Whether you’ve finished that bucket list century ride, wrapped up an important work project or are just craving something tasty and satisfying, sitting down with friends for tacos and horchata is one of those sweet, small pleasures in life.
Arguably one of the most sought-after delicacies in all of California, tacos rule the palates of the Golden State, and rightly so. In this state, you’re never too far away from a tortilla filled with a variety of spiced meats and garnishes, all unique in their own way. In celebration of National Taco Day earlier this month, we asked our fans to share their go-to spots. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Super Mex Restaurant and Cantina
This authentic Mexican eatery opened its doors in Long Beach back in 1974 and became so popular it’s expanded locations to Cypress, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Sunset Beach. Known for its happy hour specials and cozy atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with their old school crispy shredded beef tacos and green rice.
Location: 4711 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803
2. Jalisco Grill
A favorite among Amgen Tour of California staff and fans alike, Jalisco Grill is always a popular dinner spot when the race visits South Lake Tahoe. If you’re into huge portions at affordable prices, this hole in the wall restaurant is a real treat. Make sure to check out the self-serve salsa bar to pair the perfect sauce with your taco of choice. Remember to bring cash, this restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards.
Facebook: Jalisco Grill
Location: 2660 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA
3. Leo's Taco Truck
Tacos Leos opened their food truck business in 2010 and centered their mobile marvel in Brea Blvd and Venice Blvd in West Los Angeles. Now, the company has four trucks peppered all over the city, serving up their famous al pastor tacos and other Mexican options that start at just a dollar. Have an early morning or late-night craving? Never fear, Leo’s has you covered. They’re open from 9am to 3am every day of the week.
4. Taco Taco
For your fix of crispy, light fish tacos, head to Taco Taco in Poway where they pride themselves on serving up quality .99 delights. If you still have room to try more, order the award-winning Camaron Puerquito Taco. The crispy cheese tortilla, marinated pork, shrimp and chipotle mayo specialty was a favorite at San Diego’s Tacotopia Festival last year.
5. Tijuana's Tacos
We’re all used to that familiar line, “guacamole will cost extra,” but at Tijuana Tacos in Pomona, all of their tacos contain their special in-house guac, made fresh daily and for no extra charge. But that isn’t just why the Tijuana-inspired restaurant is distinctive. They also have their own taco creations: El Taco Pobre (The Poor Man’s Taco), or Taco Loco (Crazy Taco), or the Chile Taco (Pepper Taco) that draw foodies from across the state. After the success of their Pomona location, Tijuana’s Tacos has opened establishments in Moreno Valley, Riverside, Fontana, and Ontario.
6. Tito’s Tacos
Named by Tech Times Magazine as one of the top “20 Places Where You Can Get the Best Tacos in the U.S.,” Tito’s Tacos is famous in Los Angeles for its fast-food style Mexican fare. With food prepared daily since 1959, the taco stand has become part of Culver City history.
7. Chando’s Tacos
If you’re from Sacramento, chances are you’ve been or heard of Chando’s. The restaurant was voted to have the “best taco” by the readers of Sacramento News and Review this year, and the clientele agrees. Come here if you’re looking for an array of specialized street tacos complete with special “Chando Sauce.”
8. Taqueria De Anda
Where do you go when you have a hankering for tacos in the middle of the night? Pomona’s Taqueria De Anda, that’s where. They’re open late and ready to serve up the best tacos in Orange County, and not just on #tacotuesdays. The food is always fresh and being made right in front of you.
9. Zingo Tacos
With all the incredible taquerias in Los Angeles, it can be difficult to stand out. However, Zingo Tacos does just that with its simple, yet delicious, street taco menu. Not a meat eater? Zingo still has options like tacos de papas and jack fruit tacos. To get there, follow the smells. All their food is grilled out in the open.
10. Los Carnalitos Taco Truck
Never underestimate a taco truck, especially Los Carnalitos. It may be small, but inside they create the best gourmet tacos in Redwood City. Featuring a diverse array of meats, like asada, suadero, lengua, carnitas, al pastor and cochinita pibil, they have whatever you’re craving.
Location: 2907 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94063
11. Tacos El Guero
If you’re looking for a hole-in-the-wall taco shop experience, look no further than Tacos El Guero in Norwalk. The food is inexpensive, but high-quality and authentic. Regulars say the al pastor and carne asada tacos can’t be beat.
Location: 12115 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650
Open 24 hours, Filibertos in Encinitas is known for its fast food style Mexican, but never disappoints. The rolled and chicken tacos are a popular choice among locals after a night out on the town.
13. El Cantaro (Vegan)
We can’t forget the vegans among us! Monterey-based El Cantaro is the place to go. The menu is 100 percent all vegan ingredients, a rare find, especially for Mexican food. The crispy potato tacos are a go-to dish, as are the “fish” tacos.
14. Tacos El Gordo
Since 1972, Tacos El Gordo has challenged waistbands and belt buckles around southern California and beyond. The restaurant has expanded to six locations including Las Vegas and Chula Vista, with the original restaurant still operating in San Diego. Don’t leave without trying their award-winning Adobada (spicy pork) tacos.
15. Punta Cabras
Reopened with a fresh new look earlier this year, Punta Cabras restaurant is a huge draw for Santa Monica goers. The modern Mexican menu is centered around seafood, which makes sense considering the establishment’s close proximity to the ocean. Punta Cabras has a bar, restaurant and taqueria all rolled into one, so whether you’re looking to grab a fast bite or savor the evening out, they’ve got you covered.
16. Chicas Tacos
For a fresh, healthy and organic take on Southern California street tacos, Chicas Tacos in downtown Los Angeles is the place to go. Not only does Chicas Tacos offer a light and fun ambiance, but they also pride themselves on serving the "highest quality ingredients in a warm homestyle environment." Chicas Tacos has options for all: meat, fish, veggie and vegan! So be sure to stop by the next time you take a trip to SoCal - you won't want to miss this.