In search of a good mexican food place in LA or San Fernando valley...
April 26, 2010 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm in search of a good mexican food place in LA or San Fernando Valley...

It's hard to believe but growing up in LA, I never knew what good/ cheap mexican food was until I moved down to San Diego. There I found all the Albertos, Robertos, Filibertos and Hilibertos that served simple mexican food and open late.

I moved back to LA about 2 years ago and had since only found Benitos in West LA and Albertos in Rosemead that came close to what I liked about the San Diego taco shops. So I now am asking for help. I have tried many different places throughout the LA and San Fernando Valley areas and still nothing. Does anyone know of a taco shop that I get great carne asada fries or a carne asada burrito where it's only carne asada and guac wrapped up in a tortilla just like how they would do it in San Diego.

I would love a place close to Burbank or North Hollywood area would be great!
posted by SndyLnd to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The insanely excellent Loteria Grill just opened a location in Studio City (they're also located in Hollywood and at Farmers Market). I'm currently addicted to their carne deshebrada tacos and burritos, which just have a little onion and cilantro on top of the beef and guacamole.
posted by scody at 5:42 PM on April 26, 2010

Look at the LA Weekly. They do a review of shops by neighborhood, with price and description.

Personally, I like Gualteca which favors Guatemala. One classic in LA is Tito's Tacos at Sepulveda and National. This joint is classic old style with 1950's prices.

Tia Juana has home made tortillas. Corn Maiden has the best handmade tamales but they are yuppie.

As I say, check out the Weekly. Some strip malls I wouldn't know will have wonderful family run businesses.
posted by effluvia at 5:52 PM on April 26, 2010

Try posting this question on Chowhound (or better yet, due a Google search).
posted by pravit at 5:54 PM on April 26, 2010

LA suffers from an overabundance of excellent Latin American cuisine. The Guatemalan restaurants, the Salvadorian restaurants, the Oaxacan, the Baja.... basically every region is covered and how except good ol' plain ol' Sonoran Mexican food. This has been a troublesome circumstance for me while living here, as I'm from Tucson and totally used to going into any dilapidated craphole establishment and coming out with carne asada magic wrapped in a huge flour tortilla. We didn't have Filibertos (those were up in Phoenix) but we did have Nico's Taco Shop, Viva Burrito, Los Alazones, etc. All good for a cheap, humongous burro of meat and tortilla. Alas, it's not as easy here.

However, I have found one good chain that oughta cater to your desires: Cactus Mexican Food. There's one on Beverly between Normandie and Western, and another North of there on Vine. Big fat burros and really tasty carne asada that reminds me of home. Also, Burrito King (they're everywhere) will do in a pinch although while pretty delicious the output is laughably tiny.

Also tiny, but making up for it in flavor, are the taco trucks of East LA and Echo Park. Drive through Echo Park on Sunset Blvd one evening, keeping an eye out for trucks with lines. Park near one. Wait in line. Eat simple, delicious carne asada wrapped in too-small flour tortillas and garnished with whatever's floating in the icebox compartment. The size is negated by the (relatively cheap) price.

Hope this helps. Loteria is delicious, but not sure it's the style of food/service you're looking for. Definitely try Cactus.
posted by carsonb at 6:02 PM on April 26, 2010

Have you looked into The Great Taco Hunt. It seems like a good place to start for reviews of the LA taco scene. Yes, there is a scene.
posted by drpynchon at 6:28 PM on April 26, 2010

Cactus is my favorite place in LA for the wonderful simplicity that I'm pretty sure you're talking about.

I still demand that my friends from SD bring me an el cotixan burrito whenever they come to see me though.
posted by flaterik at 6:34 PM on April 26, 2010

I work with quite a few people that like King Taco. FWIW, I've been told the 3rd Street location is the best.
posted by 6:1 at 6:53 PM on April 26, 2010

It has been decades since I have eaten there, but El Tepeyac in East LA was always my favorite, hands-down. Seems like they are still there, on Evergreen St.

Also, on the West Side, Tito's Tacos, which I have dined at more recently, is very reliable.
posted by Danf at 7:06 PM on April 26, 2010

Some dude on yelp says Fiesta Taco in Burbank is comparable to SD food.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:01 PM on April 26, 2010

I am not from L.A. but I'm blown away that you can't get good Mexican food there. I've known friends who live there that wax rhapsodic about the cheap roadside taco trucks, but if you ask me where in L.A. I couldn't help you.
posted by zardoz at 8:03 PM on April 26, 2010

You need to try Taco Spot in Eagle Rock. They have gotten a lot of attention for their carne asada fries, but I love them for their zillions of vegetarian dishes. :)
posted by so_gracefully at 9:17 PM on April 26, 2010

...and because of this thread I went to cactus, even though it's clear across town. I had pretty much always had late night tacos, so I mixed it up and had an evening burrito. Still simple and delicious, though I could do without/withless rice and beans.
posted by flaterik at 11:13 PM on April 26, 2010

nowhere near Burbank or North Hollywood, but Tacos Por Favor is the spot for tacos in Santa Monica.
posted by dogwalker at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2010

I am from San Diego and spent two years trying to find good tacos in LA. Finally, I gave up and moved back to SD.

Tito's is definitely the gold standard and they were *awesome* when I ate there about a decade ago. Def worth a shot.

King Taco--or at least the one I went to, which wasn't a King's but was owned by them--was awful and overpriced (you had to pay for the carrot bar!). El Tepeyac was a huge disappointment also (don't get me started on this hugetastic burrito that was all meat, liquid, and crappy soggy flour tortilla). I don't know if my experiences were way outside the norm, but I would recommend looking elsewhere first.

Tacomiendo's pretty good (not perfect but pretty good), Tia Juana I never went into but seemed to offer good stuff, and that Great Taco Hunt website looks like it has some great suggestions probably more oriented to the Valley and NoHo.

You should try Kogi's (the Korean-Mex fusion taco truck) at least once, but don't expect it to rock your world and replace your Filberto's or El Cotixan craving. In fact, the best Mex I ever had in LA was from taco trucks. If you see one and you are hungry, you should stop!
posted by librarylis at 1:48 AM on April 28, 2010

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