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Carne Asada Burrito or Taco in Los Angeles

Why can't I find a good carne asada burrito or taco in LA? It seems like the only place that remotely compares to anything I've had in San Diego is Tijuana's Tacos in Pomona, CA. Beside that, it seems like every restaurant and taco truck in LA get their meat from the same place and looks like it's already been chewed a few times....Rambo's, King Taco, and on and on...LA is deprived. I've had Mexican food from all regions in Mexico and I think most of LA's restaurants are from Mexican people closer to Mexico City...FYI, the best Mexican food is Sonora style...at least for carne asada, frijoles, and aroz. So if anyone out there knows of a good Sonora style burrito or taco de carne asada, please let me know...anything else is a waste, or extra waist.

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  1. If you are downtown and just want good food then drop by http://mexicalitaco.com/ and give it a taste test. No burritos but their food is wonderful.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      How can I recommend Mexical Taco & Co if you are up so early and beat me to the punch?

      1. re: Burger Boy

        This morning would have been a tough one to beat me to the proverbial punch. I've been up since 1:45 AM for my bike ride and just got back from pancakes with eggs and bacon at John O'Groats on Pico. ;-D>

        1. re: Servorg

          One more idea. Are you familiar with Bandini's blog "The Great Taco Hunt?" If not you ought to peruse it. I note that he just wrote up a truck called "El Gallito" that parks in the Westwood area (at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Westwood Blvd.) and he praises their carne asada tacos: http://www.greattacohunt.com/ and he also reminds me to mention Guisados in East L.A. as well: http://www.guisados.co/

          1. re: Servorg

            Bandini is posting again!! The Great Taco Hunt is back! Great news.

            1. re: Servorg

              I've had Guisados...they dont even have carne asada!! It's a different style of meat and I thnk it's "al vapor" style...anyway, it was ok for what it was, but it wasn't carne asada.

      2. I agree with the OP. Not a good Carne Asada Burrito in sight out here. Inevitably people will come in and say El Parian (I couldn't chew it! so tough) or Yuca's(too chi chi poo poo, decent if you live close) or Carnitas Michaocan (not bad, but not much better than king taco, very greasy too).

        12 Replies
            1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

              With a name like LuluTheMagnificent, drama should be your forte. ;)

              1. re: bulavinaka

                It is not rocket science. Carne asada is grilled steak. Most places use cheap chuck steak to keep the cost down which is why it is dry, a bit too acidic, and tough. Find a place that serves skirt, plate, or flap and your chances of getting better carne asada greatly increases.

                And I thought Mexican food in general is supposed to be greasy.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  God, carne asada is SO much better in Chicago.

                  I believe it's because it's generally skirt steak there which I believe is abdomen, right? It makes such a difference. It should be thinly sliced and pounded. It's so hard to find here in LA.

                  I commend Sprouts for having it on their shelves. I just wish more taquerias would follow suit.

                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                    No, it shouldn't be greasy if prepared correctly with quality ingredients. Trouble is, most Mexican restaurants in the US operate on a very low-cost model so the beef is usually terrible quality and gristly.

                    1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                      To the Big Top! :)

                      Has anyone tried Taqueria Sanchez's carne asada? I normally don't get the asada there, but I remember the carne asada at their carneceria was some sort of flap meat.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        I always get the shrimp, the al pastor, and the carnitas tacos there. Three is enough to fill me up, especially with the chips included and the salsas.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          I find it good but not great. Their orange (habanero?) salsa, tho, makes anything good. I never find myself thinking of Sanchez as a destination. More like a quick, easy stop if we're by there.

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            The carne asada at Sanchez is not the greatest, however, the Lomo (beef loin) is out of this world.

                  2. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                    Try La Azteca Tortillaria on Caesar Chavez. Great handmade flour tortillas and corn tortillas that marry well with the foods they prepare.

                  3. If you are up for a drive to Hawaiian Gardens, Tacos San Pedro has wonderful carne asada. There is alos a location in Anaheim on Lincoln. The carne asada is the meat to get here. I especially like the flautas because they put the same carne asada meat in those as well. I have been to Tijuanas Tacos in Pomona and the carne asada is good but the salsa there is a bit too tangy for me.

                    1. Taqueria Jalisco in Huntington Park.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        There's a Taqueria Jalisco in Bell, but I couldn't find any info about one in Huntington Park.

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          You're absolutely right. Jalisco is in Bell, and it is very good.

                          The Huntington Park tacqueria I was think about was Zavala, which I guess is technically in either Southgate or Lynwood.

                      2. I like the carne asada taco at the Talpa in West LA. The meat is very flavorful and doesn't look pre-chewed.

                        Also, my regular taco haunt is Alberto's in Van Nuys. It's a San Diego chain with a few branches up here. The asada is pretty good and they are known for carne asada fries and the California burrito.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Jwsel

                          Carne asada burrito at Mi India Bonita on East Olympic Blvd (4000 block) is a great lunch - well half a lunch shared with Mme Zoe, its that big. Great albondigas soup too on Tuesdays.

                          1. re: Jwsel

                            Yeah, Albertos are all over and by San Diego standards, it's average, which means by LA standards it's miraculous. I'd go there. If you're trying to get that San Diego taco shop taste, you'll go through too much disappointment wading through alllll the places that won't pass muster. At least Alberto's can hang, even if it's not the world's best and it doesn't take a lot of searching and headache.

                            Believe me when I first moved up here I looked long and hard for that San Diego taste and decided it just wasn't worth the trouble.

                            1. re: BrewNChow

                              The one post I trust...I think you are right BrewNChow. I don't know how many places I've been to that people have recommded that only turn out to be just as bad, or at least not up to SD standards. I live in Pasadena now, and they just opened an Alberto's by PCC. Suffice to say, I go there once in a while, but like you said...it's average for San Diego and top notch for LA. I happen to drive by the place in downtown that someone mentioned, Mexicali Taco. I'm curious, so I may try it. But I've been to Mexicali and had their tacos...not exactly the same. My bro lives out in that area and he says the same thing, no comparison to SD style. I guess I will just have to settle for once a month good taste when I visit the folks...sucks!

                              1. re: mexcellentfood

                                It does, but like you, I'm down there visiting my folks ever month or so and I definitely stop by my favorite shops (JVs, Nico's, Dos Brasas for breakfast) and get my fix.

                                When I moved to LA from SD I was all mad about the burritos being terrible, but once I gave up on burritos, I started to realize how much great food LA has. Trying all these different cuisines has changed the way I look at food completely. In San Diego, I basically ate burritos every day. Now, I eat great food from all over the globe every day, and still get my old burrito fix every month or so when I go back. It's not so bad.

                                1. re: mexcellentfood

                                  What are you talking about? Alberto's carne asada is disastrous at best. It is like the Farmer Boys of Mexican cuisine.

                                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                                    I agree A5, these guys lost all credibility mentioning Alberto's.

                                    1. re: A5 KOBE

                                      I didn't say Alberto's was the best carne asada, but since the OP wants San Diego style asada (whatever that is) and didn't seem to like carne asada that consists of small pieces, Alberto's seemed like it fit the bill of what he wants. Not only is it a San Diego franchise, but the asada pieces are decent-sized and definitely do not look pre-chewed. (I will say that the meat in Talpa's carne asada taco definitely fits the bill.)

                                      Having said that, I probably should have said the asada at the Alberto's in Van Nuys is decent. I can't speak for other branches, and I generally prefer the rolled tacos (a true guilty pleasure) and chorizo tacos at Alberto's. In the valley, I personally prefer the North Hollywood El Taco Llama's and Tacos La Fonda's carne asada, but they don't seem to fit the OP's description of what he wants since the meat is minced pretty small at both places.

                                      I also should have added that my biggest problem with Alberto's is that the salsa roja absolutely sucks. The spicy salsa verde is decent, but I sometimes run by Rigo's at Woodman/Oxnard for salsa roja.

                                      1. re: Jwsel

                                        I love La Fonda. Their tacos are bomb. And they always have fresh agua frescas.

                                        (And I don't need any comments about "fresh agua frescas" as many places have those awful preserved versions in the plastic containers.)

                                        1. re: Jwsel

                                          "North Hollywood El Taco Llama's"

                                          closed, now a Falafel Hut

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            I know the one on Magnolia closed. But I thought the one on Sherman Way is still open. I also think there is one on Whitsett.