BY: MARK HYDE
Southern California has made itself known throughout the nation as a place of warm sunny weather, celebrity sightings, and its beautiful beaches. Another huge bonus to living in SoCal would be the Mexican food, which could be argued as incomparably the best Mexican food on the planet (besides, of course, Mexico, although maybe even that can be argued). We appreciate our Mexican food so much, we have devoted a full day to one of the staples--tacos! Taco Tuesday has brought many of us together for some top quality tacos, but where are the best places or deals? There are several taco locations in Long Beach that are known for their Taco Tuesday deals, and I have visited a great majority of them. Of all these locations, I came up with the top three best taco shops in the Long Beach area that have met all the key elements in terms of quality, value, and overall tastiness!
Location: 603 Atlantic Avenue or 2801 East 10th Street
Yelp Rating: 4.5/5
Taco Tuesday Deal Hours: 9a.m. to 9p.m. both locations
From the outside it may seem like any other taco joint. But as you walk inside you’re welcomed with vibrant colors and the warm smell of fresh tortillas, and right away you can tell this is a legitimate taco shop. Their deals leave the potential taco shopper with many choices, like their Crispy Tacos with three different meat choices for $1.25 each, the American taco with six different choices also for $1.25 each, the Mexican taco with four different choices for only $1 each, or if you’re craving seafood, the Shrimp or Fish taco for $2. For vegetarians, there is a mushroom taco option for two dollars and the black bean American taco for $1.25. My pick would have to be the traditional Mexican taco. It’s a fairly simple taco, but the sophistication of the flavor left me reminiscent of the taco shops back home in the border town of San Ysidro. If Atlantic Ave. is too far of a drive, there is another location on 10th St., however both locations have no parking lot, so parking can be a bit of a problem. Otherwise, this place is a solid pick for taco fans, including myself. And there’s no need to worry if you missed out on the deal on Tuesday, because this same deal happens on Fridays as well.
Location: 1616 E. Anaheim Street
Yelp Rating: 3.5/5
Taco Tuesday Deal Hours: 7 p.m. to midnight
This place was fairly interesting. There are in fact two spots to fulfill your taco cravings: inside the restaurant and outside at the taco stand. Inside the restaurant, there are comfortable tables and booths to unwind, but there is no Taco Tuesday deal or a happy hour deal.
Getting back on track, if you are looking for tacos that you can easily pick up for take-out or eat right on the spot, El Sauz is a safe bet. The taco shop outside of the restaurant is the only place you can get the Taco Tuesday deal from 7p.m. to midnight, and you get eight choices of tacos: asada, pollo, carnitas, pastor, barbacoa, cabeza, chorizo, and veggie. Each taco runs at the same price of $1.25 each and they’re all great, tasty choices (except the cabeza, unless you like watery flavorless meat then by all means). There are only a few tables set up outside the counter, but there’s a parking lot, so access to this outside taco shop is easy. Just anticipate long lines on Tuesdays, because this place can get packed.
Coco Renos/Reno Room
Location: 3400 E. Broadway
Yelp Rating: 4/5
Taco Tuesday Deal Hours: 11a.m. to 11p.m.
With its location only a few doors down from the Library Cafe (an ideal spot for efficient studying) and a Taco Tuesday deal that also includes beers and margaritas for $3.50 each, it would be no surprise for this place to be a top pick to many college students. All tacos are $1.50 each with choices including carne asada, chorizo, pollo, shrimp, fish (grilled or fried), and even tofu. All tacos come in pairs, except the shrimp and fish tacos, so technically each taco is valued at 75 cents. The tacos are also great in flavor, although not as great as El Torazo, but that can be argued.
There are two sides to sit in this location: the kitchen side and the bar side. The kitchen side, known as Coco Renos, is open until 11 p.m., whereas Reno Room (the bar side) is open until 2 a.m. There is ample seating on both sides, although Reno Room has a pool table and many private booths. So if you’re looking for a great time with friends and a special deal on drinks and tacos, Reno Room would be the ideal side to be on. The place is also accessible, with a parking lot around the back. Nonetheless, just like El Sauz, this place can get fairly packed on Tuesdays, so street parking may have to be the alternative, however I never found a problem with this issue
Of all the taco places in Long Beach, these three locations stood out the most in terms of value, quality, and taste. With these restaurants keeping close to their traditional values on what makes a good taco, it is certain that customers will continue to return for their delicious Taco Tuesday deals.