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La Estrella (pasadena) - review - soooo sad

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After years of living in Pasadena and hearing the joys of La Estrella (and, ashamedly, never trying it) I finally got a chance to go. I was trying to not puff up the experience, but I was looking forward to finding my local taco mecca.

Ordered 1 asada taco, 1 al pastor taco w/ rice and beans. Comes in a nifty styrofoam container. Now, tacos are $1 a pop. For 2 tacos and a very small portion of rice/beans and a handful of chips, I paid $3.99. Definitely not worth it. If the rice/beans were a bit larger portion, I'd understand... but seriously people... shoulda just stuck with the the tacos.

anyway, I digress. The al pastor was good - but nothing amazing. I thought the asada was too greasy - reminded me of fatty ground beef, more than anything. I was looking forward to trying the fish tacos, but they did not have them and they guy taking my order just looked at me like I was crazy for asking. Is there a different La Estrella location that serves them? (I was at the stand, on Fair Oaks, just north of Villa, on the east side of the street.)

My experience begs the question -- what did I miss here? Was this the wrong location? did I order their reject items? I'm at a complete loss.

Also - if you decide to eat there - beware of the BITING flies that were out, attacking my legs to no end (at about 6:30pm).... ouch!

I have no desire to go back... just too many other place to try... and, for now, El Super Burrito still holds the title of my favorite local taco.

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  1. wow! i just did a quick search before posting something about la estrella and your post is dead on!

    we've been to the la estrella on fair oaks several times and agree with your summation.

    then, a la estrella opened on altadena dr. and foothill. was it a knock off or the same owner? i didn't know. what i did know is that it is the most killer fish taco, even better than la estrella on fair oaks. the carne asada is also very good, but i have a hard time ordering anything, but the fish taco, ceviche, or the shrimp cocktail.

    so what gives?

    i finally asked the gal in the front. her explanation is that there was a bitter divorce between the husband and wife of la estrella. she took the fair oaks and orange grove locations. he has the altadena/foothill location. the both have rights to the recipes, but the gal claims that the wife has changed a few things and she believes she is using lower quality carne asada.

    i don't know if any of this is true. what i do know is i think i'll grab a fish taco from altadena/foothill tomorrow. the fish is fresh and crisp with a healthy layer of cabbage and crema and just enough hot sauce. put out the fire with a little horchata.

    very insightful review above indeed!

    la estrella tacos
    2525 e foothill blvd
    pasadena
    corner of altadena and foothill
    coming east on the 210, exit altadena drive, right and go two blocks

    1 Reply
    1. re: revets2

      very interesting!! thanks for the inside scoop!

      Also -- there's a new La Estrella coming up on Orange Grove, south side of the street in between Los Robles and Fair Oaks... wonder who of the family will be running that one! ;)

    2. Oracle-

      I feel so bad for steering you wrong, so I will get myself to La Estrella (Fair Oaks and the Altadena locations) and see what's up. I can't see how you can order the most favorite thing on the menu, and getting stared at as tho you are from outer space. What gives? Perhaps the Altadena/Foothill location has fish tacos?

      This is a sad development....

      1 Reply
      1. re: kotatsu

        no worries!

        seems like the altadena/foothill location is the place to be... will check it out and report back!

      2. i can't exactly recall, but the gal i spoke to might have said that the husband "got" the fish taco recipe in the divorce. is that possible? i don't even know. and i cannot verify the accuracy of this info.

        i do know i have had fish tacos at the fair oaks location prior to the fracture and that they were good.

        divorce is a sad development, but we are the development at altadena and foothill is a good thing.

        1. The La Estrella at Figueroa and Ave. 61 serves the much admired fish tacos though I've never been much of a fan.

          1. There is also a La Estrella on Figueroa in Echo Park, which says #3 on the sign. Same chain? The pastor, carnitas and asada are good. I found the cabeza tough, bland and with bits of a gelatinous gristle.

            1. I tried King Taco, in Old Pasadena today, even though I have read some poor reviews about it on the Chowhound board. I had a bean and cheese burrito and a side of beef taquitos-- all delicious. I would like to try El Super Burrito now, but I don't know if I want to try La Estrella anymore.

              1. I have had fish tacos at the Altadena location. They were HUGE and very yummy. Never have been to the Fair Oaks location, or eaten anything else there.
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