Is there a more ubiquitous food in LA than tacos? Doubtful. From late-night stands in East LA to high-end taquerias owned by chefs you recognize from TV, to say that LA’s taco options are unlimited still feels like an understatement. But let’s be clear - this is a very good problem to have.
But for every excellent Eastside taco truck, there are three bad ones your landlord keeps recommending because he’s never left Marina del Rey. We’re here to avoid those. These are the 35 best taco spots in Los Angeles.
Want to try something different? Check out The Best New Tacos In LA
Crowning the best taco in Los Angeles is like trying to explain to your mom she’s texting you through her email - you can’t. But for our money, there isn’t a better all-around taco-eating experience than Mariscos Jalisco in Boyle Heights. This tiny seafood truck on an industrial stretch of Olympic Blvd. (they now have locations from West LA to Pomona) only has one taco on the menu, but it is glorious. It’s the tacos de camaron, and it’s a deep-fried shell stuffed with massive shrimp and topped with salsa and fresh avocado. We would travel across oceans to eat this thing, so let’s all be thankful it’s just right off the 5.
Tacos Quetzalcoatl operates in East LA only on the weekends (Olympic and Kern, specially), and wins the award for serving our favorite vegetarian taco in existence, the Omega-2. If you are looking for meat, their lamb barbacoa is tremendous, and if you ask, they’ll fry cheese right into the side of tortilla. Just be sure to get fully involved in their salsa and toppings bar - it’s the best in Los Angeles.
From the moment you step inside Los Cinco Puntos, it’s clear you’re in for a special experience. The deli/market in Boyle Heights is a true neighborhood institution and sells everything from cheeseburgers to breakfast burritos to hard-to-find spices and chiles, but you’re here for the tacos - and so is everyone else. The carnitas is their speciality, and while it’s some of the best we’ve had in LA, the crispy chicharron is even better. Frankly though, when the tortillas are as thick and fantastic as they are at Los Cinco Puntos, we’ll drive across the city to eat any kind of taco they’re wrapped around.
Holbox is the first food stall you see when you walk into the Mercado La Paloma food hall south of Downtown. Across the board, this tiny counter has some of the freshest seafood you’ll find in LA, and when it comes to their tacos, focus on the octopus and (especially) the scallops. Four perfectly seared scallops come wrapped in thick corn tortillas and topped with fennel, caramelized onions, and a spicy sauce. It’s perfect, and though the $14 (for two) price tag might seem steep at first, just remember how much scallops usually cost at restaurants. Available for takeout and delivery, as well as patio dining.
Located just a few blocks down from Mariscos Jalisco, it’d be pretty easy to skip over this truck on your way to Mariscos’ shrimp tacos. But that would be a huge mistake - because Tacos Y Birria La Unica’s tacos are good enough to deserve a pilgrimage of their own. Your order here is the goat birria in a quesataco (a taco with melted cheese on the shell), but the regular tacos dorados (served in deep-fried shells) are a must-order as well. Each of the excellent house salsas on the outside of the truck are made for a specific type of protein, so be sure to get the correct rundown from the owners. Cash only.
Tamales Elena Y Antojitos is an Afro-Mexican restaurant in Bell Gardens with an incredible menu filled with things like red pozole, pork tamales, and beef tongue guisado - all specialties from the owner’s home state of Guerrero. The biggest highlight on the menu, however, are the pescadillas. Thin, crispy, and filled with perfectly stewed fish, we recommend getting at least three orders - one for you now, one for you in five minutes, and one for five minutes after that.
It’s a competitive field when it comes to Downtown tacos, but Sonoratown has managed to take a tiny space on Los Angeles St. and turn it into a full-out institution. Their house-made flour tortillas literally melt in your mouth, and the costilla (grilled steak) is the best you’ll find in town. You can certainly go for their regular tacos, but our move is the caramelo, which is about double the size and comes topped with salsa roja, avocado, and cabbage.
Coni’Seafood is a modern Mexican seafood restaurant in Inglewood - they also have a second location in Del Rey - that serves truly fantastic food across the board. However, today we’re talking about those marlin tacos. They are special. Very special. Like “Get in your car right now and drive an hour to put them in your mouth” special.
Plain and simple, the tacos at this East LA truck are unlike anything else in the city. Served with roasted pork on a giant tortilla that almost resembles a pita, the food at Tacos Arabes traces back to the city of Puebla, where 19th-century Arab immigrants intertwined kebabs and shawarma into central Mexican cuisine. Our move is to go for the Especiale, which is their traditional tacos arabes topped with cheese and avocado. At first glance, $4 might seem like a lot for one taco, but once you see the true size of these things, you’ll realize you only need one. Or maybe two.
Los Dorados LA
Los Dorados LA is a tiny truck that only makes one thing - taco dorados (flautas) - but they are among the best versions we’ve ever eaten, period. Crispy, deep-fried rolled tacos that are doused in house-made salsa roja, guacamole, and cotija cheese, there’s nothing subtle about these flautas, and that’s exactly why we love them. There’s four different kinds (lamb barbacoa, chicken, chorizo, and potato), and while the lamb is probably our favorite, don’t fool yourself - you’re getting one of each. They pop up in Highland Park outside La Cuevita on Friday and Saturday nights, and in the Arts District on Sunday, so plan your weekend accordingly. These are tacos you need in your life immediately.
At El Ruso, the Sonoran-style taco truck in Boyle Heights, everything boils down to the tortilla. Made with flour that owner Walter Soto gets monthly from his hometown of Tijuana, these are the kind of chewy, translucent tortillas that make each bite its own euphoric experience. As far as El Ruso’s excellent mesquite-grilled meats go, the smoky carne asada is definitely our go-to, but as we said, with tortillas this good, they could put just about anything in the middle and we’d still be texting our friends about it on the way home. Don’t leave without getting a burrito wrapped in a sobaquera, a giant Sonoran-style tortilla and the only one of its kind in town.
This place might be close to USC (in the Mercado La Paloma food hall), but it couldn’t be less of a hangover spot. Chichen Itza serves fantastic Yucatan-style Mexican food, and our love for this place starts and ends with their cochinita pibil. We wouldn’t blame you if you just got a big plate of this roasted pork over a banana leaf, but the taco version is definitely the way to go. Available for takeout and delivery, as well as patio dining.
Located on a residential side street in Boyle Heights, El Momo is a tiny trailer hooked to a van. It’s also home to a kind of carnitas you can’t get anywhere else in town - a combination of pork shoulder and crispy skin. The result is a savory and crunchy taco you’ll think about in the shower.
Birrieria Gonzalez is a family-run truck specializing in goat birria, and while they have multiple locations around town, we like the South Central one simply because there’s a shaded patio with a flat-screen TV playing soccer matches. The birria itself is incredible here (it’s the only kind of meat they serve), so you can’t really go wrong with anything, but if you’re on a taco crawl and trying to conserve room, get the quesataco. It’s similar to their regular tacos, but with a layer of crispy griddled cheese lining the inside that takes the birria to a completely different level. Just be sure to top it all off with their spicy house red salsa.
Operating as a weekly pop-up inside Melody in Virgil Village, Metztli is certainly on the higher-end of things - both in terms of presentation and price (tacos start at $6) - but the fact is these are some of the most original tacos you’ll find in LA right now. Take the mushroom chile verde taco, which comes topped with pine nut salsa morita and egg yolk bottarga, or the hoja santa quesadilla, filled with squash blossom and grasshopper za’atar - these aren’t just dishes that are unique for the sake of being unique. They’re impeccably balanced and deeply flavorful experiments that are pushing the boundaries for taquerias all over town. The exact menu changes weekly, so keep an eye on their Instagram for the latest.
Tire Shop Taqueria makes incredible carne asada, but that’s not even our favorite part of this place. Our favorite part is that Tire Shop Taqueria isn’t its real name. That’s just what people tend to call it because it’s in the parking lot of a used tire store, and eventually it stuck. But no matter what you call it, the long lines at this tiny stand should tell you all you need to know about that asada. Trust us, the wait is worth it.
Starting out in the parking lot of a gas station on the corner of La Brea and Venice, this black-and-orange taco truck has become a member of LA’s taco elite simply by serving an al pastor taco that’s worth waiting in that 45-minute line for. They now have eight different trucks with locations ranging from North Hollywood to Wilmington.
Located in the Platform development in Culver City (with a second location now in the Arts District), Loqui could’ve easily just been another run-of-the-mill taco spot people eat at while they shop for high-end hand soap. Instead, it’s become our absolute go-to for tacos on the Westside. The flour tortillas are thick and chewy and the spicy chicken proves that chicken tacos don’t have to be boring. Be sure to put the salsa seca on everything.
If you take one bite into a taco from Villas Tacos and think to yourself, “I’ve never really had anything like this before,” it’s because you probably haven’t. This Highland Park pop-up is home to what’s called “the seven-layer taco,” an original idea that owner Victor Villa came up with based on his upbringing on LA’s Eastside. It starts with Dodger-blue corn tortillas (a nod to Villa’s affection for the team) and crispy cheese griddled into the side. From there, each taco is filled with creamy refried beans, diced onions, cilantro, crema, cotija, fresh guacamole, and the mesquite-grilled protein of your choice. It’s impossible to have a wrong order here, but that said, the spicy, smoky chorizo is a must. DM them on Instagram to place your order and schedule a time for pick-up.
We’ll admit Los Angeles doesn’t really come close to San Diego in terms of fish tacos. But we do have Ricky’s, and that counts for a whole lot. The taco truck on Riverside Drive in Los Feliz serves some of our favorite fish tacos not just in LA, but all of California. Expect simple tacos without any crazy toppings or cover-ups. Just you and the fish, alone at last.
Teddy’s Red Tacos is a truck located about 15 minutes south of Downtown, sitting right on some (hopefully-not-in-use) railroad tracks. There’s no menu, they only cook beef birria, and before you even say “Hi” to the cashier, they’ll have started making you a deluxe plate, which comes with a quesadilla, molita, tostada, taco, pozole, and chips and salsa. Teddy’s food is big and gooey and the kind of soul-curing meal you need as you sit and wonder if that train will actually come. There’s also locations now in Venice, Echo Park, Downey, and East LA, if you prefer to do a little less pondering.
There are plenty of traditional taco spots on this list - Sky’s Gourmet is definitely not one of them. This 25-year-old, order-at-the-counter spot on Pico combines Southern soul food and tacos in ways we didn’t realize were possible. There are tacos involving cajun shrimp, filet mignon, and crawfish with spiced tortillas, all topped with “sassy sauce.”
Papi Tacos is still pretty new (they opened in May 2019), but it only takes one bite of their goat birria to realize they’re on to something major. While you can come to this tiny taco window in Jefferson Park and load up on their fantastic tacos dorados, that would be a mistake. Go for the OG Plate instead, which gets you a taco dorado, as well as a beef birria-filled mulita, quesataco, quesadilla, and consomé all for $11.99. They also make churros that should not be missed.
Aqui es Texcoco is an East LA institution serving lamb barbacoa you need in your life. Immediately. Located in Commerce, Texcoco is a full-scale restaurant with great beer and a festive outdoor patio.
Gish Bac’s goat barbacoa hits the table looking much more like a burrito than a taco, but a taco it definitely is. And it is wonderful. We like a lot of things at this colorful Oaxacan restaurant in Mid-City (the carne asada is another must), but for us, that barbacoa is the reason you need to be eating here. Available only on the weekends.
Guerrilla Tacos used to be one of LA’s best taco trucks, and now that they have a permanent space in the Arts District, they’re one of LA’s best taco restaurants. The menu changes pretty frequently, but there are some staples you can always rely on. One is the sweet potato taco, and the other is the fantastic pork belly taco, with charred hoja santa, heirloom tomatoes, and cilantro. Available for takeout as well as patio dining.
The breakfast taco belongs in its own category, and Homestate makes the best ones in Los Angeles. They have locations in both Los Feliz and Highland Park (Playa Vista is currently closed due to COVID-19) and they’re currently only doing takeout and delivery. That said, considering how long lines used to be on weekends, it’s frankly a much easier and faster process now. If you’re looking to take the heat up a notch, the chorizo-filled Guadalupe taco is your move.
Madre! is a fantastic Oaxacan restaurant and one of our favorite places to eat in the South Bay. Between their tremendous mole and one of the largest mezcal collections in LA, there’s a variety of ways a meal could go here, but make sure that no matter what, it involves their tacos. The cecina and tripa are both excellent, but the coliflor with tomato, quesillo, avocado, and chiles is on its own level. $6 is certainly expensive, but it’s good to keep in mind that Madre’s tacos are massive and two will easily fill you up. There are also locations in Culver City and West Hollywood.
Few places do Baja-style Mexican food better than Mexicali. What started as a tiny food truck adjacent to the 110 is now a taco shop in Chinatown perfect for a quick lunch hour drop-in, and the results are excellent. And while we would order anything off the small menu, the best thing at Mexicali is the Vampiro Taco - part taco, part quesadilla, and all the garlic sauce in the world.
This graffitied taco truck across the street from a McDonald’s has a lot of things you need to order (the bacon-wrapped shrimp are special), but you can’t leave here without getting at least one cecina taco - thinly sliced, salt-cured beef with a chile de arbol salsa on top. It’s only open Thursday-Sunday, but it is open late.
Located in another tire shop parking lot in South Central, Tacos Los Guichos is a tiny taco truck that serves the kind of crispy and slightly sweet al pastor that keeps us up at night. The tiny truck is open all-day starting at 8:30am, but if your schedule allows it, head over after the sun goes down. That’s when the al pastor comes fresh off the vertical spit outside the truck and causes us even more insomnia than the daytime version. Cash only.
La Flor De Yucatan is a Mayan bakery in Pico-Union serving Yucatan baked goods and tacos that have no business being this excellent. Just don’t plan on staying too long - this tiny shop is order-at-the-counter and only has a few tables to go around. Your order is the relleno negro taco: turkey meat that’s been braised in a mixture of spices, seeds, and chiles that make it unlike anything else in town.
Operating outside of a Food 4 Less in North Hills, San Marcos is a taco truck serving fantastic beef birria tacos that people wait in line for hours to eat. These are the kind of cheesy, greasy tacos ideal for those foggy Sunday mornings when you need something to soak up the regret from last night. We usually order a few regular tacos, one taco dorado (crunchy shell), and a giant queso-taco for the grand finale. That said, whatever you decide to do, make sure to get a consomé as well - it’s one of the best versions in town and perfect for dipping your tacos into. Cash only.
You’re at Bar Amá for the puffy tacos. And here, you might just be getting a better version than what you’ll find in San Antonio. It’s also important to know that they’re not even listed on the menu - ask for them, and you shall receive. Our order is always the shrimp puffy taco, but you can’t go wrong with the chorizo or beef picadillo, either. Power move: Dipping them all in Bar Amá’s equally amazing queso.
Even if you don’t know a lot about LA tacos, chances are you’ve heard of Tacos 1986. Starting out as a Hollywood street cart in late 2018, this Tijuana-style taqueria has exploded in popularity with four brick-and-mortars (Downtown, Burbank, Beverly Grove, and Westwood), plus a robust catering service (pre-Covid). While you can’t go wrong with any taco on the menu (the mushroom and adobada are standouts), our favorite is the one not actually listed on the menu - El Perrón. This secret taco uses the same flour tortilla as the other tacos, but with crispy cheese griddled into the side and comes filled with mesquite-smoked carne asada, beans, guacamole, cilantro, onions, and red salsa. It’s a well-balanced and ridiculously flavorful taco and one that fully lives up to the internet hype.