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Best Mexican in Downey, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, Whittier, La Habra?

Looking for the best Mexican restaurants and/or taquerias in Downey, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, La Habra, Whittier, La Mirada?

Sorry for the laundry list of cities but that's Southern CA - you guys know the zone I'm talking about. Just throw me 1 or 2 favorites. Thank you!

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    1. I really like this little place. The food is great. The service is right-on and the prices are reasonable.

      El Buen Gusto (Hard Shell shredded beef tacos, Huevos Rancheros, Carnitas)
      10820 Beverly Blvd # A2 (East of the 605 at Beverly, Workmen Mill Rd. and Norwalk Blvd. Next to Baskin Robbins)
      Whittier, CA 90601

      1. For great tacos in Whittier, go to Chema's (on Whittier near Painter I believe).

        1. We've since moved away, but grew up in this area.
          El Taco in Downey makes some really yummy quesadillas. Huge tortilla filled with tons of cheese and a delightful red sauce that has bits of shredded beef in them. The hubby's family has been enjoying quesadillas from there for YEARS. Haven't tried anything else on the menu because the quesadillas are so good.
          7870 Florence Ave, Downey - (562) 776-5212
          7665 Firestone Blvd, Downey - (562) 806-0672
          Recently, we've discovered Arturo's Puffy Tacos in Whitter. More Tex-Mex than Mexican, the puffy tacos are delightful. Taco shells are airy and crisp...and the fillings are fresh and delish. I particularly like the stewed beef and chicken, but am not a fan of the ground beef and carne asada. The heap lettuce, guacamole, and some tomato on top. Salsa's on the side...but the only caveat...you gotta eat it there...the tacos get soggy if you wait too long.
          The hubby loves Red Chile in Cerritos...across the street from Cerritos College in the Home Depot strip mall. It's been there for ages...let's say when my in-laws were still in high school and is still owned and operated by the same family. Chips are always warm and fresh. Salsa is tomato sauce-based that's initially sweet, then heats up to kick your butt. Get the number 9 plate...the burrito is filled just with your choice of beef or chicken (both delish) and no other fillers. The hubby still has cravings for this place, and loves it when I go out of the way to bring him home this surprise.
          10826 Alondra Blvd Cerritos, CA 90703-1502 (562) 860-0833

          Arturo's Puffy Taco
          15693 Leffingwell Rd, Whittier, CA 90604

          1 Reply
          1. re: attran99

            as to El Taco, try the chunky pork

          2. My husband used to have his business in Santa Fe Springs so we became very familiar with the area. There's a little hole-in-the-wall, family owned, Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Norwalk. I believe its on Norwalk Blvd. and Lakeland. You'll know its the right place if there's a topless dancing establishment next door... it adds a certain "je ne sais quoi" to the ambiance of the area ;o) Anyway, they have great food! One of our favorite things to order there is their chicken soup. You'll get a huge bowl filled with great chicken broth, loads of vegetables, and what looks to be about half a chicken rising up out of that beautiful bowl of soup. Their beef soup is great too. My husband and sons usually ordered one of their excellent, huge burritos. They also make great soft tacos. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention their amazing mexican shrimp cocktail... a huge "sundae-like" glass filled with shrimp, onions, avocado, cilantro, cucumbers, a ketchupy broth, and all accompanied by hot sauce, lemon wedges, and additional onions and cilantro, so you can make it as spicy as you want. I'm getting hungry now just thinking of it... yum!

            1. El Taco Nazo in La Habra (Beach and La Habra) and Bellflower (Alondra just west of the 605). Senor Baja in Downey (Firestone near Downey), Norwalk (Alondra and Pioneer), or Santa Fe Springs (Norwalk Bl just north of Los Nietos) -- fish and shrimp tacos here and don't forget the killer peppers on the condiment bar.

              Molcasalsa on Beach in La Habra.

              Tortas ahogadas at La Chiva Loca in Downey (7952 Firestone, at Paramount).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Just saw your post Das... You're so right about Taco Nazo. The fish tacos are the best! and those roasted peppers on the condiment bar are oh so good. I forget sometimes that they can be pretty spicy and I'll take a huge bite because I'm so excited about how good they look! Worth the burn though. And Molcasalsa in La Habra is long-time family favorite. The last time we visited our son and his wife in Chicago we brought along 2 burritos, well-wrapped in newspaper and foil, carried in our carry-on luggage. He was thrilled! Both our sons would often make late-night runs to Molcasalsa, usually on the way home from college before arriving home for a weekend. I love their taquitos. I always ask for them "cooked soft" - they're still crispy enough but not SO crispy that they scrape the top of your mouth when you bite into them.

              2. La Barca de Jalisco on Whittier Blvd in La Habra. Many dishes that you don't see everywhere like mole lengua. Also for fast food Albert's up the street on Whitter Blvd.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SeaCook

                  And we can't forget about Enrique''s.....Artesia Blvd, @ Downey (shares strip center with Pep Boys). The Long Beach location has gotten great reviews on this board...but the Downey location is the original and every bit as good !

                2. After having worked in Whittier for a while and having tried most of the places recommended on this board, I would opt for the local chain "Tacos Don Chente". There's a new branch in Montebello that I tried recently (Whittier Blvd.) but there are outlets to the southeast in the area you're looking (Bell Gardens, Paramount). Thick, hand-made tortillas, super-fresh ingredients (open kitchen), spotless dining room, and a welcome alternative to a lot of the grubby/uncomfortable places farther east on Whittier Blvd. Table next to us ordered a molcajete which I'm definitely getting next time.

                  I would drive out of my way for this place. They were packed last Saturday for lunch, but were running a very smooth, friendly operation. It's not American-ized Mexican like an El Torito/El Cholo. I don't want to over-sell this place, but I can't remember when I've been so impressed w/ a Mexican restaurant in L.A.

                  Tacos Don Chente
                  1813 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640