A longstanding hero among the old-school taco trucks—and one of the city’s best restaurants, period—Mariscos Jalisco is known for its deep-fried shrimp tacos, but the fleet of loncheras (Boyle Heights, Downtown, Pomona, La Cienega) also serves fresh-to-death ceviches, tostadas and oysters on the half shell. In essence, everything is good. Their signature tacos dorado de camaron live up to the hype, with flavorful and fresh shrimp folded into a corn tortilla that’s then fried to a golden brown and topped with thick slices of avocado and a vibrant and complex salsa roja. You’ll also want to save room for their legendary tostadas such as the Poseidon, which comes topped with shrimp ceviche, octopus and a fiery red aguachile of shrimp. Note: Cash only, so come prepared.
Far from the rarified air of L.A.’s fine dining scene, but no less delicious, street food is an indispensable part of the city’s food culture. Street food runs the gamut from the countless fruterias that pop up on busy street corners to the hot dog carts that make their way outside clubs, concerts and major sports events to the longtime loncheras that have kept the city’s manual laborers that keep L.A. running, as well as film shoots, fed on the job—all at affordable, everyday prices. Newer, often chef-driven food trucks and events like 626 Night Market and Smorgasburg have helped introduce street food to a wider audience, expanding the definition of good dining beyond a meal inside a traditional brick-and-mortar.
To help you in your street food search, we’ve rounded up the 12 best street food spots in Los Angeles. Some are standalone vendors and some are the best ad hoc street food collections in the city, but all are worth a visit—so make your way to these excellent roadside destinations for food you won’t soon forget (just make sure to bring cash).