The 12 Greatest Taco Spots in Coastal LA

Let’s Taco ‘Bout It

With the weather finally starting to heat up in Southern California, Angelenos everywhere are looking forward to enjoying the sunshine and blue skies that we’re famous for. Plus, what better way to do that than with a taco and margarita in hand? LA is famous for having a diverse and rich restaurant scene, but nothing seems to have as strong of a hold on LA food culture than the simple yet timeless taco. From the freshest fish tacos to carnitas that will make you drool, we have you covered with LA’s hottest taco destinations. Best Tacos Los Angeles


1 | Lanea

Must-Order Taco: Camaron con Mango

Located in the heart of Santa Monica, Lanea offers delicious, handcrafted cocktails and small bites at prices that are unheard of for the area. Their shrimp tacos are topped with mango so fresh that you’ll think it came straight off the tree, and best off all, they’re only $3.25 per taco! Pair it with their Watermelon Sugar High cocktail and drift off into a blissful paradise.

Local Insight: Lanea offers an unreal deal on to-go cocktails that you won’t want to miss. Order four cocktails to go for only $20 and enjoy sipping by the beach!

Location: Santa Monica 

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2 | Pancho’s Restaurant Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Tacos de Pollo al Pastor

Panchos in Manhattan Beach is a popular restaurant in a historic location. They are best known for their more traditional dishes, such as their carnitas birria tacos. With recipes that have been passed down through generations, patrons of Pancho’s will be in for a real treat as they experience the care and time that is put into each dish at this iconic LA restaurant.

Local Insight: Panchos in Manhattan Beach is one of the best-known and oldest landmarks in Los Angeles.

Pancho’s Restaurant
Location: Manhattan Beach 

3 | La Cabana Venice Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Crispy Chicken Tacos

At La Cabana in Venice, diners will feel as though they have been transported to an actual restaurant in Mexico. From the decor to the true art of Mexican cuisine, La Cabana does cooking right with fresh ingredients and timeless recipes. Their crispy chicken tacos are both substantial and tasty, leaving you wanting more and more. With a menu that keeps it simple, it is the perfect place to satisfy a hearty craving and fill your belly. Even their chips and salsa are a game changer!

Local Insight: La Cabana has been serving Angelenos since 1963, making it a true LA classic!

La Cabana Venice
Location: Venice 


4 | Blue Plate Taco

Must-Order Taco: Lobster Tacos

For those looking for a more upscale experience, Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica is an unbeatable option. With views of the Santa Monica Pier and ocean, Blue Plate Taco gives customers a true taste of that local life in Santa Monica. Their menu has some unconventional and unique items, such as the divine lobster tacos drizzled with truffle oil—um, yum. Though it is a bit pricier, it makes for the perfect date spot or celebration.

Local Insight: Rather than ordering margaritas by the glass, decide on a flavor with your friends and go for a pitcher! Not only will your thirst be quenched, but you’ll also save money in the long run.

Blue Plate Taco
Location: Santa Monica 


5 | Tacolicious Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Fried Avocado Taco

Since it seems now more than ever people follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s always refreshing to find new dining options that cater to any and all dietary needs. At Tacolicious in Manhattan Beach, patrons can be comforted by the fact that sustainability and “going green” are huge priorities for the restaurant. There are also tons of options for all veggie lovers out there, including their fried avocado taco. 

Location: Manhattan Beach


6 | El Cholo Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Filet Mignon Tacos

With recipes that were created all the way back in 1923, it is no wonder how El Cholo has managed to thrive as a beloved neighborhood spot for so many years. Their filet mignon tacos are a local favorite, and you can never go wrong with one of their famous margaritas. Located just a few blocks up from Ocean Ave, El Cholo has a beautiful patio full of lush greenery, giving customers a tranquil atmosphere as they indulge and enjoy.

El Cholo
Location: Santa Monica + multiple locations  


7 | Tocaya Organica

Must-Order Taco: Chicken Tinga Cali Tacos

If you’re craving tacos without the heaviness, Tocaya Organica is the spot for you. Their bowls and tacos are all light and fresh, satisfying your craving without leaving you feeling overindulgent. Their Chicken Tinga Cali tacos have a bit of kick, making them the perfect meal to pair with a fruity margarita or agua fresca. Also, don’t miss out on their guac and plantain chips—you’ll never want a regular tortilla chip again!

Tocaya Organica
Location: El Segundo, Playa Vista, Santa Monica, Venice + various locations 


8 | Fish Grill Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Salmon Tacos

Obviously, one would expect Fish Grill in Malibu to serve some of the best crispy fish tacos out there. While those are to die for (along with the killer view of the Malibu pier and waves), Fish Grill’s true gem of an item is their set of salmon tacos. They give the light and refreshing touch that one craves when ordering fish tacos, but the flavor is more vibrant and satisfying. Fish Grill is the perfect place to post up on PCH, have a beer and settle into the laid-back lifestyle that is Malibu.

Fish Grill
Location: Malibu + various locations 


9 | La Isla Bonita Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Surf and Turf Taco

Combining the quality of seafood and the convenience of a food truck is not an easy feat. However, La Isla Bonita has accomplished just that. With tasty options like their surf and turf taco, which combines steak and shrimp and is masterfully paired with various flavors and toppings, customers are sure to walk away both impressed and satisfied. La Isla Bonita’s menu is also far more creative than the average food truck, showcasing items like aguachile oysters and scallop tacos. While seafood tends to be more expensive than other kinds of meat, La Isla Bonita keeps the quality high and the prices low!

La Isla Bonita
Location: Venice 


10 | Riviera Mexican Grill

Must-Order Taco: Vegan Tacos

Riviera Mexican Grill, also known as “The Riv” by locals, has been serving the citizens of Redondo Beach since 1996. While many obsess over their grilled soft tacos, Riviera’s vegan tacos have also made their mark—even on those who eat meat. Their molcajete salsa has the perfect amount of spice, adding a rich and savory flavor to the veggies inside their famous flour or corn tortillas.

Riviera Mexican Grill
Location: Redondo Beach 


11 | Teddy’s Red Tacos Best Tacos Los Angeles

Must-Order Taco: Birria tacos with cheese

Over the last year, birria tacos seem to have taken the world by storm. The juicy and savory combo is almost too good to be true, but thanks to Teddy’s Red Tacos, it is a delicious reality. This Venice staple has brought joy to countless people who flock to taco stands for the best birria tacos in town. With prices that will blow your mind and quality that will leave you craving another order of cheesy, juicy goodness, Teddy’s is the perfect spot to grab lunch for a day on the boardwalk.

Teddy’s Red Tacos
Location: various


12 | El Primo Tacos

Must-Order Taco: Asada Taco

With an abundance of food trucks filling the streets of Los Angeles, it can be overwhelming when deciding which ones to try. El Primo Tacos, however, is one food truck that is certain to deliver. Located in Venice, El Primo Tacos creates mouthwatering, authentic street tacos that will bring any Californian to their knees. While we all like to get fancy every once in a while, there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned, finger linckin’ asada taco that is guaranteed to hit the spot.

El Primo Tacos
Location: Venice 

About the author

Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.


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