La Taquiza

Top Ten Mexican Restaurants: No. 7, November 2010

Hard by USC’s frat houses, the Figueroa Street hangout attracts a mishmash of pistol-packing cops, ID-wielding office workers, and everything-but-the-bong students for lunch. A spit of marinated, sputtering carne al pastor has an almost totemic effect on the line of customers. The meat is carved to order, peeling off in chunks that hit the counterman’s grill. He slings them into mulitas (a kind of supercharged quesadilla), folds them into bulging burritos, and layers them over crisp nachos that glimmer with salsa and guac.