Friday, September 02, 2005

El Taco Llama: no Llamas , great tacos



I was driving down magnolia blvd in Burbank when I saw a taco stand out of the corner of my eye. I quickly signaled and changed over 2 lanes and pulled over to park right in front of the car wash that this hut was nestled on. Before I started this taco hunt I wouldn't have been able to pull off that kind of maneuver. I probably would have noticed the taco hut only after it was too late. But now my taco vision is impeccable. I'm in the zone. The taco zone.

Mt first thought was El Taco Llama! What a name! Do they have llama tacos? isn't that illegal? I didn't want to ask so I just ordered 3 asada tacos. My tacos came quickly and I sat there in the hot sun eating my tacos and drinking a lime jarritos.
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With confidence I can say that El Taco Llama have at least the best carne asada tacos in the valley. While I have only just begun my journey to sample the taquierias of the valley it will take alot to beat El Taco Llamas asada tacos. There are three musts for a great taco: the tortillas, the meat and the salsa. The tacos at El Taco Llama have all three. The tortillas have just the right amount of softness, the meat is tender and flavorful, and the salsa has flavor and kick to it. There is a smokey flavor to the meat that not many taquerias have. I definetly will be returning to try the other meats on their menu.
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After finishing my tacos I pondered what had just happened. Could these tacos be better than King Taco? I unexpectedly stumbled upon this taco sanctuary and I had to gather my thoughts as to where these tacos rank with the tacos which I have long believed ruled the city. All the similarities were there with the spicy red sauce and marinated tender meat but I was not ready to confront this dilemna and decided that a return to King Taco at a later date could help appease my curiousity.

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El Taco Llama is on Magnolia Blvd in North Hollywood, one block east of Cahuenga. Full menu of mexican food. Tacos are $1 each

38 comments:

  1. Damn! I was hoping you'd eat some Llama tacos!

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  2. I tried the Taco Llama on Sherman Way & Lankershim, and found your report accurate. I got three tacos - carnitas, carne asada, & al pastor. They were all great, but the al pastor was out of this world. Next time I will try an al pastor burrito.

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  3. Hmmm . . . After reading your report, I tried the Taco Llama at Vanowen and Haskell, and it was a major disappointment. The tortillas were extremely soggy. The carne asada was okay, and the pastor unimpressive.

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  4. anonymous,

    I cant speak for the taco llama on vanowen and haskell. I recently read that not all el taco llamas are owned by the same people.

    try the el taco llama on magnolia (2 blocks east of cahuenga) Trust me...you wont be disapointed with the carne asada.

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  5. A while ago, I responded to this blog by commenting on the Vanowen/Haskell El Taco Llama. In the last two weeks, I finally made my way to the Sherman Way/Lankersheim and the Cahuenga/Magnolia branches. Both were outstanding and, I presume, under the same ownership. At both, I tried the pastor and asada tacos. Excellent flavor and the salsa rojo has a similar smokiness to King Taco's. These are definitely the best tacos I've found in the Valley.

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  6. I know two Taco Llama's which are related - Topanga Canyon at Saticoy, and in Newhall on San Fernando Road at 9th Street. Both have great asada and especially pastor, and are a great value.

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  7. I've been to El Taco Llama in Canoga Park and they served the best carnitas I've had in LA to date.

    Oh, by the way it's not llama as is the animal but the translation is, get this cause it's so freakin' Spanish in it's sheer poeticness (O.K. thast's not a word but i'm not the verbose) that it reminds how literal (and dull) English speakers can be:

    The Taco Calls

    How's that for a name? Yes my friend the taco calls and I have answered!

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  8. A longtime favorite of mine has been Tacos El Oso at the northeast corner of Van Nuys and Arleta. Taco Llama on Magnolia is a recent discovery after moving to Toluca Lake last summer. It is awesome.

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  9. Thanks for the tip! I pulled into El Taco Llama on Magnolia&Cahuenga on Sunday for 1 Carnitas and 1 Al Pastor....

    They were the bomb!

    $1 each is a deal.

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  10. I stopped by the Taco Llama on Magnolia at Cahuenga yesterday. There was a sign announcing "under new management". After seeing other posts here about the difference in quality, I have to admit I was a bit worried. Unfortunately my worry was justified. The food wasn't bad, but it was definitely "uninspired". The carnitas were ok, but the al pastor was downright bland.

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  11. I went here last week and had 2 asada's and 1 al pastor. They were all great but I'd lean towards more al pastor next time, maybe even try a burrito with that meat.

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  12. Checked it out this afternoon and was not disappointed. The el pastor tacos (which I'm generally not a huge fan of) were really great, as were the carne asada. Super cheap, great salsas, amazing tortillas, and a HUGE menu make this place a must-try for any taco afficionado.

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  13. LicketySplit7/13/06, 11:55 AM

    Holy mother of pearl, the al pastor at the Sherman Way branch is outta this world. Man, that was GOOD. Thanks for the rec, Oh Great Taco Hunter.

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  14. I don't see how the tacos at the Magnolia Taco Llama are special. The carne asada, al pastor and carnitas, all pre-cooked held in steam tables. Any taco expert knows this is not desirable. The meats had been chopped a little fine for my taste. The carnitas was almost pulverized, when my preference would be nice little chunks of golden brown meat. I guess it's all a matter of taste on what you are looking for. I will probably not return to Taco Llama as every time I have tried them I am non-plused. But the food is edible and wholesome if you need a quick taco. I would rather the Vallarta market though for $1.00 tacos.
    maskman

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  15. Another taco stand to check out on the North West corner of Lankershim and Sherman way - Excellent flavor, big portions, and you can get them at 3 am if you wish.

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  16. I've been twice since reading the report now. Avoid the cabeza. But the al pastor is awesome!!! It is hard for me to stop at 3...or 5....

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  17. Llama means flame and call in spanish.The one in Newhall is delicious.They also cater parties.

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  18. If You Want To Taste The Best Taco Llama You Gotta Go To The One In Burbank And Whitsett They Just Have a Juicy and Soft Carne Asada and The Pastor is Awesome...Another Great Location Is in Reseda And Vanowen You Definetly Want To Go To This Locations!

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  19. Yes The Best taco Llama is on Whitsette and burbank near the 7-11

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  20. Taco Llama, a Valley institution for years already, is unquestionably delicious. In my opinion, the best location is the tiny strip mall at Burbank and Whitsett. The ONLY thing to order are Carne Asada tacos and burritos "con todo".

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  21. From everyone's take, the best ones are on Magnolia, NH and Sherman Way. Me thinketh that "Anonymous" is a patsy for the inferior locations trying to promote their inferior product. Why don't you just figure out what the "good" locations are doing and do it instead of spreading bad propaganda? Props to the good locations that take pride in their food vs. the other ones that are just riding on the coattails of the name and dragging it in the mud at the same time.

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  22. does anyone know what ever happened to pipiripau(sp?) it was a hut on the corner of san fernando rd and verdugo. they had a truck too that used to be parked on san fernando rd at what used to be a vons i thinkbut is now a trader joe's and some other stuff. they had THE BEST STUFF. BIG burritos and BIG tacos. not the tiny tacos.

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  23. EL TACO LLAMA IS A DREAM COME TRUE FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME WHO MOVED FROM THE EASTSIDE OF L.A. (WHITTIER TO BE EXACT) TO THE VALLEY!! BEFORE WE HAD TO CRUISE THE BLVD. CRAVIN KING TACO, BUT NOW EL TACO LLAMA IS DOWN THE STREET AND I THINK I LIKE IT BETTER!! BESIDE KING TACO'S BURRITOS KEEP SHRINKING LIKE "THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BURRITO"!! WAS UP WITH THAT!! EL TACO LLAMA BURRITOS ARE THE BOMB, AND NEXT TIME TRY THEM CON QUESO!! AND MUCHO CHILE ROJO!! AS A MEXICAN-AMERICAN IN L.A., I NEED MY BURRITO FIX AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, AND TACO LLAMA FEEDS THE CRAVING JUST PERFECT!! I GO TO THE ONE IN NORTHRIDGE AND CANOGA PARK. THERE, I EVEN SEE SOME BRAVE DIE-HARD BURRITO-EATING WHITE PEOPLE THAT CAN'T RESIST CAUSE THEY KNOW WAS UP!!

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  24. WTF is wrong w u guys. I tried the taco Llama at Osborne in front of the Peter Piper Pizza. The tacos are extremely GGGRREEAASSYYY! >_<. If u want good tacos u gotta go to Tacos El Oso at corner of Van Nuys and arleta st!!!!

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  25. hey guys. so i went to the magnolia and cahuenga location and was pretty dissapointed. after reading all the reviews, i ordered the trifecta (al pastor, asada, carnitas). the carnitas were soggy and mushy. the al pastor was decent, but nowhere near the al pastor found at fiesta taco in burbank. finally, the asada was the best of the three.
    i plan on returning another day to see if there was something wrong at the time i visited. tacos are still $1. you really cant beat the price.

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  26. Hey, get the todo carne burrito, "all meat burrito" with carne asada, it has just meat, cilantro, onions.... then top with as much green HOT sauce as you can handle. Yeah its greasy but wow what great flavor. buy a few extra and put them in the freezer for when you come home drunk over the next month, they keep great. cook it in the oven. I like the van nuys blvd location just north of sherman way best.

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  27. Ate lunch at the location on Magnolia today. These are fantastic tasty tacos with more than the average amount of meat. Ordinarily I'm not a huge al pastor fan but theirs was the best I've had. As a Burbank resident I will return often.

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  28. wannabe_bandini1/22/08, 10:59 AM

    i had my doubts about this place (because i'm a natural skeptic and a taco-snob) but i finally went there this weekend and it's fucking amazing. i got 2 carne asada, 2 carnitas and 1 al pastor.. the carnitas was ok. nothing noteworthy. the carne asada was excellent, as described by bandini.. but the al pastor was insane. after having that al pastor for my last taco i went into a frenzy and ordered 3 more. definitely get the al pastor. the marinade is smokey and tangy at the same time, hard to describe. ranks up there with any taco in LA (that i've had so far)..


    ps, where's bandini!!!????? we need you!!!!

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  29. First off, the car wash guys are shit hot so there is no reason to not park up and get your car done.

    Secondly, Taco Llama does a supreme Huevos Con Chorizo.

    I miss it now im down in the Sh'Oaks..

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  30. There's a newley opened El Taco Llama on Lankershim and Runnymede in NOrth HOllywood (11721 Runnymede-behind Jimmy's Burgers). It is THE BEST. The have a great Al Pastor and Carne Asada the tacos are made with fresh "hand-made" tortillas. They're the BOMB!! I absolutely loved them. The Best TACO LLAMA yet. The original owner of the chain owns it so it's #1. It's a small place with a great menu they even sell different types of seafood. you should definitely try it.

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  31. I 100% agree with your assessment of their carne asada tacos. After having just finished a wonderful breakfast, I drove past Taco Llama (Magnolia Blvd.) and made a quick U-turn because I sensed there was something magical going on in that little hut... and I was right. The carne asada tacos were among the best I have ever had!! The meat was so flavorful and of good quality. I will definitely be going back soon!!

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  32. I 100% agree with your assessment of their carne asada tacos. After having just finished a wonderful breakfast, I drove past Taco Llama (Magnolia Blvd.) and made a quick U-turn because I sensed there was something magical going on in that little hut... and I was right. The carne asada tacos were among the best I have ever had!! The meat was so flavorful and of good quality. I will definitely be going back soon!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. LicketySplit5/18/11, 9:24 PM

    Holy mother of pearl, the al pastor at the Sherman Way branch is outta this world. Man, that was GOOD. Thanks for the rec, Oh Great Taco Hunter.

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  34. I don't see how the tacos at the Magnolia Taco Llama are special. The carne asada, al pastor and carnitas, all pre-cooked held in steam tables. Any taco expert knows this is not desirable. The meats had been chopped a little fine for my taste. The carnitas was almost pulverized, when my preference would be nice little chunks of golden brown meat. I guess it's all a matter of taste on what you are looking for. I will probably not return to Taco Llama as every time I have tried them I am non-plused. But the food is edible and wholesome if you need a quick taco. I would rather the Vallarta market though for $1.00 tacos.
    maskman

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  35. I tried the Taco Llama on Sherman Way & Lankershim, and found your report accurate. I got three tacos - carnitas, carne asada, & al pastor. They were all great, but the al pastor was out of this world. Next time I will try an al pastor burrito.

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  36. Damn! I was hoping you'd eat some Llama tacos!

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  37. off the god damn chain

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  38. Closed now! Replaced by a falafel shop. So sad.

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