A Guide to the USC Area’s Best Mexican Food

By Greg Lennon

Los Angeles is world famous for many things: its cinematic arts, its culture, its beaches, and of course the near perfect weather.  One thing that often goes unnoticed to many is the city’s authentic Mexican food.  One of the closest American cities to the border, Los Angeles offers some of the best, most genuine Mexican cuisine.  From Pupusas to Horchata, South Central’s selection of Mexican cuisine appeals to even the pickiest of palates.  In my two years here at USC, I like to think I have sampled a good majority of the University Park neighborhood’s local restaurants.  Here are my personal recommendations for some of the best Mexican food north of the border:

El Huero’s (Formerly Chano’s), 3000 S. Figueroa St.

El Huero is renowned among USC students for its wide array of low priced Mexican and American cuisine, available 24 hours.  Huero’s, a drive through accessible taco stand, has catered to USC students and locals alike for years.  Whether you’re coming off a long night of partying with friends, or an even longer night of studying, Huero’s always has your back.  Personally, I would recommend any variation of the chili cheese fries, as well as any of their breakfast burritos.

La Taquiza, 3009 S. Figueroa St.

More of a sit-down style of restaurant, La Taquiza is known for their fusion of Baja California and traditional Mexican cuisine.  While a little pricier than Huero’s or Chipotle, La Taquiza does an excellent job of balancing quality, authenticity, and price.  As a frequent customer of La Taquiza, I can personally recommend their combo plates, which come with more than enough food at a fair price.

La Barca, 2414 S. Vermont Ave

La Barca is among the most authentic Mexican restaurants in the USC area.  Offering a traditional sit-down dining experience, La Barca is also one of the priciest joints in the neighborhood.  While a bit far from USC’s campus, the food is well worth the trip.  I would personally recommend La Barca’s Horchata, which is a sweet and milky cinnamon flavored drink.

Street Grill, S Vermont Ave/W 30th St

The grills on the corner of Vermont and 30th are by far my favorite when it comes to authentic Mexican food.  Although the legality of their operation is questionable, the grills (which open around sunset), offer some of the tastiest tacos and burritos around.  Although this place is cash only, the food is cheap, and well worth trying.

Greg is a sophomore majoring in International Relations, with an emphasis in International Politics in Security Studies. As a member of USC’s NROTC program, he will graduate as an officer in the US Navy, where he will serve for several years. Born and raised in Northern California, Greg enjoys running, hiking, and swimming on the weekends.