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Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 | 45 comments

Tacolandia: A Gathering of the Best Taquerias in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for many things.

Without doubt, one of those things is Mexican Food.  And, if we are talking about Mexican food we have to talk about the king of that cuisine: the taco.

I read somewhere that Los Angeles is the taco capital of the United States.  After living many years in the city, I have to agree.  I am not saying there are no good taco shops in other parts of the country.  I am just saying that in Los Angeles, you can find 15 to 20 absolutely scrumptious taquerias in a small city block.

Three years ago, Bill Esparza, put together an event where he invited his favorite taco vendors.  He called it Tacolandia and it was a smashing success.

Bill started writing about street food (ok, mostly tacos) in his blog Street Gourmet LA.  With time he rose to notoriety and now writes for publications such as Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly.  He has been named the world’s first “tacorazzo.”

He had appeared in various TV shows (like with Andrew Zimmern), acted as a food critic and judged food related competitions.

I  subestimated the previous two editions of Tacolandia. I tried to buy tickets weeks before the events only to find out they were sold out.

This year, I approached the event differently.  I signed in for the event newsletter and bought my tickets during the pre-sale.

The event had about 80 taco vendors on site (plus tortas, tostadas, churros, burritos, etc.). Well, I got full in only an hour and wasn’t able to try everything. However, what I had was enough to leave with a smile on my lips (and difficulty walking after eating more than 20 tacos).

Here is a look at what I had:

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

IMG_0094

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

Guide to Los Angeles Best Tacos

Eating so many tacos in less than two hours was like being in a dream.

However, the event left us with a cherished treasure.

I am referring to the pocket guide given to attendees (this was supposed to be used to navigate the festival).

Yes, this was useful during the festival but once we were done with the event, we were left with a mini bible of the best tacos of Los Angeles (and beyond!).

Tacolandia, Los Angeles, California

This takes away the hassle of researching the best of the best. Now, we have a huge list of taquerias to visit during the entire year.

For the benefit of the readers of this blog, I used the guide to divide the establishments (and food trucks) by regions.  In that way, if you are visiting Los Angeles and are interested in trying out delicious tacos, you can Google the name of one (or several) of the restaurants located in the area you are visitng.

If a restaurant has more than one location (or if it is a food truck with multiple stops), I repeated the name.

Downtown Los Angeles

Bar Ama – Border Grill – B.S. Taqueria – Chichen Itza – Cielito Lindo – Guerilla Tacos – Kogi – Pez Cantina – Plan Check

Los Angeles Other (West, East, South Central, South Bay)

Bizarra Capital – Burritos La Palma – Carnitas El Momo – El Veneno – Corazón y Miel – Día de los Puercos – Don Chente – El Coraloense – El Tepeyac – Expresión Oaxaqueña- Flautas – Frida Tacos – Gish Bac – Guerilla Tacos – Kaya – Kogi – La Flor de Yucatan – La Monarca Bakery – La Taquiza – Las 7 Regiones de Oaxaca – Las Molenderas – El Cristalazo – Mariscos Jalisco – Mexicali Taco – Moles La Tía – PettyCash Taquería – Puertos del Pacifico – Ricky’s Fish Tacos – Rocio’s Mole de los Dioses – Tacos Cuernavaca – Tacos Quetzalcoatl – Tacos Way – Tamales Elena – Tortas Ahogadas Ameca – Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara – Trejos’s Tacos

Santa Monica

Border Grill – La Monarca Bakery – Tacos Punta Cabras

Hollywood

Rincon Oxaqueño – The Hungry Cat

Pasadena

Cacao Mexicatessen – Frida Tacos

Orange County

Amor y Tacos – Anepalco – Soho Tacos – Sol Cocina – Taco María – Urbana

San Diego

Bracero – Bull Taco – Comun Kitchen – Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company – Puesto – Aquí es Texcoco

Baja

Corazón de Tierra – La Guerrerense – Manzanilla – Mariscos Bahía de Ensenada – Tacos Los Famosos – Kokopelli

Techniques to Tackle an Event like This

In an event with 80 vendors, it is impossible to try everything.  You will need some tactics to eat as much as possible.

–          Some people are not necessarily into eating till they burst.  They are interested in trying some specific establishments.  If this is your interest, determine which taco stops you want to make.  Use the pocket guide to determine where your favorites are located and start to visit one by one.

–          Another technique is to focus on the places you haven’t tried.  In my case, I had tasted the tacos of several of the vendor. Therefore, I focused on trying new vendors.

–          Now, if you want to try as much as possible, I think you have to focus into trying the essence of the taco. That means you will need to eat the filling and discard the tortilla (I know I am going to be unpopular for writing this but it an idea, ask only for the filling).  Believe me, the tortillas are going to fill you pretty fast. Also, since there are tons of food available, you can order one taco per couple at each booth.  Resist the urge to devour everything at the beginning.  Pace yourself.

–          I recommend starting with the vendors located farther from the entrance. People will tend to walk to the closest vendors first.  If you walk to the farthest end, there should be shorter lines.

–          Some vendors only give one taco to a person making the line.  So, the technique of one person grabbing food for the couple or group may not work.  Again, there is too much food to worry about this.

–          Arrive early. These events get really crowded.

–          The most popular vendors are going to run out of food fast.

–          In reality, you do not have to follow any rules or techniques.  Just go and enjoy the event!

Would you like to attend Tacolandia?

Pin it for later?

Guide to the Best Tacos in Los Angeles, California

45 Comments

    • You should sign on for the newsletter in the LA Weekly site. That is the best to get the tickets during the pre-sale. I follow your European trip thru Instagram.

    • Thanks! It tasted better than it looks ;0)

    • Yes, it was good. I have been to other taco festival and they cannot compare to this one. Tacos in Los Angeles are always a good idea.

    • Yes, they were delicious! And, we had the opportunity to try new combinations.

    • I know, so much selection. It is almost impossible not to be hungry after seeing all these photos.

  1. I really need to time my next visit to LA with Tacolandia! Thank you x

    • That would be a good idea. You would love the festival.

    • Sarah,
      If you love Mexican food, you would love Los Angeles. Plus, we are not that far from the Mexican border. The tacos in Baja are even better.

  2. Oh my this looks like a great event! I’m drooling at all the different tacos. French has fabulous food (obviously!) but one cuisine that’s really under represented here is Mexican. In all my years in France I don’t think I’ve ever eaten good Mexican food. I’d love to attend a festival like this.
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted..Guadeloupe: The Caribbean ButterflyMy Profile

  3. Oh my word, Ruth! So incredibly yummy looking! I don’t know how you didn’t make yourself sick with so much incredible food right there in front of you. It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t eaten yet today, but these photos are making my stomach rumble!

    Thank you for joining us for Photo Friday again this week. I so appreciate your participation!
    Jen recently posted..Photo Explorations – Peach Canna LiliesMy Profile

    • I am telling you. It wasn’t easy to walk to the car once we left the event (I couldn’t even drink a drop of water). Thank God we parked very close to the entrance.

    • Ha, ha. I guess that was the objective. Love to write about all the delicious food in Los Angeles.

    • You are right! What is a taco without the sauce? Some of the tacos in here were so good that they didn’t need salsa. However, the savory fillings put together with the sauces were the bomb.

    • Thanks Tasha. Love to prepare posts about food. They are the most fun to put together.

    • Ok, I get it ;0) Now, I want to go to a food festival with you.

  4. Oh my, everything looks so delicious, I got hungry just by looking at your pictures! 🙂

    • Thanks Vlad. If you ever come to Los Angeles, we drive around eating.

  5. I live in New Zealand now and one thing I miss from living in California is Mexican food! This looks like you pay an entrance and than eat free. What a fantastic way to enjoy tacos. Yum. Your photos are fun, and now I am craving tacos.
    #wkendtravelinspiration
    Rhonda Albom recently posted..Interesting Newmarket Sculptures: More Auckland Art for WTIMy Profile

    • Rhonda,
      For this event, you can get tickets for $30-$35 during the pre-sale (they increase after that). That price is very reasonable if you compare to other food festivals that take place in the area ($70-$150). This is an event I fully recommend.

    • Yes, we have tacos in here for all tastes.

    • Oh no Anna! I wish you would have tasted tacos from a real good establishment. Chipotle is not that bad but it is not the real deal.

    • My husband and I joke about the “curse” of living in Los Angeles. The food is so good (specially Mexican or Japanese) that it is difficult to eat in other places without making a comparison.

    • I live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles and the tacos around here are not that good. So, sometimes I miss tacos too. This was my way of satisfying my hunger for them for a long time ;0)

  6. LOOOOOVE Tacos! This would be a good enough reason for me to come to LA… but I’d have to buy a whole new wardrobe at the end!
    Margherita recently posted..Zoo del Pirineu: a PhotostoryMy Profile

    • Ok, I am not going to lie, you will probably will need new clothes after devouring Los Angeles.

  7. very nice food i like it very much specialy TACOOOS.

    • Great that you love tacos. Thanks for stopping by!

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