Even if you have an illustration of a Mission burrito tattooed on your chest or were baptized in the velvety embrace of bona fide Texan queso, it's difficult to deny Los Angeles' position as the taco mecca of America.
After all, where else can you eat Tijuana-style tacos in a tire shop's parking lot, devour the best elote to ever grace a food truck's cramped kitchen, or encounter flour tortillas that will leave you questioning the meaning of life (in a good way)?
Given the City of Angels' supremacy in this respect, it's essential that we all know exactly where to get a superb taco in the land of La La. Here are the 15 best spots to grab a taco in Los Angeles.
For more ideas for where to eat, drink, and hang out in LA, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to LA.
1. Tacos Baja Ensenada, 5385 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Baja Mexico-style fish tacos are truly something to behold; they are almost tempura-like, with a light, crispy batter and buttery fish interior. Tacos Baja has perfected them, and if you happen to go on a Wednesday, they are only 99 cents each. [map]
2. El Borrego de Oro, three locations
Barbacoa—roasted lamb—is one of our fave proteins to enjoy a top a tortilla. You can find a great version of this traditional dish at this tiny taqueria in Boyle Heights, where the rich, fatty lamb melts under its own weight. [map]
3. Sonoratown, 208 East 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA
This downtown restaurant will shatter everything you thought you knew about flour tortillas. They make them fresh daily, and their doughy, stretchy canvases are the perfect vehicles for their wood-grilled ribeye tacos. [map]
4. Salazar, 2490 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Once an auto body shop, Salazar is now one of LA's hottest destinations for tacos and mezcal. Diners get the chance to peep their tacos as they're being made thanks to giant windows looking into the kitchen, where flour tortillas are handmade around the clock. [map]
5. Tire Shop Taqueria, 4100 South Avalon Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Don't let the name throw you off. This unassuming spot inside of a tire shop just might sling the best carne asada tacos in all of LA. They are Tijuana-style, so you can expect plenty of mesquite smoke, handmade tortillas, and each taco to be slicked with an ungodly amount of thick guacamole. [map]
6. Tito's Tacos, 11222 Washington Place, Culver City, CA
Crispy tacos are big in LA, and Tito's is a decidedly good place to eat them. The classic way to go is with a couple of Tito's tacos with cheese, which include shredded beef, cheddar cheese, and iceberg lettuce. [map]
7. Coni' Seafood, 3544 West Imperial Highway, Inglewood, California
Coni' Seafood is conveniently located just a few minutes away from LAX so that you can head straight there after arriving in the city (or redeem the free meal your friend offers in exchange for a ride to the airport). Just make sure to order their pescado sarandeado, a whole snook fish that is butterflied and charred, and then ready to be scooped into some of the best grilled fish tacos of your life. [map]
8. Trejo's Tacos, multiple locations
This is the only taco shop on this list with a souvenir store where you can buy everything from Danny Trejo-stamped t-shirts to Trejo-stamped coffee. Hear us out: One of their better tacos on the menu is actually a tortilla-less one—crispy fried chicken served on top of a crunchy butter lettuce leaf. Just trust us. [map]
9. Lotería Grill, multiple locations
This tiny taco stand inside The Original Farmers Market was one of the first Mexican eateries in the city to offer handmade tortillas and the clean flavors of long-braised guisados: tinga, calabacita, chicken mole, and so many more saucy, stewy dishes. This place gets bonus points for the people-watching that you can do while eating al fresco in the farmers' market outdoor seating. [map]
10. Guerrilla Tacos, 2000 East 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Not your average taco truck. The exceptionally popular, ridiculously delicious Guerrilla Tacos offers a roving trove of farmers' market finds and uni as fillings for your taco-craving pleasure. [map]
11. Mariscos Jalisco, 3040 East Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
If you only have time to visit one taco establishment while in town, make it this daytime-only truck situated in Boyle Heights, and get a plate of tacos dorados de camarón (made with fried shrimp and avocados). While these golden brown and delicious gems have roots in the highlands of Jalisco, they are uniquely LA products. [map]
12. Leo's Tacos Truck, multiple locations
Easily the best al pastor taco to be had in the city of tacos. You probably would have guessed that simply by driving by and being mesmerized by their flame-kissed spit of thinly sliced, marinated pork. When you get too excited and ladle too much spicy salsa on your taco (which will happen), go for a glass of their sweet, cinnamony horchata to soothe the burn. [map]
13. Flautas, 3650 West Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Is there anything better than a meal composed of fried flautas stuffed with things like cochinita pibil, poblano peppers with cheese, shredded chicken in mole, or shredded beef? When paired with one of their delicious, smoothie-like aguas frescas made from fresh fruit, we think not. [map]
14. B.S. Taqueria, 514 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Chef Ray Garcia's casual downtown taqueria makes some of the best elote—cheesy Mexican-style street corn—you'll ever put in your mouth. His tacos are also worth writing home about and are best paired with a BS Street Cocktail. [map]
For more on the the best dive bars, fancy restaurants, strip mall spots, and more in the City of Angels, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.
This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in January 2017.