Baco Mercat | Downtown | Contemporary, European, South American | Restaurant
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The menu at Baco Mercat reads almost like a graduate exam in culinary poststructuralism, mixing flavors from Italy, France and western China, Georgia (U.S.) and Georgia (Eastern Europe), Tuscany and Peru. Josef Centeno's take on posole includes a chile-red pork broth, crisps of beef and pork and house-made noodles that happen to look exactly like what comes out of a packet of Top Ramen. Chicken thighs are somehow manipulated to resemble fried pork ribs, then glazed with a sweet, vaguely Sichuan-style chile sauce; whole shrimp are fried with salt and pepper pretty much as they are at Cantonese seafood restaurants — you eat them entire, shell, head and all.

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    Best Downtown Restaurant

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    The happy upswing of downtown Los Angeles — thanks to a substantial influx of investment money and loft dwellers — has meant a culinary renaissance, with many fantastic restaurants opening or reinventing themselves.

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  • Best Of Food & Drink

    Best New Restaurant

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    When Josef Centeno opened Bäco Mercat a little less than a year ago, the stunning menu — calibrated to suit both California produce and myriad Spanish sauces — and happy atmosphere were less a surprise than the fact that it was actually Centeno's first restaurant.

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