Saturday, September 24, 2005

El Parian: paraíso asada a la parrilla


Driving down pico blvd during lunch hour I decided I'd grab a few tacos from the King Taco on Pico and Alvarado. But out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign read "El Parian" and remembered all the praise it had recieved and how much I had read about it. Change of plans, King Taco can wait it's El Parian time.

From the outside it looked divey: smoke stains on the wall, remnants of graffiti, and bars on the windows and door. Could this be the El Parian I had heard so much about? I opened the door and walked in. The inside no less divey but comforting. There were quite a few patrons seated and a friendly hispanic woman greeted me at the counter with a smile. "hola....tres tacos asada...para llavar" I said after a quick glance of the menu.

The cook heard me and I watched as he took a thick slice of raw meat and splashed it on the hot grill. Shhhhhhaaa!!! What a heavenly sound.
A few feet away a lady formed masa into discs to be pressed in a tortilla maker and then tossed the tortillas on to the grill.

When I got back to work I opened the tin foil that my tacos were wrapped in and stared in awe as the thick juicy cuts of carne asada looked back at me.

I was expecting small diced up bits of meat but what I had before me was thick strips of juicy meat naked on top of fresh soft tortillas. You could almost taste the grill on the thick charred meat and the flavor was unmatched by any carne asada I have had before . Simply put this is the best carne asada in the history of mankind.


photo jesusskateboarding.com flickr

with meat this good all you need is some fresh pico de gallo to compliment it

There's nothing left to say my friends, get down to El Parian ASAP and try the carne asada.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com 5/5

El Parian is at 1528 Pico Blvd. Tacos are $2.25 each(and worth every penny)

51 comments:

  1. Damn I'm glad I found your taco hunt. I live up in Ventura (I just moved here a couple of months ago from Seattle) and I don't make it down to L.A. that often but when I do, I crave me some tacos. Now I know where to go. I can't wait to hit a King Taco next time I get down there.

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  2. Hi Great Site --- went with my son to 1 wilshire bldg then home to noho via
    KING TACO - CYPRESS PARK this is the first restaurant they had after the truck at 3rd & ford. THIS OLD DONUT SHOP is their best THE ONLY KINg TACo were the fair is not just great TACOS, BURRITOS and SOPES. They have soups and specials but MY FAVORITE which I got 3 Carne Asada TOSTADAS,($2.75 ea).
    old school freshly fried FLAT corn TORTILLA w/ beans tomato lettuce meat ... add their SUPER salsa roja AND HEAVEN. w Horchatya of course AND you could use A SPOON! My son got
    a buritto 2 tacos and 3 sopes, he couldn't finish one of the sopes so I ate it cold at 3 am UMMMMMMMMM

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  3. I know you're on the Westside and all, but the best tacos I've had are from Tacos Chapalita in Lincoln Heights. There's usually a line and the King Taco across the street stands deserted most days.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/vidalia/6296721/
    A 4 for $3.99 special includes a coke and enough meat for 8 tacos. You can buy extra tortillas in the cute, small size ($1.25 for about a dozen) in the Chapalita building next door where you can also find carne, pollos rotizados, mesquite, beer and all the fixins for your own D.I.Y. bbq.

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  4. lincoln heights is not safe from the taco bandini! i will come into your town and eat your tacos and see for myself is it is true that my beloved king taco cowards to another taco stand across the street.

    i will have to see this with my own eyes.

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  5. The weekend is coming up. I'll post photos of the deserted King Taco and the Tacos Chapalita line. Venture to the Eastside...and while you're here, jaunt around the corner to El Atacor #11...home of what we lovingly call "Porno Burrito". Figueroa St. just north of Avenue 26! Get the Super Burrito. It's enough to feed 3 or 4!

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  6. vidalia

    i work in downtown LA so I'm not far from lincoln heights. I'll add Tacos Chapalita to my list. Do you have the address?


    i've been to an El Atacor in whittier but it was before my taco journey started. Good tacos. Is there really a porno burrito or are you setting me up to be slapped by muchachas?

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  7. brandon,

    dont forget to try El Parian which is just down the street from King Taco :)

    Louis,

    I share your love for King Taco. Everything is good there and their salsa roja is not for the weak hearted

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  8. i totally dig this site. thanks for all the tips, el parian is next for me to try. i'm a great fan of king taco as well. do you know what time does el parian close tho?

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  9. I lived in LA for years, and ate King Taco at least once a month. I moved to Dallas Texas. Anyone know where I can find something like king taco in Dallas?

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  10. Had a great asada burrito at Burrito Express, if their tacos are half as good as the burritos you should like it alot.

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  11. Burrito Express is in Pasadena on Washigton & Allen.

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  12. Hey Brandon,
    You've got some excellent Mexican in Ventura. Coralles on Thompson and Ash downtown is very good- phone ahead to avoid the 20 minute lunchtime line. Jim + Rob's also on Thompson kinda near Cemetary Park has some nice creative fusion kind of things like a burrito with oranges, and a BBQ burrito. Also a J+R in Ojai, I think.

    -Jeff

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  13. A great place to eat tacos is Mariela's in Echo Park. It's right on Sunset and Coronado st in the shopping center. Everything there is good especially the tacos.

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  14. Is this one on Pico?

    I'm going if possible.

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  15. Due to outstanding recommendation of this blog,I went to El Parian on Pico Blvd. in LA. I was so excited walking in there. They had all the makings of greatness; good people; Los Cadetes de Linares playing on the radio and the smell of a home cooked meal. I'm sad to say that it fell very short of the "just like Mom makes" quality. I wanted to like it but I walked away disappointed.

    If you are in the area and want a solid taco de carne asada head over to King Taco down the street. There maybe a line outside but it's there for a reason!

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  16. So I checked out El Parian today on the recommendation from this site. I live just a few minutes west so it was one of the more convenient locations to sample from. I have to admit I'm very impressed with the tacos de carne asada. The meat was plentiful--cooked to perfection. You won't find the overcooked, tiny bits of meat you'll find at other joints. This place provided chunks of succulent asada, seasoned just enough so that the true taste of the meat isn't overshadowed.

    I'll be paying future return visits, that's for sure.

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  17. First off let me say thank you for your obvious efforts in trying to locate the Best Tacos in LA. I too share your passion for tacos and I appreciate your reviews. After many visits to your blog, I finaly made the trek to El Parian. EVERYTHING was as you described. I was very pleased to find they also serve cerveza(however expensive)!The excitment in anticipation of my tacos was overwhelming. Much like the smile that would not leave my face the first time I tried El Tuarino Al Pastor Tacos I was sure we were in store for something special. With one beer and some of their delicious/spicy salsa and chips in my system, the carne sizzling on the grill, I watched the cook prepared our food in a wide open kitchen. To my horror the cook dropped a huge piece of meat that was destined for my plate. The meat plopped on the floor and I knew there might be a delay in getting my tacos. I watched as the cook picked up the meat and moved towards what I thought was a trash bin next to the grill. With extremely poor judgment the cook put the meat back on the grill for a minute then served it to us. It was sureal I could not beleive what I had seen. It was very clear that the waitress was aware but decided to serve it to us anyways. Again poor judgement. 10 second rule and all Im sure Ive had worse. But with out my knowledge. When you see it happen it is much worse. We were not going to eat the food so I went to the counter and said I didnt want my food but will pay for the beer. I speak no spanish and all of a sudden they knew no english. So I noticed an older man there that looked like managment and told him the same about the food. He said its ok, insisted that we did not pay for the beers, and said "lets leave it at that". We left extremly disapointed. To any that are considering this place keep your eye on the cook.

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  18. Went to El Parian today and split an order of carne asada ($11.)with my wife. It came with rice, beans and salad and was huge. We made about 8 tacos and had fun with the side dishes. Don't think about eating a whole one unless you are really hungry ;-). Love those hand made tortillas.

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  19. All it's cracked up to be. Huge tacos; perfect asada. They also specialize in birria, which is gamey and decent, but would be much like getting only fries at In'N'Out. Red salsa that comes with to go orders is whack, but they packed 3 whole sliced limes for my 3 tacos. RESPECT!!

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  20. OMG, thses things are frick'n HUGE! And good to boot. They keep it simple Carne Asada, Carnitas, or Birria. I would recommend getting a plate and making the tacos yourself. And they press the tortillas right in front of you. Definitely all its cracked up to be.

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  21. your readers should know that birria seems to be the specialty here. i realized that after i had ordered carne asada and carnitas tacos, and the darn things were so filling i couldn't try the birria. next time...

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  22. I recently moved to Koreatown and haven't been able to find any good taco spots, I ran across your blog today and decided to give the 5/5 a try, I almost missed it as I drove past and almost lost my nerve and went to King Taco when I couldn't find street parking and the noticed the window was all barred up...but boy am I glad I went inside. By far the best carne asado taco's I've ever had! I am no doubt a repeat customer. Out of respect for your blog I won't curse but I gotta say, these tacos are seriously f*n fantastic!

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  23. Bandini -

    El Parian really was the only 5-star taqueria in town. I owe you a debt of gratitude for writing about it on your blog. They have changed their recipe, and the asada is now diced and overcooked. While still great, it doesn't reach those empyrean heights any more. Perhaps you could re-assess?

    Steve
    www.infinitefress.blogspot.com

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  24. I found this site today and it is so cool!! 2 yrs ago I moved to Houston, TX and I'm still looking for a good taco stand... no luck yet. The tacos and burritos are different here, they come with lettuce and tomatoes. Does anyone know where I can find a good taco place here in Houston?

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  25. Bandini-

    I finally hit it up. GREAT tacos.

    You amaze me my friend!

    R Dub!
    Hot 92.3FM

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  26. I recently moved to Lincoln Heights and am still in awe of Tacos Chapalita on Broadway. Their carne asada and lengua are fantastic but the shrimp tacos are the standout in my opinion. They put those from El 7 Mares across the street (and on Sunset) to shame and are much more reasonably priced. El Atacor on Figueroa (the location near 26th Ave - I think there's another closer to Eagle Rock) has awesome tacos de papa - the silky, greasy potatoes and deep fried, wrap around shell compliment a night of drinking perfectly. Thanks to whoever mentioned the Porno Burrito - I'll definitely be trying that next time I'm there. Oh, and can't wait to hit up the carne asada at El Parian.

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  27. taco pilgrim from boston8/28/07, 11:58 PM

    I went in search of El Parian today (Aug 29, 2007) and could not find it. the street numbers went from 1516 to 1530 or something like that. is it gone? or am I too blind a slave to numbers in ascending order?

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  28. 9/14/07 - I have to disagree with the great Bandini on this one. My officemates and I hit El Parian today after a long standing relationship with Tacos El Zorro in Van Nuys. We recently moved downtown and were looking forward to trying out another one of your recommendations. Unfortunately we found the asada to be overly salted and gamey. The carnitas were marginally better. Overall: PROS - Friendly service, clean kitchen. CONS- tacos just "ok" and way too salty. I'll be lobbying Tacos El Zorro to open a downtown location soon! Upgrade them to 5/5 Tacos please!!

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  29. I'm still waiting to hear your feedback on Taco Real in East LA! They are by far the best I've ever had.

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  30. I finally went to El Parian yesterday and you were right the tacos are amazing. I had carne asada, carnitas and goat tacos the goat being my favorite and carnitas second. I like the asada but find you can get good asada most places (king taco etc...)
    The tacos are huge I bought 3 and made another three, they are not cheap I spent around 15 dollars it was worth. will go again and bring friends.....
    great blog!!!

    thank you
    Matt

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  31. Hey Bandino..
    so im craving tacos at 9am but who cares right...i want to go to this Parian place..wat city is it in...?
    Please help...Pico street where?
    sorry, but i always get lost..hahah!

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  32. I came across your blog while searching for good tacos and I'm sure glad I did. El Parian's asada tacos by far are the best I've tried and their worth every penny of their higher than usual price. I was able to make two huge tacos out of a single one. I plan on going back and even joked with my girl that I'd take her there for her birthday.

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  33. Respectfully disagree with the high rating of El Parian. I give it 3 of 5 stars.

    Just came back from lunch there. I can see what attracted you to this place. Big portions ($2.75/taco) fresh pico de gallo and a nice house salsa (appears they use round supermarket restaurant chips).

    The carne asada was cut in big cubes instead of finely chopped. A little fat chunk surprise going on there. Any fat surprises in an otherwise delicious taco can really ruin the experience for me.

    I noticed a comment on this page referring to the meat as gamey. I think they mean the fat "nuggets" that accompany many "authentic" mexican cuts of carne asada. Or maybe they mean a cheaper cut of meat?

    I'll have to get feedback from the group elsewhere on the site but I think part of the problem of rating tacos is two differing schools of carne asada lovers.

    1- Those that like flavorful good cuts of tender steak with just the right amount of marinade LESS the "fat nugget" surprises.

    2. Then the authentic Mexican taco crowd that like all of the above but don't mind or welcome(?) fatty chunks? More flavorful?

    Maybe that's why ratings can differ so much.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dan B.
    Downtown, Los Angeles

    ReplyDelete
  34. El Parian - wonderful. The carne asada was very, very good -- but you know, I thought the carnitas was better overall. They sure do put a lot in there. -- Christian

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  35. I am an L.A. naitive and have been eating at El Parian since I was in the womb. My aunt used to work there in the 80's and that is how my family came to know of their delicious carne asada tacos. I recently went after not going for years and I have to say I was disapointed. I think since the secret is out they have cut back on the quality of meat.The meat used to speak for itself and now they season the hell out of it to Camouflage the lower quality meat that they now use. the meat tasted a bit dry to me. these tacos used to be the best but they are no longer :(. They went from a 10 to a 7. I hope they go back to doing things the way they used to.

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  36. I'm a student at a nearby law school, located about a mile from El Parian. I'm a native Los Angeleno and I'm not a stranger to the finest food on earth, comida Mexicana. I visited El Parian a year ago and found it to be just as our friend describes. The carne asada tacos are incredible. They are large for your standard taco but the size suits them. Juicy, flavorful asada with very tasty hand-made tortillas (which is the hallmark of the great taco places). I have been to La Super Rica in Santa Barbara and various other "famous" taco places but El Parian is probably my favorite. Definitely worth a visit. Thank you for this suggestion and this website.

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  37. Great Hunt!!, thanks for the great info.....one place I didn't see while noticing many close by is the BEST taco truck in Eagle Rock... I found out it might be called either Verdugo Taco stand or Tacos de Andrea...so from Eagle Rock Blvd heading south?, its a left on 33rd, then an immediate right onto Verdugo, halfway down the block on the right side, a guy with a flat grill, it's not even a truck, but boy does he pump out some awesome taco's...he often leaves relatively early, unfortunately.

    On this night, we also tried la estrella, sonia's rambo's leo's and el pique and none of those came close to this little gem. (El pique and La Estrella were decent, but Verdugo Taco Stand was easily the BEST!

    I'll definitely have to give some of your recommendations a try..thanx again!

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  38. I know this is for LA, but if you ever make it to Orange County, try El Toro in Santa Ana or Costa Mesa. These are the best tacos that I've had in the US......try the tacos de carnitas!

    Also, Titos Tacos La Especial in Santa Ana, has good tacos al vapor.

    Ray

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  39. I have to completely disagree with the 5 star rating, I was very excited for this taco mission and after trying all three types of tacos (goat, carne, and carnitas) I left very disappointed and would NEVER go back. Best Carne in LA? HA not even close. I don't know what you guys are eating all the other ratings are pretty darn good, this one completely shocked me.

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  40. 90068 Matt7/6/09, 2:05 PM

    Went to El Parian last night (07/06/2009) and was really impressed by their carne asada tacos. Great flavors and the tortillas were fresh. I added a bit of the salsa which were provided with the chips, and everything was perfecto. Tacos are now $2.75 I believe. Oh, and they serve beer which made things that much nicer. Also, there is some parking in back...

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  41. Very sad... El Parian's greatness is gone. Just went for some carna asada tacos and they they were flavorless heaps of grease. I used to love El Parian but unfortunately it's probably time to revisit and then update your post!

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  42. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Very sad... El Parian's greatness is gone. Just went for some carna asada tacos and they they were flavorless heaps of grease. I used to love El Parian but unfortunately it's probably time to revisit and then update your post!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I have to completely disagree with the 5 star rating, I was very excited for this taco mission and after trying all three types of tacos (goat, carne, and carnitas) I left very disappointed and would NEVER go back. Best Carne in LA? HA not even close. I don't know what you guys are eating all the other ratings are pretty darn good, this one completely shocked me.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Went to El Parian last night (07/06/2009) and was really impressed by their carne asada tacos. Great flavors and the tortillas were fresh. I added a bit of the salsa which were provided with the chips, and everything was perfecto. Tacos are now $2.75 I believe. Oh, and they serve beer which made things that much nicer. Also, there is some parking in back...

    ReplyDelete
  46. Respectfully disagree with the high rating of El Parian. I give it 3 of 5 stars.

    Just came back from lunch there. I can see what attracted you to this place. Big portions ($2.75/taco) fresh pico de gallo and a nice house salsa (appears they use round supermarket restaurant chips).

    The carne asada was cut in big cubes instead of finely chopped. A little fat chunk surprise going on there. Any fat surprises in an otherwise delicious taco can really ruin the experience for me.

    I noticed a comment on this page referring to the meat as gamey. I think they mean the fat "nuggets" that accompany many "authentic" mexican cuts of carne asada. Or maybe they mean a cheaper cut of meat?

    I'll have to get feedback from the group elsewhere on the site but I think part of the problem of rating tacos is two differing schools of carne asada lovers.

    1- Those that like flavorful good cuts of tender steak with just the right amount of marinade LESS the "fat nugget" surprises.

    2. Then the authentic Mexican taco crowd that like all of the above but don't mind or welcome(?) fatty chunks? More flavorful?

    Maybe that's why ratings can differ so much.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dan B.
    Downtown, Los Angeles

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hey Bandino..
    so im craving tacos at 9am but who cares right...i want to go to this Parian place..wat city is it in...?
    Please help...Pico street where?
    sorry, but i always get lost..hahah!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I came across your blog while searching for good tacos and I'm sure glad I did. El Parian's asada tacos by far are the best I've tried and their worth every penny of their higher than usual price. I was able to make two huge tacos out of a single one. I plan on going back and even joked with my girl that I'd take her there for her birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I recently moved to Lincoln Heights and am still in awe of Tacos Chapalita on Broadway. Their carne asada and lengua are fantastic but the shrimp tacos are the standout in my opinion. They put those from El 7 Mares across the street (and on Sunset) to shame and are much more reasonably priced. El Atacor on Figueroa (the location near 26th Ave - I think there's another closer to Eagle Rock) has awesome tacos de papa - the silky, greasy potatoes and deep fried, wrap around shell compliment a night of drinking perfectly. Thanks to whoever mentioned the Porno Burrito - I'll definitely be trying that next time I'm there. Oh, and can't wait to hit up the carne asada at El Parian.

    ReplyDelete
  50. taco pilgrim from boston5/18/11, 9:31 PM

    I went in search of El Parian today (Aug 29, 2007) and could not find it. the street numbers went from 1516 to 1530 or something like that. is it gone? or am I too blind a slave to numbers in ascending order?

    ReplyDelete
  51. brandon,

    dont forget to try El Parian which is just down the street from King Taco :)

    Louis,

    I share your love for King Taco. Everything is good there and their salsa roja is not for the weak hearted

    ReplyDelete

 
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