Thursday, September 09, 2010

El Navagente - North Hollywood

(review #9 of the 30 taco trucks in 30 days challenge)


The San Fernando Valley may rival LA’s Eastside when it comes the amount of taco trucks per square mile. That may be a slight exaggeration but the more I explore the area at night the more interesting the taco scene appears to be. Whether it is pop up taco tables set up along San Fernando road or the dozens of taco wagons one can find by scouring the streets from Vineland to Sepulveda Blvd there’s plenty here to keep the most obsessive taco hound busy.

Tacos El Navagante parks on Vineland less than 100 yards North of Victory Blvd and is one of three taco trucks that parks near the Target . I followed the first rule in taco trucking which is follow the crowd and the crowd was at Tacos El Navagente.

el navagente

My initial order was al pastor, carne asada, and carnitas. After garnishing my tacos with onion and cilantro and ladeling some salsa roja over them I got down to my first business which was munching down the free bean tostada. Bean tostadas are quite common with taco trucks in the valley. It’s funny how little trends start. It’s just like how in Korea-town one taco truck got a flat screen TV , now every taco truck in Koreatown has a flat screen TV.



The carnitas at El Navagente is some of the best carnitas I’ve had since I’ve been on the taco beat. It is so legit it makes me glad I have stubbornly continued to order carnitas at taco trucks after having so much subpar carnitas. It was crispy , juicy ,and bursting with flavor . At times there were little crispy bits to gnaw every last morsel of flavor out of, then the next bite was a long strand of tender pork that dissolved on my tongue. The spicy salsa roja and salted pork were perfect dance partners, two stepping all the way from my mouth to my belly.

elnavagente carnitas

The carnitas was so good it made me forget about the carne asada which was decent but considering how good the pork was the beef was forgettable. The al pastor wasn’t far behind the carnitas in flavor. The chunks of pork were paired with grilled onions and again the salsa found a friend with the pork but what the al pastor lacked in authenticity the carnitas made up for.

I ordered two more carnitas and when I finished I ordered another two more. The woman taking the orders started to laugh as I continued to come back for more carnitas. “Dos mas de carnitas!” and then 5 minutes later “Dos mas de carnitas!”. Pretty soon other patrons started to hear me ordering carnitas and they started ordering carnitas. And then I had had enough. I was a good 9 tacos in and I walked up to the window of the truck. “ Dos mas de carnitas?” the woman asked. No I said, no mas. No mas de carnitas. And I dropped a few dollars in the tip jar and walked back to my car.


El Navagente
Victory and Vineland
North Hollyood 91606
tacos $1 each

Rate El Navagente


  1. sunnabitch you're a trooper. 9 tacos?

  2. My leona lives real close to this intersection of the three taco trucks and now I know which truck to hit up first. Thanks bandini...

    She seems to like tacos la Fonda on van Owen and vineland a couple of blocks north of El navegante...

  3. Where can I find the schedules (times and places) where the different taco trucks will be?

  4. they are always at the same place.

    time....when the sun goes down...typically after 6pm

  5. I ate there tonight. Just horrible! What a disappointment. I ordered the Carnitas (3 tacos on a plate) and the meat was entirely dried out. The salsa choices - only 2 - are very hot, so if you can't tolerate heat (and I do mean heat) in a salsa, you going to be eating VERY dry tacos. I can't imagine how these carnitas tacos from this truck could be described as juicy and crispy. They must have changed chiefs or something from the time this truck was reviewed for this blog. I was also looking forward to the free bean tostada pictured above. I didn't receive one, though I asked. I only received a few individual chips. Nothing special about the beans and the rice was also dry. Would absolutely NOT recommend this taco truck. I was there about 10 minutes and only two other customers showed. Perhaps the quality of their food has gone down, and thus the line of customers. Don't know, but I'd avoid and I'd definitely not go out of your way to make the trip. I realize this blog is about taco trucks, but if you're looking for a GREAT authentic taco, try La Luz Del Dia (Olvera Street - right on the corner next to the open air mall - very inexpensive and absolutely delicious) or Poquito Mas (numerous locations throughout Los Angeles, including the Valley - also very inexpensive and juicy and crispy delicious and they also use healthy ingredients in their food.) As others are trying the tacos trucks mentioned in this blog, please do report in on how you are finding the tacos to be. It can save people a very disappointing drive. It's always possible the writer happen to luck out on a good night.

  6. anonymous,

    the carnitas tacos I had at el navagente were anything but dry.

    poquito mas? meh. Anyway, healthy ingredients and carnitas don't really go together.

  7. sunnabitch you're a trooper. 9 tacos?

  8. Everything you need to know about this review and reviewer is summed up in 2 words.

    Poquito Mas.

    I actually owe this guy a thank you - it means he won't be clogging up the line, so I can get my cabeza tacos faster.


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