Grab Some Friends For A DIY Taco Crawl In The Arts District (2024)

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IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Ditroit Taqueria
  • Chuy's Tacos Dorados
  • Guerrilla Tacos
  • Don Pollón
  • LOQUI

Making various stops around the Arts District lately, I noticed something.
There’s a bevy of taco spots touting different regional takes. And it dawned on me — it would make a a great opportunity for a DIY taco crawl with friends.

There's a little bit of everything here, from some of the best crunchy tacos in Los Angeles to a hidden taco window serving one of the city’s best Mexican restaurants.

All these spots are located within the confines of the Arts District neighborhood, making them easily accessible for a quick bite or a taco tour.

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Ditroit Taqueria

For years, we’ve heard tales of the magnificence of Ditroit Taqueria, the window behind the equally excellent Damian, owned by chef Enrique Olivera and Casamata. (The walk-up window is hidden beyond a parking lot and just a short walk from Maru Coffee.) It was a long-awaited moment when I finally made the trek out there for lunch, and the experience did not disappoint. It provides the same flair that one might find at its upscale sister restaurant, but in taco form.

When we visited, we tried the suadero taco, similar to brisket. It was one of the finest examples of this cut that we’ve come across after falling in love with it during a trip to Mexico City. Think a slightly confit protein dripping with flavor. Another favorite at Ditroit is the vegetarian Japanese eggplant taco: The eggplant is cut lengthwise and topped with thinly sliced cabbage, a light smattering of pico de gallo, and cream as if to resemble a fish taco. Genius.

Location: 2117 Violet St., Los Angeles
Hours: Wednesday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.

Chuy's Tacos Dorados

Located on a busy section of Willow Street with tough-to-find parking, Chuy’s Tacos Dorados is worth coughing up the $5 for the private lot parking. (If you're feeling lucky you can double park and get it to go, as I saw many do.)

Regardless of how you get there, you’ll soon be rewarded with crunchy taco bliss. Individually wrapped in foil, these hard shell tacos are loaded with your choice of protein. This time around, we opted for the fried beef and the carne molina, made with fried potato and ground beef with chipotle.

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The tacos are filled with shredded lettuce along with a heap of golden yellow grated cheese and then topped with skinny slices of white onion that have been pickled with lime. After showering the taco with some salsa and a devil-may-care attitude, take your bite. What occurs next is the shattering of the fried tortilla, and a shifting of tectonic plates inside of your mouth which quake with flavor.

Location: 1335 Willow St., Los Angeles
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Guerrilla Tacos

Stopping by Guerrilla Tacos while visiting the Arts District is almost synonymous with taking Fountain Avenue to get to Hollywood. We’d be fools if we didn’t include this temple to Alta-Baja cuisine founded by chef Wes Avila and these days helmed by Brittney Valles and her partner and head chef, Crystal Espinoza.

Grab a seat at the bar, which boasts an array of mezcal offerings. There are plenty of options to choose from between their OG tacos menu and seasonal offerings. But if you've never been here before, start out with the classics.

Much has been said about the sweet potato taco at Guerrilla, as it might be one of L.A.'s most lauded dishes. Made with a blue corn tortilla filled with small chunks of sweet potato, cooked with chewy bits of fried corn kernels, fresh crumbles of feta cheese, and an almond and cashew salsa, it always delights the senses. Another favorite is the picadillo pocho taco. (The term “pocho” refers to a person of Mexican descent who has become assimilated and doesn’t speak Spanish.)

It's filled with wild boar picadillo, potatoes, peas, and carrots. The taco is an excellent example of what GT does best: elevating Mexican American comfort food and giving it the full respect it deserves.

Location: 2000 E. 7th St., Los Angeles
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.

Don Pollón

Just a few steps away from Ditroit Taqueria is Don Pollön, which begs the question: What goes great with a plate of tacos? Answer: a side of ribs. In addition to specializing in Tijuana-style tacos, DP gets down with some serious grilled meats. With locations in East Los Angeles off Atlantic and a truck parked on Santa Fe, diners can feast on ribs, pollo asado, or even bone marrow, making for the best taco topping you’ve probably never heard of.

Try any of their signature sauces, consisting of barbecue habanero and even an exquisite peanut salsa reminiscent of the flavor of Filipino peanut stew known as kare-kare. Upping the ante is their fiery red salsa, which brings a rush of heat and will have you devouring your taco in just a few bites before you go back for more. The tacos themselves are perfect in size, not too big or too small, fitting perfectly into your hand, filled with your choice of chorizo or al pastor. And they contain the proper amount of bark from time spent on that open mesquite grill.

Location: 900 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles
Hours: Check Instagram stories

LOQUI

LOQUI was started by two ex-employees of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. It now has locations in Playa Vista, Culver City, and the Arts District. The walk-up counter is tucked away near Kreation Juicery, just past the landscaped outdoor area where you place your order. The taco comes with your choice of corn or flour tortillas. We love the variety and are partial to the flavor of tortillas.

The sumptuous vegetarian options, specifically the Anaheim chile taco with a cheese crust known as “costra,” are perfectly layered with pinto beans, guacamole, white onion, cilantro, and red salsa. After taking a bite of this taco, it feels like the taco gods are smiling back at you.

Location: 803 Traction Ave., #150, Los Angeles
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Do you have a question about food in LA — or something you want to tell us about?

Gab Chabrán reports and edits stories about food and its place in LA's diverse cultures and communities. Curious about a specific regional cuisine or have a recommendation for a hole-in-the-wall you love? Are you looking for the best place to take your kid for lunch? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line.

Grab Some Friends For A DIY Taco Crawl In The Arts District (2024)

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