dineL.A. Taco Trek

Los Angeles = Tacos


Embark on a self-guided journey with dineL.A.’s Taco Trek and find the simplest of pleasures: the taco, embodying years of tradition and families of flavor in a tortilla dripping green or red salsa. Meet the makers of food culture in Los Angeles, while taking a tasty tour of the city we call home.

 

Varieties from different nations, regions, and continents all on one map. Some are stands, some are trucks, some are carts. Some are cash only. All make up the experience of a life in L.A.

 

Start here for a taste of taco history. 25 signature tacos we know you have to try. Street tacos. Hard Shell. Breakfast. Sit on the curb, grab a booth or make a reservation. These are the 25 best taco experiences to be had right now, and it’ll put you on the path to many more culinary adventures. Have fun!

Barbacoa taco at Aquis es Texcoco

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Aqui es Texcoco – Barbacoa Taco



Barbacoa is the only word you need to know when going on a mission to this low-key taqueria in the middle of the city of Commerce in Southeast Los Angeles. If going solo, go for an order of their dish that has earned them spots on Bizarre Foods and magazines: hidalgo, Mexico-style lamb barbacoa and ask for extra tortillas. But if rolling with family or friends, order a pound of the stuff to share. If you like tender cuts, kindly ask for the ribs. Or if you're vegetarian, their quesatacos—griddled crispy cheese shaped like an Indian dosa served with guacamole are just as good. ~ Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Suadero tacos at Avenue 26 Taco Stand

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Avenue 26 Taco Stand - Suadero Taco



There is no wrong taco to order at this enormously popular taco stand in Lincoln Heights, but there is a reason why the guys behind the hot planchas usually recommend that first-timers try the suadero: the brisket is juicy, with a lingering taste of smoke and char that you only get from the best of street taco operations. You’d do well to top your tacos with a tidy pile of grilled seasoned onions, a judicious amount of the stand’s blistering red or green salsa and, if you ask for it, a halved baby potato that’s been simmering in an impressive pot of meat drippings. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Grilled shrimp tacos at Border Grill

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Border Grill - Grilled Shrimp Taco



This pioneering Mexican restaurant is still one of the best places in the city to duck in for a Margarita and guacamole to kill time in Downtown L.A. on your way home, which is saying a lot since it's been around since 1990. If you're craving something a little more substantial, their ceviches are fresh and their classic tacos always hit the spot: grilled shrimp, crispy rajas, or just carne asada. If you have to pick one, go for grilled shrimp. ~ Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Grilled shrimp taco at Border Grill

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Border Grill LAX - Grilled Shrimp Taco



This pioneering Mexican restaurant is still one of the best places in the city to duck in for a Margarita and guacamole to kill time in Downtown L.A. on your way home, which is saying a lot since it's been around since 1990. If you're craving something a little more substantial, their ceviches are fresh and their classic tacos always hit the spot: grilled shrimp, crispy rajas, or just carne asada. If you have to pick one, go for grilled shrimp. ~ Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Carnitas taco at B.S. Taqueria

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

B.S. Taqueria Staples Center - Carnitas Taco



Come for the Mole Fries, stay for the carnitas. There are a lot of ingenious concoctions on Chef Ray Garcia’s ode to Alta California gastronomy. Garcia is known to switch up the proteins offered on the organic handmade tortillas from time to time. But the classics are the classics for a reason. And the pork’s the thing at B.S. Taqueria. There’s the Jonathan Gold approved cauliflower al pastor tacos, and the my-mama-approved carnitas tacos. If you had to choose between the two, the latter is just all kinds of perfect stewy goodness. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Aporkalypse tacos at Carnitas el Momo

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Carnitas El Momo - Aporkalypse Taco



The traditional way of making carnitas is to submerge chopped pork in seasoned fat in a large copper vat called a cazo and to let it cook, low and slow, for a few hours, until the meat is fully cooked, deeply flavorful and exceptionally tender. Carnitas El Momo has pretty much perfected this method, and it is widely considered one of the best — if not the best — place in town for carnitas. The truck offers your choice of maciza (shoulder), cuero (skin), or buche (stomach), though for the ultimate adventure in flavor and texture, try the Aporkalypse, with all three cuts of meat stuffed in one glorious taco. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Tolucan green chorizo tacos at The Chori-Man

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

The Chori-Man - Tolucan Green Chorizo Taco



In San Pedro, you will find a man on a mission, and that mission is chorizo. While The Chori-Man usually has a few different options to choose from, the most unique would have to be the Tolucan green - a southern Mexican style green chorizo, with poblano chilies and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices, delivering the perfect punch to your savory senses. But do yourself a favor and order another of his other fine chorizo offerings to really make it worth your while. - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO

Taquitos con salsa de aguacate at Cielito Lindo

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Cielito Lindo - taquitos con salsa de aguacate



Food historians like Gustavo Arellano and Bill Esparza will tell you Cielito Lindo is where America's obsession with tacos all started. But if you truly want to understand the history that began on Olvera Street in 1934, you’re going to have to bite into the crunchy, spicy goodness that is taquitos con salsa de aguacate. These crispy fried rolled up tacos – an Americanized version of a Zacatecas family recipe – drenched in green avocado salsa are best eaten standing on the brick-lined plaza and staring off into the birthplace of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles. These taquitos aren’t just tacos, they’re a time machine. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Sweet potato tacos at Guerilla Tacos

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Guerrilla Tacos - Sweet Potato Taco



The menu at Guerrilla Tacos changes with some regularity, depending on what’s fresh at the markets and what new ideas owner Wes Avila happens to be experimenting with that day. That said, there is one taco that is a constant on the menu regardless of the variables of the season: the sweet potato taco, with roasted sweet potatoes nestled on a corn tortilla and topped with a burnt orange chile salsa, crumbs of feta cheese, fried kernels of corn and scallions. It’s the perfect introduction to the world of Guerrilla Tacos. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Guisado's Tacos

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Guisados - Bistek en Salsa Roja



Guisados has so many freakishly good tacos that it’s a type of torture to try and pick the best. Camarones. Frijoles con Queso. Cochinita Pibil. Chuleta en Chile Verde. Chicharron. The Quesadilla con Chorizo … ¡Ay, ay, ay pero no pa’ todas! Luckily, for you and me and anyone with a soul, Guisados offers a sampler, where you can pick 6 mini versions of your favorite tacos. Now the sampler doesn’t come with any of the delicious seafood tacos so you’d have to order that on the side or on it’s own. But honestly if you can only have one taco, there’s something so perfect about the Bistek en Salsa Roja, a perfectly simmered guisado – of flank steak, red bell peppers, and tomatoes – served on beautiful bed of black beans, and topped with chile de arbol and avocado. Pair that with an the Armando Palmero agua fresca and you just might understand the true meaning of life – which is obviously tacos. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Guisado's Tacos

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Guisados Burbank - Bistek en Salsa Roja



Guisados has so many freakishly good tacos that it’s a type of torture to try and pick the best. Camarones. Frijoles con Queso. Cochinita Pibil. Chuleta en Chile Verde. Chicharron. The Quesadilla con Chorizo … ¡Ay, ay, ay pero no pa’ todas! Luckily, for you and me and anyone with a soul, Guisados offers a sampler, where you can pick 6 mini versions of your favorite tacos. Now the sampler doesn’t come with any of the delicious seafood tacos so you’d have to order that on the side or on it’s own. But honestly if you can only have one taco, there’s something so perfect about the Bistek en Salsa Roja, a perfectly simmered guisado – of flank steak, red bell peppers, and tomatoes – served on beautiful bed of black beans, and topped with chile de arbol and avocado. Pair that with an the Armando Palmero agua fresca and you just might understand the true meaning of life – which is obviously tacos. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Guisados Downtown L.A.

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Guisados Downtown L.A. - Bistek en Salsa Roja



Guisados has so many freakishly good tacos that it’s a type of torture to try and pick the best. Camarones. Frijoles con Queso. Cochinita Pibil. Chuleta en Chile Verde. Chicharron. The Quesadilla con Chorizo … ¡Ay, ay, ay pero no pa’ todas! Luckily, for you and me and anyone with a soul, Guisados offers a sampler, where you can pick 6 mini versions of your favorite tacos. Now the sampler doesn’t come with any of the delicious seafood tacos so you’d have to order that on the side or on it’s own. But honestly if you can only have one taco, there’s something so perfect about the Bistek en Salsa Roja, a perfectly simmered guisado – of flank steak, red bell peppers, and tomatoes – served on beautiful bed of black beans, and topped with chile de arbol and avocado. Pair that with an the Armando Palmero agua fresca and you just might understand the true meaning of life – which is obviously tacos. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Guisados West Hollywood - Bistek en Salsa Roja

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Guisados West Hollywood - Bistek en Salsa Roja



Guisados has so many freakishly good tacos that it’s a type of torture to try and pick the best. Camarones. Frijoles con Queso. Cochinita Pibil. Chuleta en Chile Verde. Chicharron. The Quesadilla con Chorizo … ¡Ay, ay, ay pero no pa’ todas! Luckily, for you and me and anyone with a soul, Guisados offers a sampler, where you can pick 6 mini versions of your favorite tacos. Now the sampler doesn’t come with any of the delicious seafood tacos so you’d have to order that on the side or on it’s own. But honestly if you can only have one taco, there’s something so perfect about the Bistek en Salsa Roja, a perfectly simmered guisado – of flank steak, red bell peppers, and tomatoes – served on beautiful bed of black beans, and topped with chile de arbol and avocado. Pair that with an the Armando Palmero agua fresca and you just might understand the true meaning of life – which is obviously tacos. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Holbox tacos

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Holbox - Pulpo Asada Taco



Mariscos is a way of life in Mexico and in Los Angeles, where the sun is always strong and the seafood is always fresh, chef Gilbert Cetina knows this and has tapped into this to create some of the most exciting mariscos in Los Angeles. Scallop aguachiles, clams, and oysters bathed in an unabashed amount of lime juice, chiles, salt, and whatever else Cetina damn well feels like. Taco-wise, their octopus tacos on handmade tortillas are the way to go. They are pitch black and just begging to be uploaded to your Insta. But more importantly, they are delicious. And because you're eating it all in a food court, the impeccable seafood quality is only a fraction of the price than the same stuff at a fine dining restaurant. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Neches tacos at Homestate

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Homestate Highland Park - Neches Taco



HomeState began as a small storefront in Los Feliz a little less than a decade ago. Hungry patrons line up every morning to get their fix of breakfast tacos. The taco of choice here would be the Neches, made with organic eggs, refried beans, and sharp cheddar cheese. They’ve just opened up a second location on Figueroa in Highland Park, which has made the addition of a full bar and sizeable outdoor space for all your serious brunch needs. - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO

Kogi BBQ tacos | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Kogi Taqueria - Short Rib Taco



Not much else can be said about the food truck that changed the Southern California taco game since the first time Roy Choi put sweet and smokey Korean BBQ on a tortilla. Other than they are still kicking ass a decade later. Their short rib tacos are still their most popular tacos for a reason. It's a little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lot unforgettable. Remember, this taco is often imitated but never duplicated. You'll know what we're talking about when you take that first big bite. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Al pastor taco at Leo's Tacos Truck

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Leo's Taco Truck - Al Pastor Taco



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Al pastor tacos at Leo's Tacos Truck

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Leo's Taco Truck Echo Park - Al Pastor Taco



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Al pastor tacos at Leo's Taco Truck Hollywood

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Leo's Taco Truck Hollywood - Al Pastor Tacos



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Leo's Taco Truck North Hills

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Leo's Taco Truck North Hills - Al Pastor Taco



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Al pastor tacos at Leo's Tacos Truck

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Leo's Taco Truck Pico - Al Pastor Taco



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Leo's Taco Truck at Pico Union

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Leo's Taco Truck Pico Union - Al Pastor Taco



Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos, let the spit remind you. Specifically the al pastor spit, which is stacked with marinated pork and hauled out in front of the truck during the weekends. On your order, a taquero - wielding a long knife in one hand and a tortilla in the other - will delicately shave off a few slices of al pastor and flick them into the open tortilla; a chunk of pineapple will follow. It doesn't need much more, but if you’d like a bit of garnish, the salsa bar awaits. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Taco árabe con quesillo at Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla | Photo by Jakob Layman

Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla - Taco Árabe con quesillo



A visit to this taco truck on a weekend night is a dive into the deepest regional taco variations available in Mexico, and the fact that there is a truck that specializes in this style in L.A. is a testament to this city being the best taco city in the U.S. In a nutshell, a taco árabe is a cousin of al pastor with spit-cooked pork as well. As the name implies, it has roots in the Middle East. Thus, it is served on a pan árabe — a pita-tortilla hybrid — instead of a tortilla. To experience this taco in its full glory, opt for their tacos especiales that comes with a handful of briny quesillo shredded cheese, buttery ripe avocado slices, and chipotle salsa. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Chicken tinga taco at Loteria Grill

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Loteria Grill - Chicken Tinga Taco



When chef Jimmy Shaw, founder of Loteria Grill first arrived in L.A.'s Mexican food scene in 2004, there was no such thing as guisados as a taco filling and it was a hell of a lot harder to find a handmade tortilla. A lot has changed since then and it has a lot to do with Shaw introducing these two foundations of Mexican cuisine to a lot of Angelenos over the years. Nowadays, his guisado sampler is still one of the best crash courses to higher your taco knowledge. Chicken tinga, rajas con papas, or mushrooms and epazote in a taco, these light, handsome tacos are some of the best. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Tacos dorado de camarones at Mariscos Jalisco

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Mariscos Jalisco - taco dorado de camarones



Raul Ortega’s Mariscos Jalisco truck is legendary amongst Los Angeles taco hounds on account of its terrific taco dorado de camarones. Based on a recipe from Ortega’s hometown, San Juan de los Lagos, the taco is stuffed with a mix of fresh shrimp and potatoes, then folded in half and fried whole. It’s topped with a generous spoonful of fresh salsa and a few slices of avocado before being handed off to you, at which point you’ll crunch into it and savor the burnt bits at the edges. Some say this is the best taco in the city. They would not be wrong. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Marisco's Jaliscos truck

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Mariscos Jalisco DTLA - Taco Dorado de Camarones



Raul Ortega’s Mariscos Jalisco truck is legendary amongst Los Angeles taco hounds on account of its terrific taco dorado de camarones. Based on a recipe from Ortega’s hometown, San Juan de los Lagos, the taco is stuffed with a mix of fresh shrimp and potatoes, then folded in half and fried whole. It’s topped with a generous spoonful of fresh salsa and a few slices of avocado before being handed off to you, at which point you’ll crunch into it and savor the burnt bits at the edges. Some say this is the best taco in the city. They would not be wrong. - Tien Nguyen, L.A. TACO

Ricky's Fish Tacos - baja fish taco



There are two eras of fish tacos in Los Angeles: before Ricky's Fish Tacos and post-Ricky's Fish Tacos. His pieces of fearlessly seasoned, Baja-style battered fish and shrimp are piping hot, crispy, and hard to stop eating. His aguas frescas are refreshing and his salsas are thick and full-flavored. This is about as good as L.A street food gets. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Carne asada tacos at Salazar

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Salazar LA - Carne asada taco



Salazar is cool, hip, modern, and has damn fine meats to boot. Grilled over an open flame, the carne asada and pollo asado tacos served on house-made flour tortillas are kind of a act of revolution in a city that loves its masa. But the tacos are so good they will win you over from bite one and by the end you will be down to march in the streets for la causa. ¡Viva tacos de harina! For ultimate victory, order your tacos with a side of Frijoles Puercos (beans with pork belly) and some Esquites, a bowl of perfectly grilled and spiced corn. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Shrimp taco at Sky's Gourmet Tacos | Photo: Stella Yeo

Sky's Gourmet Tacos - Shrimp Taco



The allure of Sky's Gourmet Tacos is that their tacos are not a taco by Mexican standards, per se. They are their own thing and that is why they continue to draw in the taco curious to try out their soul food-wrapped-with-a-tortilla. Their shrimp taco with their "sassy" salsa and sliced romaine lettuce might tug on your Americanized-taco roots, but don't knock it until you've tried it. After all, a bomb flavor is a bomb flavor, whether it fits in a traditional cuisine or not. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Carmelos at Sonoratown

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Sonoratown - Caramelo



If you find yourself in Downtown L.A., maybe just after you’ve pursued the Santee Alleys or fought the throngs of people clustered together at Grand Central Market, you owe yourself a trip to Sonoratown. Your best bet is the Carmelo, which is a large flour tortilla folded into taco filled with their award-winning carne asada recipe, choice Monterey Jack cheese, salsa roja, avocado and pinto beans. Don’t forget to get one of their extremely refreshing agua frescas to help you wash it down your delectable meal. You won't be sorry. - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO

Tacos la Carreta - Carne Asada Taco

Tacos La Carreta - Carne Asada Taco



Unless you see a smoke and your inner-primal drive is awakened by the smell of charred beef, it is not carne asada. The term got cheapened down in the last couple of decades at taquerias, where many just put a bunch of sliced beef on a flat-top grill and called it a day. However, at La Carreta, their Sinaloa-style mesquite-grilled carne asada is a point of pride. On flour tortillas and with minced cabbage of course, because that's how they do it in Mexico's northern states. It's good stuff. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Tacos Los Guichos

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Tacos Los Guichos - Carnitas Taco



The Los Guichos truck is churning out some of the most solid D.F. style cuisine our city has to offer. Their carnitas taco is cut into large juicy chunks instead of shredded giving its own unique spin. It’s nothing short of heavenly Also, take advantage of their fiery habanero salsa for that extra bit of heat. Don’t forget on the weekends – when the lines can get long – there’s also a churro vendor right there to satisfy your sweet tooth. - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO

Tacos y Birria la Unica

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Tacos y Birria La Unica - Birria Quesataco



Tacos y Birria La Unica exploded in popularity recently because they catered a dinner for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. But long before that they were 'hood famous for their juicy, Michoacán-style birria. They have goat or beef for whatever you're into, but the secret to their taco success is their handmade tortillas dipped in the fire-red broth and grilled a bit before being served, so you get two-layers of spiced, birria flavor in every bite. Tender, braised, spiced juicy beef enveloped in crispy-gooey cheese was made to be placed on top of a griddled tortilla and at Tacos y Birria La Unica, they make one of the best versions in L.A. - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Birria tacos at Teddy's Red Tacos

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Teddy's Red Tacos - Birria Taco



Don’t be a fool. Order everything on the menu. That’s just how good Teddy’s Red Tacos is. It’s all birria all day long … or at least until Teddy’s inevitably runs out. The beautiful marinated chunks of slow-cooked beef are the star, co-star, and extras on the Teddy’s Red Tacos show. Just ask style icon, TV host, and taco expert Chrissy Teigen. So order the Deluxe Plate and eat it in this order: the birria mulita, the birria tacos, and the little cup of consomé to wash it all away before you take your first bite of the grand finale – a birria quesadilla that will make you forget your own damn name. - Erick Gallindo, L.A. TACO

Tire Shop Taqueria

 |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Tire Shop Taqueria - Carne Asada Taco



Tire Shop Taqueria is an outdoor area in the parking lot of a liquor store. The name of the game here is carne asada taco served Tijuana-style that’s made with their marinated to perfection asada meat, enveloped perfectly in a warm soft handmade tortilla. Topped off with just the right amount of cool avocado salsa. The final product is wrapped in paper to hold its contents together, and presented to you as your own personal taco bouquet. Enjoy! - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO