I often call LA ‘MexiCali’ and there is good reason for this nickname. There are literally thousands of great Mexican food restaurants from authentic style, to modern flair with seasonal ingredients, to taquerias (Spanish word for taco shop). Even the divey roadside stands selling burritos are scrumptious. Basically you can’t go wrong with Mexican food anywhere in LA. Did you know that according to the L.A. Times, in 2010 the number of Los Angeles-area Mexicans has increased to 3.5 million?
After taking several polls we came up with a list of the most mentioned places that we and our friends enjoy for Mexican food, fun, and festivities in La La Land. We recommend the following spots to transport you to Mejico!
The Gardens of Taxco – West Hollywood
I will never forget the first time I came here. There was no menu. We just dined on numerous courses that they offered verbally, and the waiter was straight out of a movie combining details with the entrees with colorful sayings such as, “Not hot, SPIIIIIIIIIIIICY,” as he rolled as tongue. Signature dialogue includes ‘born in the sauce.’ The understated décor and festive atmosphere will transport you to a fine home in Mexico City.
Mexico City – Los Feliz
Authentic Mexican cuisine that is flavorful with casual booths and great service. This place is a Los Feliz gem, and close to the vintage movie theater.
Marix Tex Mex – West Hollywood and Santa Monica
I use to frequent the one in Santa Monica a lot when I lived in the west side. Often we would go for drinks after volleyball games, for happy hour, or just a big group meeting up for dinner. So close to the beach!
Escuela Taqueria on 7615 Beverly Blvd
Definitely get the Bronzino, Pork Belly, or Pork Ribs tacos. They are sold as two small tacos, and are a bit pricey, but worth it. This place definitely offers some of the best homemade warm salted nachos, salsa, guacamole, and refried beans in LA.
Tortilla Republic – West Hollywood
This venue includes updated modern Mexican fare and I enjoyed eating brunch outside. Their signature dishes include Tacos de Jicama, Duck Confit Enchiladas and the ever-popular Carnitas. They also offer a gluten free menu.
Guelaguetza – 3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles Times Food Critic Jonathon Gold raves this is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.
El Carmen – 8138 W. Third St.
This hip road full of restaurants and cool boutiques is a loud fun spot to dive into happy hour or some legit Mexican.
Lares – Santa Monica
Since 1968, this restaurant offers old world charm, and a menu that even includes breakfast.
Gilberts – Santa Monica
Affordable, cash only, family run, good atmosphere for kids.