Of all the ethnic cuisine approaches practiced throughout most of California, Mexican has to crown the top of the list. For reasons beyond geographical – that is, because of Mexico’s close physical proximity to the Golden State – Mexican food continues to endure as uber-popular among Californians, many of the factors having everything to do with historical legacy, tradition and neighborhood-oriented culture. And, like any other style of cuisine that originates from a particular region of our world, the authenticity element varies greatly when it comes to Mexican cuisine based on a culinary artist’s experience, sheer knowledge of the culture and his or her own background.

Because it’s such a popular dining category amongst Los Angelinos, Mexican restaurants run rampant throughout L.A. and its neighboring districts – everything from food truck-esque stands to lavish full-service restaurants can be found when looking for Mexican food on these sun-kissed streets and amidst the shadowy hills beyond. The key to this proverbial puzzle lies in uncovering the truly memorable Mexican dining experiences, and if you’re looking for such an evening out in Woodland Hills, there’s no need to look any further than this roundup of “the best Mexican food in Woodland Hills” we’ve put together.

If something a bit more casual is on your Mexican food agenda, put on the sombreros and head over to Karlo’s & Koke’s Fresh Mexican Grill, situated at 6551 Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Here, the flavors of Oaxaca are dynamically injected into a plethora of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, black and red mole, tacos, burritos and much more. Often described by its legions of fans as “delicious Mexican food at its simplest and tastiest,” Karlo’s & Koke’s beckons with an open kitchen design on one side and a seating area on the other, creating the perfect backdrop for stylishly simplistic wooden tables with flamboyant red flowers in vases…all of which complements kind, friendly service with a genuine family-run vibe.

Taqueria el Tapatio – also known as simply El Tapatio – is located at 22806 Victory Boulevard and has been serving authentic Mexican classics to its customers for the last 18 years. This intriguing restaurant’s menu offers comprehensive lunch and dinner selections ranging from traditional plate combinations to mariscos (seafood), burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and more. Party trays are also available, as is a breakfast menu consisting of favorites like Huevos Rancheros and Burrito Desayuno.

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, at 19960 Ventura Boulevard, is part of a massive network of locations throughout California, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Japan, and is the brainchild of three brothers – Wing, Ed and Mingo – who fused their love of surf and food to create restaurants with an eclectic Mexican/Brazilian/Asian menu and Hawaiian north shore vibe. What makes each Wahoo’s location unique is its region-specific menu, tailored to what customers from that particular area tend to look for – hence, the Southern California Wahoo’s menu is replete with such items as tacos, enchiladas, burritos and protein selections.

Taco Reyes, located at 21929 Saticoy Street in Canoga Park, specializes in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas and other traditional Mexican dishes, with each meal starting off with the casual restaurant’s signature tortilla chips and salsa. Other favorites here include shrimp quesadilla, shrimp taco, beef taco, chicken taco – all described by Taco Reyes’ legion of fans as “flavorful and delicious” – as well as horchata, making this eatery the perfect place for lunch or dinner.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, located at 6219 Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills but boasting a large network of restaurants throughout California, was founded by Steve Paperno who had a vision to combine the variety of flavors he personally experienced traveling through Mexico with innovative recipes and a passion for healthy living. The result was an innovative menu that makes use of fresh, natural and organic ingredients and unique cooking styles for enhanced flavor and what Sharky’s representatives call “the promise of excellence and satisfaction.” Featured Sharky’s menu items include traditional Mexican items such as burritos and tacos, in addition to specialty “Superfood Salads” like Sharky’s Quinoa and Harvest Quinoa.

For many restaurants, making a difference with the food it serves is what it’s all about. When it comes to specific ethnic-based cuisine – such as Mexican – the stakes get a little higher, as it’s always the goal to bring out the authentic flavors of that region…and it’s what chefs are constantly striving for. If the craving for genuine, perfectly-served Mexican food is tickling your palate while in Woodland Hills, any of the aforementioned spots will effectively provide the cocina Mexicana experience in a memorable, distinguished fashion. Indeed, don those sombreros and grab the multicolored maracas for the best Mexican food in Woodland Hills!