I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but a few years ago I was tipped onto Villa’s Tacos. At the time, it was a food truck style establishment popping up to huge acclaim, with lines around the block, whatever the block.
An amazing story ensued, one of determination, persistence and passion, eventually resulting in the American dream — a storefront of their own near Highland Park. For a variety of reasons, one being that I live in London, I had to watch on from afar — until this week.
During my years of Villa’s social media lurking, I noticed that Villa’s Tacos kept coming up on top in the taco madness, taco wars or whatever you want to call them voting competitions for LA’s best tacos — hence calling them LA’s favorite.
But are they actually worth braving LA’s freeways in peak hours, just for a tacos? Yes.
Villa’s Tacos: Food Even Better Than An Amazing Story
Not every great restaurant needs a story, or has one. It’s possible to simply love the food and even possible to hate the owners and still love the place.
Villa’s is not that case. Here, a passionate team grind day in and day out to produce tacos that look like art and taste like it too. Victor Villa is the chef patron here and the charismatic man in front of the camera on the Villa’s Tacos instagram. If someone were to ask me what charisma and passion for a job looks like, it’s this.
Deep blue masa tacos freshly hand pressed, vibrant guacamole, immaculately crisped cheese thrown at the soft taco like a Damien Hirst, hibiscus pickled onions; it’s f**king art on a plate.
Making your perfect taco is easy here, even though they’re holding the wheel.
Villa’s Tacos: On The Menu
Varied protein options like chorizo, chicken, fried potatoes or beans and cactus hit all the spots, and you can easily choose a taco without cheese for those sans dairy, epic queso tacos which I’d absolutely recommend or a mulita; essentially two tacos pressed together like a burger with the good stuff in between.
Catering perfectly to all palates and dietary restrictions naturally, Villa’s is just pure fun, and such an LA moment for anyone coming from afar. A faithful flow of supporters line up in a relaxed strip mall eager to taste the genuine article. Bumping deep house keep the team on point and orders are called out one by one.
The lines can be famous, but I came about 12:40 and placed an order by 1:00PM and was gnawing down by 1:15. Maybe I got lucky, but whatever the wait everyone is pretty laid back and seeing the joy on each person coming out and opening their box of joy is fun in itself.
Villa’s Tacos: Final Thoughts
And the prices… super fair. $4.25 for a queso taco, for which I’d recommend ordering at least two per person is comically reasonable in the city of Los Angeles for a meal.
If you want to try something a bit different the mulita is essentially two open faced tacos with the goods in between. It’s “almost” two tacos and lowers your cost to $7.50.
When I consider that I paid $12 for a side of fries at my hotel last night — and they were $#!t — I’d say go ahead and splurge here. Heck, buy a t-shirt and a hoodie. Here’s a fun video of the experience.