Taqueria El Charrito, Los Angeles

Taqueria El Charrito, Los Angeles

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  1. With such glowing reviews online, how could I not try Taqueria El Charrito, especially considering it’s only blocks from my home? And how could I possibly miss having my meal there on Cinco de Mayo, of all days?

    Well, it wasn’t a miss, which is unfortunate. Had I missed out on Taqueria El Charrito, I could have had good Mexican food for the occasion.

    We ordered carne asada tacos, a carne asada quesadilla, a pollo quesadilla, and beans and rice. The best word to describe each dish is bland, though banal works well, too. Also, for some reason our pollo quesadilla had not one shred of chicken in it. Who knows; maybe they didn’t understand the word “pollo“, even though they had no idea that I was ordering beans until I said, “frijoles!” So we managed to choke down the plain cheese quesadilla along with carne asada that was 1) overcooked, 2) dry and 3) utterly flavorless. I drowned the tacos in salsa, first the salsa verde, which was insipid, then with the salsa roja, whose only identifiable flavor was bitterness and was so mild I could have used it as an eye wash. The beans had to have come out of a can; in fact, when they served them I could swear I saw the letters, “Rosarita” slowly fading as the luke-warm lump settled onto the plate. Even the tortillas—which are handmade (I watched them make them from scratch)—are at best mediocre, virtually taste-free, but at least they are fresh.


    I’m the first to admit that I am not Mexican; I’m as white-bread a gringo as you’ll ever see. The only Spanish I can speak is what is necessary to order in a Mexican restaurant, and I can never remember the Spanish for “rice” and feel like a jackass when I order “rice and frijoles.” However, I have been eating Mexican food all my life, and while Taqueria El Charrito’s food may be authentic, it’s hardly what I would call good, unless you like food that has virtually zero flavor and salsa milder than melted vanilla ice cream. The food is not bad—I wouldn’t go that far—it just is, well… barely there in the flavor department.

    If you’re in this neighborhood and have a craving for good Mexican food, do yourself a favor and walk across the street from Taqueria El Charrito and order your meal from California Grill Pupusaria, which serves some of the best carne asada around, with truly excellent and flavorful homemade tortillas and the very best frijoles of my experience (their salsa’s on the mild side, too, but everything else is terrific).


    Taqueria El Charrito

    811 N Virgil Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90029
    (323) 661-0467


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