There’s more to Mexican cuisine than burritos, enchiladas and tacos. While those delectables are a mainstay of the culture, there’s a lesser-known assembly called the torta, or sandwich, that deserves far more recognition than it has received in the past. Perhaps it’s because doughy bread, another French-invasion influence, is not often associated with Mexican fare. Those who know good homestyle Mexican cooking are familiar with the heavenly pile up of guacamole, cheese, meat, lettuce and tomato on a bun. Done right and it’s a divine experience. Done wrong and it’s nothing more than a disappointing mess. So if you’re looking for a torta, whether it be your first or one of many, you’ll want to try one of these five places that do it right.
2603 N Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90031
There are right ways to do tortas and wrong ways to do tortas. Wendy’s tortas are definitely done the right way. This dish comes with mayo, lettuce, tomato, beans, chicken, steak, pork, ham or turkey (cheese and guacamole are optional) on a big hot-pressed bun to melt all of the flavors together. If Wendy’s tortas are your first, consider the bar setting and go with the customer’s choice: tortas a la plancha.
14446 Magnolia Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91423
DeliMex on Magnolia Boulevard between Tilden Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard is the place to go for fantastic tortas. A stack of chicken, beef, pork or ham on a toasted French-style roll with lettuce, tomato, onion, thick avocado and whatever else you want; you won’t be disappointed. Another reason why this is a great “first torta” spot is because Abraham’s your man. Tell him what you like and he’ll make sure you’re happy.
16060 Ventura Blvd, Suite 103
Encino, CA 91436
More of a California/Mexican blend than authentic cuisine, nevertheless Cactus Fresh in Encino satisfies your appetite. Perfectly seasoned, charbroiled chicken or steak on a roasted Mexican roll that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, topped with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos; who could say no? Everything is made to order with guaranteed freshness, just like the name implies.
3655 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Don’t let the name fool you. Oaxacalifornia Juice Bar and Ice Cream makes delicious tortas (as well as amazing desserts and drinks). These authentic tortas come on a toasted bolillo with tons of meat, cheese, jalapenos and other toppings that you’ll need two hands to grip. Order the torta de chorizo with a horchata on the side and you’ll make this your regular stop.
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9765 Sierra Ave
Fontana, CA 92335
Tortas Sinaloa is a destination location as it’s located just outside of Los Angeles. But if you’re in the mood for serious combo tortas, this is one trip you’ll want to make. With the varieties and combinations available, exceeding 60 possibilities, everyone can find a torta that suites their taste buds. Tortas Sinaloa has every possible torta you can think of and quite a few you’ve never dreamed of. From jamon to aguacate to the Sinaloa special, there is something here for everyone, even vegetarians.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.