Stewed Taco Perfection at Guisados in LA’s Boyle Heights

Originally Featured on Serious Eats →
Taco Sampler Platter at Guisados
Photo by Clay Larsen

What does it feel like to be considered one of the top taco purveyors in all of Los Angeles? You’d have to ask Armando De La Torre, co-owner of Guisados, the stewed taco phenomenon that’s been growing on LA for a few years now. It’s not hard for curious diners to find the man; just wait long enough at the Boyle Heights outpost and he’ll walk right through the front door. Should you need to pick him out of a crowd, just look for the pepper-haired man sporting a Guisados polo shirt and a large, wide smile.

Waving De La Torre over to your table might be a mistake, though, depending on your tolerance for all things habañero. He likes it spicy (just try the chiles torreados for some fiery-lipped understanding), and you probably won’t make it far into a conversation about the tacos in front of you without receiving a complimentary splash of the housemade habañero salsa. It’s a good thing you’ve got a half-full horchata in front of you.

Back to that plate of tacos. At Guisados, it’s all about savory, thick stewed meats and vegetables that are dolloped onto freshly patted corn tortillas. Maybe you’ll find a thin slice of avocado here, a dusting of toasted seeds there, and plenty of pickled spicy onions to go around, but that’s about it. The stews do the talking at Guisados, though it’s really the menu board itself doing all of the heavy lifting.

Farley Elliott is a food and travel writer living in Los Angeles. He is the Senior Editor at Eater LA, and has bylines everywhere from LA Weekly to Los Angeles Magazine to Thrillist to Tasting Table. He’s also the author of Los Angeles Street Food, a guidebook to LA’s amazing street food culture. Oh, and he’s that guy from that Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos video.