The 28 best tacos in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, there seem to be as many good-to-great taco spots as there are stars in the sky, but how can one even begin to decide where to start? After all, you can easily find chef-driven tacos in the $10 to $20 range made with the finest ingredients—though we'll have little to none of that on this list—as you can find $2 street tacos, ready to be popped straight into your mouth while you're standing on the sidewalk. Our non-exhaustive best tacos list serves as a carefully curated selection of what we think are the city's finest tacos (some of which have even landed on our best restaurants list), along with a few more practical considerations like more regular operating hours and consistency in quality and service. (In our eyes, a "best" taco only the most dedicated, patient fans can get after waiting several hours isn't really a best taco at all.) Whether you’re a visitor or a local, read on for an excellent guide for anyone hoping to become a well-rounded taco connossieur. RECOMMENDED: The best Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles
The best fish tacos in Los Angeles
So you’ve decided you want a taco—more specifically, you want one of the best fish tacos in the city. You’re in luck, because in L.A., you can order fresh-catch fish tacos, Nayarit- and Ensenada-style fish tacos, and inventive, modern versions at the best Mexican restaurants, best seafood restaurants and food trucks all over town. You can find grilled or batter-fried tilapia, swai, cod, salmon, mahi, halibut, sea bass, marlin and, rarely, shark. But you’ll need to choose wisely: A good fish taco is a fresh and invigorating treat, but a bad fish taco—with overcooked fish and unbalanced, low-quality ingredients—can ruin your day. To save you from this roller-coaster of possibility and disappointment, we offer you our favorite spots for fish tacos in L.A.
Listings and reviews (9)
Sky's Gourmet Tacos
At this comfortable little spot in Mid-City, you’ll find several clues that the menu features fusion soul food. The hibiscus juice on the menu is sorrel (not agua de jamaica), which is the Caribbean version of the drink, and the taco filling options include Cajun-spiced crawfish. The fish tacos here are low key: grilled tilapia ($3.99) or salmon ($4.29) with cabbage and lemon slaw and just enough oily grilled flavor to keep things interesting. A dash of Tapatío salsa from the bottle on the table kicks the excitement factor up a bit, and you’ve got yourself a light but satisfying meal.
It can take a few bites to appreciate the full appeal of the fish taco at Taco Nazo. It’s a familiar concoction—a Baja-style taco made with swai fish ($1.99). But the batter is tasty, the fish is flaky and the crema is rich. The seasoned and roasted small yellow peppers (“famous chili gueritos”) and the roasted chili salsa made here add nice spice and flavor to the taco. While the original location in La Puente is still going strong, there are now several other independently owned locations, too.
The Tacos Cuernavaca truck sets up nightly on the edge of the taco mecca that is East LA, serving up street food Morales style. The cecina tacos here feature a thin sheet of excellent cured beef topped with onions and a chile de arbol salsa that tastes as bright as its color—these $2 treats are street tacos at their best. There are other tasty options, too, and for the truly hungry there is the alambre ilegal—a huge pile of greasy goodness (meats, cheese, peppers and onions, and pretty much anything else you can imagine), topped with lobster tails and accompanied by corn tortillas for taco assembling. Not just a taco truck, the extensive menu here includes delicious picaditas, tlacoyos and huaraches. We’ll have one of everything.
Colonia Tacos Guisados
The satisfying, fresh corn tortillas here are a little larger and chewier than most, and serve as a great canvas for the fun taco fillings available at this newly reopened version of Colonia Tacos Lounge. The beloved fried cauliflower taco is like a tasty, battered fish taco with cauliflower instead of fish—tell all your vegetarian friends. The duck carnitas are some of the best around, served with a splash of spicy red sauce, pickled onions and avocado. Drive-through service at the small taqueria will be available soon; in the meantime, there’s outdoor seating on a small patio and picnic tables behind the parking lot. Chef Ricardo Diaz is slowly expanding the menu to rival the list at the old location—the are currently around 15 taco options daily ($2.50).
With one owner hailing from Nayarit and the other from Sinaloa, the influence of both coastal regions mingles at this small eatery resulting in an extensive seafood menu. The fresh tacos ($3.50) are varied and fun, thanks partly to two of the owners’ culinary-schooled kids who bring their own twist on the family trade, including the taco revolcado (fish that has been seasoned like pork tacos al pastor) and the taco a la diabla (terrific battered shrimp on a bed of cheese with cream sauce and fresh slaw). Also known for their ceviches, lobster nachos and soups, mariscos fans are sure to be pleased.
La Flor de Yucatan
At this bakery specializing in all things Yucatán, a tiny storefront provides a community hub for those seeking traditional baked goods and stewed treats, including Yucatán specialty cochinita pibil (marinated pork roasted in a banana leaf). The tacos are not on freshly made tortillas, and Chichen Itza (another popular Yucatán eatery) is just a few minutes away, but the juicy, lip-smacking cochinita pibil here has our hearts ($2). The menu expands on the weekends to include harder-to-find dishes, tacos rellenos negros (black turkey stew) and blood sausage tacos. The friendly service often leads to enthusiastic conversations on the subject of Mayan culinary history, so feel free to speak up while you chow down.
Carnitas El Momo
This taco operation (now at a brick-and-mortar shop in Monterey Park) is all about the meat. The carnitas tacos boast heaping portions of tender, juicy braised pork (obliterating the thin tortillas underneath, which are simply a delivery method). You can order your favorite cut, or try the extra saturated pork scraps on the bottom of the pan (migajas), or go for the popular “aporkalypse” surtido taco with a mix of shoulder, stomach, belly and skin ($2). This is the spot to pig out on pig. But don’t stop by too late, as the small family operation can run out of several options before closing time due to high demand.
A less talked about taco stand in Hollywood, Chiquis offers a great tacos al pastor option. The salsas are not as good as Leo’s and the tortillas are hit-or-miss, but the meat is terrific and the portions cut from the trompo are more generous ($1.50). Check to make sure the outdoor trompo and taquero are in action—the taquero here learned the trade in Mexico City and has been honing his skills for over a decade. Birria tacos are also great here, and the menu is solid and large. Filled with spillover from Three Clubs next door, this stand has a seating area to accommodate a devoted fan base.
Tacos La Carreta
We were turned on to this stand when taco kingmaker Bill Esparza raved about the carne asada. The asada is great, and the vampiro here is our favorite—a taco tortilla fried until crispy and slightly concave, covered in cheese, asada and salsa ($3)—just be sure to get the grilled onions and hot peppers, too. It’s a delicious taco, and towards the center, where the meat juices and cheese have pooled and the tortilla is softer, it’s also a little like a delicious cheeseburger. The kitchen is a trailer pulled by a truck, and the stand, which is now open 3-10pm on Saturdays and Sundays, includes a covered seating area.