Completely Random, Probably Outdated List of 10 Decent Tacos in Greater Los Angeles
The good people behind LA Taco, one of my favorite local blogs, are currently busy seeding their annual “Best Taco, Los Angeles” poll. I was asked to help seed their poll for the readers and voters, and I did do that. However: This task gave me pause.
Since moving to Long Beach last year I’ve been content to explore the new area, secure with the belief that my day job on the west side meant that at the drop of a pin, I could still tell a complete stranger where to get a decent taco within any 12-block radius of Los Angeles proper, having lived there for a decade and arguably working there, still. Looking over my list, however, I’m feeling less and less like that is the case. Please: Help. What am I missing? Much love, Ryan
1. Tacos Sinaloa: The Vampiro (Highland Park)
Ave 54 / Gold line general vicinity
Note that this is an entirely different “Vampiro” than the vegetable drinks that are called the same thing at Cactus #1 on Beverly. Of the two, when hungry, this easily would be the Vampiro you’d prefer. Wash it down with 80 beers from Mister T’s Bowl or the Little Cave. Though I no longer date a girl in HP I REALLY MISS THIS TINY TACO WAGON!
2. El Atacor 11: Potato Taco (Cypress Park)
2622 N Figueroa St
Buy in bulk. Great party food.
3. Tacos Chapalita: Al Pastor (Lincoln Heights)
Al pastor is spotty but when it’s on, it’s on – and you cannot beat the price here. Do Not Eat That Fucking Tiny Pepper, Man. Trust Me.
4. Cactus: Chorizo (Tinseltown)
Willoughby/Vine. Everybody knows where this is located
No-nonsense, ridiculously reliable chorizo.
5. Mariscos 4 Vientos: Shrimp Taco (fried shell; drowned in salsa) (Boyle Heights)
Seafood truck somewhere around 3000 Olympic – near the housing projects
There are competing trucks nearby, offering similar wares. Great Taco Hunt seems to prefer a different truck, down the block. I’m not convinced, but I look forward to trying more of the competition!
6. Hole Mole: Late Night Fish Taco Happy Hour (Long Beach)
1327 East 4th
Hole Mole has a few locations in LB; the crucial location near all the punk and hipster bars being at 1327 East 4th – literally stumbling distance from Fern’s. Tough to beat the price and quality of the late night fish taco.
7. Tacos Chapala: Carnitas (Long Beach)
3205 E Anaheim Street
Give it a whirl when on Anaheim. You’ll be oh so glad.
8. 76 Service Station, Genesee @ Beverly: Choco Taco (Tinseltown)
Corner of Genesee and CBS
By no means the exclusive purveyor of the legendary ice cream treat; still, judging by how many times I trudged down there to partake in years past, it surely must be one of my favorites.
9. Yuca’s: Cochinita Pibil (Tinseltown)
Hollywood at Vermont
Still not a fan of the prices – but let’s face it, no list is complete without it. If Chapalita is the place that you take your father, Yuca is the place you take your mother (both true). (Hollywood Blvd location)
10. Loteria (3rd/Fairfax Farmer’s Market)
A stall or two down from the crepe joint at the corner of tourists and Banana Republic
Before you groan: What this stand does great, end of day, is prepare you for the west side of Los Angeles in general: long lines, few taco options, price gouging, small portions, but a quality product. And while I can’t in good faith pay $3 for a napolitas taco when napolitas comes free as a garnish down in the D. F., that $3 mini-scoop of cochinita pibil is as solid a mini-scoop as you’ll find in these waters.