Tacos @ Tire Shop Taqueria

by Sarah Seran Bae

It seems like everyone living in Los Angeles has a favorite taco place. Located in historic South Central, Tire Shop Taqueria is hands down one of my favorite places to get traditional Tijuana-style tacos. Not only do they grill the juicy and perfectly seasoned meats in front of you, their tortillas are freshly handmade. This taco place is located in the parking lot of an old tire shop. When you first get here, you can smell the charcoal and see hardworking staff grilling in open flame under canopies.

You can’t get more authentic than this.

Photo by Sarah Seran Bae

I remember the first day my friend brought me here five years ago when I was visiting Los Angeles. He’s a chef and he told me that he was going to take me to the best taco place in Los Angeles. When his car pulled into the area, I was honestly confused on why he would want to eat here. He drove around for a bit over ten minutes looking for parking and I remember telling him that I didn’t need to get tacos anymore. He reassured me that the neighborhood was safe and told me again that these tacos were amazing. When we finally did find parking, we had to wait twenty minutes in line. I was convinced that he was crazy.

But when I finally took my first bite, I fell in love. I remember I stood in line again just to get more. The meat was soft, rich, fatty, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. I’m honestly still amazed to this day every time I try it. I took my boyfriend on one of our first dates and now it became our little tradition where we come here at least once a month. I also take my friends who visit from out of state every now and then and every single one of them fall in love.

When you first walk up to order, you can see that everything is made from scratch. You can choose from carne asada, chorizo, al pastor, and cabeza. They also have quesadillas and vampiros. I’ve tried all of them and would recommend getting the carne asada and cabeza tacos. After they take your order, the ladies who are standing in front of a bowl of corn masa hand press the tortillas on the spot. You then walk over to the workers grilling the meat and these meats go on a cutting board. They will ask you if want toppings, trust me and ask for all toppings (onion, salsa roja, cilantro, guacamole).

Photo by Sarah Seran Bae
Photo by Sarah Seran Bae
Photo by Sarah Seran Bae

Look at that juicy meat. And let me just say, I don’t know how they do it but their guacamole is unbelievable; fresh, creamy, and delicious. There is a self-serve section where you can get sides such as grilled onions, radish, beans, limes, and jalapenos. Lastly, their beverages include Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water), Horchata, and Mexican sodas.

These tacos are set at a reasonable price for only $1.50.

After I took this photo, it was gone in seconds so I couldn’t take more.

Photo by Sarah Seran Bae

Easily the best I had in Los Angeles, no question. Make sure to bring cash. They used to have a few communal tables five years ago but you might have to eat standing or in your car since they only have one now. Also, make sure to check their hours because they have irregular hours; usually open 6:00pm – 11:00pm. And they close Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And it’s a bit on the sketchy side of town.

But everyone is so friendly here. Maybe it’s the taco effect. I’ll probably go again in a few weeks! Totally worth it.

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