Taco Woodland Hills

Actor Danny Trejo Brings His Cantina to Woodland Hills

Danny Trejo, Ash Shah, and Jeff Giorgino opened Trejo’s Cantina in Woodland Hills, combining donut shop, fast-casual taqueria, and full-service restaurant.

With a rapid-fire succession of tough-guy movie roles, Danny Trejo (“Machete,” anyone?) is not exactly a person who keeps a relaxed pace. That adage holds true for his efforts in the restaurant world, where Danny has teamed with similarly gung ho business partners Ash Shah and Jeff Georgino on Trejo’s Cantina in Woodland Hills, the trio’s sixth opening in less than two years.

Their Valley outpost (in the space formerly occupied by Tuccio’s) is large enough to allow for versions of all three of the team’s existing concepts: the fast-casual Trejo’s Tacos in Mid-City L.A., Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts in Hollywood and the full-service (including liquor) Trejo’s Cantina in Pasadena.

In the morning, from 7 to 11 a.m., a counter framed with pastel pink walls serves coffee and donuts. A checkbox blackboard shows which donuts are available, delivered daily from Hollywood. During our visit, they stocked airy raised donuts with regular glaze, chocolate glaze and chocolate crumble, crumb, cinnamon sugar and maple bacon, plus donut holes. Movie fans will delight in the machete-shaped donut with custard filling, chocolate icing and icing that is stained blood-red from “use.”

Starting at 11 a.m., the counter switches to fast-casual lunch service. Customers can just grab a number and table.

Tacos are a large part of the lunch experience and feature toasted corn tortillas loaded with creative fillings you won’t find at your corner taqueria. Citrus-marinated, blackened salmon is spicy, flaky and dressed with pepita pesto. Spicy shrimp come slathered with diablo (devil’s) sauce. Mexi-falafel involves supple, Mexican-spiced falafel balls, kale, cashew cream and punchy pickled onions.

Trejo’s share-friendly menu includes chips and guac with spicy Serrano chilies and crushed pistachios. “Street” corn features charred kernels sheared from the cob and dressed with chipotle cream, cotija and popcorn. Quesadillas range from classic (carne asada) to a version with fried chicken, cole slaw, Serrano chilies and chipotle crema. Lunch also touts burritos, enchiladas and rice bowls.

Happy hour and dinner are both full-service, featuring the same dinner menu that you’ll find at Trejo’s Cantinas in Hollywood and Pasadena. Heartier platos principales (entrees) include shrimp fajitas and a chile relleno.

For dessert, fresh-fried churros come with chocolate and strawberry sauces.

The indoor-outdoor space houses more than 200 seats. Rows of booths line the reclaimed wood and aqua-hued dining room. A palapa-like patio hosts aqua-framed booths. A bar offers high-top seats and flat-screen TVs.

Despite Danny’s on-screen persona, Trejo’s Cantina is actually quite hospitable. Given the relaxed setting and rotating comfort food offerings, you may want to linger “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

21550 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills, 818-805-3165