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Where can I find some good crispy carnitas?

dergrosseludwig Aug 17, 2006 04:54 AM

I'm looking for a Mexican joint (restaurants, hole in the wall, truck, whatever) that makes good crispy carnitas.

The best carnitas I know come from El Cuervo on Washington and 1st in San Diego. They are made with lard and are crispy on the outside, but still moist and juicy on the inside. I have yet to find a place in LA where the carnitas are anything like that, though I haven't done too much searching yet.

Grateful for any good tips. Thanks.

  1. c
    Cheese Please Aug 17, 2006 06:14 AM

    I've always enjoyed La Cabana, on Rose Avenue just west of Lincoln Blvd. where Venice and Mar Vista meet. Great handmade tortillas made right in front of you, nice tart margaritas and several inspired meat dishes including quality carnitas and barbacoa.

    1. v
      vewyfunny Aug 17, 2006 05:05 PM

      I've always thought Lara's on Pico had the best carnitas... Anyone? Bueller?

      1 Reply
      1. re: vewyfunny
        Cheese Please Aug 18, 2006 04:22 AM

        FYI, it's LARES, not Lara's. I agree - great spot with good carnitas.

      2. kellydeez Aug 17, 2006 05:24 PM

        Personally, I think the carnitas at El Compadre is amazing. It is definitely crispy while still being juicy and very delicious. The rest of the menu lacks excellence, but the carnitas there is top notch. I even saw the owner of the Pig there one night (the BBQ place on La Brea famous for pork). He told me he came there just for the carnitas! Hope you make it there.

        1. socalqtpi Aug 17, 2006 05:42 PM

          I like the carnitas at El Portal in Pasadena (near the Playhouse). My favorite carnitas is from Javier's in Laguna Beach, though.

          1. Dommy Aug 17, 2006 08:50 PM

            On the east side, Cinco Puntos can NOT be beat for their lardy crisp old skool Carnitas. It's a market, so it's sold mostly by the 1lb, but they will make you up some awesome tacos too... (They also have amazing Tamales... I just love this place...)


            On the Westside, I was very happy to find Tacomiendo, they also subscribe to the Dry/Salty Carnitas school... It's wonderful in burritos that are done in the way Burritos are supposed to be made...



            1 Reply
            1. re: Dommy
              vinosnob Mar 29, 2010 09:20 AM

              +1 on the tacomiendo rec. I just enjoyed the carnitas (tacos) over the weekend with my 2 year old son, but he's more into their carne asada and pickled carrots ;)

            2. c
              cjla Aug 18, 2006 01:29 AM

              How about La Cabinita in upper Glendale?
              3447 N Verdugo Rd
              Glendale, CA 91208-1520

              1. p
                Paliman Aug 18, 2006 01:35 PM

                I have always thought that Denise's in ELA was superb. Any comments?

                1. d
                  dergrosseludwig Aug 19, 2006 05:07 AM

                  Thanks everyone for the great recommendations.

                  1. r
                    rolis2 Mar 28, 2010 09:11 PM

                    hey theres a place that i know that made th best carnitas in la is just in the heart of south central compton and 90st men the best n tasty carniteas ever taste n menudo 2 good good

                    1. m
                      mdpilam Mar 28, 2010 11:41 PM

                      Best Carnitas I've had were at Metro Balderas in Highland Park.

                      1. OCAnn Mar 29, 2010 09:25 AM

                        I'm not sure why a 4 year old thread was revitalised, but I'll play: El Farolito in Placentia. Mondays is their canitas lunch special and if you ask for crispy, they'll give you crispy carnitas that are juicy & tender inside....

                        El Farolito
                        201 S Bradford Ave, Placentia, CA 92870

                        1. a_and_w Mar 29, 2010 09:25 AM

                          The Angelica truck has some of the best carnitas I've ever had. Unfortunately, my preferred means of the consumption, their cemita, has slipped in quality. I'd get them in taco form -- be sure to ask for sliced avocado.

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