Is there a more overwhelming food in LA than the taco? Doubtful. From late-night taco stands in East LA to high-end taquerias owned by chefs you recognize from TV, to say the LA taco scene is vast is an understatement. But let’s be clear - this is a good problem to have.
However, for every excellent Boyle Heights taco truck, there are three bad ones your landlord recommended because he’s never left Marina Del Rey. We’re here to make sure you only end up at the very best ones, so strap on your adventure boots and let’s get to it. Here are the 27 best taco spots in Los Angeles.
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 the sampler platter at Guisados. The steak picado, mole poblano, tinga, bistek, chicharron, camarones, pescado - that’s a taco Hall of Fame right there. And this six-taco platter is your vessel to get as much of it in your mouth as possible. There’s even a late-night Weho location now.
On an industrial stretch of E. Olympic in East LA sits a taco truck that has become an icon of this city. To say a trip here is necessary is an understatement - Mariscos Jaliscos is a pilgrimage for anyone that actually takes their taco eating seriously. Just beware: there are a lot of imitators out there, even on the same block. But once you’re at the right place, you’ll know it. And you’ll know that the Tacos de Camaron (shrimp) is one of the best tacos you’ve ever eaten.
When it comes to the LA taco truck game, few rival what Guerrilla brings to the table. The menu changes daily, so don’t get caught up tracking down a specific taco. Just come with clear eyes, full hearts, and you can’t lose. Plus, the Arts District mainstay has been spreading its wings recently, with stops now in Culver City on Wednesday nights, Silver Lake on Thursday nights, and Beverly Grove and Venice on the weekends.
Located in an area of southern Inglewood that can best be described as somewhat by the highway, Coni’Seafood is a modern Mexican seafood restaurant with 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.
Whatever the Westside lacks in legitimate tacos is completely made up for in Tacos Punta Cabras. The tiny shop on that weird stretch of inland Santa Monica has easily the best tacos west of the 405, and there’s not even a close second. And while their set taco menu is delicious, our move is to always go for their daily special. Whether it’s sunflowers and shrimp, king crab curry, or miso beef and ricotta, Tacos Punta Cabras is operating on a completely different level.
We’ll fully admit Los Angeles doesn’t really even come close to San Diego when it comes to fish tacos. But we do have Ricky’s, and that still counts for a whole lot. Because the stationary taco truck behind an apartment building in Los Feliz is cranking out 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.
Aqui es Texcoco is an East LA institution cooking up lamb barbacoa that's worth driving across the state for. Unlike the trucks and stands that make up the majority of this list, Aqui is a full-scale restaurant with great beer, festive vibes, and a perfect space to unwind.
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, and the results are excellent. Authentic, comfort-laden Mexican food in a space perfect for a quick lunch hour drop-in. And while we would order anything off the small menu, the breadwinner at Mexicali is the Vampiro Taco - part taco, part quesadilla, and all the garlic sauce in the world.
B.S. is easily the newest spot on this list. However, that doesn’t diminish its standing. The casual, older brother of the Broken Spanish family, B.S. is the new standard-bearer for high-end tacos simply because of one thing - the clams & lardo taco. At $14, it seems impossible that it would live up to the hype, but it does. Also, don’t tell anyone, but the other tacos on the menu are just as good.
The black and orange taco truck in the parking lot of a 76 gas station on the corner of La Brea and Venice has quietly become a member of LA’s taco elite for simply having an al pastor taco that’s better than anyone else's. The meat itself is fantastic, but the secret is those chunks of pineapple next to it. Refilling your gas tank in Mid-City was not supposed to taste this good.
The Beverly Blvd. mainstay is definitely of the higher-end variety on this list, but don’t let that deter you. The trendy restaurant is still extremely casual and has great food across the board. But their $5-$6 tacos (yeah, get over it) are what you come for. The grilled octopus and al pastor are our clear favorites, but it’s tough to find a weak link. If you want taco date night, Petty Cash is where you go.
The USC-adjacent staple is much more than just a hangover heaven spot. They are dishing out some the best Yucatan-style Mexican food in the city, and it 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 their taco version is definitely the way to go.
There are plenty of traditional taco spots on this list - Sky’s Gourmet is definitely not one of them. But it's still one of our absolute favorites in LA, because this 20 year old, order-at-the-counter spot on Pico is bringing Southern soul to tacos in ways we never knew we needed. Think cajun shrimp, filet mignon, and crawfish tacos with spiced tortillas all topped with “sassy sauce." Heaven is a place on Earth.
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 worth driving across town for. Just call ahead to make sure they’re cooking it before you do.
Tacos Quetzalcoatl splits its time between downtown (weekdays: Central Ave & 8th St.) and East LA (weekends: Olympic and Kern). But it has a full monopoly on the vegetarian street taco situation. You won’t find a better meatless taco in LA than Quetzalcoatl’s Taco Omega-2. But don’t sigh meat-seekers, their lamb barbacoa is tremendous and worth the drive too.
The breakfast taco is arguably in its own category, and you’re not going to find a better one in Los Angeles than at HomeState in Los Feliz. The weekend crowds at this tiny, order-at-the-counter spot are frankly terrible, but if you power through, you’ll be rewarded with an eggs, bacon, and potato taco of your hungover dreams. If you’re looking to take the heat up a notch, the chorizo-filled Guadalupe taco is your move.
This list is covered with low-key taco trucks, but none quite reach the level of Carnitas El Momo. Located on a residential side street in Boyle Heights, El Momo is actually a trailer hooked to a white van. It has perhaps the best carnitas we’ve tried in LA (get the pork shoulder/skin combo), and the two guys running the show are as cool as it gets.
You come to Flor Del Rio for one thing - the goat birria. Because it’s all they serve. This tiny Boyle Heights spots does not have menus or even daily specials. They’ll ask you if you want your goat served dry or served in a broth, and you’ll tell them you want it in a broth. And in 15 minutes, the result will be an epic DIY taco station with a heaping plate of the best goat around. Reminder: Cash only.
Tire Shop Tacos definitely has one the best carne asada situations happening in LA, but that's not even be the best part of it: Tire Shop Tacos isn’t even its actual 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. Only open from 6-11pm every day, expect long lines at this tiny stand, which is the best example of why LA street tacos rule the world.
There’s not a whole lot to dislike about Cacao Mexicatessen. The festive, order-at-the-counter Mexican restaurant in Eagle Rock has a fantastic Baja-inspired menu, a solid breakfast situation, a good beer list, and an even better happy hour to drink it all in. The true star of the show though, for us, is the sea urchin chile guero. A fried chile relleno taco topped with uni. It’s as amazing as it sounds.
This graffitied taco truck across the street from a McDonald’s has excellent late-night bites from top to bottom (the bacon-wrapped shrimp are special), but your move needs to be the cecina taco - thinly sliced, salt-cured beef with a nutty, chile de arbol salsa on top.
Attention: There’s a Mayan bakery/restaurant in Pico-Union serving Yucatan cuisine and you’re going to want all of it. Just don't plan to stay too long, La Flor De Yucatan is order-at-the-counter and only has a few tables to go around. But our go-to 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.
We get it. Including a Chef Ludo French fusion brunch spot on an LA taco list is a declaration of war in some circles. But put your pitch forks down haters - the double-decker potato taco at this Silver Lake spot is phenomenal and sloppy and the last thing we ever thought we could love so much. And you will agree.
Recently relocated from El Monte to Whittier, Colonia now resides in a smaller, retro diner setting with an awesome back patio area. Don’t worry, fans of the old Colonia, you’ll find all your favorite tacos back in action including the cauliflower, grilled shrimp on coconut rice, and the (must-order) chicken tezmole. Alert: there’s now a drive-through.
When it comes to Tex-Mex, it really boils down to two words: puffy tacos. And at Bar Ama, you’re possibly getting a better version than the San Antonio original. But it’s also important to know that they're not even listed on the menu - ask for them, and you shall receive. Our move 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 Ama’s equally amazing queso.
Located on a not-yet-gentrified stretch of York Blvd. in Highland Park, Dos Mujeres has become a favorite for dishing out mesquite-grilled carne asada and al pastor better than anybody in the area. Open from 8pm-2am every day, we love this sidewalk grill because it’s easy, delicious, and the people running it are wonderful. Don’t forget to put their homemade avocado sauce and fiery salsas on top.
By this point, you’ve gotten the full onslaught of carnitas, al pastor, chorizo, and carne asade tacos. But brisket? Not so much. Head down the 110 a couple miles to Walnut Park and you’ll find a tiny taco stand dishing out some of the best you can get. Open 7pm-2am on the weekdays, and 7pm-4am on weekends, file this fantastic little place under late-night taco stands you need to hit immediately.