We like our local Gallo Giro in Van Nuys. Usually stick with the tortas - I like the al pastor - but the meats can vary in quality from visit to visit and even from bite to bite. But when they're on, they're really good. From time to time I will get tacos. I also like the beans and rice.
Only issues have been the ordering system, which is disorganized in the extreme. You order your food from one of the cooks behind the counter, and if you want a drink you have to go over to another line, where you might or might not have to pay separately. And when ordering food, it's kind of the honor system as to your place in line - no numbers or organized line.
Additionally, to nitpick a bit further, I speak Spanish well enough to get along, and most of the folks working there speak at least some English. However, I tend to order in Spanish. I order my torta "sin cebolla" and I order my husband's torta "sin cebolla y sin chile" and invariably they will get it wrong and I won't get jalapenos on my torta. Luckily they have some at the salsa bar. They're writing down the order so I don't get how they consistently mess it up.
I eat at the Santa Ana location frequently and really like the carnitas and al pastor tacos. The aguas frescas bar has fresh horchata, tamarindo, sandia, etc... I stay away from the tortas (big and gloppy w/o enough flavor) and the tamales (again, flavorless). Fresh housemade tortillas are my local favorite, as well, with a nice, sweet corn flavor.
Thanks, I was looking at some old posts and I was starting to get excited about the chicken torta. However, there were a couple of negatives about the carnitas. I'm wondering how much of a location variation there is.
I really enjoyed this terrific write-up about the tortilla chips ... a brief excerpt ...
"At first, I was afraid of the chip. Taking the first one out of the bag, I wasn't ready for how greasy it was. It looked like it had suntan lotion on it! Seriously, all it needed was a pair of speedos and a cheap pair of sunglasses, and it'll be ready to go lounge by the swimming pool and ogle the girls. "
... it goes on ... greasy ... but in a good way ... for a MD