El Taurino, the bull, is a legendary taco hot spot in Los Angeles. Located on Hoover at 11th street in a very crowded part of town- it is constantly bustling.
The restaurant is laid out cafeteria style- with many small plastic tables with attached chairs stationed all around. Everything is served on paper plates- so the mind set is definitely food on the go.
However, its decor is top notch! It’s decorated with fine Matador paraphernalia and even a few mounted taurino heads (which I’m intent on nabbing for my apartment now).
El Taurino offers a fine number of Mexican dishes from enchiladas to tamales- but the tacos are what lead me to their halls. The usual suspects are available: carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, lingua, buche and cabeza. Pollo makes an appearance, which is a definite plus for my non-carne eating friend Mike Brazil. Also- the chef’s handle everything here- so you’d best specify what type of salsa you’d like at the get go.
I sampled pastor, carnitas and asada with both salsa verde and salsa roja.
The pastor tacos were succulent. The marinade combined with a soft chopped onion melted in the mouth- and the proceeded to burn. The carnitas had a nice consistency- neither being too wet or dry. The asada was lean and flavorful- although I recommend taking it with the salsa verde if you want to enjoy the sabor after one or two bites. The salsa roja- while delicious- is extremely hot for the non-fireman. Use with caution. The salsa verde complemented each type quite well- being flavorful and just a smidge hot.
After eating a total of six tacos with all salsa roja (on my first visit) – I ended up going through two horchatas to pacify the burning ulcer in my stomach. Luckily, the horchata is thick and delicious- with a few cinnamon sheddings clearly floating in the mixture.
Also, for those who just want Tacos- El Taurino has a Taco Truck in the back during some parts of the day. Apparently it leaves for other downtown locations at night- I’ve yet to pay attention to where it roams. Regardless, the tacos are the same inside and outside the cart.
Overall, I’d say El Taurino is a top shelf taco provider in the Los Angeles area and recommend all fine taco connoisseurs to make a visit.
Overall Rating: A-
Horchata Grade: A
Salsa Roja: FUCKING HOT.
Price: 1.15 per taco
Positives: Delicious. Great decor. Al Pastor- amazing. Asada is fresh. Carnitas are succulent.
Negatives: Long waits. Unintelligible number calling. Very little interface with how taco is equipped- handled by a chef.
Location: 2306 11 Street, Los Angeles CA 90006