach at their feet, and a closeknit sense of neighborhood that's practically unrivaled anywhere else in Los Angeles. And it is that perfect Venice mix of well-heeled hippie, lanky surfer, aging musician, yoga pants moms and perpetually busy twentysomething that all lines up on weekdays for La Isla Bonita. This is their neighborhood taco truck.
Carnitas Michoacan in Lincoln Heights serves up tasty tacos beyond their namesake carnitas, and a plate of carne asada fries that's not to be missed.
My Taco in Highland Park is a strip mall taco joint with a Le Cordon Bleu chef making barbacoa de borrego tacos in the kitchen.
How has Kogi's kitchen weathered the rapid rise and slow deflation of the food truck climate they helped to create? Pretty well, actually.
Tacos y Carnitas Sahuayo in Santa Ana offers cuts from the whole pig for your tacos, and you shouldn't miss out on trying them all. That means the ears, the snout, tail, and more piggy parts.
Alebrije's Grill taco truck in Orange County serves up plenty of bold flavors, especially in their Taco Acorazado.
For a small, Los Angeles-based Mexican chain, Tacos El Gavilan sure has fans. But what if all of these hundreds of Twitter followers and thousands of Facebook fans are wrong? Or, at least, misguided? What if - and I'll probably have to swap faces with someone after this sentence just to protect myself - what if Tacos El Gavilan just isn't that great?
It's always a real shame when food that looks as good as this can't deliver on all the flavor it promises. I mean, look at those tacos. Gussied up? Absolutely. Packed with salivary-inducing flavor generators like "truffled celery root" or Pt. Reyes Blue cheese, these things look primed for a taste adventure. But they are a sad letdown.
Usually, looking for a good deal on seafood is a dangerous proposition, but at El Siete Mares (The Seven Seas) it's built into the price plan. Each workday offers a particular deal: Mondays are for $1.50 shrimp tacos, Tuesdays are $1 fish tacos, Wednesday gets you $1 shrimp tacos dorados, and so on.
At Tacos Al Pastor, there is no door and there is no mystery. A short, stubby taquero stands on the corner of Kingsley and Santa Monica Blvd., trompo spinning and spitting little bubbles of warm grease and pineapple juices. There's a walk-up window and a bubbling cauldron of various other cuts of meat, but the jig is up when you first spy the name along the awning of the tiny yellow building: This place serves al pastor. Ordering anything else just doesn't make sense.
El Paisano is a hardworking neighborhood taco truck that's probably only worth it if you live nearby. But there's a lot to respect for the day to day loncheros like this truck that keep this city rich with tacos.
Not "open until 4 a.m." or "we stay late on the weekends." We're talking truly 24-hours. As luck would have it, West Hollywood managed to produce a perfectly satisfying all-night taco spot, backed into a small strip along Santa Monica Blvd.
The $1 Taco Tuesday deal at The Mission Cantina is worth it for the atmosphere, but not necessarily the tacos. Do you have a favorite Taco Tuesday deal?
One of the big gripes about Mexican food in Los Angeles is a lack of options west of, say, La Cienega Blvd. Well, maybe it's more of a knock on the Westside neighborhoods than the cuisine itself, but there is no denying the scarcity of homemade tortillas, bubbling weekend menudo and grilled tacos al carbon the closer you get to the beach. Thankfully, Tacomiendo exists to help fill that gap in all three categories mentioned, plus a whole lot more.
One of the biggest names to ride the crashing food truck wave onto the shores of a Pico-Robertson storefront is Komodo. Their hook: Asian fusion with a Mexican bent. It isn't much of a pull in LA these days. Around here, the word "kalbi" gets tossed on menus next to all manner of tacos, burgers, pizzas and lord knows what else. So, with multiple trucks and a brick and mortar now in its second year, what makes Komodo so special? In short: simplicity.
In Los Angeles, there is no sanctity in food. This town invented the Korean BBQ taco, the sushi burger, and all sorts of wacky pizza concoctions along the way. So it should come as no surprise that Sky's Gourmet Tacos, a Mid-City sit down spot with a soul food bent and one hell of a great lemonade, serves up some of the tastiest and most inauthentic tacos in this part of town.
Los Cinco Puntos is an absolute Los Angeles treasure. As a gateway into East LA (both figuratively and literally, with their location along Cesar Chavez Blvd.), there is no better messenger to herald the call of the authentic taco. Inside, they'll point you in the right meat direction, take care of your homemade tortilla needs, and deliver you a finished taco that is among the best you'll find not just in Los Angeles, but anywhere.