arriola's tortilleria indio california

Best Handmade Tamales

Arriola’s Tortilleria in Indio has been supplying tortillas to the valley for almost 100 years, but it’s their tamales that captivate people.

Kent Black Best Of, Current PSL, Restaurants

arriola's tortilleria indio california

Arriola’s Tortilleria in Indio.

As everyone who has ever attended the annual Indio International Tamale Festival knows, the Coachella Valley has a dizzying amount of tamale-making talent. I have tasted everything from pineapple mango dessert tamales to addictive mole negro chicken burritos. But when it comes to traditional tamales, I stand by Arriola’s Tortilleria in Indio. They’ve been supplying tortillas to the valley for almost 100 years, but it’s their tamales I dream about. Anybody can make a filling, but it takes an artist to make a great masa. Wrapped in soaked corn husks, Arriola’s version is firm but creamy; it is the perfect casing for a traditional shredded pork filling. The pork fairly bursts from the masa and is tender and juicy. Sure, you can get a dozen for $25, but for a mere $7.50, you have to try the tamale boat, a big pork tamale covered in melted cheese and Colorado chili sauce.

Best Molcajete

Sure, you’ll likely wait for a table at Mariscos El Capitan in Coachella, but it’s worth it. We promise. And seated, if you only order one thing (other than the ceviche, of course) make it the Molcajete El Capitan. The colorful selection of aguachile, cooked shrimp, octopus, snails, oysters, and scallops is a feast for the eyes (and stomach) — and it often comes with a side of mariachis and or a Mexican horn ensemble. — Catherine Downes

• READ NEXT: Looking for More Best of the Best for 2022? Check Our Directory.