Top 5 tamales within 5 miles of El Camino College


A customer waits to order at Pupusatown, located across the street from El Camino College. (Photo by Molly Cochran/ Warrior Life)

There are a multitude of Latin and Mexican-inspired restaurants that serve tamales near El Camino College (ECC), but we narrowed it down to the top five tamales located within five miles of ECC. Campus may be closed right now, but these eateries are still thriving, and anxiously waiting for the hungry students they once served to return.

These tamales were rated on the grounds of taste, texture and selection. Most of these restaurants are small and a few even make and sell their own masa. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be sure to receive a quality tamale.


1. Pupusatown

Address: 16300 Crenshaw Blvd.

Pupusatown is located right across the street from El Camino College. Run by ECC alumni, Sandy Lucero, Pupusatown sells authentic mexican and salvadoran cuisine, including chicken and corn tamales. Both were served hot and wrapped in husks and plastic with a side of tamale sauce. The chicken tamale was flavorful and full of meat. The corn tamale had a sweet, but slightly savory flavor which contrasted beautifully to make a great overall taste. The masa itself was sweetened for this tamale as well. In both, the filling was a little bit drier than you might like. However, it is a great place for ECC students to grab a tamale between classes.


2. The Burnt Tortilla

Address: 1427 W. Redondo Beach Blvd.

The Burnt Tortilla is located on Redondo Beach Boulevard, and also functions as a sports bar. They offer beef, pork and chicken tamales. If desired, each tamale is taken out of its corn husk shell and covered in a red mole sauce and cheese. Each one was filling and satisfying, they are not shy with including a lot of meat inside each tamale. Inside each was a flavorful blend of meat and sauce, bordering on spicy with a kick of heat, but no major spice. The only shortcoming to these tamales was that the masa shell was slightly dry and easily fell apart.


3. The Tamale Man

Address: 1654 West Carson St.

The Tamale Man is located on west Carson Street. Specializing in tamales, they offer a wide range of savory meat filling options. They also offer plates loaded with tamales, avocado, rice and beans. All tamales are made in-house, and the masa is homemade as well and can be purchased. A tamale al a carte is quite large and is presented wrapped in tin foil and a corn-husk pocket. Unlike other tamales, it can be held vertically and eaten like a burrito without it crumbling everywhere, making it great for an on-the-go meal.


4. Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant

Address: 13737 Inglewood Ave.

Zacatecas is located on south Inglewood avenue, and serves each meal with a small bag of chips and a cup of salsa. Their tamales are not made in house, but instead ordered from Diana’s Mexican Food, the same place they order their tortillas from. They only sell pork tamales, but the tamale comes served with red salsa and melted cheese. There isn’t much filling, and the masa is a bit dry, giving the shell a more grainy and drier texture. However, where it lacks in structure, it makes up in flavor. The pork inside was lean and flavorful with a red sauce base to add the restaurant’s personal flavor.

5. La Esperanza

Address: 22832 S. Western Ave.

La Esperanza is located on south Western Avenue, and serves chicken, pork, jalapeno and cheese and sweet corn tamales. With baked goods lining the walls, La Esperanza is known for their bakery but they deliver a great tamale as well. With homemade masa, the tamales are made in-house fresh every morning. Depending on which flavor you get, with each you can count on a generous amount of filling which is complemented by the soft masa shell. The portion sizes are pretty average, but the tamales leave you feeling full and satisfied.