"Hey bro, I'm in the area. What's a good spot to grab some tacos?"
I get this question every now and then. Here are some of my favorite spots in the Southern California area, in no particular order:
TACOS EL GORDO
My favorite tacos in the world are in Tijuana, Mexico. The closest you can get in the U.S. is just on the other side of the border in San Diego, CA. Tacos El Gordo has a few locations in San Diego and one in Las Vegas. My go-to is the taco de adobada, usually accompanied by a mulita and some asada tacos - depending on my mood. Find them on Instagram or their website.
TACOS Y QUE
It makes sense that this taqueria started as a pop-up touring SoCal, since it was started by some of the best touring musicians in the country. After a few years of sold out events, they moved into their brick & mortar. Their tacos are packed with fresh flavors without sacrificing authenticity. First-timers should get 1 each of the asada, bulgogi, and tinga with a cucumber lemonade to wash it down. Check out their Instagram for details.
Kogi started the food truck revolution about a decade ago and continues to deliver some of the best flavors in a tortilla I've ever had. First-timers should get 2 short rib tacos and blackjack quesadilla. Track down a truck on their website or Twitter.
San Gabriel Valley +
When you're ready for delicious fish or shrimp tacos, head over to their Valley Boulevard location. Everything mariscos-related is amazing and their asada ain't half bad either! I love to mix up the 3 taco combo with 1 each of pescado, camaròn, and asada. Tease yourself on Instagram.
Downtown Los Angeles
There's something about carne asada that's been cooked over a real fire that makes me swoon. Their tasty meats are complimented by some of the best tortillas I've ever had. This Downtown LA hotspot is worth the long line and crappy parking. Find them on Instagram or their website.
TACOS LOS CARNALES
A fellow taco aficionado used to bring me to the Montclair spot after our mid-week Bible studies. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure this is why the Bible says, "...blessed are those who hunger and thirst AFTER righteousness..." Tacos are on-point, aguas are delicious, and they have frijoles on tap at the salsa bar. Last thing, the salsa rojo is hot as hell - literally. Details available on their website.
This is probable THE definition of an East Los Angeles style taco. Marinated asada with a hint of citrus are a comfort for locals and a treat for visitors. I've yet to visit one of their locations that wasn't packed. Get yourself an order of carne asada tacos and enjoy! Find them on Instagram or their website.
TACO DEL RIO
This one's for the locals. I spent about 16 years of my life living in La Puente and Taco del Rio was my go-to whenever I needed a fix. The carne asada burrito is plush. If you're ever in La Puente/Hacienda Heights/West Covina area, take a trip down Azusa and stop here for your old pal. Cash only. They don't really have an online presence, so get directions here.
Solid tacos, what can I say? This place started out as a Tacos El Gordo alternative, but has since established itself as a favorite in its own right. Their al pastor tacos are simple and fantastic. Find them on Instagram or their website.