The Taco Surf empire grew from the dream of a father and son who, in 1988, decided to found a restaurant that captured the distinctive flavors as well as the festive spirit of Baja California. Basing the menu on generations-old family recipes, the duo stick to tradition by making everything from crispy tortilla chips to tamales in-house. Charbroiled flank steak, slow-cooked pork, and grilled chicken appear throughout the menu; however, the ocean's influence is unmistakably prominent. The iconic Baja tacos arrive brimming with breaded white fish and drizzled with a signature spicy Baja sauce, which the restaurant generously sells by the bottle and by the thimble.
From 14-hour days during the beginnings of their first restaurant in Long Beach more than 37 years ago, Super Mex founders Manuel and Socorro Orozco built franchises across Southern California. Inspired by the local cuisine of the village he was born in—Villa Jimenez, Michoacan, Mexico—Manuel brought his passion for traditional Mexican food to California, where the business grew with a dedicated following of college students. Striving to craft dishes that taste homemade, Super Mex offers Mexican classics such as burritos, tostadas, and flautas.
At the five Archibald's Drive-Thru locations, smells of char-broiled meats fill the dining area and the drive-thru lane. Staff prepare American classics, from pastrami reubens to philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and a number of Mexican dishes, including enchiladas and sauce-smothered burritos. Their menu's most popular items, though, are the Monster and Frisco burgers?both featuring beef patties loaded with cheese and other condiments.
No matter how delicious the fillings, an otherwise promising taco can be easily ruined by a subpar tortilla—a complaint Gabriel of Xotl Burrito never faces. With a simple combination of corn masa and water, the Puebla, Mexico-area native hand-makes corn tortillas each and every day for his burritos, tacos, and sopes. And at Xotl, which means “fresh” in Aztec, tortillas aren’t the only house-made items. Gabriel follows his Mama Loreto’s recipes for seasoning and grilling succulent meats, such as carne asada and chicken, boosted by fixings from the fresh salsa bar. He spikes shaved ice, or raspados, with seasonal fruits, and even adds American food to the mix by creating burgers dressed with bacon, cheese, and a top hat.
MVP's Grill & Patio, a cash-only burger joint in Long Beach, has cultivated an impressive following. Its two locations have inspired more than 600 Yelp reviews combined, many of them 4 stars or higher. Most of the praise goes to its burgers, which are named after George Foreman, including the Big "George Foreman," a burger with two 1/3-pound patties, four slices of cheese, and a bun that can take a punch. Other sandwiches on the menu receive a similar sports-themed treatment, such as the Harry Carey (a triple-decker BLT) and the Chick Hearn (grilled chicken with cajun mayonnaise). To complement the burgers and sandwiches, diners can pair them with fries and soda.