The 25 Best Tacos in Los Angeles

Our spit-roasted, deep fried, tortilla-wrapped, salsa-topped, handheld guide to L.A.’s dish numero uno

No other American city can lay claim to such a delicious and varied slate of three-bite delights. From crunchy shrimp to luscious oxtail, here are 25 of the finest things to hit a tortilla this side of TJ.

Carnitas Tacos — Carnitas El Momo 


Tender cuts of sticky confit pork are nestled in corn tortillas alongside pickled jalapeños. 2411 Fairmount St, Boyle Heights, 323-627-8540; Saturdays: Alameda St. near 135th, Compton; Saturdays and Sundays: 6015 S Avalon, Florence

Oxtail and Foie Gras Taco — Guerrilla Tacos


Since its re-legalization, foie gras has ranked high among the gourmet ingredients flung from this truck’s window. Here it joins braised oxtail on warm tortillas.

Beef Birria Burrito — Burritos La PalmaTaco1

Yep, burritos—these traditionally petite ones anyway—are tacos! Hand-pressed flour tortillas cling to a powerful beef stew emboldened by dried chiles. 5120 N. Peck Rd., El Monte, 626-350-8286

Shrimp Tacos Dorados — Mariscos Jalisco 

Dorado2 A time-honored favorite, the fried shrimp taco (as in the taco is fried until it crackles) is drowned in a mild pepper salsa. 3040 E Olympic Blvd., Boyle Heights, 323-528-6701

Omega-2 Taco — Tacos Quetzalcoatl 


A handmade corn tortilla supports the truck’s meat-free stew of sautéed greens, mushrooms, and fried cheese. Olympic Bl. near S. La Verne, East LA

Lamb Barbacoa Taco — Aqui Es Texcoco


Tender cuts of pit-roasted rib, shoulder, and head come wrapped in a fresh tortilla with pulque-spiked salsa. 5850 S Eastern Ave., Commerce, 323-725-1429

Fish Taco — Ricky’s Fish Tacos


In a fedora, Ricky doles out just the right amounts of crema agricola and cabbage to brighten his tempura-battered whitefish fillets. 3201 Riverside Dr., Los Angeles 90027

Carne Asada Taco — Tire Shop Taquería


Chunks of steak grilled over mesquite are finished with creamy guacamole and salsa on a handmade tortilla. 4069 S Avalon Bl., Historic South Central

Chorreadas — Tacos La Carreta

At another tire shop destination, Mazatlán-style carne asada starts with a thick tortilla covered in hot lard and melted cheese, then steak, veggies and salsas piled high. 413 N Wilmington Ave., Compton, 562-500-5581

Octopus Taco — Petty Cash Taqueria


A wafer of fried jack cheese sits beneath a charcoal-grilled tentacle drizzled with chile de arbol7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-933-5300

Daily Special — Tacos Punta Cabras 


Whatever these boys cook—be it king mushroom with bonito flakes or duck with foie gras parfait—it’s always a hit. 2311 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, 310-917-2244

Cecina Taco — Tacos Cuernavaca 


Cecina, or salt-cured meat, is a specialty in Southern Mexico. These taqueros slice it thin and serve it with a nutty chile de arbol salsa. Whittier Blvd. & Eastmont Ave., East Los Angeles, 323-377-4603

Goat Birría Taco — Birrieria Nochistlán


Braised goat meat provides the bulk in this messy stew of chiles and spices; the scorching salsa roja is for hard-core palates only. 3200 E 4th St, Boyle Heights, 323-268-0319

Smoked Marlin Taco — Coni’Seafood 


Who says you can’t have cheese with fish? A layer of the melted stuff blankets fatty marlin stewed with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. 3544 W. Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, 310-672-2339

Cochinita Pibil Taco — Chichén Itzá


The subtly sweet note of banana leaf permeates each bite of the restaurant’s famed Yucatán-style roasted pork. 3655 S. Grand Ave, Historic South Central, 213-741-1075

Rosarito Beach-Style Carne Asada Taco —  Loqui

Take handmade flour tortillas rolled by a Tartine Bakery alum and mix them with the flavors of Rosarito Beach—mesquite grilled steak, pot beans, guacamole, and salsa—and you’ve got Spring Break on a tortilla. 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City

Modern Mexican Tacos — Taco María

Squid ink tints the heirloom corn tortilla, which is filled with fresh squid, toasted peanuts, and purslane. SoCo Collection, 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 714-538-8444

Al Pastor Taco — Leo’s Taco Truck


These Mid City spitmasters dominate L.A.’s al pastor scene, ensuring that plenty of pineapple joins juicy hunks of caramelized pork. 1515 S La Brea Ave, Mid-City, 323-346-2001

Sea Urchin Chile Güero Taco — Cacao Mexicatessen


A chile relleno taco on its own would be something, but this version—starring a fried chile güero—is amped with fresh uni. 1576 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, 323-478-2791

Goat Barbacoa Taco — Gish Bac


Three generations of expertise go into a pot of slow-roasted, chile-rubbed goat, ready for DIY assembly. 4163 W Washington Blvd, Arlington Heights, (323) 737-5050

Clam and Lardo Taco — B.S. Taquería


Luscious strips of pure white pork fat mingle with buttery Manila clams for an elegant twist on surf and turf. 514 W 7th St, DTLA, 213-622-3744

Tongue Taco — Colonia Tacos Guisados


Delicate, flavorful thin-sliced tongue gets an Alta California update with creamy Sriracha mayo and a bright guacamole. 11114 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, 562-699-2424

Relleno Negro Taco — La Flor De Yucatan


Let’s talk turkey…tacos, here cooked in a black achiote paste that’s heady with toasted chiles and spices. 1800 S Hoover St, Pico-Union, 213-748-6090

Chorizo “Cachetada” — Mexicali Taco & Co.


Devotees line up for what translates to a “slap on the cheek” of molten cheese, chorizo, and a fried egg. 702 N Figueroa St, Chinatown, 213-613-0416

Tacos Arabes — Los Originales Tacos Arabes De Puebla


A pita-like flour tortilla imported from Puebla envelops spiced lamb doused in chipotle salsa. 3549 Olympic Bl., Boyle Heights

Photographs by Damon Caserez and Bill Esparza