10 Hot Spots for Traditional & Unique Tacos in Santa Monica

Trying to find the best tacos in Santa Monica is like trying to find the most beautiful art in The Louvre. You could spend your life arguing about it and never come to a definitive answer!

Luckily, that also means that you cannot go wrong (and that you get to eat lots of tacos in the process) when on your journey. If you have high standards for tacos, you’re in the right place.

Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.

Santa Monica Tacos

Finding the Best tacos in Santa Monica: Best Taco Restaurants in Town

Blue Plate Taco

  • Address: 1515 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Located near the Santa Monica Pier, this is a perfect lunchtime spot on any beach day! This spot is in the Shore Hotel and offers a relaxing beach vibe with ocean views.

A rotating menu of seasonal specials and a taco menu with traditional and unique options (including lobster) set this spot apart. If you can’t choose, go for the Taco Del Dia. Brunch fans will rejoice at the idea of brunch tacos, available until 4:00pm on weekends. Check all their taco options here.

Tacos Por Favor

  • Address: 1408 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Taco experts understand that paying more for a taco doesn’t always equate to a better taco. In fact, often, the tacos you spend a dollar or two on are the best around. Serving some of the best Mexican food in Santa Monica, Tacos Por Favor proves that point.

For just a few dollars each, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best tacos in the city. All your classic meat and fish options are available as well as potato tacos and sauteed mushroom tacos. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the lengua and thank us later.

Not really in the mood for tacos? Then check the best restaurants in Santa Monica for an alternative!


  • Address: 217 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Street taco purists may be initially turned off by the Instagram look and feel of LANEA. While that may be fair, hold off on judging too early! Take a look at the menu first and then consider. With plenty of taco options (and a variety of tequilas and mezcals to pair with your food), LANEA may just surprise you.

If nothing else, it’s the place to be for all you can eat. LANEA offers all-you-can-eat street tacos and chips on Wednesday nights and all-you-can-eat breakfast tacos with a cocktail included for weekend brunch.

You can order party packages, tequila flights to-go, and handcrafted cocktails packs with free delivery in L.A too. Learn more on their website.

Lula Cocina Mexicana

  • Address: 2720 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

For a restaurant to claim they have “The best Mexican food this side of the border” is a bold statement, especially in Southern California. Lula Cocina Mexicana isn’t making empty claims, though, and one look at the menu proves that.

They do all the staples well but definitely look at their section of fish tacos. Feeling adventurous? Try the duck tacos. It may sound strange, but you’ll see that it works impeccably well.

Ruben’s Tacos

  • Address: 11879 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

You didn’t think we were going to make a list of the best taco spots in Santa Monica and skip the food trucks, did you? Anyone in the know knows that food truck tacos are some of the best available, no matter where you are. When ordering tacos from a truck, it is literally impossible to make the wrong selection.

Get the al pastor or barbacoa if you’re stuck and want a classic. If you want something more unique, give the cabeza or lengua tacos a try.

Benny’s Tacos & Rotisserie Chicken 

  • Address: 915 Wilshire Blvd #1811, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Benny’s is comfort food at its finest. Benny’s prioritizes function over fashion in this casual and cozy setting. Sit outside and watch the world go by with your choice of 9 taco options.

Chipotle or rotisserie chicken tacos are the thing to get here. If you aren’t in the mood for chicken, the shrimp and barbacoa tacos are also popular choices.

SaMo’s Oaxaca

  • Address: 1865 Lincoln Blvd Ste 5, Santa Monica, CA 90404

While it doesn’t offer as many options as other spots, SaMo’s Oaxaca doesn’t need to. At $2 or $3 each, you’ll get high-quality Santa Monica tacos for some of the lowest available prices. The street tacos are the thing to get here, especially when drizzled in SaMo’s homemade salsa.

Go for the birria queso tacos if you’re unsure of what you want. Looking for something more substantial? For just over $10, you can get the SaMo’s Oaxaca taco plate. Pick three street tacos of your choosing and get rice and beans on the side for a filling lunch or dinner!

SaMo’s Oaxaca also offers takeout and delivery, choose your taco deal online.

El Paladar Oaxaqueno Taco Truck

  • Address: 11654 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

If you want a physical and emotional pick me up, few places beat a good taco truck. El Paladar Oaxaqueno has a fantastic staff and even better food!

Featuring a simple, straightforward menu and affordable prices, you can try all the tacos your stomach can handle without breaking the bank. There is a small charge added for some of the meats, but it’s well worth the extra few cents!


  • Address: 1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

If you’re ever asked the question, “Can I get good tacos at Third Street Promenade,” the answer is an emphatic “yes!” Mercado does tacos well, of course, or it wouldn’t be on this list – the Tacos de Filete are amazing.

That being said, the only thing it does better than tacos is happy hour. You can get margaritas for under $10 and tacos de papa for $7. The best thing available, though, is the incredibly popular Dos Gringas tacos at $10 during happy hour. Worth every penny!

La Purépecha Cocína Mexicana

  • Address: 725 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

If you only pick one taco spot on this list, La Purépecha Cocína Mexicana makes a strong case for itself. Not only are they using top-tier ingredients and hand-making their tortillas, but the experience of this restaurant is second to none.

You have three types of tacos to pick from: street tacos, taconazos, and mulitas. The extra dollar for mulitas is 100% worth it. Whichever you order, carnitas is the go-to here, though you have shrimp and fish options if you don’t feel like meat. You’ll find all their menu options here, and you can even order online!

Whether it is meat tacos, cheese tacos, or fish tacos, Santa Monica has a place that’s just about right when it comes to savoring one of the most popular staples in Mexican cuisine.

Where to stay in Santa Monica

Find more Santa Monica accommodation options on Booking.com.

Santa Monica is fairly easy to get around. We recommend renting a car and exploring all there is to see. You can find the best prices on rental cars by clicking here.

When you’re not discovering Santa Monica on your own, we suggest treating yourself to a tour. From private wine tours to kayak and SUP tours, cooking classes classes to tours of celebrity-owned homes, there’s a little something for everyone. Browse all the Santa Monica tours available on Viator by clicking here.

If you want to capture the memories from your trip to Monterey, we recommend hiring a professional photographer. A Flytographer photoshoot is one of our favorite souvenirs from our travels and we want to share them with you!

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