Dip Your Chip With Our Favorite Nachos Joints Around LA
Nachos are the perfect dish for when need to get your snack on. Either by yourself or with a crowd of hungry friends the perfect cheesy, crunchy bite is always a good excuse to chow down.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, we’ve got you covered with some stellar eatery recommendations, across a range of styles, flavors, and textures, that will leave you officially nacho-satisfied.
El Señor Taco
Our pick: birria de chivo nachos.
Wandering up to the tiny counter window at El Señor Taco (no website) with its simple yet classic airbrushed signage overhead already feels like you're in the right place.
Oversaturated color photographs of tacos dorados, chalupas and gorditas adorn the wall of the cozy indoor patio, as well as a handwritten menu that contains the two words we’re here for today: birria nachos.
Now, let’s get something out of the way. Birria had its zeitgeist moment a few years back when it seemed to be everywhere. But more often than not it was birria de res, which is made from beef. Purists will argue that beef birria is not true birria, because the only true birria is made from goat — birria de chivo.
It's for that exact reason that we’re paying a visit to Señor Taco, where the only birria on the menu is de chivo. It comes on a tray with an ample pile of tortilla chips under a warm blanket of beans and cheese. Succulent chunks of gamey-tasting goat meat are layered and tucked under delightful pools of crema, avocado sauce, and a potent bright red salsa, offering crunch, heat and gooeyness in one delicious bite.
- Location: 1517 E Florence Ave., Los Angeles
- Hours: Sunday- Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
Our pick: Happy nachos made with the holy trinity of beef, chicken, and shrimp.
Nestled on an idyllic corner of the Pico-Union is where you’ll find Happy Taco, and if you think the name connotes bursts of sunshine and rainbows, you aren’t far off in terms of what’s in store for you. There's another walk-up window, with a deep menu that ranges from breakfast burritos to the nacho-adjacent carne asada fries. But if it’s the delectable nachos you desire, then nachos you shall have.
We recommend the Happy nachos, topped with beef, chicken, and shrimp, since apparently three is the magic number when it comes to these nachos.
This mixture of toppings is cooked and seasoned like a stir-fry or hibachi, with a sweet and savory unifying force. So good in fact, it steals the show away from the velvety layer of nacho cheese underneath. Truth be told, we could go either way when it comes to nacho cheese, but here at Happy Taco, it's still quite good in quality.
While you're eating your Happy Taco nachos, you might find yourself transported back to those nostalgia-filled days of skinned knees, Big League Chew bubble gum and after-school snacks. The nachos here are the grown-up version of that, saved from terminal greasiness by large juicy chunks of tomato, pickled jalapeño and fresh-tasting dollops of sour cream and guacamole.
- Location: 1309 Hoover St., Los Angeles
- Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. -11 p.m.
Sky’s Gourmet Tacos
Our pick: any nachos with soul-filled Doritos-like chips.
In a charming section of Mid-City, off yet another section of Pico Boulevard, sits Sky’s Gourmet Tacos. For Angelenos in the know, the food at Sky’s represents a longstanding 30-year union of Black and Brown cuisines, where soul-filled tacos feature such delicacies as filet mignon, lobster, and crawfish.
But it’s the regular nachos that are calling our name today. They come with any and all of the aforementioned toppings, in a size that’s perfect for one person to enjoy. Of course, there are some gargantuan-sized trays that we won’t ever turn down, especially with a good group of friends who like to imbibe such nacho hedonism, but when you are on your own and in need of a quick bite, Sky’s is most definitely where it’s at.
The chips themselves are the real star, made with a special seasoned salt packing a flavorful punch. A slightly apt comparison would be homemade Doritos that have been prepped with care.
There are plenty of flavor combinations, but we opted for the simple pinto bean with just a light sprinkling of grated melted cheese topped with diced tomatoes and cilantro. The unique flavor of the chips combined with fresh whole beans, (which can also be black beans), makes for a distinctive bite. You’ll no doubt soon be planning your next visit to come back and sample the rest of the menu.
- Location: 5303 W. Pico Blvd., Suite #01, Los Angeles
- Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Our pick: carne asada and al pastor featuring tasty layers, kind of like a nacho birthday cake.
It’s hard to pinpoint when La Chuperia became the undisputed nacho destination of northeast Los Angeles, but we are extremely glad it is.
Over a period of 10 years or so, it’s morphed from a family torta-owned spot to a go-to venue for watching sports, with stellar happy hour options like craft beer-inspired micheladas and solid appetizer offerings. There are currently locations in Alhambra and Exposition Park, but we visited the original Lincoln Heights location, off Mission Road near USC county hospital.
The smallish bar and patio area are in no way a signifier in terms of the nacho experience you’re about to embark on. Arriving on a tray the size of half a baking sheet, a mound of chips, filling to the corners, comes showered in a confetti-esque fashion with shredded cheese, pico de gallo, thin swirls of sour cream and medium carved-out chunks of avocado. Lying beneath is a combination of chicken, asada, al pastor and chorizo.
The final, heavily layered product almost resembles a nacho birthday cake, liberally drizzled with house salsa for good measure.
The Chuper nachos are the type that require a fork, ensuring you get as much nacho as you are owed. Inside the small bar area, the soundtrack casually flips from the 90s and early 2000s hip-hop with the occasional narco corrido, making for one hell of a celebratory mood to match the joyous dish.
Locations and hours:
- 118 W Main St., Alhambra
- Tuesday-Wednesday 4 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday 4 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday-Sunday 4 p.m.-1 a.m.
3742 Flower St., Los Angeles
- Tuesday-Sunday 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
1145 N Mission Rd., Lincoln Heights
- Tuesday-Sunday 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Our pick: perfectly-tasty vegan jackfruit nachos.
With its cool cozy locations along the ever-popular 4th Street in Long Beach, Costa Mesa, and most recently Los Feliz, Seabirds has a funky yet sunny decor and a vegan menu boasting taquitos made with purple potatoes and large kale salads.
The jackfruit nachos consist of Korean-style shredded jackfruit with added spice, a substantial tangy-meets-savory topping, along with black beans, a light drizzle of chipotle sour cream, and a proper dusting of their almond feta, which you won’t be able to get enough of after a few bites.
There’s something to be said for these particular nachos, a perfect accompaniment to good conversation with family or friends. They're the kind that aren’t too filling, yet still have enough flavor to make you savor each bite. You’ll soon forget you have vegan nachos, and before you know it, they’ll be all gone.
Location and hours:
2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
- Monday-Friday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Saturday- Sunday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
975 E. 4th St., Long Beach
- Monday-Friday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
2138 Hillhurst Ave., Suite B, Los Feliz
- Monday- Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday- Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
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