There are many fantastic tacos in this town, and while much Twitter time has been spent swapping tips on where to get the best al pastor or fish taco, you'd be remiss if you didn't at least occasionally try a taco stuffed full of nothing but vegetables. There are, after all, quite a few places in town where the all-vegetable taco is as good as, if not better, than the meat one. Here are 10 of our favorites. Tweet away.
You likely have a favorite neighborhood taqueria, and if you lived in West Adams, maybe yours would be Taqueria Los Anaya, a terrific spot owned by three brothers. You can order a great cactus taco here, topped with chunks of tomato and cheese, or one that's listed on the menu simply as a “vegetarian taco,” which would essentially be a filling mix of grilled peppers, onions and cheese. Whatever your filling of choice, you'll have it a freshly made corn tortilla that's easily one of the best in town. 4651 W. Adams Blvd., L.A.; (323) 731-4070.
Assuming you can contend with The Grove's traffic and current holiday decorations, maybe one of the most enjoyable spots to have lunch would be at Loteria Grill's stall in the Original Farmers Market, where you can have your pick from four vegetarian-friendly tacos fillings. There is, for example, a solid papa con rajas (potatoes and roasted poblano peppers with a salsa verde) or, better, a taco filled with mushrooms and epazote. If you're particularly carb-conscious, you can swap out the terrific handmade tortilla for a lettuce cup wrap. 6333 W. 3rd St., L.A., (323) 930-2211; 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 465-2500; 12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 508-5300; 1251 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, (310) 393-2700; 180 Promenade Way #I5, Thousand Oaks, (805) 379-1800.
8. Mondo Taco
The taco as setting for a culinary mashup is an idea we've seen many times over now, though perhaps nowhere with as much verve than at Mondo Taco. After all, the restaurant's slogan is “tacos without borders,” meaning you'd find a taco called Viet Yum (filled with grilled shrimp, lime, chili sesame oil) on the menu, plus another one called the Yo Adrian (rib eye, peppers, onions, provolone). A good part of the menu is dedicated to vegetarian fillings, including several with fake meats. The real standout, though, is the Garlic Bomb, stuffed with heaps of sautéed sliced mushrooms and topped with goat cheese, crispy onions and generous squeezes of garlic aioli. The deliciously thick, chewy homemade tortilla will prevent the taco from falling apart, but likely someone will offer you a fork anyway. You'd be wise to take it. 1292 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; (323) 939-0161.
Among the many things Sky's Gourmet Tacos does well — great fish tacos, terrific homemade tortillas, an addicting house lemonade — is a vegetarian taco. Several of them, in fact, as Sky's has a separate menu just for vegetarians and vegans, and while you can't really go wrong ordering a taco filled with tofu or black beans and topped with the restaurant's signature “sassy sauce,” the one that's really worth coming back to time and time again might be the wild rice and yam taco. This would be taco filled with wild rice; slices of sweet yam; raisins and toasted almonds, all draped in that lovely sauce. It's perhaps an unlikely combination, but it absolutely works. 5408 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; (323) 932-6253.
There are lots of reasons to go to Tacos Punta Cabras: Because more often than not, you'll find the television tuned to a hockey game. Because out of all the places to eat in Santa Monica, this is probably the one you'll return to the most. And because of those tofu tacos. These would be lovely, delicate pieces of fried tofu nestled in a freshly made tortilla and topped with crema and slaw; three or four bites, and it'll be gone. Thus it'll be completely understandable if you go back and order a second or third taco, but you also might want to save a little room: That cauliflower tostado is pretty great, too. 2311 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 917-2244.
5. El Chato
If you've ever faced the unpleasant task that is driving across town at 6 p.m. on a weekday, you'll know the insanity of rush traffic that is Olympic Blvd. and La Brea. By 9 p.m., though, the intersection has calmed, and most of the energy flows towards the southwest corner where El Chato parks nightly. The bright white truck, with light bulbs hanging on its trim like ornaments, attracts quite a crowd, most of whom are there for a quesadilla or al pastor taco. The vegetarian taco, though, is alone worth the visit: Two tortillas, edges crisped, are slathered with a thin layer of beans — there's also a few kernels of corn in there, if you look — and topped with heaping spoonfuls of rice, grilled onions and shredded cheese. You'll be handed your meal on a paper plate decorated with a side of sliced cucumbers, radishes and a wedge of lime. Put it all together, and this is a taco much, much greater than the sum of its parts. On the corner of Olympic Blvd. and La Brea Ave., L.A.
Sure, there are better foods to fry than an avocado, but maybe you'll make an exception for the terrific aguacate frito taco at Cacao Mexicatessen. Here, sliced avocado is lightly battered in panko, fried and topped with pico de gallo, aioli japones and cabbage; it's about as satisfying as a great fish taco, and then some. Cacao Mexicatessen also has several other great vegetable-focused tacos; try, say, the corn truffle taco with huitlacoche and corn. 1576 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; (323) 478-2791.
Colonia Taco Lounge has a chalkboard menu full of excellent tacos, but the one you'll want to order whether you're a vegetarian or not is the cauliflower taco. It will arrive, as all tacos do here, on a small plate reminiscent of your childhood Frisbee; there, a beautifully pliable tortilla filled with tender florets of cauliflower, perfectly battered and fried, is topped with a smear of crema and a touch of salsa. Colonia Taco Lounge has other great vegetarian options, like the chayote taco filled with zucchini, corn and cheese, but it's the crunchy cauliflower that ultimately will inspire you back to go back to the counter to order another. And another. 13030 E. Valley Blvd., La Puente; (626) 363-4691.
Guisados has been serving up wonderful tacos for some time now, tacos filled with all sorts of stewed and braised meats and vegetables that are nestled on thick, freshly pressed tortillas. The calabacitas (squash) and hongos con cilantro (mushroom) tacos in particular will make anyone, carnivore and vegetarian alike, more than happy, though your best bet probably would be to ask for a sampler plate of just the vegetarian options. And maybe throw in a quesadilla and horchata for good measure. 2100 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., L.A., (323) 264-7201; 1261 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A., (213) 250-7600.
Wes Avila makes some of the best tacos in the city at his Guerrilla Tacos truck, filling them with ingredients that follow the seasons as faithfully as your favorite farm-to-table restaurant. The difference, of course, is the setting: You're well outside four walls here, eating curbside under the pale yellow of the December sun. The menu changes weekly, if not daily; recently, the menu included a taco with turnip greens, cashews and a fiery tomato-habanero chili. Guerrilla Tacos usually parks outside Handsome Coffee Roasters and Cognoscenti Coffee, meaning you can end your meal of tacos with a great cup of coffee. Now, that's fine dining. Check Guerrilla Tacos's Facebook page for locations and times; (818) 640-3033.
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