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Bar Amá: 99 Essential Restaurants 2013

Josef Centeno's love letter to the Tex-Mex food of his childhood takes shape at his new Bar Amá in a raucous, high-ceilinged downtown room, where the drinks are tequila-swank and the tacos puffy. From gooey queso with your choice of additions to a quarter-goat served up for the table, Bar Ama's menu can be overwhelming, and ordering too much is an easy pitfall. You must have one of the ceviches, right? And you can't not have an order of puffy tacos, their flour tortilla component deep-fried in peanut oil and puffed up like a socialite's lips. But what about the blood sausage and pork cheek hash, or the chicken liver chalupa? What about the mondongo ("Grandma's menudo"), the enchiladas, the fantastic vegetables like cauliflower with cilantro, cashews and pine nuts? Luckily, it's all delicious, and if you don't get your fill, you can stop in the next day for a late (after 11:30 a.m.) breakfast, washed down with a mezcal, beer and tomato cocktail. We like the way this place rolls. 118 W. Fourth St., dwntwn.; (213) 687-8002, bar-ama.com. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 5:30-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.-mid.; Sun., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m. Small plates $6-$14; entrees $10-$30. Full bar.

 

Besha Rodell's Introduction

Anne Fishbein's Photography

The Google Map

 

The 99 Essential Restaurants List:

A-Frame
Alma
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Attari Sandwich Shop
Bäco Mercat
Bar Amá
The Bazaar
Bestia
BierBeisl
Bludso's
Cacao Mexicatessen
Canelé
La Casita Mexicana
Cemitas Poblanas Elviritas
Chichen Itza
Chung King
Cole's
Coni'Seafood
Cube Cafe & Marketplace
Din Tai Fung
Eva
Father's Office
Fred 62
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Go's Mart
Il Grano
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Hatfield's
Ha Tien Quan
Hawkins House of Burgers
Hayat's Kitchen
El Huarache Azteca
Huckleberry
The Hungry Cat
ink.
Jar
Jitlada
JTYH Heavy Noodle II
Kang Ho Dong Baekjong
Kiriko
Kiyokawa
Kogi Truck
Krua Siri
L&E Oyster Bar
Langer's
Little Dom's
Lucques
Ludo Truck
Lukshon
Mariscos Jalisco
Matsuhisa
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Milo and Olive
Mo-Chica
Musso & Frank
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa
Nickel Diner
Night + Market
Oinkster
Osteria Mozza
Pann's
Pa-Ord Noodle
El Parian
Park's BBQ
Philippe the Original
Picca
Pink's
Pizzeria Mozza
Playa
Pollo a la Brasa
Providence
R&R Soul Food
Ración
Red Medicine
Ricky's Fish Tacos
Rivera
Rocio's Moles de los Dioses
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Savoy Kitchen
Sea Harbour
Shanghai No. 1 Village Seafood
Soban
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
The Spice Table
Superba Snack Bar
Tacos Leo
The Tasting Kitchen
Tavern
Tsujita LA
Vincenti Ristorante
Wurstküche
Zam Zam Market

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Bar Ama

118 W. 4th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013