Andrea Borgen is best known as the owner of downtown's Barcito. In that role she's getting all kinds of accolades, having recently been named as one of Eater's Young Guns, and as one of L.A.'s Zagat 30 under 30. Borgen, who lives in Boyle Heights, was kind enough to share her favorite places to eat in that neighborhood. Here are her six picks.
6. Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita
“Full disclosure, this place is a five-minute walk from my house. Convenience aside, the Milanesa is my favorite sandwich in Los Angeles — the combination of hot, crispy beef with cold Oaxacan string cheese, avocado, onions and chipotle gets me. Every time.” 3010 E. First St., Boyle Heights. (323) 881-0428.
5. Mariscos Jalisco
“Baja California is my favorite place to travel these days, but when I can't squeeze in the four-hour drive, I settle for Mariscos Jalisco. The shrimp tacos and campechana make Olympic Boulevard feel like the Ensenada Fish Market for a brief, wondrous bite.” 3040 E. Olympic Blvd., Boyle Heights. (323) 528-6701.
4. El Salsabor Pupusas
“Few places in Boyle Heights have beer/wine licenses, and I really have a hard time mustering down a pupusa without a cold beer in my hand. El Salsabor is the rare place that can provide that. The revuelta is my favorite (pork, beans & cheese) and only 99 cents on Mondays and Tuesdays.” 522 S. Lorena St., Boyle Heights. (323) 266-1400, elsalsabor.net.
3. Elote on the first floor of El Mercadito
“The Mercadito is worthy of a trip in and of itself – a three-story Mexican mecca, with artisanal goods, butcher shops, mole by the pound and two huuuuuuge restaurants, both featuring their own rivaling mariachi bands — you can't miss the Mercadito. Although not my favorite place to eat, the elote served on the first floor of the market (by the parking lot) is a can't-miss. Get it con todo!” 3425 E. First St., Boyle Heights.
2. Los Cinco Puntos
“This is my go-to spot if I ever need tacos in bulk (and who doesn't need tacos in bulk?). The tortillas are made by hand, and the carnitas and tripas are out of this world.” 3300 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights. (323) 261-4084, los5puntos.com.
1. Puertos del Pacifico
“In addition to the tiburon and beer-battered avocado tacos (only $1 on Tuesdays!) I love the story behind this place. The chef used to work with Neal Fraser before coming on board to turn this neighborhood Mexican joint on its head. Although its soul hasn't changed much (think plastic booths, neon-painted windows, karaoke on the weekends), they source from some of the best local purveyors, and provide a high-quality meal at an extraordinary value. And they're open till 12 a.m.!” 1240 S. Soto St., Boyle Heights. (323) 262-0203, puertosdelpacifico.net.