As a dish, it was invented at The Victory Club in the early 1940's, by Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya in Coahuila, Mexico. It became a staple of cantinas and happy hour menus some time after that.
But a truly good serving of nachos is going to have more than just chips and cheese. It should have flavor, heft, variety, quality ingredients and some thought behind it. Ideally, the toppings are layered in, as opposed to just being tossed on top.
Sure, you can get your fill at El Torito Grill or (we assume) Chili's, but this list isn't about those places. This list is of spots serving up something bigger, bolder and better. And while we not-so-secretly think the number one spot should have gone to the canned cheese and stale chips being passed off as nachos at Dodger Stadium -- because drinking a cold beer and watching our team play on a sunny day is as close as many Angelenos get to nirvana -- we set that aside and came up with 10 other options for your approval. Turn the page.10. Plancha:
Plancha nachos are a bit of an oxymoron, as they border on fresh and healthy. Don't get us wrong, they're still high-calorie, but the chips are light and the overall portion is a completely reasonable size for two people. Refried beans, chopped tomato, ground beef (we didn't care for the chicken) and lots of pickled jalapeños make it a sloppy but happy dish. 8250 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; 323-951-9911.9. Loteria Grill:
Loteria, the beloved local mini-chain, serves nachos in two sizes -- both quite large -- and can be topped with chicken or beef for an additional few dollars. Both are good choices, but we tend to stick with the large chunks of beef that are generously layered throughout the plate. The chips are airy, covered with Jack cheese and topped with house-made tomatillo salsa and salsa fresca. Paired with one of the exemplary cocktails, this is a quality dish from top to bottom. 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-465-2500.8. Doomie's Home Cookin':
Doomie's is hard to explain: It's a goth-Asian-all-American-vegan restaurant that kindly accommodates every conceivable neurotic food restriction. As far as we can tell, everyone who likes hearty food is welcome. And they make a quality plate of dairy and meat free nachos. Are there too many canned olives? Yes. Is it still a huge dish of pseudo-healthy, cruelty-free nachos that could fool anyone in to thinking that is actually cheese and meat? Yes. The ground meat is highly spiced faux sausage and the crème is of the cashew variety. Considering that there are more than a few vegan and raw nachos on menus all over L.A. to choose from, we were incredibly impressed with this version. Serves four. 1253 Vine Street, Los Angeles; 714-883-7657.
Turn the page for picks 7 through 5...