Food Review: The Westside’s Insanely Delicious Tijuana Tacos

Tacos 1986 in Westwood Village stands out amid a crowded taco scene

By Kerry Slater

In a city filled with world-class Mexican food, it is difficult for a taco spot to stand out. A Tijuana taqueria in Westwood, however, rises above the fray by offering no-frill, insanely delicious tacos alongside some of the best salsa in town.

Tacos 1986, with locations in Westwood Village, Pasadena, Beverly Grove, Burbank and DTLA, keeps both the menu and food simple. Available are tacos, quesadillas, mulitas and crunchy vampiros filled with either Asada, Adobada, chicken or mushrooms. For lunch, I ordered three tacos: Asada, Adobada and chicken, each $3.25. The food was ready within 10 minutes and I took the feast to the hood of my car to eat.

All the tacos came topped with guacamole, onions and cilantro. I also asked for all three salsas on the side: Verde, hot and mild.

I decided to try the chicken first since it was likely the most subtle. Despite a nice char, the meat is still juicy, a rarity in grilled chicken tacos. The flavor is nothing special but when topped with the top-notch salsas (more on this below), it becomes a very solid taco. Still, the chicken was by far the weakest of the three tacos.

Next up was the Asada taco which stood out by keeping it simple. The meat has that classic Asada flavor with an amazing texture: tender yet slightly crunchy. Without just the guac, onions and cilantro, this is a fabulous taco. With the addition of the salsas (particularly the Verde), the taco becomes special and my favorite of the three tacos.

The Adobada (pork marinated in a “red” chile sauce) is very solid as well. Not quite as good as the Asada, but still a damn good taco. The flavor is subtle in a good way. Oftentimes a really good, saucy taco has the tendency of overpowering your taste buds and when biting into another type of taco the taste is still there. This is not the case with the Adobada at Tacos 1986. It has a good bite alongside some savory-sweetness and just enough taste to not require any salsas.

Left to right: hot, Verde and mild salsa from Tacos 1986.

In addition to the stellar tacos, three additional factors take Tacos 1986 to the next level, the most important being the salsa. The Verde is a perfect balance of sweet, spicy and bitter. The hot has a unique almost hummus-like consistency and goes very well with the chicken. The mild (usually the weakest salsa in my opinion) at Tacos 1986 is extremely flavorful. With hints of garlic, this mild salsa is in many ways similar to a marinara sauce and pairs well with all the tacos.

The next factor is freshly-made tortillas. Slightly larger than an average, the tortillas at Tacos 1986 manage to be sturdy without being thick or chewy. These tortillas allow the restaurant to add a healthy portion of meat to the tacos. This leads to the third factor that takes Tacos 1986 to the next level: portion size. As a hungry man, three tacos often is not enough for me while four tacos seem a bit extravagant. Three tacos at Tacos 1986, however, was the perfect amount of food. If I wanted a light lunch, two would have satisfied me.

Overall, this was one of the better lunches I’ve had in a while. When gauging a restaurant, I like to ask myself “would I take a friend from out of town here?” At Tacos 1986, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Value: 7/10
Taste: 8.5/10
Quality: 8.5/10

Overall: 8/10

in Dining, News
Related Posts

Texas Man Sentenced to 33 Months for Threatening U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Gaherty Targeted the Congresswoman With Racist and Violent Threats  A Texas man was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison...

Tech Entrepreneur and Developer Company Buy Promenade Shops for $103M: Report

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Acquisitions Include 1202, 1222, 1225, 1232, 1339, and 1344 Third Street Promenade Federal Realty Investment Trust has sold eight parcels...

ATAM to Host Content Creation Camp for Kids

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

All Ages Welcome, Popular Among Ages 7-12, With Offerings for Ages 4.5 ATAM is hosting a Content Creation and Editing...

Slain Jameson’s Pub Manager Described as a “Provider and Father Figure” by Loved Ones

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

His Last Days Were Spent Taking His Niece and Nephew Out for Ice Cream By Zach Armstrong  Family members, friends...

Michelin-Starred Chef James Kent Passes Away, Saga Hospitality Group Announces

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Chef Kent Is Remembered for His Culinary Excellence and Charity Work The Saga Hospitality Group announced the death of Michelin-starred...

Brand New, Six-Bed Palisades Mansion Hits Market at $34M

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

The lower level boasts a bar, lounge, wine tasting room, home theater, and a full spa with a gym A...

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

Fatal Altercation Outside Santa Monica Pub Leads to Homicide Charge

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Venice Resident Charged in Death of Jameson’s Pub Manager A man has been charged with homicide following a fatal altercation...

Laurene Powell Jobs Adds Another Malibu Pad to her Paradise Cove Portfolio

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

This Acquisition Marks Powell Jobs’ Fourth Property in the Upscale Enclave, Adding to Three Adjacent Parcels She Has Acquired Over...

Former HR Chief of Santa Monica Accuses City of Racial Discrimination

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

She Was Selected in 2018 as the First African American to Hold That Position Within City Leadership, According to the...

Juneteenth Art Exhibition Set for Abbot Kinney Boulevard

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

The Event Features Works by Twelve Prominent Black Artists From Los Angeles An art exhibition titled “FREEDOM” will open at...

Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Cut Price on Palisades Home by $6.5M

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

The couple purchased the property in June 2018 for $15.6 million and extensively remodeled it While actor Chris Pratt’s box-office...

Hang-Ten Therapeutics-Surf Therapy for Kids: Catching Waves and Finding your Calm

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

A different type of therapy is making waves in Los Angeles. Hang-Ten Therapeutics, founded by Naomi Matanick, a licensed pediatric...

Jinky’s Cafe is Returning to Santa Monica

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

The Development Comes After Months After the Franchise Closed Its Previous Santa Monica Storefront By Zach Armstrong Several months after The Independence,...

Venice Canal Attack Suspect Appears in Court

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

He faces a lifetime prison sentence without the possibility of parole By Zach Armstrong The man who allegedly raped and...