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Bar Ama

118 W. 4th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Bar Ama +

Photo: Anne Fishbein

In some respects, Chef Jose Centeno's Bar Ama is two restaurants in one. The first serves giant mounds of guacamole, oozy bowls of queso dip and gut-bomb enchiladas smothered in cheese. It's slutty Mexican-American food made with better ingredients than is typical of the genre but with the same emotional underpinnings: salt, fat and a touch of delicious sleaze. The other restaurant has slightly higher ambitions and serves next-generation riffs on Mexican ingredients and California produce. While plenty of customers will be regulars purely for the fat-kid fun of restaurant No. 1, and plenty of food snobs will lean toward restaurant No. 2, the best way to experience this downtown Tex-Mex restaurant is to indulge in both extremes. —Besha Rodell

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