Tamales Lilianas is a family owned Mexican Style Restaurant that has proudly served the Los Angeles and surrounding communities for over twenty four years.
Before opening the original restaurant, the owner and founder Juan Santoyo sold tamales and champurrado(a chocolate-based warm and thick Mexican drink) on street corners. Six months later, the original Tamales Lilianas restaurant opened at 3448 East First St. in Boyle Heights. Three months after the restaurant opening, Pozole and Menudo were added to the menu. The Tamale street sales continued for nine years. Tamales Lilianas continued to grow and gain popularity with word spreading of the tasty tamales not only amongst locals, but bringing regular customers from far away distances. Since 1992, local spanish TV stations like Channels 34 & 52 have regularly visited Tamales Lilianas giving reports of the increasingly popular restaurant.
History of Tamales
Tamales are a traditional dish made of masa (a starchy dough, usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.
Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmeca and Tolteca before them, used tamales as portable food, often to support their armies, but also for hunters and travelers. Tamale use in the Inca Empire had been reported long before the Spanish visited the New World.
Over the years, Tamales have come to symbolize more than just a meal to Latino families. While Tamales are served year-round, they are a very important Christmas Eve tradition in the Hispanic community. For thousand of families in the Los Angeles and surrounding communities, Tamales Lilianas has been a regular holiday destination for buying Tamales that has been passed down from generation to generation. On Christmas Eve, people start lining up at 2 a.m. for the 3 a.m. opening. The line can go around the block past the parking lot. The restaurant is even open Christmas Day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tamales Lilianas family’s authentic recipe has not changed in more than 20 years, with the top quality being the main focus. Juan's wife Liliana, is to this day constantly checking the quality that brings people back time and time again.
The Second Restaurant
With the popularity of the restaurant on First Street at an all-time high, a new Tamales Lilianas restaurant opened at 4629 East Cesar Chavez Ave. in East Los Angeles. The new location quickly became too small and in 2006 Tamales Lilianas restaurant moved to a much larger location just up the block at 4619 East Cesar Chavez Ave.
The menu at Tamales Lilianas has grown over the years and now serves a wide variety of delicious traditional Mexican food dishes and of course the world-famous Tamales. Tamales Lilianas serves Breakfast, Seafood, a variety of different meats, Desserts, as well as specialized dishes that are sure to fill your needs at an affordable price.
Liliana Santoyo, is the restaurant manager and daughter of owners Juan and Liliana Santoyo. While she is constantly looking to add new and exciting items to the menu, quality remains the number one priority.
Thank you for visiting the Tamales Lilianas website. We are very happy with the overwhelming support and look work forward to continue serving you and your families for many generations to come.