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10 Best Tacos in Los Angeles

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Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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click to enlarge The sampler plate at Guisados - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • The sampler plate at Guisados
4. Guisados
Guisados opened in Boyle Heights just under four years ago, but it has become such an integral part of our taco landscape that it feels like we’ve been eating here for far longer than that. At Guisados, thick, thick corn tortillas are filled with homey, richly braised and stewed meats and vegetables; of note, especially for those who tend to be either paralyzed by choice or inspired by it, is Guisados’s equivalent of a greatest hits album: a sampler plate of six miniature tacos for you to compare and contrast. Likely you’ll find a favorite amongst these, whether it be the lovely steak picado with peppers or the tinga de pollo or something else entirely. There are, of course, more tacos on the menu than will be represented on your sampler plate, but when and if you decide to give the others a try, rest assured that everything else on the Gusiados catalog is pretty damn great, too. 2100 East Cesar E Chavez Ave., L.A., (323) 264-7201; 1261 W Sunset Blvd., L.A., (213) 250-7600.

click to enlarge Cauliflower taco at Colonia Taco Lounge - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Cauliflower taco at Colonia Taco Lounge
3. Colonia Taco Lounge
Colonia Taco Lounge is right off a stretch of the 605 where the transmission towers that dot the landscape like a row of Iron Giants may or may not affect your reception of the L.A. Kings game on AM radio. But then you’ll exit the freeway, and not much further from where you may see someone riding a horse past a car dealership, you’ll arrive at Colonia Taco Lounge, easily one of the best places in town to watch a game, hockey or otherwise; eat a few tacos; and drink things like margaritas and Allagash Whites on draft. Because the tacos and the drinks here are very, very good; take, for instance, the cauliflower taco, with beautifully battered florets, or the fascinating take on the shrimp taco, where the shrimp is sautéed with aji and served on a bed of creamy rice. The tortillas, too, are terrific, all paired specifically with their fillings: homemade thick-ish corn ones for the guisados; thinner, chewy flour ones for most everything else. The tacos are served individually on colorful plates reminiscent of small Frisbees, which is sort of the point: this is a fun place to have great tacos. Score. 13030 E. Valley Blvd., La Puente; (626) 363-4691.

click to enlarge Fish tacos at Ricky's Fish Tacos - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Fish tacos at Ricky's Fish Tacos
2. Ricky's Fish Tacos
If you haven’t been to Ricky’s Fish Tacos in, oh, say, the last six months, you might be surprised to find that Ricky Pina is now (thankfully) back on his old location on Virgil, between Sunset Boulevard and SQIRL and, more importantly, has seriously switched up his hardware. Gone are the two shallow fryers that he McGyvered into a taco stand; in their place, a bona fide taco truck that’s the size of a family RV, which makes sense: what else are L.A. taco lovers if not family? Significantly, his tacos did not suffer in the upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0; the shrimp and especially the fish remain as fantastic as ever, both coated in a thick, flavorful batter, then doused in the fryer; they emerge with delicate crunch and are served on a tortilla showered with slaw and a drizzle of pico de gallo. See? It's the same taco you remember, except it's now on wheels. And quite possibly rolling up to a curb near you. 1400 Virgil Ave., L.A. Check Ricky's Twitter feed for days and times.

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