Border Grill. The Santa Monica flagship restaurant of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger has become a prime tourist destination, but the regional cuisine still comes out vivid and strong — juicy tacos, refreshing ceviches, spot-on chile verde. 1445 Fourth St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655. Lunch and dinner seven days. Sun.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.– Sat. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. Entrées $13–$25. Mexican. MH $ Camilo’s. There are chilaquiles for breakfast, cobb salads and Cuban sandwiches for lunch, filet mignon and “martini ceviche” (baby scallops and bay shrimp) for dinner. 2128 W. Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 478-2644. Breakfast and lunch Tues.–Sun. 8 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner Tues.–Sat. 5–10 p.m. Beer and wine. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. Entrées $9–$27. California. MH $ El Caserio. The cornerstone of the Ecuadorian kitchen is the fresh chile sauce aji, which has a tart, fiery taste. Try it with a shrimp ceviche appetizer. 309 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 664-9266. Lunch and dinner Thurs.–Tues. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. MC, V. Dinner for two, food only, $12–$18. Ecuadorian. JG ¢ Ciudad. The design of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s downtown restaurant is bold; the menu is a Pan-American pastiche, complete with Old World footnotes. Try the Peruvian ceviche: sea bass marinated with lime, ginger and aji amarillo chile. 445 S. Figueroa St., downtown, (213) 486-5171. Lunch Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner Sun.–Tues. 5–8:45 p.m., Wed.–Thurs. 5–9:45 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–10 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. AE, D, MC, V. Entrées $17–$28. Pan-Latino. MH $$ Lucy’s Drive-In. As you power down toward the Santa Monica Freeway from Hollywood, the Mexican-American drive-thru institution Lucy’s is a logical place to go for carnitas tacos, wet chile verde burritos, enchilada platters and a fish ceviche plate with salad and chips. 1373 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 938-4337. Open daily, 24 hours. No alcohol. Lot parking. Cash only. $6-$6.35. Mexican-American. JG ¢ Malo. The menu at Malo is a taut, well-devised little list of small, shareable items by executive chef Robert Luna. The food has the hearty heft and flavor of good, home-cooked Mexican food. Start with the juicy, citrus-soaked ceviches. The plain fish is light and refreshing; the mixta, with shrimp and octopus, is more texturally varied. 4326 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 664-1011. Dinner Fri.–Sat. 6 p.m.–midnight, Sun.–Mon. 6–10 p.m., Tues.–Thurs. 6–11 p.m. Full bar open until 2 a.m. Valet parking. AE, MC, V. Entrées, à la carte, $7–$14. Mexican. MH $$ Mi Ranchito. When émigrés to the East Coast miss Mexican food, Mi Ranchito is what they think they’re nostalgic for. And though the place has everything you’ve ever wanted in a neighborhood restaurant, it really specializes in regional Veracruz seafood dishes. Also try the shrimp and fish ceviche entrée. 12223 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 398-6106. Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Full bar. Lot parking. Takeout. AE, D, MC, V. Entrées $4.95–$7.95. Mexican. JG ¢ Ostioneria Colima. This is a perfect spot to kill a hot Saturday afternoon, slurping fresh oysters and drinking cold cans of Tecate from the supermarket next door. Chase your beer with tostadas de ceviche, thick, fried corn tortillas spread with a chopped salad of marinated raw fish, onion and shredded carrot, sharp with the tang of vinegar, mellow with toasted corn, sweetly fishy in an extremely pleasant way, dusted with fresh cilantro. 1465 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (213) 482-4152. Open seven days, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Lunch for two, food only, $6–$20. Lot parking. No alcohol. Cash only. Mexican. JG ¢ El Sazon Oaxaqueño. Try the fish ceviche tostadas, tossed with fresh tomato and avocado — only $2 each. 12131 Washington Place, Mar Vista, (310) 391-4721. Open daily 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. Cash only. Entrées $6–$15. Mexican. JG ¢ Señor Fred’s. The food at this Mexican restaurant with American sensibilities is pretty good, and sometimes even surprises with an occasional spike in quality and deftness. There’s a decent ceviche de mariscos, a mix of scallops, shrimp and sea bass. 13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 789-3200. Lunch and dinner Sun.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–mid., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2 a.m. Full bar. Valet parking. Entrées $8.50–$18.50. AE, D, MC, V. Mexican. MH $$ Taquería Sanchez. Taquería Sanchez is deeply authentic — even if it is possible to get plates of short ribs in spicy green chile sauce in addition to the essential tacos. The restaurant also serves shrimp ceviche tostadas ($2.25 each). 4541 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 822-8880. Mon.–Thurs. 8 a.m.–7 p.m., Fri.– Sat. 8 a.m.–8 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only. Mexican. JG ¢
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