Spending an afternoon seeking out and eating tacos sounds like a dream to us, and if you’re lucky enough to spend a few days in Los Angeles, you won’t have any trouble making this dream into a reality. The city has some of the best Mexican cuisine nationwide, and while the City of Angels isn’t known for its driveability, that’s not an issue if you hit several premium taco spots in once central area.
To make your taco crawl easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best tacos in Los Angeles that are within close proximity to one another within the Boyle Heights and Wyvernwood neighborhoods. Make sure you’ve got an appetite.
1. Guerrilla Tacos
Chef Wes Avila has brought Guerrilla Tacos quite far from its humble beginnings as a small food cart in the downtown Arts District. Now a popular brick-and-mortar destination, this taco shop is a must-visit.
Since the restaurant moved to its permanent location, it has featured an expanding menu with traditional dishes and creative sides. You can order tostadas and desserts, and even enjoy an omakase tasting menu (by reservation), in addition to a wide variety of tacos (hey, we are doing a taco crawl, after all). The menu changes seasonally, so check online and consider planning your order before visiting.
All Gurilla’s tacos range between $5 and $7. The pork and tendon and Baja shrimp tacos are some of the most popular items on the menu, but you’ll also find plenty of vegetarian options, like saag curry eggplant. If you’re starting your crawl early, Guerrilla Tacos opens their breakfast window on weekdays; again, check the website when planning your visit for up-to-date hours.
2. Barba Kush
As you walk to Barba Kush, you might not realize that you’re standing in front of one of the best barbacoa spots in the city. Once a backyard operation turned brick-and-mortar, Barba Kush operates out of an unassuming storefront off Whittier Boulevard. Don’t let the restaurant’s humble face fool you -- this is a premium spot.
Petra Zavaleta shares her unique and flavorful recipes with patrons via a variety of tacos, burritos, soups, and consommes. The $12 taco plate is a great way to try multiple meats (asada, barbacoa, al pastor, chicken) and comes with a side of rice and beans. With that said, the Tepeaca-style lamb barbacoa is Zavaleta’s signature dish.
3. Las Margaritas
Next up, make your way to Las Margaritas. This small, brightly colored space is inviting and pleasant with friendly owners. Tracking down a printed menu can be difficult, so to keep the line moving, check out their digital menu and know what you want before it’s your turn to order.
The tacos here are flautas, also known as taco dorados. They’re filled, rolled, and fried, so they’re not exactly what most people picture when they think of tacos -- but hey, when you’re on a taco crawl, variety isn’t a bad thing. Choose between fillings of beans, ground beef, chicken, shredded beef picadillo, pastor, or asada; the asada and shredded beef are local favorites, but you can’t really make a bad decision here.
Each order of flautas comes with a large side salad with shredded lettuce, pickled pork rinds, diced tomatoes, and cured pork, all of which are covered in Mexican crema.
4. Tacos El Morro
Hopefully you’ve saved some room, because you’ll want to sample everything on the menu at Tacos El Morro. This food truck is located at the corner of Whittier and Albertine. As is the case with most mobile restaurants, there are a few caveats: It’s a cash-only joint, and you’ll only find it here on the weekends from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tacos El Morro features incredible birria de res tacos, which are prepared on a piping hot plancha. That gives the tortillas a signature crispiness, and consomme is ladled over the beef while it sits on the grill, so the meat stays juicy and flavorful. The tacos are served up on smaller tortillas, but are just $1 each, so you can try all of them without filling up.
5. Tacos De Canasta O Al Vapor Rosario
At the southeast corner of Lorena and Opal Streets, you’ll find a small stand serving up some of the best steamed breakfast tacos in all of Los Angeles. Stand operator Rosario Rios’s Jalisco-style tacos al vapor are filled with either refried beans or mashed potatoes and chicharron.
Bottles of fresh salsa await on a table nearby, along with spicy pickled veggies for garnish. No matter which you choose, any of Rios’s tacos are going to be tasty and flavorful. The stand is only open Saturdays and Sundays, and it appears to be cash only. We can’t seem to find any available hours for the stand -- this spot is too traditional for a website -- but it’s safe to assume it’s better to arrive earlier rather than later to snag some of these amazing steamed tacos.
6. Los Originales Tacos Arabe De Puebla
Round out a full day of taco consumption with a late-night bite at Los Originales Tacos Arabe de Puebla. This taco-slinging food truck parks on the 3500 block of Olympic Boulevard and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to midnight (okay, actually it’s 11:59 p.m., according to their social media pages) and Sundays from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.
The signature dish here is the tacos arabes served on pan arabe (handmade tortillas that are similar to pita bread). Think of these as an almost shawarma-esque al pastor, with hints of Middle Eastern flavors and spices. The tacos at Los Originales are quite large and run $3.50 to $4.50 each, and you’ll have the option to add cheese, avocado, salsas, or pickled veggies to customize your late-night feast.
7. Mariscos Jalisco
For the best fried shrimp tacos in L.A., you have to visit Mariscos Jalisco. Also located on Olympic Boulevard, the Mariscos Jalisco food truck has been serving up tacos de camaron since 2002.
Mariscos Jalisco’s shrimp tacos are served in a crispy corn tortilla, fried, doused in an amazing tomato salsa, and topped with sliced avocado. At only $2.25 each, you can order a handful of these delectable tacos without breaking the bank.
You can stop by Mariscos Jalisco seven days a week; the truck is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and Monday. The truck is parked on a busy street that only has street parking, so be aware that you might have to walk a bit.
But after a full day of eating tacos, a few extra steps might be just what the doctor ordered!
Want to do a Midwest taco crawl? Read up on finding the best tacos in Kansas City, Kansas, and don’t forget to pack your appetite.