Grab a sombrero, a margarita or Corona and check out these authentic tacos hot spots for a real Cinco de Mayo celebration. For the festive Mexican holiday, diners will find taco fillings from the obvious grilled chicken and ground beef to more obscure cactus, Maine lobster, beef brisket and Mexican-style meatballs. Many of these restaurants also offer lettuce cup tacos sans the crunchy shell – if you want to go protein style. What are you waiting for? Ole!
Related: Best Mexican Cuisine
11222 Washington Place
Culver City, CA 90230
This local joint has been making and serving first-class authentic tacos since 1959. The walk-up taco stand’s tacos are made fresh to order, so waiting in line is worth every second. Known for big flavor, a simple menu and easy-on-the-wallet prices, tacos are prepared with shredded beef, grated cheddar cheese (optional) and sliced iceberg lettuce in a freshly-cooked corn taco shell. Tito’s burritos, tamales and enchiladas also do the trick in satisfying any Mexican food craving.
Blue Plate Taco
1515 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
New to Santa Monica, Blue Plate Taco comes from the restaurant team who gave the oceanside town Blue Plate and Blue Plate Oysterette. BP Taco’s So Cal-style tacos are offered with grilled chicken, beef brisket and cabbage, veggies (roasted corn, mushrooms, leeks, kale, goat cheese and truffle oil), grilled shrimp with pepita salsa, lobster with jack cheese and truffle oil, or Chef Niko’s “taco del dia.” The salsa sampler is not to be missed and includes pico de gallo, tomatillo, house ranchero, fresh mango and mojo de ajo.
6627 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
It’s an authentic bienvenidos at Loteria Grill. Tacos here are filled with the grill’s homemade guisos, traditional regional stews that are known and served throughout Mexico. Each option is prepared with a unique blend of ingredients and flavors. Some standouts include the calabacitas made with a vegetarian guiso of zucchini and roasted corn succotash and the albondigas en chipotle made with meatballs in a tomato and chipotle sauce. The cochinita pibil has achiote and citrus-marinated pork slowly roasted in a banana leaf. And the restaurant’s specialty tacos de camarones (shrimp tacos) are pan-seared in one of two sauces, spicy morita salsa or fresh tomatillo salsa.
Gilbert’s El Indio Restaurant
2526 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Even though Gilbert’s hosts Taco Tuesdays, the family-style Mexican food establishment serves traditional tacos every day of the week. In hard or soft shells, taco fillings range from seasoned shredded beef and carnitas to grilled chicken and carne asada. An inexpensive and convenient spot for breakfast, Gilbert’s morning menu is extensive featuring an open-face taco — two eggs on a soft corn tortilla with salsa espanola.
Taqueria Los Anaya
4651 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Run by three brothers, Juan, Manuel and Gerardo Anaya, Taqueria Los Anaya is the heart and soul of traditional Mexican fare. The brothers brought their father’s taqueria concept from Guadalajara to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago, and today the restaurant’s Mexican entrees are consistent in outstanding flavor and fresh ingredients. Taco fillings here are diverse, including nopal (cactus), lengua (beef tongue), adobada (grilled chile-marinated pork), carnitas, pescado (fish with Veracruz cole slaw) and grilled chicken.
Related: Best Fajitas In Los Angeles
Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.