Tuesday, October 25, 2005

El Taurino


The eastside of Los Angeles is a hotbed of taco activity. From east LA to the neighborhoods surrounding downtown LA you are never too far from great tacos. King Taco may be the big name in town but when it comes to asada tacos and spicy salsa roja El Taurino stands right with them. In fact their salsa roja and tacos are so similiar in taste and texture that i'm not sure I could tell the difference between the two. Which is a good thing because I love King Taco. But El Taurino has been around since the late 70's serving up authentic tacos, sopes and tortas as well as their signature barbacoa(goat)dish long before King Taco and for that I salute them as the great taco matadors of this fine city.
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The inside of El Taurino is decked out with bullfighting imagery with several bull heads mounted on the walls sourrounded by paintings of matadors and scenes from bullfights. I've never been to a taqueria that had a bull head mounted on the wall that didn't have great tacos.What makes El Taurino's tacos so great is the triangle of flavor(tortillas, meat, salsa with major kick) that I have described in previous entries.The tortillas are oiled just right, the meat broiled and packed into the tortillas, the onions cilantro and salsa roja(very hot) smothered over the taco.
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tasty asada tacos with firey red hot salsa roja

Having a bulls head mounted on the wall is a subtle way of telling the taco customer that they've entered hallowed taco territory. Most people wouldn't put much thought into the signifigance of a bulls head on the wall at a taqueria but I truly believe it's a display of confidence and I have admiration for such a bold move. If the tacos were not of high quality I believe I would be offended by this grand attempt of intimidation. But the tacos at El Taurino are a magnificent truimph in taste and life and holding one in my hand I feel as one with the Bull charging towards the red curtain of the matador, only to be slain. Because I can stop now and know that I have reached the taco pinnacle, held taco greatness in my hand and looked into the eye of the matador without reaching for that cold beverage.
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the bulls are grand as the side of the sun
and although they kill them for the stale crowds,
it is the bull that burns the fire,
and although there are cowardly bulls as
there are cowardly matadors and cowardly men,
generally the bull stands pure
and dies pure
untouched by symbols or cliques or false loves,
and when they drag him out
nothing has died
something has passed
and the eventual stench
is the world.

-Charles Bukowski


El Taurino is at 1104 Hoover St one block south of Olympic. Tacos are $1.15 each. Beer is $6 a pitcher

34 comments:

  1. glad to see you're venturing into east la. i went to el parian last wkend - it was great! thanks for doing this, i'm one step behind you, will be trying out el taurino real soon! i've also heard abt el paisano in el monte, and la estrella on york in highland park, any of those on your radar?

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  2. Bandini, great work and great eating.

    I definitely have El Taurino on my "To Eat" list.

    The number of places reviewed is numerous enough that navigating around your Blog can be cumbersome. I suggest you list the taquerias/taco trucks by ranking (from highest to lowest) on the right hand margin. You currently list your reviewed taquerias chronologically. Check out Steve Doggie Dogg's Hot Dog Web Site http://www.HotDogSpot.com for an illustration.

    BTW, I am the same guy who suggested you numerically rate/rank the taquerias and include the taco prices.

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  3. gulpie,

    been to la estrella but before I started this blog. I'm going to return there soon.

    is it the el paisono on peck rd? what do you reccomend?

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  4. anonymous,

    thanks for the suggestions. I may have to do that with the sidebar. The taco reviews are adding up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i haven't been to el paisano yet, just heard abt it from chow board. la estrella i'm hoping to hit this wkend. went to el taurino last sat. but imo king taco's carne asada was better tho. :P uh... oh yuca's on my list as well. if i go there first i'll report back. cheers!

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  6. El Taurino is in my hood, and I have oft enjoyed it. The burritos are great too (get the pastor with red sauce). There is also a giant platter of steak, onions, and tortillas. Good, but strictly for sharing. With 3 people. Over a pitcher of beer.
    If the main restaurant is closed, they will open up a taco truck in the parking lot. It's just as good, and it saved my life one night before an SC game.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Arturo Bandini4/14/06, 8:06 PM

    yep this place is the move. hot sauce is great. love it love it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bandini. El Taurino is owned by the King Taco restaurant group. Go to Kingtaco.com and see that there is a location right at the S. Hoover address of El Taurino. The hot sauce tastes the same cause it is the same?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I ate an al pastor burrito there last night--pura carne, naturally--and oh holy crap was it wonderful. There's something just amazing about that roja.

    One of the sketchiest nabes in the city--once, I was mugged three blocks away--but worth the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just so you know, why El Taurino and King Taco tacos taste alike is that they are owned by the same people...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just so you know why King Taco and El Taurino tacos taste alike is that they're owned by the same people... ;)

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  12. This is my favorite taco joint in Southern California! I was told a few years ago, that it was owned by the same brothers who own King Taco, so the salsa roja is the same. But for whatever reason! The meat at El Taurino is tastier and jucier, and just taste BETTER!Don't know if it is the same meat, just taste better hear. I have been going there since the early 80's.Great place.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes! El Taurino has always been the greatest Al Pastor Taco in the world. I discovered it 20 years ago, when I was attending USC Film School and driving up and down Hoover every day. We used to alternate this taco with the Al Pastor at Zamora Bros. in Silverlake (do they still exist?)
    I still try to sneak in a visit if I'm going to Staples Center. After all these years, my writing partner now believes that El Taurino's flavor secret is the red sauce, not the meat. I refuse to believe that.
    Bandini, THANK YOU for the site! As a Westsider, you have led me to Super Taco and Tacos Por Favor, both of which are now delightful close-to-home alternatives to the Little Bull.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "El Taurino has always been the greatest Al Pastor Taco in the world."

    dude, that's a bold statement. i haven't eaten here, but if it's anything like much of the al pastor i find in los angeles, it will not hold up to al pastor found in mexico city taquerias.

    still, i'll try it, and hopefully it comes close.

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  15. honestly i think the el taurino's and king taco have the same owner. there is not much difference in taste

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  16. Playing the trump card: their salsa comes in bags. Sorry

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  17. good food maybe, but their service God awful atrocious and they won't give me salsa if they already put it inside my burrito? ARE YOU F-IN kidding me. I'm NEVER going back to that place. GIVE ME A BREAK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your anonymous because your full of crap, they will give you 1 salsa per 2 tacos or 1 burrito, even if it has it in there. So tell the truth.

      Delete
  18. Don't waste your TIME or MONEY. High prices SMALL portions and VERY LONG lines and even longer WAIT times. The service is sub par. They'll take your money within minutes of you entering but then you will wait and wait and wait. The burritos cost about $5.00 and come with enough filling for maybe 2 tacos.

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  19. Former Customer7/12/08, 9:08 AM

    Don't waste your TIME or MONEY. High prices SMALL portions and VERY LONG lines and even longer WAIT times. The service is sub par. They'll take your money within minutes of you entering but then you will wait and wait and wait. The burritos cost about $5.00 and come with enough filling for maybe 2 tacos.

    ReplyDelete
  20. hi this is Zamora Bros yes we are the one's that were on Sunset Blvd
    due to problems with parking the city LA didnt reissue us a buiness license but we are that 4771 cesar chavez ave LA 323-264-1214 this was our first location before any there store please visit us here taco's are of asada are only 59cent monday thu friday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reason Zamora Bros were closed on Sunset was because the Health Dept closed you down, it had nothing to do with parking. They continually had a C or worse. Let's tell the truth now people

      Delete
  21. You're all clueless. This isn't east la. It's west of downtown. Also, el Taurino is owned by king taco. Go ahead ask around. King taco corporate vans were there one night dropping off bags of salsa and meats. It's still amazing though.

    ReplyDelete
  22. All clueless? Harsh words. Cant we just get along? Its great food.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That came out wrong. I meant clueless about the EAST LA bit. Not in general. My apologies to all here. IT IS GREAT FOOD!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Isn't this place owned by King Taco? That might explain the similarity in taste. El Taurino is listed on King Tacos website under the list of locations.

    ReplyDelete
  25. All clueless? Harsh words. Cant we just get along? Its great food.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That came out wrong. I meant clueless about the EAST LA bit. Not in general. My apologies to all here. IT IS GREAT FOOD!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Playing the trump card: their salsa comes in bags. Sorry

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yes! El Taurino has always been the greatest Al Pastor Taco in the world. I discovered it 20 years ago, when I was attending USC Film School and driving up and down Hoover every day. We used to alternate this taco with the Al Pastor at Zamora Bros. in Silverlake (do they still exist?)
    I still try to sneak in a visit if I'm going to Staples Center. After all these years, my writing partner now believes that El Taurino's flavor secret is the red sauce, not the meat. I refuse to believe that.
    Bandini, THANK YOU for the site! As a Westsider, you have led me to Super Taco and Tacos Por Favor, both of which are now delightful close-to-home alternatives to the Little Bull.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is my favorite taco joint in Southern California! I was told a few years ago, that it was owned by the same brothers who own King Taco, so the salsa roja is the same. But for whatever reason! The meat at El Taurino is tastier and jucier, and just taste BETTER!Don't know if it is the same meat, just taste better hear. I have been going there since the early 80's.Great place.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I ate an al pastor burrito there last night--pura carne, naturally--and oh holy crap was it wonderful. There's something just amazing about that roja.

    One of the sketchiest nabes in the city--once, I was mugged three blocks away--but worth the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Arturo Bandini5/18/11, 9:23 PM

    yep this place is the move. hot sauce is great. love it love it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Bandini. El Taurino is owned by the King Taco restaurant group. Go to Kingtaco.com and see that there is a location right at the S. Hoover address of El Taurino. The hot sauce tastes the same cause it is the same?

    ReplyDelete

 
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