The Seven Best Tacos in El Monte ~ L.A. TACO

Despite being a predominantly Latino town with a working-class majority, El Monte, a big suburb with a population of 115,000, hardly gets the respect it deserves. Surprisingly, few people know about it.

In the midst of 2020, there were many ways in which socialization took place. During the pandemic, vendors who sold various Mexican regional snacks and miscellaneous trinkets, including churros, were present. It is safe to say that during the peak of the pandemic, there were no taco stands in Central South or East L.A. That could rival the ones found at the intersection of Garvey and Valley between the Five Points. We experienced a taco renaissance of all sorts in El Monte in 2020.

After the city’s code enforcement started to clamp down on street vendors, causing at least one confrontation to escalate, numerous vendors vanished, similar to the girl at the 7th grade summer camp whom I was too timid to approach, but before I could make an attempt with every single one.

The type of individual, that individual. The “Hey friend, inform me of a great location to discover a delicious taco.” I am that individual. In this city, I have feasted upon tacos or burritos at approximately 35-40 distinct establishments throughout the course of many years. When it comes to tacos, I possess knowledge on the subject, but I don’t intend to come across as arrogant.

And they could be correct. Montero’s beloved small family-owned restaurant, a random one, excluding the crucifixion, I am likely to leave out that knowledge with this piece of writing as a lifelong Montero.

Therefore, after considering all the introductory information, here are my top seven taco places in El Monte.


This dog-friendly 4:20-themed taqueria has one of the most eclectic menus I’ve seen. Their aguas frescas and aguas horchata-like drinks are just as creative as traditional ones, with revolving changes to the menu. They even have Tacos Friendly Dog, which includes tacos with ground turkey and fish (for Firulais). Aside from traditional taqueria meats, you can also get tacos with scallops, Korean BBQ duck, lobster, and calamari. They offer several veggie options as well.

The location of the Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang is 10021 Valley Blvd., El Monte, CA 91731. The closest Metro lines and stop are Bus Lines 76 or 267 – “Valley/Baldwin.”

Tacos Del Chino

Although I’ve had good buche and cabeza, the correct call here is really the asada and tripas. This place doesn’t need slickly edited videos to prove itself worthy of being called one of El Monte’s best tacos, according to locals. Tacos Del Chino on Durfee Ave. Has little-to-no presence on social media. It should not be mistaken for the other Tacos Del Chino that might appear on Yelp.

2600 Durfee Avenue, El Monte, California 91732.

Karina’s Tacos

The taco tripas at Karina’s are undoubtedly a clean-up hitter, making sure to order them well doraditas. But Karina’s has a strong batting order from top to bottom. The modern-day taco truck must have a self-promoting, eye-catching exterior, which is lacking in the drab El Monte South factory district where it is nestled.

2025 Durfee Avenue is located in South El Monte, CA 91733. The closest Metro line and stop is Bus Line 287 – “Tyler/Rush.”.


Xecora is a tastefully-decorated setting, perfect for a casual afternoon date, where you can sip on your Tayau cocktail (made with habanero, mezcal, pineapple, and smoked) while you wait for your plate of charbroiled octopus or lilikoi ceviche. The marlin tacos are typically a hit or miss, but regardless, I must order two. But the dish that has always been my go-to is the Sinaloense ceviche, which is a perfectly-rationed nugget of joy. Xecora offers thoughtfully crafted cocktails and aguas frescas, making it a delightfully creative and Huichol-inspired cuisine. They have a lot to offer.

11583 Lower Azusa Rd. El Monte, CA 91732. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Lines 268 or 287 – “Santa Anita/Lower Azusa.”.

Los Palomos

Despite facing significant obstacles in various locations, the street vendors managed to relocate their sizzling al pastor trompo and handmade tortillas to different places a few times. However, it is still unclear whether they are obligated to adhere to the enforcement code of the city at Five Points. In 2021, two of their employees were arrested following a viral scuffle on the sidewalk of Valley Blvd, which occurred during the aforementioned crackdown on street vendors in the center of Los Palomos.

11907 Valley Boulevard, El Monte, California 91732.

Angel’s Tijuana Tacos

When I was thinking of making a list of the best tacos in Monte El, I wanted to avoid places with several locations in the LA-area, as this relative newcomer, Tacos Tijuana Angel’s, highlights the consistent quality of El Taco Pastor in town.

Note that the new truck is now permanently located at the intersection of Rd. Peck, after months of relocating from the sidewalk to the sidewalk.

2800 Peck Rd. El Monte, CA 91732. Nearest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 287 – “Tyler/Garvey.”.

Birrieria Calvillo Aguascalientes

These days, you can find a taco place on your Instagram Reels that offers a damn good and flavorful Aguascalientes-style consome and a spicy taco that will scare away your hangover. They offer friendly service at this trendy spot, which isn’t the type of place that serves the Cheeto-stuffed quesatacos or whatever taco trend you see on Instagram. This shop, run by a mom and pop in the Aguascalientes estilo, serves excellent birria de chivo and res tacos. It’s a must-include in any respectable tacos list.