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Tito's Tacos -- What up with this place?

what's the deal with Tito's Tacos? what is the thing to order there and how can one avoid the lines? i see people lining up 20 minutes before they open (we go to markie d's for bitchin' good cheesesteaks).

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  1. they are known for their grease laden tacos. not quite sure what the hype is about though. are their tacos decent, sure they are; but are they fantastic.....not even close.

    1. Think of Tito's as a rite of passage and later a memory refreshed. 40 years ago, when I was in high school in WLA, we would stop by there on the way to or from the beach, or whenever we wanted a cheap meal. Every few years I go back, with or without my post-college children, to sample a taste of my youth.

      And yes, by my present standards of a good taco, they would get no consideration.

      1. Plain and simple, comfort food...


        1. Taco Bell with nostalgia.

          1. Dommy is probably right -- comfort food. I went there TWICE. Again because I thought perhaps I had missed something or arrived on a bad day. No. The food was the same.

            1. It's just good cheap food...not great, but good. It's more of like a fried shell (almost puffy) rather than flat and corn-like.

              Personally, I like Cinco de Mayo's around the corner better. More of a selection, just as cheap, and no wait.

              1. I love CInco de Mayo's. THeir service is so fast.

                1. This issue comes up every once in a while on this board. Why are some places institutions when the food isn't that great? Well in my opinion, just like other LA institutions such as Pinks, Canters or the Apple Pan, Titos is one of those places that people love because of the experience, the nostalgia and the very specific taste you get every single time. Not because it's the most fantastic thing you've ever eaten or the best in its class. (And frankly people who go to these places and end up MAD because it isn't the most fantastic thing EVER won't enjoy themselves because they don't get it anyway.)

                  As for me, I love high-end French cooking (foie gras, truffles, demi-glace),California-fusion cuisine, Indian and lots of other things, but when I want a really greasy, crispy-shell taco, nothing but nothing hits the spot like three Tito's tacos (no cheese), with that watered-down avocado sauce thingie that pretends to be guacamole. Ordering with the nice ladies in hairnets in the window, standing in line with other afficionados and chatting them up only makes them taste better. You will see everyone from cleaning ladies to cops and NBA ballplayers there occasionally. Limos parked outside this place just crack me up. BTW, you will always have to stand in line because they don't have servers! You only have the choice of inside or out. Think Mexican cafeteria and you've got it.

                  Go, don't go. Just keep in mind that those of us who love it will not be swayed no way nohow.

                  1. No way nohow is right. I am new to LA, and love Tito's Tacos as they remind me not of long ago meals in LA, but of my mom's tacos when I was a kid, just a lot better. I go whenever I'm passing by....and bring some home for later....

                    1. I seldom turn down my friends when they suggest meeting at Titos. Mostly for the comaraderie, than the cuisine.
                      I agree with the folks who like Cinco de Mayo around the corner where the parking is easier and the tacos are better. I suggest someone needs to do a taco-taste challenge between the two.
                      As an added touch, try the chile verde and bean burrito with cheese at Cinco de Mayo. Truly comfort for those of us who grew up on this food.


                      1. Love Tito's tacos. Its all about the contrast in in flavors and textures with the hard fried grease bomb tacos and the cold salsa that seems healthy in comparison....great stuff.....maybe integrate the guac in there. Its something you crave......I really like it.

                        As far as waiting....its not THAT long although the ordering system is kind of weird.

                        I usually get a taco, all meat burrito and a pepsi....the salsa rocks....what I do is I pour some salsa on my taco...eat it and let the remnants spill over the chips...then I eat the chips....sometimes I dip the chips in the meat burrito filling and eat THAT with salsa.....can't beat it.

                        Is it authentic? No.

                        But I like it.

                        1. If you want to avoid the lines, try inside. Frequently although it looks crowded, half of the people are waiting in line and the other half have already ordered and are waiting for their food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cls

                            Yeah, I never order outside.

                          2. It's pretty dumb to expect Tito's to be some great tacos. It's a simple place for comfort food. Many college kids go there and continue to go after graduating. To expect more is like going to McDonalds and expecting an Apple Pan burger.

                            I went to Cinco de Mayo's once and got sick after having a burrito, so I won't go back there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: reality check

                              Had some out of town friends from Philadelphia come in and we headed straight for Titos from LAX, sadly got there too late and they were closed so we went to Cinco de Mayo. The food was awful and I got sick after, will never go there again. To the OP, please read some of the Taco posts about other options in the area there are plenty of them.

                              I personally love Titos and have posted many times before. The all meat burritos with cheese are delicious and unlike anything I've had elsewhere. I agree with other posters on here that the greasy tacos (with cheese for me, thank you)combined with the fresh, tasty salsa is a winning combo. Also love the community tables outside, always meet somebody new. I think the right-most lane outside moves the quickest. <kidding>

                              1. re: davinagr

                                That's so funny, I ALWAYS use the far right lane for that reason. :)

                            2. I love the burritos at Titos. A regular burrito double wrapped with cheese. It's beef, beans and cheese wrapped in two tortillas. The single wrapped always fall apart on me.

                              the tacos are just average hardshell gringo tacos.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Bandini

                                thank you for your support on this issue! Titos should definitely be named Titos burritos.

                                1. re: estnyboer

                                  Absolutely! I think Kishari summed up the Tito's mystique perfectly, but for me, it's all about the burritos, too. The first time I tried 'em I went in w/o preconceived notions...never heard of the place, just saw those ever-present lines. I wasn't overwhelmed by the burrito...it was a little different from what I'd expected.

                                  However, the next day, the cravings started. Something in the salsa or the beans or the chips or the chile colorado beef or all of 'em together just worked its way into my system and settled in for a long stay -- I just had to have my Tito's fix regularly for the next few years.

                                  I agree it's not the "best" fast Mex in town...not even close...but it's absolutely one of my favorites.

                              2. Just to add my $.02...

                                I would go to Tito's Tacos once just to be a well rounded Angeleno. You go, you try, you experience, and you move on to better tacos. It's just another knotch on your foodie belt, another "institution" that you have conquered. I personally am not impressed with their tacos at all. Their burritos are good, but there are better. For me, Tito's is 20 minutes away, so when I can think of a half dozen great Mexican restaurants that are just as cheap within 5 minutes of my house, I just don't bother.

                                1. Their guacamole comes out of a pitcher. Any guac you can pour needs to be avoided.

                                  1. Tito's are not good tacos. But it's just an iconic place, a lot of people hit that spot all the time and that makes it fun.

                                    1. Ate at Tito's yesterday for lunch...only marginally better than Taco Bell...why is this place hyped?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jwobkk

                                        The first time I ever had Tito's Tacos was when I was in the seventh grade, and I was nearly flogged afterwards. Why? Well because while the food is okay, I didn't really think it was anything special. I still have it once in awhile with my pals, but mainly because I just like hanging out with them. A trick I learned from a friend(who eats there every week) is to go inside to place your order, since most people line up outside.

                                      2. Ok, so I am Mexican-American and I've grown up eating all kinds of tacos from the fast food places to my grandma's kitchen. Of this "style" of taco, very Americanized, Tito's is the bomb. The meat is slightly salty; the shells are crisp, yet slightly soft. I love mine with cheese and pour some of the salsa, which is nice and tomato-y. And as you eat them let the grease drip over the chips for extra flavor! To compare them with Taco Bell is ridiculous. Both might be Americanized versions of taco's but different levels. All you have to know is what to expect going there. It isn't authentic, it isn't the best, with best being VERY subjective, but is definitely very tasty!

                                        I have been craving them for a few weeks now and I've just convinced myself to make the drive out tomorrow!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jason_v

                                          Curious what your favorite authentic Mexican sytle taco restaurant is. King Taco is one of my favorites.

                                        2. I went there for the first time about a month ago. LOVE the beef tacos. Also loved their beef burrito - really flavorful. Didn't care for their salsa or guac. I will still go back though.

                                          When I went it was about 5pm on a Saturday and I was able to get a parking spot in their lot and only waited 5-10 minutes at most.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: LisaStitch

                                            Tito's is like Tommy's for me. Good enough that it's enjoyable but I don't go to either one unless I've been drinking.

                                          2. Been going to Tito's for maybe 40 years (have they been open that long?) because my wife grew up in Culver City and absolutely loves the place. They are the In-n-Out of Americanized Mexican for my buck.

                                            BUT.................. my wife's cousin (who also grew up in Culver City) was down from the Berkeley area with his wife and kids last week and he went to Tito's to bring home a nostalgic feast for everyone. Tacos and burritos were great (that and the chips+salsa are all I've ever had there) but he brought back a couple of enchiladas for himself. After one bite he dumped them in the trash and said "NOW I remember what I DIDN'T like at Tito's". I wasn't going to go fishing in the trash to see what he was talking about, so....... WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH TITO'S ENCHILADAS/

                                            1. Oh god how I hate that place. In any case, it's really a "love it" or "hate it" kind of place--only one way to figure out which one you belong to.

                                              1. I was told a long time ago the manager was let go or fired and titos has NEVER been the same.its only declined, the current lines are nothing like they use to be now Titos is marginal at best..i gave up on them years ago when i took a friend who has never let me forget it....

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jack1234

                                                  Two years later (still not sure whether I like or don't like how these old topics come back) ............... ditto what others have said: Tito's seems to be a "love it or hate it" place.

                                                  I've been going a couple of times a year for the past 15 years or so (actually started going about 40 years ago, when we would go more often) and I haven't noticed a change in all that time.

                                                2. The deal is that Tito's Tacos (like Pink's) is vastly overrated and has built a cult following because...it has a cult following. Akin to Paris Hilton being famous, for being famous.

                                                  Go once. Say that you have been. And then don't go back.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: vlad

                                                    Skip the tacos, agree with other posters, not that good. I stopped ordering them after the first one or two times. The comfort food: bean and cheese burrito with some red and some green sauce avaIlable on the side (used to be free years ago - no more). Pick a large chip and install it under the end of the burrito (in your paws) to prevent leakage. Apply red salsa liberally, green salsa more sparingly. Enjoy. Been doing it for 35 years. I go there every time I'm within 10 miles. And it hasn't changed a bit. Last time I was there it was the same cashier from 35 years ago, but I see from the posts here that he may have been replaced. Hope he's OK.

                                                    1. re: vlad

                                                      Well............. it may all be a matter of perspective. When I was contemplating opening a boutique'ish' wine shop a few years ago I thought I'd find the best values I could in West Coast, small-production wines (say $15-$50 or so) and build a great shop and tasting room around them. I called up an old friend who was with one of the large SoCal wine distributors and he gave me a bit of insight that I think is relevant to the Tito's thing.

                                                      He said " Just know, going into this, that the average 750ml bottle of wine in this part of the world sells for less than $6, and is not the same quality wine that you love". The conclusion I've come to is that wine fanatics, foodies, and the like, find those extra special values that are out there......... but the majority of folks are going for a price point that is very difficult to equate with that special thing.

                                                      Tito's is like the Carl's Jr. of tacos for me. Not as bad as McDonalds (or Taco Bell/DelTaco) but not anything really amazing. Anything that does that much business, for as long as they've been doing it, can't be dismissed out-of-hand, but I don't think Tito's claims to be anything special either. A lot of people just like what they get their for the price. That's all it takes.

                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        >>When I was contemplating opening a boutique'ish' wine shop a few years ago I thought I'd find the best values I could in West Coast, small-production wines (say $15-$50 or so) and build a great shop and tasting room around them.<<

                                                        Have you checked out Elvino on Abbot Kinney? Bart who's a really nice guy had the same idea. I'd say if you still have the desire, go for it...


                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          I DID it........ in 2006. Had to sell it last year and was lucky to do so. Great idea................lousy timing! In our area, there were only two or three of these businesses 6 years ago. Of the 18 that opened over the past 5 years, 3 have sold and 9 have shut down. 9 of the new ones that made it through + the 3 with new owners.

                                                          The thing I miss most is the people.

                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                            Glad to hear you gave it a go. I can tell that what you miss most is what the owner of Elvino really enjoys as well. His name is Matt and if you're in the area, drop by - I can see the two of you chewin' the chaw for a spell...

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                              My son was at a private event at The Stronghold, a couple blocks away, the other night, and my SIL lives in Culver City, so that could happen. I get up there very couple of months for one thing or another.

                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                I think Matt would be all ears since you've been through this already. Just stay away if it's the first Friday of the month - Abbot Kinney has evolved into the most insane place whenever there's any excuse to get loaded act like a dope. Some of the "Bridge & Tunnel" creatures that used to haunt Manhattan have migrated through the sewers and have resurfaced on the West Coast. :)