Los Angeles, the city of Angels. Though the most American of cities(as goes Los Angeles, so does the country), Los Angeles has never left its Mexican past far behind. From tacos, to exquisite Mexico City style honey sauces, Mexican food reigns supreme in Los Angeles. Below are my choices for the three best restaurants in the city, through the native’s perceptive of living in downtown Los Angeles for four years, and indulging in the best cuisine that LA has to offer, for every budget!
1. The Gardens of Taxco, West Hollywood. $19-$22 A tiny, quaint (except for the crowds) little Mexican restaurant between West Hollywood and West LA, this place serves up home style Mexico City cuisine. From the minute you walk in the door, you’re officially a friend. No printed menu’s here, would you expect a printed menu when visiting your friend’s grandma in Mexico? No! Instead, you are given a description of the food, which is always as good as it sounds, steaks in luscious marinades, chicken and seafood served in cream sauce. You didn’t actually think Mexicans eat burritos and tacos for every meal, did you? To top it off, Taxco has the best margarita’s in town, but no bar. To get a drink, you have to eat a meal. Bummer…
2. El Cholo, Koreatown. $7-$15 – In a city full of Mexican food, El Cholo reigns as one of the originals. The pueblo style building is still in its original location on Western and Olympic, though its grown over the year due to immense popularity. Often ranked by leading magazine as the top Mexican restaurant in the city, El Cholo serves up full plates of heaping, food. The menu has everything that defines Mexican food, from traditional burritos, tacos, fajitas, to new, unique combinations. The Blue Corn enchiladas are famous, and don’t forget to try the homemade tamales. They are to die for. Students often get steep discounts, be sure to ask!
3. Chanos, Various locations. $3-$10 – Got that nagging, insatiable midnight craving for a bean and cheese burrito? Maybe for some flautas, or tacos, but don’t want to settle for dull taco bell? Then Chanos, a local hole in the wall joint popular with locals and tourists alive, is that place for you. With a huge menu which includes over 40 different burritos and even vegetarian dishes, Chanos is sure to have something for everyone. Drive thru in most locations makes for easy pickup for post-party gatherings. Be sure to get a Horchata, a Mexican tamarind fruit drink, to flush down all the good stuff. Bon Appetite!
Los Angeles is so large in scale and size, it is impossible to try everything in an entire lifetime, much less four years. This list is by no means meant to be all inclusive, and I’m certain that there is still some gem, hidden away in a dark corner, that I missed. How can you go and find that gem? Ask around! Everyone has their own favorite local Mexican places, each with its own distinctive style and flavor. There’s only one way to find your own niche in Southern California, so eat away!