The Best Tacos in Los Angeles

Every day is Taco Tuesday

The taco is one of the world's greatest foods, and there is no better city in the U.S. to enjoy them than Los Angeles. From traditional taquerias to food trucks to globally-inspired variations, read on for the best tacos in LA.


Texcoco barbacoa
Barbacoa taco at Aquis es Texcoco  |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Aqui es Texcoco

"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 Aqui es Texcoco 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

Guisado de Pato, Duck Carnitas and Ensenada Fish tacos at CaCao Mexicatessen
L to R: Guisado de Pato, Duck Carnitas, Ensenada Fish at CaCao Mexicatessen | Photo: Angela W, Yelp

CaCao Mexicatessen

It just so happens that the traditional French method to make duck confit shares almost the exact same traditional cooking technique as making Mexican pork carnitas (“almost” because the former is made in the oven and latter is made over a fire). Well, CaCao Mexicatessen taco spot in Eagle Rock realized this fun little fact and applied traditional carnitas seasonings to duck confit, and voila, their rock star duck carnitas taco was born. It’s one of the most unique tacos Los Angeles offers and as utterly delicious as it sounds, especially because CaCao prides themselves in their thin, handmade tortillas. These famed tacos de pato are topped with crisp radish matchsticks, pickled onions and avocado. Squeeze some lime and pair it with a glass of their chilled Mexican chenin blanc from the Valle de Guadalupe Baja California wine region, and you’ll have one of the best Mexican taco experiences in Los Angeles.

 Aporkalypse Tacos at Carnitas El Momo
Aporkalypse Tacos at Carnitas El Momo | Photo: Jakob Layman

Carnitas El Momo

"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

Barbacoa Taco Trio from Cena Vegan at Smorgasburg
Barbacoa Taco Trio from Cena Vegan at Smorgasburg | Instagram: @myveganfoodiediary

Cena Vegan

Launched as a taco stand in Highland Park in 2016, Cena Vegan quickly garnered a following for its seitan-based tacos, burritos and the infamous Nacho Boat. Today, fans can get their plant-based Mexican food fix at a ghost kitchen in Lincoln Heights, Whittier Brewing Company, and Cena's newest location at Partake Collective in Long Beach. Cena also pops up at Smorgasburg every Sunday; and is a regular at vegan events and festivals like Coachella. Follow @cenavegan on Instagram for updates.

The taco selection includes jackfruit barbacoa, al pastor, carne asada, carnitas, pollo asado and birria, which comes with a vegan consommé for dipping that's just as tasty and messy as the meat-based version. Served with onions, cilantro and choice of salsa, the Taco Trio and Four Taco Plate are great ways to sample Cena's offerings.

Taquitos con Salsa de Aguacate at Cielito Lindo
Taquitos con Salsa de Aguacate at Cielito Lindo | Photo: Jakob Layman

Cielito Lindo

"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 Guerrilla Tacos
Sweet Potato Tacos at Guerrilla Tacos | Photo: Jakob Layman

Guerrilla Tacos

A founding board member of RE:Her, Brittney Valles has managed Guerrilla Tacos from its early days as a taco truck to the opening of its brick-and-mortar in the Arts District. The brainchild of chef Wes Avila, Guerrilla Tacos is renowned for its Sweet Potato Taco - roasted sweet potato, almond & cashew chile, feta cheese, fried corn and scallions on a corn tortilla. Other "OG Tacos" include Baja Fried Fish and Picadillo Pocho - wild boar with potatoes, peas & carrots, lime crema, avocado salsa and cheddar. Seasonal tacos include winter 2024 specials like Lomo Saltado (marinated steak), Pork Belly Banh Mi, Grilled Chicken and the veg-friendly Sunchoke with mole amarillo and pickled green beans.

The OG Sampler at Guisados in Boyle Heights
The OG Sampler at Guisados | Instagram: @ly.eats


"Born & Braised" in Boyle Heights in December 2010, Guisados has since expanded to locations in Echo Park, Downtown LA, Burbank, Hermosa Beach, WeHo, Beverly Hills and Pasadena. Owned and operated by Armando De La Torre Sr. and Armando De La Torre Jr, Guisdados features homestyle braises on corn tortillas that are handmade-to-order from masa that's freshly-ground next door at Carnitas Uruapan.

As he did so many times with under-the-radar restaurants, Jonathan Gold elevated Guisados to must-try status with his LA Weekly review, singling out the fiery Chiles Toreados taco: "It is a taco that could go 15 rounds with Oscar De La Hoya. It is a taco that could play badass trumpet in a mariachi band and sing sweet love songs to your girlfriend. It is a taco that will sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to do things that no taco should ever do, but you will always take it back, because you have tasted the complexity that lies three layers down."

L.A. TACO's Erick Gallindo shared his own Guisados favorite with Dine LA: "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 Armando Palmero agua fresca and you just might understand the true meaning of life – which is obviously tacos."

Can't decide from the numerous options? Order a sampler with six mini-tacos, like The OG (Steak Picado, Bistek Roja, Tinga, Mole, Chicharron, Cochinita Pibil) or the Vegetarian with 2 Calabacitas, 2 Hongos, Frijoles con Queso and Quesadilla.

Pulpo Asada Tacos at Holbox
Pulpo Asada Tacos at Holbox  |  Photo: Jakob Layman


"Mariscos is a way of life in Mexico. In Los Angeles, where the sun is always strong and the seafood is always fresh, chef Gilbert Cetina has tapped into this to create some of the most exciting mariscos in LA at Holbox. 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 Pulpo Asada Tacos (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 of the same stuff at a fine dining restaurant." - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

Neches tacos at Homestate   |  Photo: Jakob Layman
Neches tacos at Homestate  |  Photo: Jakob Layman


"HomeState began as a small storefront in Los Feliz in 2013. Hungry patrons continue to 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. In March 2018, a second location opened on Figueroa in Highland Park, adding a full bar and sizable outdoor space for all your serious brunch needs." - Gab Chabran, L.A. TACO

La Flor de Yucatan

Located on the eastern edge of Mid-City, La Flor de Yucatan is one of L.A.’s most unique Mexican bakeries, cooking up authentic cuisine from the Yucatan peninsula since the late '60s. Each day, the Burgos family prepares a special plate of traditional delights such as chirmole (pork in beans and a chile and spice paste), and on the weekends there are regional tamales called vaporcitos and colados, and of course tacos with cochinita pibil (roasted, marinated pork) and relleno negro (turkey in a black recado). The bakery has limited seating, but it’s worth it to grab a table and enjoy some of L.A.'s best Mexican cuisine while it’s hot.

Al Pastor Taco at Leo's Tacos
Al Pastor Taco at Leo's Tacos  |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Leo's Tacos

"Lest you forget what to get at Leo’s Tacos Trucks, 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
Taco árabe con quesillo at Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla | Photo: Jakob Laymnan

Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla

"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 LA 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

Tacos de Camaron at Mariscos Jalisco in Boyle Heights
Tacos de Camaron at Mariscos Jalisco | Instagram: @garythefoodie

Mariscos Jalisco

In his 2012 LA Times review of Mariscos Jalisco, the late, great Jonathan Gold described Raul Ortega as "a rock star among taco chefs" and wrote, "In some circles, admitting that you live in Los Angeles but haven’t visited Mariscos Jalisco is like confessing that you’ve never been to Dodger Stadium, or driven through the four-level freeway interchange, or eaten a corn dog on Muscle Beach — inexcusable, really."

Ortega launched his acclaimed taco truck in Boyle Heights in 2001. Fans from near and far queue up for the signature Tacos de Camaron (Shrimp Tacos), along with the Tostada Poseidon (shrimp ceviche, octopus, spicy red aguachile) and Ceviches. In addition to the OG location, Mariscos Jalisco trucks are now parked in Downtown LA and on La Cienega in Mid-City. In July 2023, Ortega’s brick and mortar in Pomona received Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition.

L.A. TACO's Tien Nguyen described the Tacos de Camaron for Dine LA: "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 wholesale. 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."

Tacos and more at Salazar in Frogtown
Tacos and more at Salazar  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa


Opened in Frogtown in 2016, Salazar occupies a former auto body shop adjacent to the L.A. River, featuring an expansive patio with a pergola. Surrounded by cacti and succulents, guests feel like they're hanging out at a Sonoran backyard barbecue.

Tacos feature house-made flour or corn tortillas filled with carne asada, al pastor, pollo asado, pescado estilo Baja (battered rock cod) or seasonal veggies. Level up with a side of Frijoles Puercos (black beans with pork belly), Esquites - a bowl of perfectly grilled and spiced corn - and the colorful Prickly Pear Margarita.

Shrimp Taco at Sky's Gourmet Tacos
Shrimp Taco | Photo: Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

"The allure of Sky's Gourmet Tacos is that their tacos are not tacos by Mexican standards, per se. They are their own thing and that is why they continue to draw in the taco-curious to try the soul food-wrapped-with-a-tortilla. The Shrimp Taco with "sassy" salsa and sliced romaine lettuce might tug on your Americanized taco roots, but don't knock it till 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

Caramelos at Sonoratown
Caramelos at Sonoratown  |  Photo: Jakob Layman


Sonoratown was a hit from the moment Teodoro Diaz-Rodriguez, Jr. and Jennifer Feltham opened their tiny Fashion District taco counter in 2016. Inspired by the small border town in Mexico where Teo grew up - and Downtown LA itself - Sonoratown became wildly popular for its award-winning carne asada, which was featured in Season 1 of Netflix's Taco Chronicles.

The signature Caramelo features a large flour tortilla folded into a taco and filled with carne asada, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa roja, avocado and pinto beans.

In May 2022, Teo and Jen opened a second location on San Vicente Boulevard in Mid-City.

Adobada and Carne Asada tacos at Tacos 1986 in Westwood
Adobada and Carne Asada tacos at Tacos 1986 in Westwood | Instagram: @hungryinla

Tacos 1986

Victor Delgado and Jorge “Joy” Alvarez started Tacos 1986 as a Hollywood street cart in 2018, and have since expanded to brick-and-mortars across the city. Tacos 1986 also pops up at Smorgasburg every Sunday.

The Westwood Village location opened on Kinross Avenue in February 2020, serving UCLA students and local office workers delicious Tijuana-style street tacos, quesadillas, mulitas and vampiros. Popular tacos include the Adobada, Mushroom, and the off-menu Carne Asada Perrón with crispy cheese, onions, guac, salsa and a sprinkling of beans.

tacos la carreta

Tacos La Carreta

"Unless you see 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 Tacos La Carreta, their Sinaloa-style mesquite-grilled carne asada is a point of pride. Served on flour tortillas with minced cabbage of course, because that's how they do it in Mexico's northern states." - Javier Cabral, L.A. TACO

tacos los guichos

Tacos Los Guichos

"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

Tacos y Birria La Unica

"Tacos y Birria La Unica exploded in popularity when 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

teddys red

Teddy's Red Tacos

"At Teddy’s Red Tacos 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

"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 perfectly marinated asada meat, enveloped in a warm soft handmade tortilla and 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

Sampler Trios at Villa's Tacos in Grand Central Market
Sampler Trios at Villa's Tacos in Grand Central Market | Instagram: @allmycravingz

Villa's Tacos

Victor Villa opened the second location of his namesake taqueria at the landmark Grand Central Market in March 2024. The original location of Villa's Tacos in Highland Park was named a Michelin Bib Gourmand in July 2023. At GCM, Villa took over the former Belcampo Meat Co. stall, which had been vacant for two years. Made with a handmade blue corn tortilla pressed to order, the signature Queso Taco features onion, cilantro, guac, cotija cheese, crema and a melted skirt of Monterey Jack. Fillings include pierna de pollo (chicken thigh), ranchera asada (skirt steak), pork chorizo and veg-friendly options like grilled soyrizo and frijoles con nopal (black beans & cactus salad). Sampler Trios include two off-menu tacos: the Villa's Trio (Ranchera Asada, Papas con Chorizo, Black Bean con Pollo) and the Vegan Trio with Frijoles con Nopal, Frijoles con Papa and Soyrizo con Papa.

Chicken Shawarma Tacos at X'tiosu Kitchen in Boyle Heights
Chicken Shawarma Tacos at X'tiosu Kitchen | Photo: BFLY O, Yelp

X'tiosu Kitchen

Opened in 2017, X'tiosu Kitchen is a quintessentially LA mashup - brothers Felipe and Ignacio Santiago describe their Boyle Heights storefront as a "Oaxacan Arabesque Eatery." Tucked into a mini-mall, X'tiosu ("thank you" in Zapotec) is best known for the Chicken Shawarma Taco - chicken shawarma on a corn tortilla topped with onion, cilantro, "Arabesque" salsa (tahini + salsa verde) and pickled turnip. There's also the plant-based Zapotec Vegan Taco with a choice of falafel or cauliflower. The Taco Plate includes two tacos plus salad, hummus and rice.