If there’s one thing most Angelenos can agree on, it’s tacos. Yes, they’re delicious. Yes, our city has the best ones outside of Mexico. And yes, we want some right now. Taco stands, taco trucks and taquerias are so ubiquitous here, we can take them for granted and simply favor whichever tacos are the shortest distance from our mouths.
It's only when we require a more specific taco fix — a particular region's taco, a well-seasoned pastor, the spiciest salsa roja or the cheapest price — that it's time to consult a list.
If your taco needs currently include getting the most bang for your buck, try some of the these $1 taco deals (not $1.25, and definitely not $5) to get your money's worth. (But don't be stingy…share your favorite spot for $1 tacos in the comments too!) Now that the price is right, we can all focus on the big taco questions, like, is it really a cheap meal if you can’t stop ordering more tacos, and does piling on the onions and cilantro count as a salad?
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Wednesdays, on a busy stretch of Whittier Boulevard in East L.A., there is usually a line that forms for Tacos Baja Ensenada's 99-cent fish tacos. People crowd into this neighborhood classic (even the rest of the week when the tacos are $1.75) for these tacos, loaded up with battered fish and slaw. For even more flavor and value, grab a whole chile amarillo from the condiment bar; the roasted yellow pepper adds a spicy, fresh zing to the meal. There are baggies to accommodate the folks taking home handfuls of peppers at a time. 5385 Whittier Blvd., East Los Angeles. (323) 887-1980.
La Reyna Taco Stand
On the corner of Mateo and 7th Street, this pop-up taco stand (with its own spinning pastor trompo) slings $1 tacos every night outside of La Reyna, an old school downtown Mexican restaurant. Its mini tacos — which include cabeza, buche, carne asada and al pastor — come naked, but the salsa bar here is a major highlight. 5pm-midnight. 2000 E 7th St, Downtown Arts District.
This Korean restaurant and lounge shows sports television during the day and music videos at night and offers a $1 “beef taco” deal all day on Tuesdays. The menu features short rib and pork belly tacos, which will set you back $4.95 for a set, but Taco Tuesday only applies to the carne asada tacos, diced and topped with a salsa spicier than most Mexican restaurants'. 3470 W 6th St. Ste 8B, Koreatown. (213) 383-0180.
El Chato Taco Truck
At 9 p.m. every night Tuesday through Saturday, a line begins to form at the unassuming intersection of Olympic and La Brea for the fresh and carefully crafted $1 tacos from this late-night truck. The thorough taco menu includes asada, pastor, pollo, chorizo, lengua, cabeza, buche, tripe and bean and cheese. There's no condiment bar, and the tacos come already garnished. 5300 W Olympic Blvd, Mid-Wilshire. (323) 202-6936.
El Huarache Azteca
Some of the tacos at this long-standing neighborhood spot have gone up to $1.50, like the flor de calabaza (squash blossoms) and the tripe. But most tacos are still $1, like the cabeza and chorizo. Tacos here are served with fresh red onion and cilantro, and you can add more toppings at the full salsa bar. The juices and licuados are a big draw too, if you want a fresh drink to wash down your thrifty meal. 5225 York Blvd., Highland Park, (323) 478-9572.
The love for the original Tacos Leo truck at La Brea and Venice spawned a second truck now purveying tacos to thrilled fans in Echo Park. Catch this truck evenings in the car wash parking lot at the corner of Glendale and Temple. The al pastor cut to order from the spit with pineapple sliced on top is a crowd favorite here. 415 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park.
Candela Taco Bar and Lounge
This casual bar expands into the nightclub next door, run by the same owners, to accommodate the crowd for the $1 tacos special on Wednesdays (usually $2.25-$2.75, excludes seafood). Try the carnitas with nopales (a rare find in L.A.!) and the popular hard shell potato and cheese, one of several vegetarian options. Be sure to check the taco of the month as well. 831 S. La Brea Ave, Mid-Wilshire. (323) 936-0533.
The cozy bar and patio here provides just enough street view to people watch on Hollywood Boulevard, and the generously filled and tender meat tacos hit the spot while you throw back drinks. Carnitas, chicken, veggie and pastor tacos are $1 each on Tuesdays with a drink order. 6541 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood. (323) 960-2404.
Kay 'N Dave's Cantina
This westside restaurant has three locations, but only the Culver City spot offers a daily happy hour with $1 mini tacos. The special applies to carnitas and chicken tacos with cilantro and onions as well as the veggie tacos, made with zucchini, mushrooms, and cabbage. Enjoy street-food prices while sipping a margarita and relaxing on the patio under Jacaranda trees in downtown Culver City. 4-7pm. 9341 Culver Blvd., Culver City. (310) 558-8100.
This casual taco shack has an epic special on Tuesdays and Fridays featuring all sorts of mini hard and soft-shell tacos. There are a variety of filling options for $1, including chorizo, lengua, traditional al pastor and asada, which can be had either Mexican or “American” style, the latter of which comes on a soft flour tortilla topped with orange cheese and iceberg lettuce. Get a crispy taco filled with shredded beef, chick or potato for only $1 too. (An extra buck will get you even more options, like Ensenada-style fried fish and grilled mushrooms with pico de gallo.) 2801 East 10th Street, Long Beach. (562) 434-9600.