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In the Mood / Tacos

May 01, 1997

In a city with hundreds of taco vendors, here is a small, far from definitive list of half a dozen favorites:

* Yuca's Hut: For years now, in a tiny hut no larger than a parking kiosk, some of the tastiest tacos in Los Angeles have been made with carne asada, carnitas and an especially memorable cochinita pibil. (Tacos, $1.40-$1.60.) Yuca's Hut, 2056 N. Hillhurst, Los Angeles, (213) 662-1214.

* Alegria: Some of the best regional Mexican home cooking in town can be found at this small mother-daughter operation in a mini-mall on Sunset Boulevard. Don't miss the tacos made with the moist, fragrant carnitas, smoky asada, swordfish or the unusual "tacos a la crema," three crisp corn tortillas filled with spiced potatoes and topped with queso fresco, creme frai^che and guacamole. (Taco plates, three tacos each, $3.99-$6.99.) Alegria on Sunset, 3510 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 913-1422.

* Poquito Mas: The ever-multiplying Poquito Mas makes respectable asada, chicken, carnitas and mahi mahi tacos--and has a sensational salsa bar. The showstoppers, however, are the shrimp tacos "San Felipe," made with grilled-to-order shrimp that's chopped and enhanced with a squeeze of fresh lime--a dollop of guacamole is well worth the extra 25 cents. (Tacos, $1 to $4.55.) Poquito Mas, 8555 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 652-7008; 2635 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, (818) 563-2252; 3701 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, (818) 760-8226; 1065 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 994-8226.

*Sen~or Fish: The original Highland Park location closed last year, but Sen~or Fish lives on in three other locations. The fish, shrimp and scallops are lightly breaded, fried and stuffed into tacos with cabbage, salsa and crema; juicy and crunchy, they're lush! Another textural surprise is the crisp potato taco; dip it in the house-made chipotle salsa. (Tacos, $1.35 to $2.25.) Sen~or Fish, 618 Mission Road, South Pasadena, (818) 403-0145; 4803 Eagle Rock Blvd., (213) 257-7167; 424 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 625-0566.

* La Luz del Dia: At the mouth of Olvera Street, on the historic plaza, this popular old standby serves tacos made with thick, chewy handmade tortillas. Especially good are the crusty yet buttery carnitas. (Tacos, $1.35 each.) La Luz del Dia, 107 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, (213) 628-7495.

* La Serenata de Garibaldi and La Serenata Gourmet: Among the pleasures offered at the East- and Westside Las Serenatas are fish tacos embellished with avocado and cilantro. (Tacos, $3.50 each.) La Serenata de Garibaldi, 1842 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights, (213) 265-2887; La Serenata Gourmet, 10924 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 441-9667.

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