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Nov 29, 2009 09:25 PM

Looking for Mexican in the SFV or the Conejo Valley

We live in the Conejo Valley and we wish to find some great Mexican restaurants in the Conejo Valley or in the eastern part of Ventura County or in the western part of the San Fernando Valley. Clean and delicious are important; decor is not.

We LOVE Tacos Baja Ensenada (TBE) in East LA, but we can not always get there on a whim. There is a place near the Fallbrook Mall that we frequent for tacos al pastor, although I can not recall its name.

It's all about the food and the horchata...any suggestions are most appreciated!

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  1. Are you thinking of El Tapatio on the SW corner of Victory and Fallbrook?
    I love their tacos al pastor and carnitas.

    6 Replies
    1. re: selfportrait93

      selfportrait93 -- El Tapatio...YES! That's it!!!

      I have a lot of nice things to say about them. Their tacos al pastor is delicious...with little crispy pieces of pork. I vote their horchata among the best in Los Angeles, especially when they stir it as they serve it and the tiny pieces of canela (cinnamon) saturate the liquid. Finally, they are really nice! They always refill my horchata at no charge...and ask if they can do anything else in an eager-to-please the customer style.

      Thanks for putting a name to my pleasure!

      1. re: liu

        ET is one of our favorites, Pastor for me and Asada dor Ms. Swift. Their shrimp cocktail isn't bad either.

        1. re: TomSwift

          I'm glad to hear all the rave reviews for El Tapatio. We "blindly" walked in one day and we continue to enjoy it!
          I am also glad to know the lingo..."ET!"

          Tom, have you tried their horchata? Ask them to mix it before serving and request it con hielo. It is REALLY good and the perfect accompaniment with spicy food.

          1. re: liu

            I haven't tried it but I will now. Thanks for the tip! I usually have bottled Mexican Coca Cola, but only after checking to see that it's not made with HFCS.

        2. re: liu

          Glad to be of help, liu.
          One of these days, I shall try the horchata.

          1. re: selfportrait93

            Aaaaah...the horchata! It's all about those tiny specks of Mexican cinnamon.

      2. Not all of these recommendations will be exactly on point, but a lot of them should be helpful in your quest for tasty Mexican food:

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg

          This is helpful, Servorg...thank you! I appreciate the link.
          I am not new to the area, so I should be able to sort through this information
          ...if only TBE would set up a West Valley shop!!!

        2. Likely the best bet in West Valley is Metro Balderas in Northridge, but maybe that's not far west enough. DF style appetizers and interesting carnitas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: streetgourmetla

            Thanks, streetgourmetla!
            I don't know about Metro Balderas because we are not in Northridge too frequently, It is, however, accessible and we will check it out!

          2. There's La Paz on Kanan Dune Rd (check that, I wouldn't swear it was right) in Agoura. They have goat and they do a wonderful whole fish if you've got 3 or 4 in your party. (If you don't the leftovers go home in an aluminum buffet tray)

            5 Replies
            1. re: rainey

              La Paz is actually on Las Virgenes in Calabasas.

              1. re: jencounter

                Thank you for making that clear. I knew I was fuzzy. I just don't know that area so well.

                1. re: jencounter

                  Still very good, especially the whole fish, I don't think it's as good as the one that used to be in Canoga Park/Woodland HIlls (and a lot closer to home!).

                  1. re: TomSwift

                    Yes! The whole fish is a trip! The goat is also very tender and tasty.

              2. Some decent options in the Conejo Valley: Mercado Guadalajara, Lupes, and Letty's(haven't been in awhile). In Camarillo there is a great taco place Taqueria de Tapatio, it's located off Arneill Rd.

                None of these places are know for the decor, but the food is good.

                26 Replies
                1. re: puppychao

                  We haven't been to Lupe's since they remodeled. Is the food better? We have not heard great reviews.

                  Your other suggestions, puppychao, are worth investigating; I am especially interested in Taqueria de just sounds like the kind of place we are looking for!

                  1. re: liu

                    While there are some who do not like Lupe's, we are fans. Aside from the day they re-opened (which was a nightmare) the food is exactly the same. We find the food and prices both excellent and the decor in the new room is pleasant and of course, we love the patio. I still think their Chili Colorado is the best and if you want a treat order the Crispy flour taco with Chili Colorado, it's really good.

                    We feel that nothing in the Conejo area comes close to Lupe's in quality, taste and price.

                    1. re: LesThePress

                      Thanks for your very current report on Lupe's.
                      I know we travel the same geography, and there isn't much out here like TBE. Your vote for Lupe's is enough for us to try it again.

                      1. re: liu

                        I'm sure you'll like it, report back. BTY, they now have wine and Sangria, if you like that (we do)!

                  2. re: puppychao

                    In searching for addresses, it appears that Letty's in Newbury Park is attached to the Guadalajara Market...are they the same or is the market taco different from the one from Letty's?

                    The Mercado Guadalajara seemed to have very good reviews!

                    1. re: liu

                      Letty's and the market are seperate, with Letty being a little more pedestrian and the market is more, well, market! While my co-workers really enjoy Letty's, I actually prefer the market: their burritos eat pretty well when you're sitting on the back of a work truck.

                      If you are willing to go to the SFV, I suggest either Carillo's or La Fuentes.

                      1. re: Wheggi

                        Hi, Wheggi!
                        Thanks for the clarification about Letty's and the nearby market. I guess we will have to do both!

                        We like Las Fuentes, but it is not a real hole-in-the-wall-with-amazing-food type of place that, for example, Tacos Baja Ensenada is. I'm not sure if, over the years, we have tried Carillo's.

                        Thanks for all of your ideas.

                        1. re: liu

                          Carrillo's Deli is on Sherman Way at Corbin in Winnetka, just west of Smart & Final, and is really worth the effort, especially if you are in the area doing other things, as in shopping, working, etc. Have taken many items from that restaurant for parties over the years as have many friends here in sherman oaks.

                          Carrillos Mexican Deli
                          19744 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91306

                          1. re: carter

                            carter --
                            Your vote for Carillo's gives me reason to be in that neighborhood...thanks!

                            1. re: carter

                              Can you explain the concept of a Mexican deli? I'm trying to wrap my mind around it and I'm not putting anything together.

                              1. re: rainey

                                Prepared salsas, homemade (and delicious) tortillas, various meats (like carnitas) by the pound .

                                Mmmm. I love their corn tortillas.

                                1. re: jencounter

                                  And the best guacamole by the gallon or enchiladas or chile rellenos by the tray.
                                  They are set up for large takeout orders in addition to eating in the restaurant, ala Jerry's or Brent's Deli, just serving Mexican food instead.

                                  By the way, I believe they also have a location in San Fernando (maybe not for OP but for others to note) and I believe family members also operate one in Simi Valley.

                                  1. re: carter

                                    You're correct, Carter, there is one in Simi - same quality as the one on Sherman Way.

                                  2. re: jencounter

                                    Sounds cool! You mean you can just go in and buy a pound of carnitas as opposed to a combo meal!

                                    I'm not that far from it. I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

                                    1. re: rainey

                                      You can also buy carnitas (and other prepared meats) by the lb at Vallarta markets.

                                      1. re: jencounter

                                        Yes, Vallarta has some very good food in its deli section.

                                        1. re: carter

                                          Carter, aren't you the person who's 'in the know' about retail space along ventura blvd? Any idea what happened to Baklava Factory?

                                          (hopefully this won't get nailed by the chowhound police)

                                          1. re: jencounter

                                            They are still at 17540 or something like that on Ventura Blvd., as well as up on Sherman Way around Coldwater Canyon. Just called to verify.

                                            1. re: carter

                                              So they just moved, then? I drove by the usual location (near Louise) and it's now a frozen yogurt place.

                                              This cheers me, thank you!

                                              1. re: jencounter

                                                Yes, across the street between Encino Avenue and White Oak. And that address I posted is correct.

                                2. re: carter

                                  carter, this morning we tried Carrillos Deli. It was very crowded for a Sunday morning; they were doing both a sit-down and carry-out business.

                                  Since my current standard of measure is the El Tapatio (at Fallbrook and Victory) taco al pastor, I ordered tacos al pastor at Carrillos. I did not care for it at all. The pieces of pork were too large and there were a lot of fatty pieces in the mix. However, their hot sauces were good.

                                  The horchata was too sweet and did not have the Mexican cinnamon note that I was seeking.

                                  I know that Carrillos has been there for about 40 years and they seemed to be doing a good business. However, there was nothing to draw me back.

                            2. re: liu

                              Letty's is next door to Mercado Guadalajara. The market has a few tables outside, but it is really meant for to go orders. The market also has some great deals on marinated meats.

                              I would really like to hear about your experience at Taqueria de Tapatio.


                                1. re: liu

                                  Here's another suggestion, just off 101 right before 405. I like their cocktel de camaron.

                                  Tacos Corona.
                                  7213 Balboa Blvd
                                  Van Nuys, CA 91497
                                  (818) 780-9126

                                  1. re: Sgee

                                    Hi, Sgee!
                                    Thank you. I will keep Tacos Corona in mind, but I would prefer something more on the western side of the SFV...and into the eastern Conejo.

                            3. re: puppychao

                              puppychao, we tried Letty's. In order to compare fairly, I ordered tacos al pastor.
                              I thought that the tacos al pastor and the horchata were much better at El Tapatio at Victory and Fallbrook. El Tapatio's al pastor contains tiny pieces of crispy pork...really tasty and not greasy. Also, the horchata at El Tapatio has a rich, cinnamon taste; many other horchatas are just sweet...often too sweet.

                              I do, however, thank you for the recommendation. I was not aware of that little strip mall in Newbury Park near Smart and Final.