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Guelaguetza: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

If any restaurant has earned the right to kick its shoes off and chill for a while, it is probably Guelaguetza, which introduced essential Oaxacan cooking to Los Angeles 20 years ago, and is the place where the governor of Oaxaca stops in for dinner when he passes through town. Today, the number of Oaxacan restaurants here trails only that of Mexico City and Oaxaca itself, and the power behind the boom undoubtedly has been Guelaguetza, now in a cavernous former banquet hall, complete with a mezcal bar and a stage for folklorico dances, that serves impeccable versions of Oaxaca's dense, banana leaf–wrapped tamales, fluffy memelas and unstuffed enchiladas and enmoladas sprinkled with cheese. Guelaguetza's moles — hoja santa–enriched green mole and thick mole amarillo among them — are to ordinary chile sauces what Joel Robuchon's porcini cappuccino is to Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. The classic mole negro is black as midnight, black as tar, black as Dick Cheney's heart. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Mid-City. (213) 427-0608, guelaguetzarestaurante.com. Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. AE, MC, V. Oaxacan.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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Guelaguetza
miles

3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

213-427-0608

www.guelaguetzarestaurante.com