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Carne asada tacos at El Ruso, burnished brown from the comal and with lots of avocado salsa.
Carne asada tacos at El Ruso.
Farley Elliott

17 Essential Restaurants on the Eastside of Los Angeles

Where to eat in Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, and East LA

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Carne asada tacos at El Ruso.
| Farley Elliott

While the term Eastside in Los Angeles is often loosely used to refer to any neighborhood that basically doesn’t touch the ocean, historically speaking the term is reserved for the communities directly east of the Los Angeles River that runs alongside Downtown. The area is home to countless vibrant and historic neighborhoods including Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, and East Los Angeles. From tacos of all kinds to old-school Japanese fare, here now are 17 essential restaurants on the Eastside of Los Angeles.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mariscos Los Lechugas

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5244 Huntington Dr S
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 537-3234
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Jaime Lechuga, his wife Virginia, and their friend Epi Osuna have been preparing Ensenada-style cocteles, tostadas, and tacos at Mariscos Los Lechugas for the past decade. This trailer hitched onto the back of a pickup truck can be found on a serene-enough stretch of El Sereno everyday from 11 a.m. until early evening; the trailer departs between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., depending on customer demand and staff fatigue.

2. Avenue 26

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W Ave 26
Los Angeles, CA

There are few busier pound-for-pound taco stands anywhere in Los Angeles than Avenue 26, the massively busy nightly stand in Lincoln Heights. Head over late night for a seemingly endless culinary party with table after table of cooking meats, music playing, and happy crowds. Carne asada and al pastor remain perennial favorites here, but don’t sleep on the cheesy mulita either.

3. The Heights Deli & Bottle Shop

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2927 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 223-0708
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The Heights was among the first new restaurants to hit Lincoln Heights in recent years, and the place has continued to turn out popular takes on sandwiches and pizza, with takeaway craft beer to match.

4. Doomie's NextMex Express

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4140 City Terrace Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 685-7779
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NextMex is the all-vegan continuation of Doomie’s in Hollywood, tucked away in the hillside community of City Terrace. This standalone offshoot focuses on flavorful and completely animal-free everyday Mexican food staples in a very colorful space, including combo plates, burritos, tacos, and worthwhile nacho platters.

5. Carnitas el Momo

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2411 Fairmount St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 627-8540

El Momo is the people’s champ, a local and citywide favorite for some of the crispiest, juiciest pork carnitas tacos possible. The Aporkalypse behemoth is a gloriously gluttonous thing of carnal beauty that is so overwhelming, it’s hard to believe the thing comes from a truck daily.

Carnitas El Momo Mexican Breakfast
Carnitas el Momo

6. X'tiosu Kitchen

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923 Forest Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 526-8844
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Lebanese-Oaxacan flavors marry well at X’tiosu in Boyle Heights, where tacos and hummus take unfamiliar turns towards the extraordinary. While the tacos are a worthy start, there’s also something special about ordering a falafel or chicken shawarma plate and dining al fresco.

7. Guisados

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2100 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 264-7201
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Homey stews and braises slowly simmered in spices and aromatics are the specialty at Guisados, a restaurant that’s now expanded to multiple locations across town. The 15 or so guisados available each day are neatly scrawled on a floor-to-ceiling length chalkboard. To serve, meat or vegetable stews are heaped onto thick, hand-made corn tortillas and topped with a few embellishments including avocado, pickled red onions, cheese crumbles, or toasted seeds.

A platter of small tacos with various braises inside.
Guisados
Clay Larsen

8. Milpa Grille

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2633 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 269-2995
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Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights focuses on the decidedly traditional, pulling its menu influences from the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica timeline. The result is something modern, historic, and tasty at once, like the standard Milpa bowl with black beans, grilled corn, veggies, and meat. It’s a warming and satisfying (and timeless) meal.

9. Al & Bea's Mexican Food

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2025 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 267-8810
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The bean and cheese gods shine at Al & Bea’s, the diminutive walk-up stand known for its simple Mexican-American delights. Be prepared to wait in a short but speedy line for some of the biggest burritos in town.

10. Otomisan Restaurant

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2506 1/2 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 526-1150

The air smells of miso paste at Otomisan, the 64-year-old Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. Settle into a plush red booth and start with an order of the pan-fried gyozas before moving onto a sizable platter of curry with crispy pork.

11. La Azteca

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4538 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 262-5977
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Head to this cramped but cozy tortilleria for corn and flour tortillas sold by the dozen and made-to-order burritos and quesadillas. Whether it’s beef (asada), chicken (pollo), chorizo, or pork (carnitas) that you fancy, when the tortilla is this exemplary, the stuffing is almost an afterthought. The chile relleno burrito is the shop’s biggest hit.

La Azteca Tortilleria
La Azteca
GastronomyBlog

12. Los Cinco Puntos

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3300 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 261-4084
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There are few better carnitas stops to make in East LA than Los Cinco Puntos, the timeless grocery store and meat supplier known for long weekend lines and for serving up thick hand-patted tortillas with every order of hog maw, ribs, shoulder, and snout.

13. El Café by Primera Taza

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622 S Anderson St #107
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(626) 240-3682
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Primera Taza no longer occupies its cafe space in Boyle Heights proper. Now the setup has gone mobile in an industrial stretch of Anderson Street beneath the under-construction Sixth Street Bridge. Owner Chuy Tovar’s coffee is as good as ever, and now there are rotating weekly pop-ups from names like Evil Cooks, too.

El Café by Primera Taza
El Café by Primera Taza
Farley Elliott

14. Liliana's Tamales

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3448 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 780-0829

Stop into Liliana’s Tamales for a hearty and satisfying start to the day. Savor a warm mug of cinnamon-laced champurrado while trying to decided between the house-special tamales or the equally fantastic machaca with eggs.

15. Asadero Chikali

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401 S Atlantic Blvd
East Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 314-2666

The vampiro is the thing at Asadero Chikali, the upstart Eastside specialist that trades in Mexicali flavors with lots of cheese and even more smoky carne asada.

16. Mariscos Jalisco

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3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(323) 528-6701
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Tacos dorados de camarones, deep-fried shrimp parcels garnished with avocado and fresh salsa, are the specialty at this seafood truck in Boyle Heights. Run by Raul Ortega and his team of friends and family, the Mariscos Jalisco truck is parked on Olympic Boulevard just south of Soto everyday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

17. El Ruso

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1401 Mirasol St
Los Angeles, CA 90023
(323) 246-6819
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El Ruso may be the most popular young taco stand to hit Los Angeles in 2019, thanks to its impressively delicious handmade flour tortillas and weekend Sonoran-style sobaqueras. Be sure to opt for beans and cheese inside that next order of tacos.

el ruso taco being eaten over table
El Ruso
Farley Elliott

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1. Mariscos Los Lechugas

5244 Huntington Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90032

Jaime Lechuga, his wife Virginia, and their friend Epi Osuna have been preparing Ensenada-style cocteles, tostadas, and tacos at Mariscos Los Lechugas for the past decade. This trailer hitched onto the back of a pickup truck can be found on a serene-enough stretch of El Sereno everyday from 11 a.m. until early evening; the trailer departs between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., depending on customer demand and staff fatigue.

5244 Huntington Dr S
Los Angeles, CA 90032

2. Avenue 26

W Ave 26, Los Angeles, CA

There are few busier pound-for-pound taco stands anywhere in Los Angeles than Avenue 26, the massively busy nightly stand in Lincoln Heights. Head over late night for a seemingly endless culinary party with table after table of cooking meats, music playing, and happy crowds. Carne asada and al pastor remain perennial favorites here, but don’t sleep on the cheesy mulita either.

W Ave 26
Los Angeles, CA

3. The Heights Deli & Bottle Shop

2927 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031

The Heights was among the first new restaurants to hit Lincoln Heights in recent years, and the place has continued to turn out popular takes on sandwiches and pizza, with takeaway craft beer to match.

2927 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90031

4. Doomie's NextMex Express

4140 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063

NextMex is the all-vegan continuation of Doomie’s in Hollywood, tucked away in the hillside community of City Terrace. This standalone offshoot focuses on flavorful and completely animal-free everyday Mexican food staples in a very colorful space, including combo plates, burritos, tacos, and worthwhile nacho platters.

4140 City Terrace Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90063

5. Carnitas el Momo

2411 Fairmount St, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Carnitas El Momo Mexican Breakfast
Carnitas el Momo

El Momo is the people’s champ, a local and citywide favorite for some of the crispiest, juiciest pork carnitas tacos possible. The Aporkalypse behemoth is a gloriously gluttonous thing of carnal beauty that is so overwhelming, it’s hard to believe the thing comes from a truck daily.

2411 Fairmount St
Los Angeles, CA 90033

6. X'tiosu Kitchen

923 Forest Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Lebanese-Oaxacan flavors marry well at X’tiosu in Boyle Heights, where tacos and hummus take unfamiliar turns towards the extraordinary. While the tacos are a worthy start, there’s also something special about ordering a falafel or chicken shawarma plate and dining al fresco.

923 Forest Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033

7. Guisados

2100 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033
A platter of small tacos with various braises inside.
Guisados
Clay Larsen

Homey stews and braises slowly simmered in spices and aromatics are the specialty at Guisados, a restaurant that’s now expanded to multiple locations across town. The 15 or so guisados available each day are neatly scrawled on a floor-to-ceiling length chalkboard. To serve, meat or vegetable stews are heaped onto thick, hand-made corn tortillas and topped with a few embellishments including avocado, pickled red onions, cheese crumbles, or toasted seeds.

2100 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

8. Milpa Grille

2633 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights focuses on the decidedly traditional, pulling its menu influences from the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica timeline. The result is something modern, historic, and tasty at once, like the standard Milpa bowl with black beans, grilled corn, veggies, and meat. It’s a warming and satisfying (and timeless) meal.

2633 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

9. Al & Bea's Mexican Food

2025 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

The bean and cheese gods shine at Al & Bea’s, the diminutive walk-up stand known for its simple Mexican-American delights. Be prepared to wait in a short but speedy line for some of the biggest burritos in town.

2025 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033

10. Otomisan Restaurant

2506 1/2 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

The air smells of miso paste at Otomisan, the 64-year-old Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. Settle into a plush red booth and start with an order of the pan-fried gyozas before moving onto a sizable platter of curry with crispy pork.

2506 1/2 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033

11. La Azteca

4538 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022
La Azteca Tortilleria
La Azteca
GastronomyBlog

Head to this cramped but cozy tortilleria for corn and flour tortillas sold by the dozen and made-to-order burritos and quesadillas. Whether it’s beef (asada), chicken (pollo), chorizo, or pork (carnitas) that you fancy, when the tortilla is this exemplary, the stuffing is almost an afterthought. The chile relleno burrito is the shop’s biggest hit.

4538 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90022

12. Los Cinco Puntos

3300 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90063

There are few better carnitas stops to make in East LA than Los Cinco Puntos, the timeless grocery store and meat supplier known for long weekend lines and for serving up thick hand-patted tortillas with every order of hog maw, ribs, shoulder, and snout.

3300 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90063

13. El Café by Primera Taza

622 S Anderson St #107, Los Angeles, CA 90023
El Café by Primera Taza
El Café by Primera Taza
Farley Elliott

Primera Taza no longer occupies its cafe space in Boyle Heights proper. Now the setup has gone mobile in an industrial stretch of Anderson Street beneath the under-construction Sixth Street Bridge. Owner Chuy Tovar’s coffee is as good as ever, and now there are rotating weekly pop-ups from names like Evil Cooks, too.

622 S Anderson St #107
Los Angeles, CA 90023

14. Liliana's Tamales

3448 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90063

Stop into Liliana’s Tamales for a hearty and satisfying start to the day. Savor a warm mug of cinnamon-laced champurrado while trying to decided between the house-special tamales or the equally fantastic machaca with eggs.

3448 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90063

15. Asadero Chikali

401 S Atlantic Blvd, East Los Angeles, CA 90022

The vampiro is the thing at Asadero Chikali, the upstart Eastside specialist that trades in Mexicali flavors with lots of cheese and even more smoky carne asada.

401 S Atlantic Blvd
East Los Angeles, CA 90022

Related Maps

16. Mariscos Jalisco

3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Tacos dorados de camarones, deep-fried shrimp parcels garnished with avocado and fresh salsa, are the specialty at this seafood truck in Boyle Heights. Run by Raul Ortega and his team of friends and family, the Mariscos Jalisco truck is parked on Olympic Boulevard just south of Soto everyday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3040 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023

17. El Ruso

1401 Mirasol St, Los Angeles, CA 90023
el ruso taco being eaten over table
El Ruso
Farley Elliott

El Ruso may be the most popular young taco stand to hit Los Angeles in 2019, thanks to its impressively delicious handmade flour tortillas and weekend Sonoran-style sobaqueras. Be sure to opt for beans and cheese inside that next order of tacos.

1401 Mirasol St
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Related Maps