Neighborhood Taqueria Spotlight: The Buttery Tacos Al Vapor At 'tacos Estilo Guadalajara' In Downey

Posted: Jun 08, 2021

A Mexican restaurant on Lakewood Boulevard offers customers a deal they can’t refuse: For the modest price of a single taco, you can pretend you are in Guadalajara—if just for the duration of those glorious two bites.

The SELA-centric taco experience comes complete with a backdrop of the iconic twin steeples of the Guadalajara Cathedral. However, while the sights and culture are a nice touch, the jewel of this tour is the food.

True to their name, the owners of Tacos Estilo Guadalajara are prideful about recreating their Guadalajara-style tacos in L.A. as best as possible. This means letting the gentle cooking power of the steam break down the meat until it is butter-like and tender.

The family behind the establishment comes from a dynasty of street vendors who served the people of Guadalajara for more than 30 years. These customs are part of the legacy they’ve carried through multiple generations, and it makes all the difference in taste.

Whether it’s lean and savory asada or rich cabeza, the tortillas warmed al vapor pair perfectly with all the meats offered on the menu, including cachete (beef cheeks; shredded beef-like in texture), labio (beef lip; meaty and tongue-like in texture), and lengua (tongue; meaty). They also sell homemade menudo on weekends from 8 AM. to 1 PM but try not to cut it close since they’ve been known to sell out.

“In 2008, my parents started the business out of a truck in Watts,” said Karen, eldest daughter of Aide and Juan Cortez, “I was 15 years old when I started working with them to help out.”

That taco stand on Alameda was just the beginning for Aide and Juan. It would not be long before the family opened their first restaurant in Lynwood, bringing Guadalajara’s authentic tacos and menudo to a broader clientele.

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