Updated for 2020
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!
Find the Best Tamales in Los Angeles
3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90006
“Guelaguetza is a restaurant, boutique market, and an advocate of Oaxacan culture in Los Angeles.” Many local patrons will tell you that 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 dine on the outdoor patio with health safety precautions in place. Note, the restaurant’s new hours; they are closed on Mondays.
La Mascota Bakery
2715 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023
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. They are closed on Wednesdays.
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. They are closed on Mondays.
8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Gracias Madre features “traditional Mexican cuisine made plant-based, all from scratch using local, organic ingredients.” Tamales are sold by the dozen and are available in savory flavors. 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.
118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica 90402
The holidays in LA mean it’s tamale time! We have Half a Dozen Tamales for $28, available in Organic Chicken Guajillo or Frijol Negro made with black bean purée poblano & queso Oaxaca. We’re accepting pre-orders starting today over the phone for Friday pickup, so call us at 310-526-0027. On Friday, we’ll then have them available for same-day phone orders or for takeout/delivery on our RC Family app.To guarantee tamales for the holidays, call us by Monday, December 21 at 5 p.m. for pickup on Wednesday, December 23 from 4-9 p.m.
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 pork, chicken, spinach and cheese, and beef tamales all made with a “secret family recipe.” Sweet varieties include traditional strawberry, pineapple, sweet corn, and cinnamon and raisins.
Mama’s International Tamales
2124 – 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057
If you’re searching for vegan tamales, look no further than Mama’s International Tamales. This popular neighborhood spot offers a special catering menu as well. Be sure to check their Instagram account for the latest specials. They are closed on Mondays.
Tamales Elena y Antojitos
8101 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens, CA 90201
Tamales Elena y Antojitos is described as “LA’s first Afro-Mexican restaurant.” Many in the Watts neighborhood are already familiar with these tasty tamales, when they were sold from a cart, and then later from a food truck. Select from both banana leaf-wrapped tamales as well as corn husk-wrapped tamales, with vegetarian and vegan options available. They are closed on Wednesdays.
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