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If I loved Tia Juana in West L.A. what will I love next?

Though not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, it still fit the bill as far as juicy tacos and other simple mexican fare. What would satisfy now that it's closed it's doors and moved away? Something simple in the west los angeles area. Not crazy about El Cholo but had an o.k. meal at Casa Escobar in Malibu and might try the one in Santa Monica.

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  1. Gilbert's El Indio on Pico Bl in Santa Monica (near SMC) is comparable (its cash only). Lares also on Pico in Santa Monica (near McCabe's) is a bit more upscale but also solid. I used to like Tia Juana myself but I was there a few months before it closed and it became awful, so their time had sadly come.

    1. Try Paco's in Culver City on Washington just south of Centinela - great homemade tortillas and honestly, better food than Tia Juana. The cochinita pibil is delish.

      Gilbert's El Indio is likely the closest approximation to Tia Juana, but again, you'll find better food at:

      Lares
      The Talpa

      1. I was also a fan of Tia Juana's. I used to work near Lucy's El Adobe on Melrose across from Paramount Studios, and I liked their tacos, enchiladas and tostadas.

        1. I also miss it, and now go to Gilberts and/or La Cabana on Lincoln at Rose. Sometimes Lares and La Talpa. Don Antonios is also similar. But because of the homemade tortillas, I think La Cabana is the place for you.

          1. I've always liked La Talpa on Pico, though the tortillas are not handmade and could be better. The special carne asada taco has some of the most flavorful asada in the city. The chille relleno is also excellent.

            1. gilbert's or paco's tacos

              1. For me, Tia Juana was more about the experience, the hand-crafted tortillas, and the eclectic clientele spanning every West Side demographic. If you're looking for the best Mexican food, may want to try Lare's or Gilbert's. However, if you're looking to replace the Tia Juana experience, I would recommend Casablanca, which is catty corner to La Cabana on Lincoln.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ElJeffe

                  thanks for all the recommendations. I've tried Lare's and it was kind of claustrophobic for me and even a bit exotic. I'll definitely try these recommendations.

                  1. re: ElJeffe

                    I love Casablanca for its goofy movie decor, the handmade tortillas - so addictive! and the salsa they bring to the table with little bits of white cheese in it. Yum!

                    Their calimari steak is very good!

                  2. Pacos....washington and centinela beats all of them handly. the only issue is that they dont make a soft taco with all the fanfare (guac, tomato, queso, etc). but maybe that is a gringo way anyway. but the homehade tortillas are to die for.

                    1. As a former Tia Juana fan (for the tortillas mostly), I'd second the recs for Gilberts, Don Antonio's / La Talpa, and Lares. All 4 were in our rotation before TJ's went under. (Gilbert's does a great burrito ["Fernando's] and their chips are made w/real manteca - yum. I can't vouch for margarita quality for these recs - since no other hounds were big on TJ's anyway (and La Talpa is b/w only). Also can't comment on Pacos (centinela) yet since we've only done Paco's when it was on Lincoln in Westchester. Might be next on my "to try" list.