The 5 Finest Tacos In Santa Monica ~ L.A. TACO

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These are the 5 finest tacos in Santa Monica.

For lo, Santa Monica’s taco monster wears many faces and is extra misunderstood than Boo Radley.

Saddled far and huge with the in poor health reputation of being a parched panorama of scant Mexcellence, the seaside metropolis counts certainly one of L.A.’s largest concentrations of longstanding Mexican eating places. Commemorated family-owned and family-favored favorites like Gilbert’s El Indio, Lares, Tacos Por Favor, Mariscos Guillen La Playita, Casa Martin, Benny’s, and Panchos, in addition to veteran places of El Cholo and Campos.

As a serious goal of worldwide tourism, Santa Monica can also be rife with margarita joints that put the get together earlier than the standard of their combo plates, speckling the town from Fundamental Road and the Promenade, to the western stretches of Wilshire and the previous couple of ft of the Pier.

With residents within the northern reaches of Santa Monica possessing among the nation’s costliest actual property, you’ll additionally discover loads of Mexican meals upstarts gunning for the stylish, pale, and deep-pocketed, from Montana Avenue to Ocean Boulevard. The place handblown chandeliers glitter over the tableside preparations of dear, pomegranate-studded guacamole and the market-priced pescado frito of some itinerant superstar chef, Gipsy Kings, caterwauling on repeat.

And whereas Santa Monica taco fiends nonetheless pine for the creativity and high quality of chef Josh Gil’s departed Tacos Punta Cabras, a stream of notable, fashionable taquerías from round L.A. have elevated the native taco-ptions tremendously. Tacos 1986, Trejo’s Tacos, Tu Madre, and Papi’s Tacos & Churros at the moment are each simply steps from the Promenade, ensuring a thoughtfully-conceived, regionally-influenced taco is all the time readily available for members of the group and guests alike.

However whereas Santa Monica might shock you with its wealth of Mexican menus and tempting tacos, there can solely—nicely, fully arbitrarily—be 5 finest.

These are the 5 finest tacos in Santa Monica.

Attempt them now. Because the Santa Monica of at this time will not be the Santa Monica you see tomorrow.

Tacos with cecina (left) and tasajo on housemade corn tortillas at Yagul Cafe. Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.


Housemade tortillas are seldom seen in Los Angeles or Santa Monica. After we discover them, we maintain on tightly. Yagul Café comes from the household behind Oaxacan restaurant Quiadaiyn in Mar Vista, which is dedicated to the artwork kind, not too long ago opening its personal Westside tortilleria named Maria’s.

Yagul, a cute, brilliant café in Downtown Santa Monica, makes use of the masa constructed from recent nixtamal at Maria’s to handcraft its personal corn tortillas, that are supple, supportive, and maize-forward with a slight snap. They shine in full glory when enfolding buttery cuts of salty tasajo and richly spiced cecina in hefty Oaxacalifornian tacos which are tempered by guacamole, pico de gallo, a rail of queso fresco, and (this being Santa Monica Farmers Market turf and all) roughage in supernaturally brilliant shades of inexperienced.

530 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 107 Santa Monica, CA 90401. Closest Metro traces and cease: Bus Line 720 – “4th/Arizona”, Bus Line 4 – “sixth/Santa Monica” or Metro E Line – “Downtown Santa Monica Station.”

Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.


It didn’t take lengthy for Santa Monican taco-heads who know their shit to start out claiming allegiance to downtown’s La Purépecha, dubbed after Michoacan’s indigenous societies of the identical title. The thick tortillas listed here are delicate and deeply corny, with serrated edges testifying to the human palms that make them. The tacos have a notably righteous meat-to-tortilla ratio, serving to us revel within the succulent carnitas (after all), adobada, and pollo asado.

The Purity, Santa Monica. Picture by Hadley Tomicki for THE TACO.
Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

Cheese lovers can flip their tacos into taconazos, too, permitting a layer of melted cheese to be spackled to your tortilla’s inside wall. The grilled, flaky fish taco right here typically lingers on the thoughts, somnambulistically propelling us within the course of Purépecha’s tackle come Taco Tuesdays, when the value dips to $1.99 per taco.

725 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90401. Closest Metro traces and cease: Bus Line 4 – “Santa Monica/Lincoln” or Metro E Line – “Downtown Santa Monica Station.”

Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.


Regardless of the passing look of some common taco vans and a noticeable focus across the Pier, you don’t are inclined to catch numerous road meals out on this metropolis, a symptom, we solely presume, of some form of fascist Santa Monica shit.

La Güera, which has quite a few places working like well-oiled machines throughout L.A., retains one foot in Venice, the opposite two-thirds of its operation planted firmly in Santa Monica, each ends cojoined beneath the Venice signal. All it’s good to do is search for the large spinning trompo attended by a large line of Westsiders and a talented taquero, who shaves al pastor straight into your tortillas earlier than swiping his metal throughout its pineapple crown, the tropical fruit spiraling its manner into your taco, or as typically occurs, everywhere in the sidewalk.

Whereas the trompo is the holy temple right here, and your finest guess for consuming a taco that makes you say “Mmmmmm… goddamn!” the opposite meats on the menu, extending to buche, cabeza, suadero, and tripas, aren’t any slouch themselves, whether or not grilling over charcoal or simmering in their very own fats. Particularly after you’ve performed Pollock on the salsa bar, drizzling and dabbing your taco in an array of brick reds, cool greens, slick chiles, and purple picked onions.

241 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and cease: Bus Line 33 – “Fundamental/Sundown.”

Picture by way of Vamos Vamos.


What would even be the purpose of paying the astronomical Santa Monica rents of at this time for those who couldn’t discover a fish taco by the seaside? Vamos Vamos chef Ivan Barros ensures you don’t even have to think about this painful state of affairs. The lovable little Fundamental Road margarita and nacho bar from Randy Clement and April Langford (Silver Lake Wine, Highland Park Wine, E.R.B., Triple Beam, and Hippo) retains its taco menu half-short and twice-strong, and its agave listing lengthy.

Vamos Vamos pours Yuu Baal as its nicely mezcal whereas slipping massive, brilliant orange ingots of battered and fried rock cod into La Princesita’s corn tortillas, topping every with cilantro-lime cabbage slaw, avocado puree, and as a lot lime juice as your tensile finger power can yield. And similar to that, you’re in your Baja mind-set, Pacific gales grazing your date’s shoulders, the madrecuishe going to your heads.

You may also get the fish tacos grilled. Perhaps, most significantly, you will get two fish tacos for $12 with a shot of tequila come Tuesdays.

2917 Fundamental St. Santa Monica, CA 90405. Closest Metro line and cease: Bus Line 33 – “Fundamental/Marine (westbound)” or “Fundamental/Pier (eastbound).”

Brisket and cochinita pibil tacos at Jonah’s Kitchen. Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.


No Santa Monica taco listing could possibly be full with no place to level you to for bougie tacos. Jonah’s is full of precisely the sort of Instagram magnets you’ll look forward to finding hanging out at a Tulum-inspired restaurant owned by Leonardo DiCaprio’s former private chef. Luckily, the meals isn’t secondary to the scene. Chef Jonah Johnson’s menu hinges on wood-fired and smoked meats, drawing a lot inspiration of its inspiration from Latin America, the Caribbean, and different international flavors.

The tacos right here brandish oligarch costs, together with alluring substances, similar to sweet-and-spicy gochujang-slicked shrimp, buttered lobster, and juicy, 14-hour smoked brisket on delicate, housemade corn tortillas. There’s additionally a decadent taco dorado full of smoked, banana leaf-wrapped cochinita pibil, and a killer carne molido taco constructed from Wagyu beef picadillo in a crispy tortilla. Lettuce-topped, with aji verde, it’s a righteously messy magnificence, walloping you just like the epicurean reply to Tito’s.

Albacore tacos with yuzu, scallions, and serrano at Jonah’s Kitchen. Picture by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

And nobody’s saying it’s essential to admit to liking sushi tacos. Solely lengthy sufficient to vulnerably eke out your desk’s order for the sashimi-grade albacore tacos with yuzu juice, fried scallions, and serrano slices inside a wonton shell. That is no time to be self-conscious.

2518 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403. Closest Metro traces and cease: Bus Traces 20 or 720 – “Wilshire/twenty sixth.”

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