Though Los Angeles mostly fancies itself as a taco town, the truth is there’s an endless amount of variety to the cuisine across the Southland. That includes the mighty torta, a multi-hyphenate sandwich that can be soaked in a supremely spicy salsa at one spot, layered with ham, eggs, cheese, and hot dogs at another, and served simply with large chunks of roast meat at a third. There’s almost nothing that LA’s many great torta shops, found everywhere from the San Fernando Valley to the heart of Lynwood, can’t do. Here are 14 great options for tortas in Los Angeles, presented north to south.Read More
19 Superbly Delicious Tortas to Try in Los Angeles
A wide exploration of the city's great Mexican sandwich scene
Cemitas Poblanas Don Adrian
Within the broad Mexican sandwich category there is an entire sub-genre devoted to the mighty cemita, a loaded Pueblan style that comes laced with stringy cheese, meats, and lots of avocado, all served on a seeded roll.
Also featured in:
Tortas Ahogadas La Ramadita
Tortas Ahogadas La Ramadita is a North Hollywood treasure. The roadside stand has been working up exceptionally spicy soaked tortas for years, and they come stuffed with thick chunks of carnitas, raw onion, and lots of lime on the side.
This Eagle Rock Mexican legend brings in freshly baked bolillo rolls from a nearby bakery every day, splitting them full with sirloin beef, cochinita pibil, or an ancho-seared albacore. They also offer an ahogada version that comes face-down over a spicy bed of salsa ranchera.
Tortas Ahogadas el Rey
One of the city’s many Guadalajara torta specialists, offering sturdy birotes, or pan salado, with a stinging salsa. Request the heat level according to one’s own tolerance. The tortas here come packed with carnitas, and pickled red onions on the side.
Tortas Gigantes El Monje Loco
For a Mexican take on ham and cheese, the Thalia, with ham, Oaxacan cheese, and chorizo, on an artisanal telera roll will leave you singing “I Want You” for lunch, everyday. They’ve got two locations: one in Harvard Heights along Pico and another on the corner of Soto and Olympic.
This long-running Monterey Park torta operation has been going strong since 2008, and still serves as one of the city’s best examples of the sandwich style, with classic and more modern torta iterations alike.
A Huntington Park institution, Las Molenderas does perhaps the best iteration of a Boyle Heights torta. The mole option is an eggy, cheesy bite of perfection that makes for one heck of a morning starter.
This fonda and bakery cranks out cemitas used by Pueblan families and rival cemita poblana trucks and restaurants, which they use on the premises for their own rendition of Puebla’s iconic sandwich.
Cemitas Los Poblanos
Parked on Whittier Boulevard’s highly competitive Cemita Row, the undisputed kings of Puebla’s hero sandwich get fresh cemita rolls are delivered, then filled with salty Oaxacan cheese, a thin milanesa, avocado, chiles chipotles, and papalo (wild greens).
La Monarca Bakery
With locations all over the Southland, it’s easy to see why the enduring La Monarca remains so popular. There’s the pan dulce, the speciality coffee drinks, and the lunchtime menu filled with savory tortas and molletes, open-faced sandwiches served with pinto beans, cheese, and Soyrizo.
Tortas Ahogadas Ameca
One of LA’s classic Mexican fondas brings the heat with their namesake torta ahogada, swimming in a salsa de chile de árbol, cut by rich, salty carnitas in a well made pan salado, in a charming space representing the city of Ameca, Jalisco.
A bright red horse trailer, converted into a Mexico City-style torta stand, is one of a quartet of chilango sandwich veterans offering sandwiches as good as you’ll find in Mexico’s capitol. Get the Porky, a pork lover’s trio of shredded pork, chorizo, and head cheese, in a crusty telera roll.
Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla
Armed with a beautiful new truck, these tacos árabes masters also make a fine cemita poblana with lots Oaxacan cheese imported from Puebla, a variety of meats, fresh papalo, chiles chipotles on a tasty, locally made cemita roll.
Super Tortas Estilo D.F.
This South LA trailer slings meaty options all night long, including their popular Cubano, which squeezes ham, milanesa, chorizo, egg, quesillo and hot dog chunks together inside a telera roll.
Tortas Gigantes El Chilango
There’s plenty to eat on Slauson Boulevard, but you won’t have any room after a Niño Huerfano in a Nerf football-sized telera roll, filled with a whole deli platter of cheeses, lunch meats, pork chops, an omelette, and a milanesa.
Ricas Pupusas Stand
Okay, it’s not a Mexican torta, but no one makes a Salvadoran pan con pollo, or chicken sandwich like this street stand on the Slauson food corridor, made with well-seasoned chicken and a crisp sprig of watercress in a Salvadoran roll.
Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara
Just next door to barbecue favorite Ray’s in Huntington Park is Tortas Ahogada Guadalajara, a dipped torta style hailing from Jalisco. Expect lots of heat with this one, along with big carnitas piles.
Balam Mexican Kitchen
Balam is the kind of do-it-all modern Mexican outfit that has come to define a movement in greater Los Angeles. The popular Lynwood spot does burritos, tacos, bowls, and more, and offers a rotating collection of tortas on Thursdays for a reasonable price.
Also featured in:
Inspired by Mexico City-style tortas, a Mexican-American food truck riffs on classic chilango sandwiches, super-sized, and bound by queso fundido that pulls apart, beautifully, for maximum Instagram food porn.