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With the arrival of big tech in neighboring Culver City, West Adams has gone from a small, forgotten, and overlooked community right next to the ten freeway to a destination for young food-obsessed residents and developers alike. While the neighborhood is changing for better or worse, its tacos are holding firm.
Ten years ago, the streets at night were desolate and uninviting. Today, you might need a reservation at some of the new restaurants on West Adams. You can find a brewery hosting an all-vegan pop-up market on Friday nights on Jefferson Boulevard. And all this new growth has also attracted new taco stands to the area. And while most of these newcomers are tech-driven, there's a certain irony to be appreciated in learning that some of these taqueros are still thriving without any social media presence.
Here are the top six tacos that are holding it down in this changing neighborhood.
Considering the recent influx of people and businesses to West Adams, you could argue that Taquería Los Anaya was ahead of its time. The Anaya brothers opened the restaurant over ten years ago, proving serving high-quality food doesn't have to come at a high neighborhood cost. A trio of tacos can come with juicy and seasoned chicken topped with a savory, sweet mole with a bright, lively red salsa. Carne asada is prepared from thick angus steak. And a tender beef Barbacoa can be served with its own salsa and unique garnish. Taquería Los Anaya is one of those rare gems where good tacos are only the introduction to an incredible menu.
4651 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 37 - “Adams/West (westbound)” or "Adams/Buckingham (eastbound)."
While many self-proclaimed taco-eating experts will tell you what a taco should be, Bee Taqueria is here to show you how radically different and still chingón a taco can be. It's an exhibition of the art of the taco as a canvas for flavors, colors, and imagination. This vibrant and colorful taquería serves brilliant culinary splendors on a tortilla and is also home to one of only two famous taco omakases globally. These tacos are an experience that challenges the perception of the tortilla as just a thin, flat, circular vehicle used to eat food. From a brilliant vegan beet taco to a cochinito slow braised pork, these tacos are here to make an impression on your taco preconceptions.
5754 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 37 - “Adams/Thurman” or Bus Lines 38, 105 or 217 - "Fairfax/Adams."
Betos Tacos is a taco truck whose paint job is reminiscent of a radio flyer wagon. It parks at an old public scale used to weigh trucks and cargo, but the load they carry are great-tasting meats on good tortillas during the week. While they offer a variety of delicious proteins like asada, pastor, lengua, and chorizo on weeknights, the soft tacos estilo Guadalajara they serve on the weekends really stand out. Their tacos al vapor served with steamed tortillas and a mix of steamed meats from the cow head, offering a flavorful and textural experience. The gentle taco is a unique find hidden in the backroads of this neighborhood. They're open late at night most nights.
5230 West Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 38 - “Jefferson/Alsace” or Metro E Line and Bus Line 212 - "Expo/La Brea Station."
With the growth of West Adams Boulevard, about half a dozen new taco pop-ups have also moved into the neighborhood in the last several years. But the OGs of West Adams are Tacos El Primo. It's a complete taco stand that starts with an Al pastor Trompo, a pan full of stewing meats, crisp aguas frescas, and a salsa bar as vibrant and spicy as it is tantalizing. The gentlemen from Aguascalientes who man this stand have built a rapport with this community over the last twenty-plus years. It's that rapport that makes this taco experience complete. They've had to move from their original spot due to new construction, so if you don't find them at the address below, they might be nearby. Always drive around a few blocks and they’ll be around. Their only sign is the banter between them and their neighborhood customers.
5004 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 37 or 212 - “Adams/La Brea.”
Weekend mornings are reserved for specialty tacos like Tony's Carnitas in this neighborhood. This carnitas may not be known across the county, but Carnitas Tony is a local legend. If you want to try some of these juicy carnitas, you'll have to get there early, they tend to sell out quickly, and that's without having a social media presence. Only the power of community and good tacos propel whispers about their golden pork through local ears.
2601 Ridgley Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 37 - “Adams/Hauser.”
We will take the jerk-spiced grilled plantain tacos with habanero salsa that Alta Adams offers as an appetizer on their menu as a gesture of respect and acknowledgment to the neighborhood’s Black and Latino working-class roots. They are plant-based and hit the spot to warm your insides before the restaurant’s celebrated dishes, like chef Keith Corbin’s oxtails with rice, and shrimp and grits, arrive at your table. The grilled plantain is sweet, tender, lightly charred, and extra satisfying if you love your food to be a little sweet and spicy. 5359 W. Adams Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA. 90016. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 37 - “Adams/Dunsmuir.” - Javier Cabral