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Best tacos on west side?

  • a

I prefer crisp tacos to soft ones

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  1. Taqueria Sanchez has pretty good tacos durados. They're pretty big, and served with a fair amount of lettuce and crema - you choose the protein. One is more than dinner for our 1st grader...

      1. Not the best, but truly a guilty pleasure, the taco supreme at Jack in the Box.

        1. Taqueria Sanchez does a good one. I believe that Tacos Por Favor does a crispy taco -- a little bigger, slightly more expensive, and I like their salsa roja better. If the OP isn't familiar, the specialty at Taqueria Sanchez is the shrimp -- really tasty, never rubbery. At Tacos Por Favor, many love the chorizo and cheese soft taco. I order their al pastor, and their milanese, served in a torta, is excellent. In my experience, these are the two superior taquerias on the westside. Yes, I like El Super Taco for the grilled onions, cheap tacos, and habanero salsa. I've been unimpressed by Tacomiendo or the place on the S/W corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bundy. Don Felix is downright depressing, and Don Jorge has no salsa bar. Tito's is its own trip and the beef is chewy and tasty, but their tacos are skimpy and their pico de gallo is watery and bland.

          16 Replies
          1. re: nosh

            Tacomiendo also does a good taco dorado.

            4502 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

            11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            1. re: Servorg

              I second Tacomiendo, I can only vouch for the one on pico & gateway.

              1. re: ldodb

                I've never tried the crispy taco specifically, but I really think Tacomiendo does the best soft tacos I've found on the west side. A dribble of salsa and some pickled onions make the perfect toppings.

                1. re: Miss. Independent

                  Okay, you lost me at, "Make reservations..." I didn't know this was an option there...?! Besides, if this is possible, I'd have no reason to sneak some beans from the crock while waiting for my order... :)

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    So you were the guy who was in front of me the other day eating beans out of the crock with a spoon! ;-D

              2. re: nosh


                I think you're thinking of Taco Plus? I'm not a fan either. I'll say that I used to LOVE Tacos Por Favor but I had too many dried out, lunch rush leftovers the last few times. Have you noticed a drop in quality or did I get unlucky?

                1. re: Frommtron

                  I almost always hit up Tacos Por Favor in the midmorning when I am driving around doing errands, and I grab a burrito (al pastor, no beans) to go. At that time there is almost always a parking spot right in front, no line, and I spend the five minutes it takes them to grill my order filling as many little containers with salsa roja that I can -- usually six. The burrito reheats well -- sliced in half, first nuked for twenty to thirty seconds to warm, then placed in a castiron skillet in the oven to crisp up the now-flabby tortilla. I will admit, for me the burrito is mostly a vehicle for the wonderful hot sauce. I did eat in at the height of a weekend lunch about a month ago. There was a line about eight-deep to the two cashiers taking orders, but it moved fast and my torta milanese was hot, crisp, delicious, and served to order. When I go to Taqueria Sanchez -- driving along Venice Blvd. in Culber City -- I like their tacos a lot better than their burritos. Definitely a shrimp, a carnitas and maybe al pastor, mix it up with a crispy.

                  1. re: nosh

                    It sounds like I'm a victim of timing, which doesn't forgive Tacos Por Favor for serving what they have to me the last few visits. But it's nice to know they are still solid during the busier, high-turnover part of the day.

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      Weird...my take is actually the opposite of you both. I really think the meat at Taco Plus, particularly the carne asada and al pastor, is a cut above Tacos Por Favor. With the exception of the chorizo, the meats at TPF have never impressed me -- carne asada tends to be dry and the al pastor has a strange seasoning I can't identify. TPF's chicken is OK but totally unseasoned, though Taco Plus's isn't much better.

                      PS: One major beef with TPF -- I've gotten unripe avocados both sliced and in the guacamole too many times.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        I'm in agreement here - I prefer the meat at Taco Plus also. With the exception of the chorizo and cheese, which keep me coming back to TPF! Both the asada and al pastor at TPF seem strangely seasoned to me.

                        1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                          Yes...what is that strange flavor? I'm just starting to explore the breakfast menu at TPF, which provides plenty of opportunities to highlight the chorizo. They do eggs really well...

                            1. re: Frommtron

                              Not any achiote I've ever tasted...

                        2. re: a_and_w

                          I've had some bad stuff at Tacos Por Favor, which is what I was talking about when I responded to Nosh's earlier comment. Overall, they're pretty good but I've left disappointed more often than not recently.

                          But Tacos Plus just doesn't do it for me. I found them to be very bland and I left unimpressed. The Baja Fresh/Cal-Mex vibe was also a minor annoyance but ultimately I didn't think the meat was special.

                          I'd rather go to El Super Taco, or even Tacos La Flama or Pili's.

                          But the Juquila truck by Stoner Park (excellent atole, too), La Oaxaquena (Lincoln, just south of Rose), and the truck on Rose (east of Lincoln) all offer up far better fare than any of the places we've mentioned.

                          1. re: Frommtron

                            I think we may have different preferences in taquerias. I find the carne asada and al pastor at Taco Plus better than El Super Taco, where the comparable meats can be very gristly and lack any real char. However, I would agree that the tortas, salsas, and chips at El Super Taco are way better than Taco Plus's fresh but slightly bland alternatives.

                            IMO, Pili's is passable but not in the same league with the aforementioned. I've never tried the Juquila truck probably because I was underwhelmed by my experiences at Juquila restaurant. Do they serve different stuff? Any recs for what I should try?

                2. Thanx- tacomiendo is right around the corner.

                  1. Tacos Por Favor on Olympic at 14 I think. Great everything. Take out or eat in. Very casual but delish. And I know that they use fresh ingredients.

                    1. In general I prefer crispy to soft also, but when I'm on the westside my favorite taco is the soft chorizo and cheese at Tacos Por Favor. They have crispy tacos there too, but they look like a pre-made shell (rather than fried to order), so I've never tried them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                        The crispy tacos at Tacos Por Favor are most definitely NOT made with pre-fab shells. I've had them a number of times, and they're quite good.

                        1. re: Moose

                          Good to know - thanks! I'll definitely try them.

                      2. Sabor a Mexico used to do a pretty nice taco dorado in their original location. I've heard the flavor of their overall menu slipped when they moved but they could be worth a shot.

                        If you want a sit down place then you might like Lares.

                        But he king of the hard shell taco on the westside is undoubtedly Titos. They should be your standard and your stand-by.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Frommtron

                          The taco at Tito's is legendary, crisp, hot and cool, chewy from the beef -- a bit overpriced and a hassle in the parking lot, but not bad. The problem -- no good salsa roja. Where is the hot sauce? Maybe I need to grab more handfuls of the "El Scorcho" packets from Del Taco...

                          1. re: nosh

                            Incredulous here - no good salsa roja? Are you kidding? Yes it's mild but it's fresh and you can punch it up with the verde. And if that's not to your taste, don't get Del Scorcho, get the new Del Inferno. But either would ruin Tito's fare. Suggest buy some sauce from the supermercado - good one would be Gringo Bandito (I know, it should be Bandido) - habanero based and will put lead in your pencil.

                            1. re: nosh

                              Del Taco? Say it's not so, amigo.

                              1. re: nosh

                                While most of the tacos I consume are of the soft variety, Tito's has its place. Overpriced? It has to be one of the cheapest in its genre across the board. I have often considered the fact that Tito's tacos are merely a texture vehicle for the salsa...the tacos in and of themselves are not necessarily the best sans Tito's salsa, but when the two are combined, the result is alchemy.

                            2. sorry for my ignorance, but what area or cities does the "west side" encompass?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AndyGanil

                                Westside = Santa Monica, Culver City, West LA.

                                1. re: AndyGanil

                                  Per Wikipedia:

                                  West Los Angeles (also known as West L.A. or the Westside) comprises the Los Angeles city communities of Bel Air, Beverly Crest, Beverlywood, Century City, Brentwood, Cheviot Hills, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, West Los Angeles, Westwood (Los Angeles Almanac), Venice, Mar Vista, Playa del Rey, South Robertson and Westchester, as well as the incorporated cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and the unincorporated county territory of Marina del Rey.

                                2. and for a fish taco?

                                  1. I hardly ever eat crispy tacos anymore (Titos has its place, I guess), but I think TPF has very good Chorizo and cheese tacos, but other than that is average. I was always a little underwhelmed the couple times I went to Tacomiendo. El Super taco is decent, but overrated IMO - though I do appreciate the grilled onions and the habanero salsa - there tortas are the way to go.

                                    I would probably say Don Jorges (I think its still Culver City) on Venice & Cattaragus (?) would probably be my favorite (even though they don't have a salsa bar) for the west side. To be fair, I haven't had the Juquila truck (though I will soon since I live very close or the Oaxacana truck on Lincoln (but I've been to the one on Barry or is it Barrington? and it was not too good).

                                    PS - If it's past 8pm not Sunday and you don't mind a little farther drive, go to Olympic & La Brea to El Chato, they have some of (if not) the best tacos I've had in LA (and I've had ALOT!).

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: mdpilam

                                      I wish El Super Taco would do a cemita. BTW, has anyone tried the chipotle chicken torta? I've tried the regular chicken but would love something with a little more flavor...

                                      1. re: mdpilam

                                        El Super Taco (the one on Santa Monica) also does a mean alambre.

                                        1. re: mdpilam


                                          You might want to try the clayuda at El Super Taco. I think it's what they do best.

                                          I'm also with a_&_w on this one: I'll go for a cemita poblana over an El Super Taco. There's a nice truck near the Smart and Final on Venice for that. I think the same truck is also at the Smart and Final on Pico and Cotner, but I haven't seen it there in a long time.

                                          Looking forward to giving Don Jorges a try. Thanks for the tip.

                                          This has taken quite a turn from hard-shelled tacos.

                                          1. re: Frommtron

                                            That cemita at the Angelica truck on Venice in front of the Culver City Smart & Final is one of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted. The truck on Pico and Cotner is supposedly related, but I was really disappointed on a recent visit. I either got unlucky or quality has really slipped relative to the one on Venice. Sandwich was not as carefully crafted and there was no comparison with the carnitas. I still have to try that clayuda at El Super Taco -- it looks incredible.

                                            1. re: Frommtron

                                              If you like the clayuda at El Super Taco, you should try the ones next door at Monte Alban. Much better and, if I remember correctly, not more expensive.

                                              1. re: Frommtron

                                                I've had the clayudas from Monte Alban, and it's probably my favorite thing there (have yet to try the birria soup though). I usually do takeout, and I tried Clayudas as takeout once, and it didn't work out.

                                                I do agree with the Venice Cemitas truck, which I finally had a chance to try a month ago. Had the carnitas which I thought was delicious, though could've used some more salsa. Though I wish they were open at night. That's when I eat out most often. Any good cemitas trucks open at night around here?

                                                1. re: mdpilam

                                                  Depends on how late you define night. There's another cemitas truck on Inglewood south of Culver in front of the Top Valu supermarket. It's supposed to be the brother of the Venice Smart & Final one.

                                                  I've eaten at both regularly and the biggest difference I see is slightly less spicy salsa at the Top Valu one.

                                                  Anyway, that truck used to be there pretty regularly starting at 5 p.m. or so on weekdays. But ever since the Subway opened up in that plaza, they haven't been a consistent presence. Don't know if the Subway complained or drew away some business. Shame either way.

                                            2. I love the crispy turkey tacos with guacamole at Campos on Pico and 20th in SM.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                I haven't had their turkey tacos for a while. Do they still dress the lettuce with oil and vinegar?

                                              2. I love me the Titos, but for quality, Paco's Tacos has a better beef hard shell taco (if you're into tacos with lettuce & cheese). The shell's not crisp like the oversized Tostitos you find at Taco Bell, but rather partially fried like Titos. Tortillas at Paco's are handmade too.

                                                As a side note, used to love Pup-n-Taco's (corner of Sepulveda & Braddock) hard shell tacos as a kid. Anyone remember that place?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pharmnerd

                                                  pharmnerd, I MISS Pup-N-Taco! As a kid, I remember the Chili Dogs?
                                                  Mmmmmm! Soooooo GOOD!
                                                  Now we're talkin' lol! :~)
                                                  (High-Five pharmnerd for the memory) :~)

                                                2. my fav two:
                                                  1. El Super Taco - clean, convenient, and more importantly darn good
                                                  2. Truck on Venice by Smart and Final

                                                  Don't get the infatuation with Tito's Tacos. Tastes like salsa and grease.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: lakeshow318

                                                      Hey! What's wrong with grease and salsa. I feel like I don't know this board anymore.