Looking for taco joints around UCLA?

by Chloe Chang

Los Angeles has always been a city that has loved tacos, and rightfully so. The taco joints have grown with the city and have fed generations of families. With a multitude of restaurants scattered around the neighborhood—from the TikTok viral spots to hidden locations that only locals know about—how will UCLA students know where to stop by to get their weekly dose of tacos? If you are ever on the lookout for taco joints nearby and in the general Los Angeles area then this article will have you covered, featuring both on and off-campus locations for your cravings!


Type of Taco Joint: Food Truck
Location: Cudahy, CA but check out their Instagram for pop-ups!
Average Price per Meal: One Meal Swipe
Links: @perro_110 (Instagram + TikTok)

By far one of the most popular food trucks at UCLA, Perro has been a campus favorite for students both on and off the Hill for the past two years. Perro is popular both at UCLA—serving a high of 541 tacos in four hours—and within the Los Angeles community, as exhibited by their accumulation of 15.2k followers on TikTok. When asked what makes their food unique from other taco joints, owner Luis Garcia stated, “Everything is quality. We don’t cheat, and we got the best. The meat is top quality—clean-cut. The beans used are the most expensive beans. All veggies are fresh, and with the guac, we only sprinkle some sea salt. We don’t mix anything else. And the tortilla…I don’t gotta tell you guys.” As a family business, the tortillas are handmade by Garcia’s mother and imported from Tijuana weekly. If you haven’t already gone, this is a spot you must try out; you might just find yourself at Perro multiple times a week.

Savage Tacos

Type of Taco Joint: Food Truck
Location: Long Beach
Average Price per Meal: One Meal Swipe
Links: @savagetacostruck (Instagram)

Another favorite is Savage Tacos. Gaining recognition for their quality and fresh ingredients, they were invited to serve the UCLA community early last school year. As a Black-owned business, the Savage Tacos truck has one of the most unique concepts: they serve tacos with universal tastes, featuring flavors from the United States, Mexico, Jamaica and Korea. Popular for being a quick grab before class, Savage Tacos allows for students to try unique flavor combinations. For one meal swipe, students are able to pick three tacos of their choice with a side of garlic fries. UCLA is known for providing many vegan options to accommodate all dietary needs of their students and this truck is no exception, serving vegan carnitas tacos with seasoned jackfruit. Additionally, Savage Tacos supports many great communities such as the LGBTQ+ community, the Black Lives Matter movement and the homeless population in Long Beach. If you want to support a great cause while indulging in tasty tacos, this is the spot for you.

Tacos 1986

Type of Taco Joint: Restaurant (No Seating)
Location: Westwood
Average Price per Meal: $12
Links: @tacos1986la (Instagram)

Famous for being the spot President Biden visited on October 13th of this year, Tacos 1986 is famous for its Tijuana-style street food. With both of their owners Victor Delgado and Jorge Alvarez growing up in Tijuana, there is no doubt that their tacos are authentic in their taste. In 2019, Tacos 1986 was ranked in the top 16 best restaurants in America by The Eater. Their must-try items are their Adobada and Hongos tacos. If you want to try something more unique, ask for the Perrón—their off-menu item. With generous serving portions, people flock from all over Los Angeles to taste their tacos and quesadillas. If you want to try President Biden’s order, head over to their Westwood location and ask for their chicken quesadillas. You won’t be disappointed.

Pinches Tacos

Type of Taco Joint: Restaurant
Location: Westwood
Average Price per Meal: $9
Links: @pinches_tacos (Instagram)

One of the older taco spots on this list is Pinches Tacos. Having opened 15 years ago, Pinches is a family-owned and operated taco joint with four locations in Los Angeles and three in Las Vegas. The Westwood location has been open for six years. Priding themselves on their ability to blend in with the neighborhoods and locations they cater to, Pinches has a very welcoming ambiance to their restaurant. When asked what is special about Pinches, owner Miguel Anaya answered, “We use high-quality meats and authentic recipes from Jalisco. Everything is made fresh and by hand, including the tortillas. To put in the words of a student who came in the other day about our food, ‘It feels like someone’s mom is cooking for us.’” He and his brother Fernando are both UCLA alumni, so they received a 10% discount. Another exclusive offer they have is the Pinches Student combo which is available to all UCLA students. Visit Pinches Tacos if you are looking for a comfort meal while also supporting UCLA alumni!

Brothers Cousins Tacos

Type of Taco Joint: Taco Stand (No Seating)
Location: Sawtelle
Average Price per Meal: $8
Links: @brotherscousinstacos

Compared to other locations mentioned above, this one is the furthest from UCLA; however, it is definitely worth the hassle. The burritos have a huge portion size and the tacos, despite being bite-sized, are very affordable, allowing you to try a multitude of meats and different cuts. You cannot go wrong with this food truck. They are best known for their Al Pastor tacos with pineapple chunks, which offer a sweet and savory flavor combination. Additionally, their toppings and sauces are all self-serve at the end, allowing visitors to cater to their own tastes. If you visit, remember to bring cash as they do not accept Apple Pay or credit cards. The Brothers Cousins Taco Stand almost always has a line no matter what time of day you visit, and for a good reason, so remember to arrive early!

Featured Photo by Juan Cesar Perez/BruinLife

You may also like