There are few odes to the pig quite as glorious as cochinita pibil, the Yucatan specialty in which citrus-marinated pork is wrapped in banana leaves and roasted into utterly tender submission. The version you'll find at Gilberto Cetina's Chichen Itza — a tiny counter, huge kitchen and collection of tables and chairs in the open market space of Mercado la Paloma — is one Cetina brought from his native Yucatán, wiring together this menu and this restaurant from his original career in civil engineering. (And what is beautiful cooking if not a kind of civil engineering?) The pork, roasted to a different ontological condition, now rests in a bright sauce, shot through with heat and something like sunlight, an alchemy of achiote and Seville orange, garlic and allspice and clove. A confetti of pickled onion. A single whole habanero that is both signature and motif. Or challenge, really, considering the Scoville level of the stuff in the jar beside your plate. 3655 S. Grand Ave., Historic South Central. (213) 741-1075, chichenitzarestaurant.com. —Amy Scattergood

Location Details

3655 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90007
213-741-1075

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