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Mariscos El Faro tostada de lobina
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

The best food trucks in Los Angeles

Sometimes stellar food arrives on wheels. Check out our guide to L.A.’s best food trucks for a solid meal on the go.

Written by
Time Out editors
,
Danny Jensen
&
Stephanie Breijo
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In a city as sprawling as Los Angeles, food trucks offer a vital, roaming oasis for hungry travelers in search of a quick bite or late-night snack. From tacos to pizza, hot dogs to grilled cheese, there are plenty of excellent options when it comes to grabbing a bite on the go. We’ve rounded up our favorite food trucks across the city to help you navigate the choices. 

11 fantastic food trucks in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • Boyle Heights
  • price 1 of 4

One of the long-standing heroes of the old-school taco trucks, Mariscos Jalisco has earned a deservedly loyal and devoted following. 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, like the Poseidon, which is topped with shrimp ceviche, octopus and a fiery red aguachile of shrimp. Food truck or no, these guys make some of the best tacos in the city, vastly outpacing most of L.A.’s brick-and-mortars.

Photograph: Victor Leung (top) / Molly Cranna (bottom)

  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • price 1 of 4

The grandaddy of the modern food truck bonanza since 2008, Roy Choi’s Kogi empire still rules the streets with a delectable mashup of Korean and Mexican flavors. The signature short rib taco delivers big with double-caramelized Korean BBQ depth that’s balanced with a bright spike of salsa roja, a chile-soy slaw, cilantro and onions on two grilled-and-charred house tortillas. The now-classic kimchi quesadilla is still a winner, but the blackjack quesadilla with spicy pork, caramelized onions and salsa verde is also a solid choice. And if you’re looking to skip the meat, you can always swap in tofu as a filling. There are four trucks to track down (known as Roja, Verde, Rosita and Naranja), though three are usually in rotation, and you can usually find them in multiple locations daily; check the schedule online and find them on Twitter daily. Don't feel like chasing the trucks? You can also hit up their brick-and-mortar taqueria in Palms.

Photograph: Victor Leung (top) / Jakob N. Layman (bottom)

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Highland Park
  • price 1 of 4

This Sinaloa-style–seafood truck is a Highland Park staple, and an L.A.-wide destination for tostadas, ceviches, fish tacos, and gloriously fresh shrimp empanadas. Get your cash ready and line up for some of the most refreshing seafood in the city, which often comes tart with citrus and kicking with chiltepin. You can't miss with any item here, but the ceviche de lobina—their salt-cured sea bass—is almost always our order, and it comes served over perfectly crispy tostadas for a silken and crunchy combo with every bite.

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

If you find this bright red Spanish food truck as it’s roving around L.A., pull over to wherever it’s parked and you’ll taste some of the best sandwiches in the city. The speciality here is bocatas, or simple sandwiches: some laced with ham and eggs, others with garlicky tomato spread and manchego. There’s Spanish tradition woven through every stack of meat and crunchy, crusty bread, but we’re partial to the traditional small plates, too—especially the crispy-but-fluffy Tumaca Fries (a.k.a. patatas bravas) topped with a silken, garlicky aioli, or the rich and creamy Serrano-ham croquetas that get hand-rolled in breadcrumbs. Keep up to date by checking Tumaca’s latest Instagram posts for locations and specials and grab yourself a taste of Spain.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Highland Park
  • price 1 of 4

Look for the brightly painted trailer—splashed with purples and blues—that started parked along Figueroa in Highland Park to find some of the best rolled tacos known to man. Often fried up right on the sidewalk, the flautas from the Los Dorados truck provide a meal and a show and come dripping with refreshing salsas for a perfect hot-to-cold sensation with every crunchy bite. Massive corn tortillas wrap around chorizo, chicken, potato and (our favorite) the lamb barbacoa, and all come two of each variety to a pair, and topped with a showering of cotija. The schedule changes—and can be found on Instagram—but you can typically find these flautas in the Arts District, Highland Park and El Sereno throughout the week.

  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • price 2 of 4

A few years in and L.A.’s first bagel truck still draws big crowds for their quality, hand-rolled bagels served up with plenty of schmear and swagger. Available in plain, poppy, sesame, everything and a very craveable cheddar, the Yeastie Boys’ bagels offer that sought-after delicate balance of fluffy center and thin crust. Particularly after a late night, the Game Over scores with soft scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato and house-made jalapeño schmear, while the Lox Deluxe features smoked salmon, house scallion spread, tomatoes, red onion and capers. You can follow the fleet on Instagram for daily locations and the specials to be had at their three—and sometimes four—trucks.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

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  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • price 1 of 4

As soon as Brooklyn’s favorite butter-yellow food truck hit the streets of L.A., it was love at first bite. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream churns out seasonal and locally sourced flavors such as pistachio, earl grey, and espresso—and don’t skip the vegan ice cream, which can incorporate cashew, coconut, almond, oat milk, or raw cocoa butter. Find the scoops at the brick-and-mortar shops scattered throughout the city, or at the truck, which is usually parked along Abbot Kinney all weekend long. For schedule updates, visit their site.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • price 2 of 4

There are a handful of lobster trucks roaming the streets of L.A., but Cousins Maine Lobster is at the top of the fleet. The company, which got its start by winning over an investor on Shark Tank, has grown to include trucks that cross town for pop-ups and events, slinging lobster in various forms (tacos, tots, tails) but ultimately nailing two forms of lobster rolls: Connecticut and Maine. Both served on a New England-style roll, the Connecticut is warm and topped with butter, while the Maine is served chilled with a touch of mayo. Pair either with Cape Cod chips and settle down for a true taste of New England. Can’t wait to get your hands on some? Check the site for locations daily, or visit their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, at 8593 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Photograph: Courtesy Cousins Maine

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Mid City
  • price 1 of 4

While there are certain trucks around town that we rely upon for knockout renditions of one particular type of taco, El Chato manages to deliver excellent options across the board (or plancha, rather). And since their small, palm-sized tacos run for $1.25 each, you can easily sample your way through the menu without breaking the bank. Favorites include the diced carne asada, al pastor, chorizo and lengua, all of which are treated to a healthy splash of their smoky roasted salsa roja, cilantro and onions. If you’re looking for a more hefty option, the quesadilla is a solid choice and still perfect for those on a budget. They’re not too active on Twitter, but you can always find updates on their Facebook page. Just be sure to bring cash.

Photograph: Victor Leung

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This old-school swirl truck only offers three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and a combo of both, and that’s it. If you’ve got a problem with that—or if you ask for free soft serve in exchange for a post on your Instagram account—you’ll have to reckon with owner Joe Nicchi, who’s got no time for influencers trying to bargain for food. (In fact, he went viral for charging influencers double if they even tried.) The truth is, we’d pay just about any price for CVT, which is glorious in its simplicity: The texture is thick and smooth, and the flavor is nostalgic—and the frozen treat is made with a custom recipe, so you won’t find it anywhere else. What’s more, it’s a mom-and-pop operation—so it’s more than worth the price of admission; just kidding, there’s no admission—just follow along on Instagram to find the day’s stops around town.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • price 2 of 4

Made In Brooklyn slings quality New York-style slices on the streets of L.A., helping to fill the void in the hearts of homesick East Coast transplants and delighting pizza lovers of all walks. The onboard double-deck oven turns out a wonderfully crisp and thin foldable crust, topped with a bright and tangy sauce and fresh mozzarella. If you’re looking to venture beyond the classic cheese slice we recommend the house-made sausage, and the pepperoni stromboli is also worth checking out. The truck travels quite a bit, so be sure to check Twitter for locations and updates.

Photograph: Victor Leung (top) / Made in Brooklyn (bottom)

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