LA Taco Article - 664 SoCal tacos in 6 months

The Excel sheet was listed as a Google doc in the article so I felt free to add to the post.

Out of the 12 highest rated tacos
5 in SD
2 in OC
5 in LA


Definitely curious what @ipsedixit thinks since he spends time in SD

Leos is fine but isn’t that good to be in the top tier in all of socal…


read the spreadsheet: he ranks each taco he personally ate, some locations have multiple entries. for example, he ranked tire shop’s carne asada at 99, and their al pastor at 90. he personally rated leo’s taco al pastor at a 99 - and for him, it was. two of his four 100’s included carnita el momo’s aporkalypse & mariscos jaliscos’s shrimp taco, which are two of my personal favorites. villa moreliana’s carnitas, which i also like, he gave a 97. he also gave a 98 to taco ensenada’s fish taco. given it’s a total of 3 points, i’m not inclined to quibble. he didn’t rank baja fish & cali (i think their fish tacos are better than taco ensenada’s) so i’ll assume he never got there.

but since he gave high rankings to tacos i particularly like, i’m going to try the la estrella taco truck in eagle rock (where i routinely fill my gas tank and my fuel light is on) and get a couple of the cabesa tacos, to which he gave an honorable mention for being better than advertised.

I used to go to place called Baja California Fish Tacos in Lawndale. Haven’t been in a few years but now I see it’s now Ensenada’s Surf N Turf Grill. Are you referring to that one or the other chain?

the other chain that’s got at least 3 locations that i know of, two in alhambra and one in pasadena. i think it was tonyc who first mentioned them. their tuesday $.99 fish taco ($1.25 in pasadena) are as QPR as you can get.


Baja fish and cali seems to be expanding a lot. Saw one open in the Arcadia mall food court, and one in Highland Park near the metro station. Same weekly specials!

highland park is actually more convenient for me now. yay!

1 Like

Yeah, and maybe shorter lines, at least for a while. The lines actually push me toward Tacos Ensenada during peak times. Sometimes the assembly suffers at Baja Cali when they are slammed. Ensenada on Valley was much calmer the couple times I went (and they also do $1 Fish Taco Tuesdays). I find them close in quality anyways, just a somewhat different flavor profile.

the two closest taco ensenadas for me are altadena in the same partking lot as super king, and that alhambra location on valley near atlantic. haven’t been to that one yet. one of the two chains includes what looks and tastes like oregano mixed in with their red onion which i kinda like, but the other chain’s tacos are slightly larger. but you get larger tacos if you order in multiples of four; if you order 8, you get two boxes of four each. if you order six, they’ll fit 6 into a single container and they’ll be smaller.

1 Like

For those who like that particular location, that’s very valuable information.

the thing about taco size, i have found to be true for both chains - their fish tacos are 3-4 bites each, and i am not a dainty eater. i imagine the policy would be the same for each branch, but FWIW, i’ve been most often to the altadena taco ensenada and the alhambra (on main) location for baja cali fish. the BCF on valley’s lines were out the door before the 2nd branch in alhambra opened.

if we’re going to talk about other things helpful to know, you can request extra tortillas at the fairmount location for carnitas el momo since their tacos have enough meat to make 5-6 daintier sized tacos that you might get from a lot of other trucks. i think you can also request more tortillas from villa moreliana at GCM in DTLA, for pretty much the same reason. a $2.50 taco at each place has more meat than 4-5 tacos at some other place. for those where QPR is more of a concern.

speaking of tacos, i stopped by maquina in pasadena on lake. they’ve expanded by taking the space immediately to the north and added tables and a beat up grand piano that could stand a little tuning, but you are allowed to noodle on it while waiting for your order. it’s still mainly family run.

RE: Baja Fish & Cali in Highland Park

This is the location I went to earlier this week and I have emerged a happier person for it. Thanks for the recommendation, certainly one of the better Baja-style fish tacos in L.A. – a superb deal on Taco Tuesday – and their other tacos are pretty good too. As a bonus, a Tacos Ensenada outpost is a few blocks away, as is Metro Balderas and Mariscos El Faro.

1 Like

assuming 4 tacos can fill you up, $4.38 for a meal is a pretty good deal. though for QPR the arturo’s taco truck in pasadena (on fair oaks in a tire shop parking lot 1-2 blocks south of del mar) offers $1.50 tacos (jonathan gold once recommended the chorizo) with a DIY lime/cilantro/salsa/onion/radish/avocado sauce bar AND complimentary pinto beans & jalapenos. you can take two unadorned two tacos, add a wall of beans between them and then garnish the plate (tacos and beans) with your choices of onions, cilantro red/green salsa, avocado sauce, radish, etc. and build a plate that looks like:

for only $3. i eat the (salted) radishes first, then beans and finally the tacos. and that’s filled me up pretty cheaply many a time at 1:30-2:30 AM. their truck is there pretty much every night starting around 6pm.

if you are into more esoteric fillings you should try the north african tacos at revolutario near USC. and back in pasadena you might also consider maquina on lake just south of washington blvd. no frills - there’s a significant plywood motif in the decor and furniture and the help are all pretty much family members. the money goes into the ingredients. you order either tacos or burrito/bowls with the following choices:

1 Like