Hole in the wall Mexican food near Venice
I just moved down from SF where I frequented Pancho Villa so often that I know the entire staff. Any place in West LA (Venice, Santa Monica, or within 15 miles thereof) to get a Mission burrito? Not looking for "upscale" Mexican restaurants. Just a small place with excellent burritos, tacos, etc.
La Playita Mariscos Guillen on Lincoln just on the Santa Monica side of the border is a great stand for good, relatively cheap Mexican. Tacos are $1.25 each, and their mariscos is really good.
Tacos Por Favor on Olympic and 14th in Santa Monica (second location Olympic near Bundy) is pretty good too. A little more expensive than La Playita, but still a good deal.
BTW, within 15 miles would be a huge swath of L.A. Maybe you meant within 1.5 miles? :-)
Been going to El Abajeno (or "Vic's" as we all call it) since the mid 70s. The food has always been consistent and relatively inexpensive. It's located on Culver Blvd and Inglewood Ave. and serve up cafeteria style. One of their popular entrees is the carnitas taco which consists of two corn tortillas, handful of shredded pork, avocado slices, and cheese. Their El Abajeno Special burrito resembles the Sunday LA Times rolled up and probably weighs 3 - 4 pounds.
I will put in a plug for Tacomiendo. There is one near Pico and Sawtelle and one at Culver and Inglewood. Fresh made tortillas and chips. Great salsas. I think the lengua there is better than all of the other Mexican places I have tried. The ambience isn't much, but the prices are cheap.
For trucks, I think that La Isla Bonita which is a daytime truck that parks on Rose near 4th stands out in terms of quality. They do make tacos and burritos, but the seafood is their strong point. The ceviche tostadas are amazing.
Lastly, if you enjoy Oaxacan food you will not be too far from Monte Alban on Santa Monica a few blocks East of Bundy. Great moles. I also enjoy Juquila, but the quality (and prices) are just a notch below.
Welcome to the area!
When you find yourself near downtown, or more accurately above downtown above Chinatown and east of Dodger Stadium, try Carnitas Michoacan, which is on North Broadway at the N/W corner of 19th. It has good carne asada, better al pastor from a rotisserie spit, but the reason to go here is their hot sauce. Brick-red, thin, smoky, complex, spicy, hot -- it is fantastic, best in SoCal. Ask for as many thimble-size containers as they'll give you, then pop for the buck-fifty more to buy a four-ounce cup.
This Carnitas Michaocan is open 24-7, you order at one window and pickup at another, and there is covered patio seating. Free parking in the back. I get a burrito al pastor with no beans -- their tacos are tiny. Ordinarily their burritos just have meat, rice, beans, hot sauce and onion. But they do quesadillas -- even burgers -- so they have lettuce, sour cream and guac so I'm sure you can fashion an SF-style burrito if you ask.
In W.L.A./Santa Monica I second the recs for Tacos Por Favor -- their tacos are a bit pricy but they are large and their salsa roja is good, and they are known for their chorizo and cheese taco. I am a fan of Taqueria Sanchez in Culver City, on the east side of Centinela between Washington and Culver, particularly for their shrimp tacos, generously filled with small but well-cooked shrimp that are not rubbery.
Great replies so far! Although I will say it's good that you are still visit SF often as you probably won't find the Mission Burrito of your dreams here. The Mexicans here just won't abide by it...
Anyway, Culver City is close to Venice, and there are some other great choices there too...
*Save burritos for when you get back to SF. When in L.A., think items like Cemitas! The Cemitas Angelica truck on Venice and Clarington on Weekend afternoons.
Proof that sometimes the food network gets it right... Gloria's on Venice near Motor has been on Triple D... but don't let that scare you off... They mostly went for the Salvadoran menu... but hidden amongst their Mexican dishes is their Cocido.... Beef soup that will cure whatever ails ya... from the sniffles to heartbreak...
*EK Valley... I LOVE it when I get to talk about the new kids... EK Valley is another Oaxacan restaurant, although I still love Monte Alban, EK qualifies more for the hole in the wall front... actually more like Abuelitas house than anything else. Great dinner dishes and their Clayuda might be able to stave off any burrito wistfulness you might feel coming along...
As the name EK Valley can attest, not all great Mexican Food can be found in places with Mexican name. Perhaps one of the best Mexican dishes on the Westside is the Chilaquilles at Peppy's galley on Venice and Grandview in Mar Vista