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Chichén Itzá: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011 

Thursday, Nov 10 2011
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You should probably be going to Mercado La Paloma anyway, because it's as close to a utopian Los Angeles as you're going to find, a cooperatively run marketplace whose second floor is home to nonprofits and neighborhood tutoring facilities, and its first to a warren of regional, Mexican crafts markets and reasonably priced restaurants, some with national reputations. You might end up at Chichén Itzá for a cooking class, a demonstration of pre-Columbian dishes or to take out a Yucatán-style Day of the Dead tamale big enough to feed the USC football team. The restaurant, run by the Centena family, is the most serious Yucatecan kitchen in town, its menu a living, chile-intensive thesaurus of the citrusy, fragrant, sometimes searingly hot cuisine of the Mayas — panuchos, vaporcitos and the Lebanese-Yucatecan kibi — as well as the cuisine's most famous dish, cochinito pibil, which is rubbed with spice, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked until it practically collapses under its own weight. If you've yearned to taste an autumnal green-corn atole or the refreshing drink made with chaya leaves, this is where to go. The first time I ate at Chichén Itzá, I went home and booked — actually booked — an air ticket to the Yucatán. 3655 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn. (213) 741-1075, chichenitzarestaurant.com. Daily, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Validated parking. MC, V. Yucatecan.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ANNE FISHBEIN

Location Info

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The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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