You aren’t fooling us. We know you get off work every Friday and go drink the same pitcher of margaritas at the same nearby spot and eat the same plate of tacos you do every weekend. And we respect that. But this town is way too full of brand new (and very good) taco spots for you to be caught up in a never-ending cycle of habitual taco outings. So go try a different one. Here are the best new LA taco spots (that have opened in the last year) - ranked by how good they make us feel inside. Very scientifically.
We have no idea how Salazar makes their tortillas, but there’s straight-up magic inside of them and possibly addictive substances. That said, everything they put inside the tacos are damn delicious too. From their carne asada to the vegetable to the chicken, you can’t really go wrong. But for our money, the al pastor is our runaway favorite. The meat itself is good, but the tiny chunks of pineapple mixed in are real the secret sauce. The whole thing amounts to a sweet/savory/core-shaking experience. Also, if you want to see the whole tortilla-making process go down, just hop over to the large window by the bar for free views.
Sonoratown is an unflashy, order-at-the-counter spot (in a random part of downtown) that’s quietly been serving the best tacos in the area since the minute their doors opened. The place is miniature, but they’ll get you in and out quickly, making it your ideal lunch hour spot. This might be a taco list, but it would be our mistake to not mention the bean and cheese chimichanga (AKA deep-fried burrito) - it’s amazing.
Contrary to what your friend in Echo Park seems to think, there are decent tacos west of La Cienega, and some of the best are at Loqui in Culver City. This is one of our favorite places for an easy but excellent lunch in the area, mostly due to the so-good-we’d-cross-town-for-them flour tortillas. The menu is small (you choose from chicken, pork, mushroom, or beef for your filling), but anything you put inside those tortillas is going to be great. Important: find the container marked salsa seca, and sprinkle it over everything in sight. Step aside Moon Juice, this is the real sex dust.
Holbox is a new raw bar inside downtown’s Mercado La Paloma, and while all the seafood coming out of their tiny kitchen is top-notch (get the ceviche), their lobster tail tacos are something truly special. Yes, $15 for two tacos might seem like a lot, but when you see how big these guys are (they’re definitely enough for one meal) and also remember that you’re eating 5oz of fresh lobster tail, you’ll get over it quickly. This is a taco worth getting in your car and driving for.
La Carmencita’s colorful, cantina-like space comes out of nowhere on an otherwise-mundane stretch of Highland Ave. in Hollywood. But with its fun atmosphere, affordable prices, and excellent Mexican-seafood menu, this spot was badly needed in the neighborhood. Their ceviche and cheese-covered shrimp azuela appetizers are must-orders, but their tacos are pretty fantastic too. Get the Gobernador (more cheese-covered shrimp) and their baja fish tacos. Power move: ask them to put cheese on the baja tacos and they’ll cook the cheese right onto the tortilla. It’s magic.
BäcoShop might argue that they technically serve “bäcos,” but we’re just going to say it - these are tacos. With a thicker, probably less good for you version of a tortilla. Semantics aside, they are seriously excellent, and a rare bright spot in the fast-casual landscape that is Downtown Culver City. Deciding on an order here can be tough, so we’re going to make it simple for you - get the shrimp bäco, the pork one too if you’re on a hangry rampage, and don’t skip the cheddar hash brown balls.
Mezcalero is definitely more of a great bar than it is a restaurant, but the mezcal-heavy cocktail spot downtown has a tiny menu full of solid Mexican bites, including a shrimp taco we can’t get enough of. The tortillas and shrimp are both excellent, and whatever this sauce is, we would like a take-home bottle of it please.
It goes without saying that these aren’t the most authentic tacos you’ll ever have in your life. But that doesn’t mean these don’t taste absolutely delicious at 2am after a long night of drinking. There’s the sake-marinated chicken “Foghorn Leghorn,” BBQ pork “Manual Urine,” and the ginger-lime shrimp “Lieutenant Dan.” They’re all big, and a steal at $3 a piece. This place is only open from 9pm - 3am, but they do deliver if you’re already in your Uber home.