Revolutionario North African Tacos

Going boldly where no tacos have gone before

By Joshua Lurie

Great and unexpected things can happen when people are inspired to push boundaries and disregard borders. At this uncluttered spot near USC, French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi and Susan Park have laid down a manifesto of their own that calls for “tacos sin fronteras” and a “fast food revolution,” crossing borders, continents, and oceans to bring the distinctive—radical even—influence of a North African sensibility to one of LA’s most familiar foods.

Their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed: Just this month, Revolutionario won over the hearts and stomachs of LA taco fanatics to sweep “Taco Madness,” in the restaurant’s first year of competing. At the space on Jefferson Boulevard, customer testimonials pasted alongside dollar bills on the gray-blue walls offer more validation—one favorite reads, “less talko, more taco.” Meanwhile, the side patio provides relief from the heat under a fabric tarp that flaps in the wind. Order at the counter from a menu that displays evidence of roots in different culinary traditions across the globe, from Mexico to Algeria.

For the BBE exclusive “Taste of Revolutionario,” you’ll start with ceviche, featuring either yellowtail or tuna. Either way, the cubed fish is tossed with cabbage, red onions, and tangy leche de tigre, then serve Peruvian-style with sweet potato causa, sweet potato chips, and roasted corn kernels.

From there, expect a parade of tacos served on griddled white and blue corn tortillas. Roasted cauliflower delivers a slow burn from the North African spice blend ras el hanout. Their fish taco is similarly potent, with flaky cod dressed with green harissa and shakshouka, a smoky pepper sauce.
Lamb tagine stars big chunks of leg meat with chickpeas and sweet potato; Zadi recommends adding both red and green harissa from the salsa bar, where you’ll find six different bottles of house-made sauce. The duck hash with chopped confit and diced potato is nice and sticky, practically insists you hit it with the pineapple sauce, a pungent salsa crafted from ingredients like pineapple, vinegar, chiles, lemon juice, and ras el hanout.

To drink, Revolutionario keeps ginger lemonade, hibiscus lemonade, and mint tea swirling in dispensers by the register, while slightly sweeter options lay in wait for dessert. Think Algerian pastries like semolina cookies (ghribiya) with lemon curd, cashew samsas with orange marmalade, and date Newtons (makroud) with orange honey syrup. No, these treats aren’t part of the tasting menu, but you don’t mind pushing the boundaries a little bit now, do you?

BBE exclusive “Taste of Revolutionario” ($12 per person)

one each of the following:
Yellowtail or tuna ceviche cup
Ras el hanout cauliflower taco
Fish taco with green harissa and shakshouka
Smoked lamb tagine taco
Duck hash taco

hours

Tue–Sun 11:30 AM–9 PM
Closed Monday
x