Six New (and Worthy!) Additions to the LA Taco Pantheon
By Reuben Brody / July 18, 2017 9:00 am

Tacos are the soul food of Los Angeles. And everyone’s got favorites.

When we polled our network of friends and folks we’ve featured to name theirs, the responses were pretty familiar and notable — Guerrilla (sweet potato), Leo’s (carne asada), Guisados (everything).

But rather than doing a greatest hits (that’s been done), we thought we’d focus on the most recent additions to L.A.’s storied taco canon.

Inside, we dogear six new restaurants — in a variety of neighborhoods — that every taco aficionado must try.

That means you won’t have to cross town to get your hands on one.

But you’ll want to — for these.



Noteworthy Taco: Octopus, hands down

Why: Chef Gilberto Cetina, Jr. (Chichen Itza fame) braises small bits of octopus and places them in a squid ink rice that’s almost the texture of risotto but with a subtle umami on a house-made tortilla, natch.

The other thing you order: Cocteles, which is like a cold shrimp cocktail but better

The situation: Lunch; it’s a stand in the Mercado la Paloma.

3655 South Grand Avenue #C9 (map)


Cascabel Taco Shop

Toluca Lake

Noteworthy Taco: Braised short rib

Why: The succulent beef is placed on top of whipped plantains so it’s like a lighter version of meat and potatoes. Plus the grapefruit is a nice touch.

The other thing you order: Choco taco!

The situation: A fast casual lunch or dinner that’s also a gut bomb

4005 Riverside Drive (map)



Santa Monica

Noteworthy Taco: Swordfish

Why: Normally, we don’t go for swordfish — worms (Anthony Bourdain) and mercury (capitalism) — but this is grilled swordfish on a warm blue corn tortilla makes us reconsider that.

The other thing that you order: Peach margarita

The situation: Par-taaaaay

118 Entrada Drive (map)




Noteworthy Taco: Al pastor

Why: It’s premium, sweet pork grilled over wood and dressed simply with burnt pineapple.

The other thing that you order: The beet salad is pretty amazing, but this post is about giving you the cravings so the carne asada fries; that’s french fries covered in steak and cheese.

The situation: Day drinking

2490 Fletcher Drive (map)


Chicas Tacos


Noteworthy Taco: Beer battered fish

Why: It’s crunchy and fresh and topped with a delicious caesar salad.

The other thing that you order: The cinnamon watermelon aqua fresca.

The situation: Lunch break

728 S. Olive Street (map)



Culver City

Noteworthy Taco: Chicken

Why: The chicken is spicy and tender, but it’s the way that the cotija melts to the flour tortilla, combined with the guac and the beans, that makes this taco stand out.

The other thing that you order: The mushroom taco — one of the best vegetarian tacos in L.A.

The situation: Lunch break or early dinner before catching the Metro to a concert downtown (that’s a thing).. It’s located in The Platform, a stylish mixed-use development on the Metro line that looks like an assemblage of shipping containers.

8830 Washington Blvd. (map)