The Best Nachos in Los Angeles

Skillet Nachos at Border Grill | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya supposedly invented nachos at the Victory Club, a Piedras Negras restaurant located just across from the Texas border. What’s now a widespread classic initially featured fried tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and jalapeños. In L.A., they’re rarely so restrained, and while nachos typically appear at Mexican restaurants, that's not always the case. Here are some of our favorite Los Angeles nachos.

Nacho Libre at Amor y Tacos | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Amor y Tacos

Love and tacos rule at this colorful Cerritos strip mall cantina from Ortega 120 chef-partner Thomas Ortega and longtime friend Eddie Gonzalez. The space features tan tables with worn faux leather chairs, colorful rust and copper-hued walls, metal star chandeliers, and some serious nachos. Nacho Libre, as Amor y Tacos’ hearty nachos are known, feature corn tortilla chips piled with queso Oaxaca, ground beef, sour cream, cilantro, roasted tomatoes, and green onions.

Frito Pie in a Big at HomeState | Photo by Joshua Lurie


Briana Valdez is proud to claim Texas as her home state, and she’s now spreading the Tex-Mex love in Los Feliz. High-top, low-slung and sidewalk seats typically host breakfast tacos, and if you’re smart, Frito Pie in a Bag. This dish supposedly dates to a Woolworth's in Santa Fe, though some stubborn Texans disagree. Either way, at HomeState, chili con carne (bean-free Texas style chile, aka juicy braised brisket) joins shredded cheddar, crisp iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, tangy sour cream, and tart pickled jalapenos, with the layered textures and flavors coalescing in the Fritos bag.

Nachos at Mexicali Taco & Co. | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Mexicali Taco & Co.

Esdras Ochoa and Javier Fregoso hail from another border town, Mexicali, and pay homage to their hometown cuisine in Downtown L.A. Slide into a communal table and make sure to snag an order of nachos. Crispy tortilla chips come slathered in creamy molten nacho cheese with a choice of protein. Clearly, carne asada is the way to go. Still, it’s the salsa de rajas that Ochoa is convinced sets the nachos apart from the pack, incorporating seasoned roasted chile poblano, roasted Roma tomatoes, fresh onion and a “killer vinegar mixture.” It’s hard to argue with one of the delectable nacho creators.

Pig ear nachos at Petty Cash Taqueria | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Petty Cash Taqueria

Walter Manzke envisioned "East L.A. meets 1980s Tijuana" at the Mid-City taqueria he opened with restaurateur Bill Chait and former Playa chef-owner John Rivera Sedlar. Yes, walls match the colors of the Mexican flag, but that’s about as traditional as matters get at Petty Cash Taqueria. For instance, take the nachos, which fall under “Munchies” and come topped with deep-fried strips of pig ear, crema Poblana, and a soft egg that washes yolk over the tortilla chips. Shake on salsa (red or green) to amp up the proceedings.

Sky's Nachos at Sky's Gourmet Tacos | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Neon orange and green signage greets diners at Barbara J. "Sky" Burrell’s Mid-City restaurant, which features “Mexican food with a splash of soul.” Sky’s is locally famous for ferociously spiced tacos, and her namesake nachos are also plenty serious. Fresh-fried tortilla chips host molten cheddar, a pungent burgundy-hued Sassy Sauce crafted with chiles, cumin, garlic and oregano, black beans (or pinto), tomato, cilantro, generous dollops of guacamole and sour cream, and a choice of protein. If you’re a true nacho baller, choose to pile on sweet chunks of lobster.