Tamales are as ubiquitous to Los Angeles as palm trees, so this list of the Best Tamales in Los Angeles certainly isn’t all-inclusive – but they are our favorites. And if you’re looking for Tamales Near You, take a look at our handy map down below.
In case you just arrived here, you may ask: What is a tamale? Tamales are delicious “masa” (corn dough) that can be filled with various meats, cheeses, or sweet fillings and wrapped in a corn husk, or banana leaf, then steamed and served with sauce, beans and rice maybe, or alongside an entrée. They are super comfort food!
Tamales are also a Christmas tradition that comes to us from Mexico, and we’re grateful that we can partake!
True tamale fans will tell you that the best ones are made from homemade recipes and won’t always be featured in Zagat Guide. In fact, getting together with family and friends for a Tamalada (a tamale-making party) is a wonderful way to have fun AND make dinner!
But if you’re not planning to make your own, you can get holiday Tamales from one of the great places on this list. Place your orders early, or prepare to wait in line. Either way, they will be worth the wait!
Two locations 4629 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles CA 90022 and
3448 E. First Street, Los Angeles CA 90063
This place has lines all year long! “Tamales Liliana’s is a family-owned Mexican Style Restaurant that has proudly served Los Angels and surrounding communities for over twenty-four years.” You can eat inside the restaurant or you can order tamales to go. They have cheese, pork, green chile, red chile and sweet flavors like pineapple. The cheese has a slight jalapeño kick making it one of our favorites! While you are there grab some authentic Mexican “Dulce de Coco” or champurrado.
3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90006
You need to go here, and not just for the Tamales, but for the best Oaxacan food in the country! With its soft texture, and wrapped in a banana leaf the Mole Negro tamales are a must this time of year. They also have a sweetened corn tamale with raisins that you won’t regret. Order online or via phone or bring a group to the restaurant.
This is a favorite for locals! Not only because of the tamales, but because of all the delicious food from tortas to pan dulce. For the holidays, people drive from all over the city to wait in line for these delicious tamales that have been sold in Boyle Heights for over 65 years.
Los Cinco Puntos
3300 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd., East Los Angeles, CA 90063
This is another East LA staple. Rachel Ray once said it had one of the best tacos in America, but we want you to come and taste the tamales! If you come on a weekend, be prepared for a line, because people from all over L.A. come here for the masa and the delicious tamales.
La Indiana Tamales
1142 S. Indiana St., Los Angeles, CA 90023
La Indiana Tamales describes itself as “the best kept secret in Los Angeles.” They offer all the traditional tamales with chicken, beef, vegetables, as well as sweet tamales. Christmas is their “peak season,” so be prepared and be patient. Tamales are made from scratch using only the freshest ingredients. For your convenience, tamales may be ordered online.
Multiple locations including
1118 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90065
Luckily, there are multiple locations of King Taco Restaurants around Los Angeles, so you’re never too far away from one. King Taco was founded in 1974 and began operating from a converted ice cream truck. King Taco does the basics — chicken, pork, cheese with jalapeños, or sweet (sugar and pineapple pieces). For those with dietary restrictions, you can check the website for a listing of calories and nutritional content.
3655 S Grand Ave #C6, Los Angeles, CA
Chichen Itza Restaurant is a family owned and operated a business inside the Mercado la Paloma in south Los Angeles. They “specialize in Yucatecan Food, maintaining the authentic flavor of this original Southeast Mexican Cuisine.” You can also order online.
8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Gracias Madre is a plant-based Mexican restaurant. So those who are vegan can still enjoy tamales during the holidays (and year-round). Check the website for information about holiday tamales and how to order them.
Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales
13752 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, CA 91331
Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales is a “family owned business established in 1999 by the Ortega Family.” What began as a small restaurant in San Fernando has grown to a 10,000-square foot tamale factory in Pacoima. Over the years, their tamales have won numerous awards. Enjoy the classics – beef, pork, chicken, pineapple, and veggie.
1644 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tamales Alberto was established in 1997. Since then, they’ve developed a loyal following. Their tamales are made from original family recipes and are made with a variety of fillings. Select chicken, pork, and cheese tamales, or if you’re in the mood for something sweet, try the strawberry and pineapple sweet tamales. Vegan and vegetarian-style tamales are also available.
15404 Nordhoff St., North Hills, CA 91343 and
7622 Reseda Blvd., Reseda, CA 91335
Many consider the tamales at Tamales House to be among the very best! Enjoy “secret family recipe” tamales including pork, chicken, spinach and cheese, and beef. Sweet varieties include traditional strawberry, pineapple, sweet corn, and cinnamon and raisins.